Monday, May 21, 2007

Royal Mail to Issue Harry Potter Stamps

The commemorative stamp business, and I want to emphasize the word business, has always amazed me. Postal systems around the world print up millions of special postal stamps that they sell to collectors at full face value despite there being little chance that more than a relatively small percentage of the stamps will ever be used to pay for actual postage. Of course, that practice should help to keep the actual cost of a first class stamp lower than would be the case without all the contributions from folks who collect newly issued stamps (I collected them from both the U.K. and the U.S. for a number of years myself), so I have to rather selfishly applaud the idea.

Over the years the numerous book and author related commemorative stamps have been my favorites. This latest set just announced by the Royal Mail doesn't appeal to me much but I expect that it will do quite well with the younger set, and with many of their parents, come to think of it. All seven Harry Potter book covers will appear in this set.
Images from the covers of Edinburgh author JK Rowling's seven books about the young hero will appear on first-class stamps.

The crests of Hogwarts school and its four houses will also appear on five stamps sold together as a set.

The Harry Potter stamps will launch on July 17, four days before the seventh and final book - Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - goes on sale in the UK.
A single set of the 12 Harry Potter stamps will require a face-value investment of something over $8.00 at current exchange rates and the service expects to sell millions of the stamps at the equivalent of about 68 cents U.S. each. That's what I call big business...looks like the Royal Mail will make more money off of Harry Potter than most of the stores that discount the books. Brilliant, that.


  1. I tagged you for a meme! Don't worry, though -- it's an easy one.

  2. Done, gave me an opportunity to talk about the book I bought this morning. :-)

  3. I don't know if the same applies in the USA, but over here this sort of thing is a massive money spinner for the Post Office. The PO knows nobody is going to stick these stamps on letters or parcels; therefore it is literally a licence for them to print money.

  4. Same exact thing here, Nick. One would think that all the extra cash would keep postage rates down but that doesn't ever seem to be the case to me. Our first class stamp cost just went up another two cents on Monday to 41 cents per stamp...still a good bit cheaper, I think, than your rate but it's irritating to watch the steady climb.