Tuesday 19 June 2012

Universal Mail United Kingdom Stamps Check List, 2008 - 2012.

Apart from Royal Mail, there is a second postal service in Great Britain which produces postage stamps for use on international mail - particularly aimed at the tourist market - Universal Mail United Kingdom. These stamps are "adhesives valid for proper postal use in the class of service for which they are inscribed" and are "available to the general public, at face value, in reasonable quantities without any artificial restrictions being imposed on their distribution". I place the description in quotation marks as I have taken it from the criteria for full catalogue listing which are to be found in Stanley Gibbons Stamp catalogue. The Universal Mail stamps appear to fully comply with these criteria and it seems illogical to ignore them when making a collection of stamps which tell the history of British stamps or in a catalogue which attempts to list all valid British postage stamps from 1840 onwards. Any suggestion that they are "local stamps" is refuted by their validity for use on international mail. They are modern-day British postage stamps produced for genuine use on a class of mail although not produced by the traditional British Post Office, now called Royal Mail, which itself will be privatised in the foreseeable future.
I am not aware of any listing of these stamps at present; Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue continues to ignore them while deciding to include Royal Mail prestige booklets, sold above face value contrary to its catalogue inclusion criteria, in its main catalogue listing. I feel sure that there are a number of serious collectors of modern British stamps who find the Universal Mail stamps to be interesting and collectable and for this reason, I have prepared a check list with identification numbers of all these stamps issued so far and will list future issue in Commonwealth Stamps Opinion. The stamps come in 2 "values" - International Postcard rate (IP) and International Letter rate (IL), although only one example of the IL rate has so far been issued. The stamps are sold in booklets of five, each having a code number, e.g. UKOOO1, and at the top right hand corner the title of the booklet's theme is printed. At the bottom right, next to the booklet code number, the date of issue or intended issue, is printed. I am not aware of exact dates of issue and pleasingly the company does not produce "first day covers". The stamps are not valid for use on domestic mail.

All stamps are self-adhesive with die-cut perforations.

October 2008 - May 2009
1. IP Big Ben
  1a. Booklet "London Day 1st Edition" Nos. 1-5 UK 0001
1a. "London Day"   UK 0001
  1b. Booklet "Big Ben 1st Edition" 5x No.1 UK 0008
  1c. Booklet "London Day Souvenir Stamps" Nos. 1, 16, 3, 4 ; 5 UK 0001 05/09 (May 2009)
 2. IP London Eye
  2a. Booklet "London Eye 1st Edition 5x No.2 UK 0007
  2b. Booklet "London Eye Souvenir Stamps 5x No. 2 UK 0007 (May 2009)
 3. IP St. Paul's Cathedral
 4. IP Tower Of London
  4a. Booklet "Palaces & Castles" 1 each of Nos. 4, 16, 17, 18 & 19 UK0005 (October 2008)
 5. IP Westminster Abbey
 6. IP Big Ben at night
  6a. Booklet "London Night 1st Edition" Nos 6-10 UK 0002
  6b. Booklet "London Night Souvenir stamps" Nos. 6-9 ; 85 UK 0002 05/09 (May 2009)
 7. IP St. Paul's Cathedral at night
 8. IP Trafalgar Square at night
 9. IP Tower bridge at night
  9a. Booklet "Tower Bridge 1st Edition" 5x No.9 UK 0004
  9b. Booklet "Tower Bridge Souvenir Stamps" 5x No.9 UK 0004 05/09 (May 2009)
10. IP Westminster Abbey at night
11. IP Double decker bus
  11a. Booklet "London Icons 1st Edition" Nos. 11-15 UK 0003
  11b. Booklet "London Icons Souvenir Stamps" Nos 11-15 UK 0003 05/09 (May 2009)
12. IP Black cab
13. IP Telephone Box
14. IP Metropolitan Police
15. IP Queen's Guard
16. IP Buckingham Palace
 16a Booklet "Buckingham Palace 1st Edition" 5x No. 16 UK 0009
17. IP Kensington Palace
18. IP Windsor Castle
19. IP Hampton Court Palace
20. IP Piccadilly Circus
 20a. Booklet "Piccadilly Circus & Trafalgar 1st Edition" Nos. 19, 20, 21, 8 & 22 UK 0006
21. IP Trafalgar Square
22. IP Piccadilly Circus by night
23. IP Piccadilly Circus & "Eros"
24. IL Union Jack
 24a. Booklet "Union Jack 1st Edition" 5x No. 24 UKL 0001
 24b. Booklet "Union Jack Souvenir Stamps" 5x No. 24 UKL 0001 05/09 (May 2009)

