The English name for personalized stamps is Smilers. This article will give you a small overview of what and how about the Smilers.
Royal Mail was following the developments as started in Canada, with the self-adhesive and self assembled stamps, and those in Indonesia where your own image could be printed alongside stamps on attached labels. During the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2000 Royal Mail wanted to make stamps with the winners of various sports quickly available, and chose for experimenting with printed labels alongside genuine stamps. The heads of Gold medal winners were printed on special sheets the evening after the closing of the games, and next morning these were already for sale at post offices.
To attract also non stamp collectors to the Stamp Show in London in 2000, Royal Mail gave its customers the possibility, after the Australian example, to have their own image in a sheet on a label next to official stamps. Name: Greeting stamps.
For the official stamp Royal Mail chose an issue which appeared in 1990, the so-called "smiling mouths", or "Smiles".
In the language of the people these sheets were soon identified as Smilers, referring to this issue with Smiles. This name was so widely used that also Royal Mail itself uses this name for these products.
Over the years, more and more stamps have been added to the assortment, but the name remained Smilers.
MFN also ordered Smilers for the 20-est MFN Anniversary, to create an Omnibus series.
The contemporary British Smilers can be divided into four different groups:
These are standard stamps, in a sheet with a standard border printing but with a label showing an own image attached to each stamp. There is a choice from several borders, but it is not possible to make a personal one. There is also a choice from several stamp images, and the own image is equal on all ten labels.
2. Smilers for kids
Same concept as the regular Smilers, but with nice graphics in the outskirts border, like Peter Rabbit and Noddy.
3. Generic Smiler sheets
Sheets designed by Royal Mail itself for special events and/or anniversaries. These are made in large numbers and sold through the postal offices. The Wembley sheet and the Thaipex issue (see novelties) are an example of these.
4. Business Customised Smiler sheets
This is the most expensive kind for us collectors. It is possible for (wealthy) organizations to design an entirely own Smiler sheet, including special border, and let this produce. The image must be approved by the Royal Mail and the price is obviously significantly higher then the sheets with preprinted borders. Minimum number is 100 sheets and the price of 100 to 199 sheets is not less than GBPnd 17.50 per sheet. If you want numbered sheets there is a surcharge of GBPnd 100.00 for each 100 sheets. The more sheets are made, the cheaper they are (at 6000+ sheets it costs only GBPnd 4.24 per sheet).
Many organizations create these sheets as a nice memory of special milestones in their existence. But .... unfortunately, many traders make (mis) use of this possibility by manufacturing fake memories of subjects that are often collected. Thus Titanic Smilers sheets are offered on eBay for around eighty pounds. Actually, these sheets are made to gain profit only. If this is not to fill the clubs purse, then it is for their own pockets.
Example of the 4th category: numbered NARPO sheet
More info can be found at www.royalmail.com/smilers.
I hope that the British personalized Smiler stamps are somewhat more understandable after reading this article, but if you still have questions ????????
Hans de Kloet
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