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The Circus is Coming!

[press release]
Royal Mail Says Hello To The Circus For 2002 PostEurop Stamps

65p45pCircus E1st Class2nd Class

Drum rolls, crazy clowns and the odd explosion, no-one forgets their first visit to The Big Top, now Royal Mail relives those memories when it issues Circus stamps on April 9.

Circus is the PostEurop theme for European postal administrations in 2002 and to recognise this, the 1st and E Class stamps in the issue feature the Europa logo on the top left of each stamp.

Designer Ron Fuller was originally asked to submit five watercolour paintings of his 11-piece circus automata as a guide to the Stamp Advisory Committee. The intention was to photograph the completed models for use on the stamps.

But the SAC was so captivated by the watercolours - they adopted them on the spot.

The complete circus automata, which took two months to make, was subsequently used as the main feature on the presentation pack.

The last stamp issue to feature a circus was British Fairs in October 1983. The issue celebrated various outdoor entertainment to mark 300 years since the first Chipperfield performance at the Frost Fair on the Thames.

Gavin Macrae, Managing Director, Royal Mail stamps and collectibles, said: "Circuses were a part of growing up for generations of children across Britain and Europe, and choosing it as the PostEurop theme for this year will I'm sure inspire some great stamp designs."

Technical Details

2nd: Second class inland letter rate stamp SLACK WIRE ACT
1st: First class inland letter rate stamp LION TAMER
E: (37p) European basic letter rate up to 20gm TRICK TRI CYCLISTS
45p: Airmail basic letter rate up to 10gm KRAZY KAR
65p: Airmail basic letter rate 10gm - 20gm THE EQUESTRIENNE

Designer: Ron Fuller
Stamp Format: Horizontal
Stamp Size: 37mm (w) x 35 (h) mm
Printer: House of Questa
Print Process: Gravure
Number per Sheet: 100
Perforations: 14 x 14.5
Phosphor: As appropriate
Gum: PVA

Presentation Pack Number 333
Priced 2.30, the pack contains a full set of five Circus stamps. The pack and cover was designed by Tutssels Enterprise IG and written by Jim Davies and photography by Andy Seymour. The pack was printed by The White Dove Press.

First Day Cover Envelope
Price: 25p. The First Day Cover Envelope and the filler card were both designed by Tutssels Enterprise IG. The filler card was printed by The White Dove Press and the envelopes printed by The House of Questa.

Stamp Card
Five postcards bearing an enlarged image of each stamp in the Circus issue will go on sale priced 25p each.

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

Smiling Clown

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

Alternatively, Collectors may send stamped covers of the first day of issue to the British Philatelic Bureau, quoting reference FD0209 or to any Special Handstamp Centre quoting reference FD02010.

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