September 2009
25. IP Stonehenge
 25a. Booklet "South West England" Nos. 25-29 UK 0011
26. IP Roman Baths, Bath
27. IP Eden Project
28. IP Glastonbury Festival
29. IP The Cotswalds
30. IP White Cliffs of Dover
 30a. Booklet "South East England" Nos. 30-34 UK 0012
31. IP All Souls College, Oxford
32. IP Windsor Castle
33. IP Canterbury Cathedral
34. IP Brighton Pier
35. IP Silverstone motor racing track
 35a. Booklet "East Midlands" Nos. 35-39 UK 0013
36. IP Robin Hood statue, Nottingham
37. IP Great Central Railway
38. IP Lincoln Cathedral
39. IP Peak District, Derbyshire
40. IP Kings College, Cambridge
 40a. Booklet "East England" Nos. 40-44 UK 0014
41. IP Colchester Castle
42. IP Woburn Safari Park, Bedfordshire
43. IP St. Alban's Cathedral
44. IP Sutton Hoo Visitor Centre, Suffolk
45. IP York Minster
 45a. Booklet "Yorkshire & The Humber" Nos. 45-49 UK 0015
46. IP Humber Bridge
47. IP Yorkshire Dales
48. IP Winter Gardens, Sheffield
49. IP Cayton Bay
50. IP Severn Valley Railway
 50a. Booklet "West Midlands" Nos. 50-54 UK 0016
51. IP Stratford-Upon-Avon
52. IP Ironbridge
53. IP The Rugby Museum
54. IP The Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
55. IP The Royal Liver Building, Liverpool
 55a. Booklet "North West England" Nos. 55-59 UK 0017
56. IP Pleasure Beach, Blackpool
57. IP Lake Windermere
58. IP Chester
59. IP The Lowry Gallery, Salford
60. IP The Angel Of The North sculpture
 60a. Booklet "North East England" Nos. 60-64 UK0018
61. IP Hadrian's Wall
62. IP Bamburgh Castle
63. IP Durham Cathedral
64. IP National Railway Museum, York

All the above stamps have a panel at the right side which illustrates part of the Union Jack flag.

65. IP The Scottish Parliament
 65a. Booklet "Edinburgh" Nos. 65-69 UK 0019
66. IP Edinburgh Castle
 66a. Booklet "International Newsagents" Nos. 66,  67, 69, 73 & 100 UK 0025 (May 2010)
67. IP Royal Yacht Britannia
68. IP Holyrood Palace
69. IP The Royal Mile
70. IP The Heavy Horse sculpture

 70a. Booklet "Scotland" Nos. 70-74 UK 0020
71. IP Stirling Castle
72. IP Loch Ness
73. IP Bagpipes
74. IP St. Andrews

All the above have a panel at the right side which illustrates part of the Scottish saltire flag.

75. IP Mount Snowden
 75a. Booklet "Wales" Nos. 75-79 UK 0021
76. IP Pembrokeshire Coast
77. IP Millenium Centre, Cardiff
78. IP Cardiff Castle
79. IP National Coal Museum

All the above have a panel at the right side which illustrates part of the Welsh dragon flag.

80. IP Giant's Causeway
 80a. Booklet "Northern Ireland" Nos. 80-84 UK0022
81. IP Belfast City Hall
82. IP Lifebuoy of the RMS Titanic
83. IP Walled City of Derry
84. IP statue of St. Patrick
85. IP Piccadilly Circus by night (from booklet no. 6b)

All the above have a panel at the right side which illustrates part of the Union Jack.

November 2009
86. IP Giant's Causeway
 86a. Booklet "Northern Ireland" Nos. 86-90 UK 0023
87. IP Belfast City Hall
88. IP Lifebuoy of the RMS Titanic
89. IP Walled City of Derry
90. IP statue of St. Patrick

All of the above have a panel at the right side which depicts countryside fields.

