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The Double Gold Standard
The Stamp Collecting Report, I'm Lloyd de Vries
When Britain hosts the Summer Olympics a year from now, its athletes will be going for
the gold…. And so will Britain's postal service.
Host countries always issue a wide variety of stamps for their games, often starting a
year or more in advance to publicize the Olympics.
Royal Mail is doing all that, and more. The postal agency has now announced that it will
issue stamps each time one of its athletes or teams wins a gold medal. And these stamps
will show the actual athletes.
Australia pioneered this practice in 2000, when it hosted the Summer Olympics. Britain
will be the third country to do so.
It will be the first time Britain has commemorated Olympic victories, but also another
first: Until now, Britain, like the United States, had a rule against honoring or
depicting living people on stamps ... other than, in Britain, the Royal Family.
When Britain honored the Beatles a few years ago, it showed instruments, record albums
and other memorabilia – but not John, Paul, George or Ringo.
Some countries that have this rule have skirted it by issuing a two-part stamp,
perforated in the middle. One side is the actual stamp, and the other has the photo of
the person not quite being honored on a stamp.
But Royal Mail says that's not the case here: These will be actual stamps.
And when asked about the rule, the agency says there are exceptions, especially when it
comes to celebrating a major United Kingdom success.
Or perhaps, when it comes to cashing in.
I'm Lloyd de Vries of The Virtual Stamp Club. For more on stamps and stamp collecting,
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