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[press release]

Kipling's Animal Magic Launches Royal Mail's 2002 Special Stamps

Whale Camel Rhino Leopard Elephant Kangaroo Armadillo Crab Cat Butterly
Click each individual stamp for a large illustration.

Royal Mail celebrates the centenary of Rudyard Kipling's classic Just So Stories on January 15, 2002 with ten self-adhesive stamps portraying the timeless children's tales.

The ten 1st Class stamps are illustrated by Izhar Cohen, whose beautifully-detailed watercolours are sure to strike a chord with the generations of people who read or heard Kipling's allegorical stories as children.

Just So Stories is the second in an ongoing series of self-adhesive stamps portraying animals and follows Cats and Dogs issued in February of this year. Birds will follow in 2003.

The stories also presented Royal Mail with the opportunity to feature exotic animals not indigenous to the UK.

Talking of which, how did the camel get his hump? And how did the leopard get his spots?

It was Kipling's imagined answers to these questions that he used to entertain his daughter Josephine, (Effie).

The stories were drawn from many cultures and are full of jokes, subtexts, and exotic references, but whether she heard them at bedtime or on the long sea voyages to Africa and India, Effie insisted on them being told 'just so'.

Tragically she died from pneumonia aged six in 1899, almost three years before the stories were first published in one volume, featuring Kipling's own illustrations.

In addition to the stamps, Izhar Cohen also provides additional illustrations for the presentation pack and sheetlet which were both designed by Howard Brown. The presentation pack was written by the leading poet and critic Craig Raine, who has edited both A Choice of Kipling's Prose (1987) and Rudyard Kipling Selected Poetry (1992).

NOTE: Just So Stories For Little Children was first published in one volume in 1902 and in the same year that the family settled at Bateman's in East Sussex. The volume contained two additional stories not covered by the stamps, How the First Letter was Written and How the Alphabet was Made, along with 12 sets of verses.

Two rows of five stamps; first row:Second row:
  • The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo
  • The Beginning of the Armadilloes
  • The Crab that Played with the Sea
  • The Cat that Walked by Himself
  • The Butterfly that Stamped


    Designer: Izhar Cohen
    Stamp Format: Horizontal
    Stamp Size: 37mm (w) x 27mm (h); sheet 213mm x 64mm
    Printer: Walsall Security Printers
    Print Process: Gravure
    Number per Sheet: 10
    Perforation: Die-cut simulated perforations - The stamps are kiss die-cut to replicate a conventional stamp perforations.
    Phosphor: Two bars
    Gum: Self Adhesive

    Price: 3.05
    The presentation pack comprises a full set of ten Just So Stories' stamps and the pack and cover was designed by Howard Brown, illustrated by Izhar Cohen, written by Craig Raine and printed by The White Dove Press.

    Howard Brown also designed the presentation pack for the 2001 Christmas stamps and the Weather stamps and 'barometer' miniature sheet.

    Price: 25p. The First Day Cover Envelope and the filler card were designed by Howard Brown and illustrated by Izhar Cohen. The filler card was printed by The White Dove Press and the envelope printed by The House of Questa.

    Ten postcards bearing an enlarged image of each stamp priced 25p each.

    Sheetlets will be available from all Post Office branches containing 10 x 1st Just So Stories' stamps priced 2.70.

    A Just So Self-Adhesive Special Stamp Sheetlet consists of 10 Special postage stamps (each of different design) printed on a self-adhesive laminate. The stamps are arranged in two rows of five, sold flat.

    All stamps are NVI 1st Class; the phosphorescent response required for use in Royal Mail automated processing equipment is achieved through the printing of two phosphor bars using a phosphorescent ink, which also incorporates a blue fluorescent pigment. The reverse side of the laminate, which forms the outer face of the product, is also printed by the photogravure process according to Royal Mail requirements.

    The sheetlet was designed by Howard Brown, illustrated by Izhar Cohen and printed by Walsall Security Printers.

    Two different pictorial 'first day of issue postmarks' are available for every new stamp issue.

    Just So Cancel #1 Just So Cancel #2
    [Click on each cancel for a larger version.]

    Unstamped Royal Mail First Day Cover envelopes (price 25p) will be available from main Post Office branches and philatelic outlets approximately one week before issue. Collectors who hand in or post covers at main Post Office branches will receive the pictorial 'Burwash, Etchingham' first day postmark.

    BURWASH, ETCHINGHAM was chosen as the alternative postmark as it was the location of Kipling's East Sussex home, Bateman's. Kipling lived at Bateman's from1902 until his death in 1936. The use of the snake on the postmark signifies the reptiles occasional presence in Kipling's stories and was thought to be a suitable image for the dimensions/style of a postmark.

    Alternatively, Collectors may send stamped covers of the first day of issue to the British Philatelic Bureau, quoting reference FD0201 or to any Special Handstamp Centre quoting reference FD0202.

    Royal Mail has released 10 first class postage stamps to celebrate the reissue of Rudyard Kipling's 'Just So Stories,' reported Rebecca Wood for the British Satellite News feed, a service of the Home Office, when the stamps were issued January 15. The stamps are based on illustrations from the popular children stories and are expected to be a hit with young and old alike. The bold, bright designs of the Kipling stamps have already caught the attention of these youngsters. And his stories, written more than a hundred years ago, are still in fashion.

    "He was writing from the 1880s onwards and that was a time when there was no radio, no television, no movies, writers were very, very important people up in the public mind," said John Radcliffe of the Rudyard Kipling Society. "Kipling was far and way the most popular writer in the English speaking world for about twenty-five years."

    The Royal Mail frequently releases collections of stamps, such as the Kipling set, to please collectors.

    "There are over 5 million collectors of stamps in the UK alone, also throughout the world there are obviously millions of collectors, yes very popular," said Greg McNeill, Royal Mail Stamps and Collectables. "With this issue we are actually trying to appeal to children so the illustrations are very simple, they tell a story on their own and they are done in such a colourful way that we hope they will appeal to children between 7 and 11 years of age."

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