May 2010
91. IP British Museum
 91a. Booklet "London Landmarks" Nos. 91-95 UK 0010
 91b. Booklet "London 2010 Philatelic Exhibition" Nos. 91 & 96-99 UK 0024
92. IP Wimbledon Stadium
93. IP The National Gallery
94. IP Somerset House
95. IP Royal Observatory, Greenwich
96. IP statue of King George V
97. IP British Library
98. IP Guildhall Art Gallery
99. IP doorway of Royal Philatelic Society

All of the above have a panel at the right side which illustrates part of the Union Jack.

100. IP International Newsagents shop (see booklet no. 66a)
101. IP Edinburgh Castle (variant of picture on no. 66)
 101a. Booklet "Historic Scotland" Nos. 101-105 UK 0026
 101b. Booklet "Historic Scotland" Nos 101 & 116-119 UK 0029
102. IP Iona Abbey Cloisters
103. IP interior of Glasgow Cathedral
104. IP Dirleton Castle & Gardens
105. IP Skara Brae, Orkney
106. IP Urquhart Castle
 106a. Booklet "Historic Scotland" Nos. 106-110 UK 0027
107. IP Melrose Abbey
108. IP Dryburgh Abbey
109. IP Linlithgow Palace
110. IP Dallas Dhu Distillery
111. IP Stirling Castle (variant of picture on no. 71)
 111a. Booklet "Historic Scotland" Nos. 111-115 UK 0028
112. IP St. Andrew's Cathedral
113. IP stained glass at Dunfermaline Abbey Palace
114. IP Caerlaverock Castle
115. IP Fort George

July 2011
116. IP Edinburgh Castle Cannons (116-119 from booklet 101b - UK 0029)
117. Lion Rampant from Scottish Standard
118. IP fireworks over Edinburgh Castle
119. IP Honours of Scotland (Scottish crown jewels)
120. IP statue of Robert The Bruce at Stirling Castle (120-123 from booklet 111a - UK0030)
121. IP Unicorn in Captivity Tapestry
122. IP plaque of  the head of King James V
123. IP Stirling Castle Great Hall
124. IP Skara Brae Village (variant of picture on no. 105)
 124a Booklet "Historic Scotland" Nos. 120-124 UK 0031
125. IP Maes Howe
126. IP Orkney Venus
127. IP Ring of Brodgar
128. IP Broch Of Gurness

All of the above have a panel at the right side which illustrates part of the Scottish saltire flag.

129. IP Beefeater, Tower Of London
 129a. Booklet "Historic Royal Palaces" Nos. 122-133 UK 0032
130. IP Raven, Tower Of London
131. IP Crown, Tower Of London
132. IP aerial view of Tower Of London
133. IP Tower Of London viewed from River Thames
 133a. Booklet "Historic Royal Palaces" Nos. 133-137 UK 0033
134. IP Hampton Court Palace
135. IP Banqueting House
136. IP Kensington Palace
137. IP Kew Palace
138 IP Abbey Road road sign
 138a. Booklet "London Signs" Nos 138-142 UK0034
139. IP Oxford Street road sign
140. IP Piccadilly Circus road sign
141. IP Trafalgar Square road sign
142. IP Baker Street road sign

November 2011
143. IP Rowing & Houses of Parliament
 143a. Booklet "Celebration of Sport" Nos. 143-147 UK0035
144. IP Gymnastics & telephone box
145. IP Cycling & London Wheel
146. IP Hurdling & the "Gherkin" building
147. IP Swimming & Tower bridge

All the above stamps have a panel at the right side which illustrates part of the Union Jack.

148. IP Linlithgow Palace
 148a. Booklet "Historic Scotland" Nos. 148-152 UK 0036 24/11
149. IP Doune Castle
150. IP Dumbarton Castle
151. IP Blackness Castle
152. IP Meigle Stone
153. IP Iona Abbey (variant of picture on no. 102)
 153a. Booklet "Historic Scotland" Nos. 153-157 UK 0037 24/11
154. IP Inchmahome Priory
155. IP Inchcolme Abbey
156. IP Arnol Blackhouse
157. IP Jarlshof Settlement
158. IP Urquhart Castle
 158a. Booklet "Historic Scotland" Nos. 158-162 UK 0038 24/11
159. IP Fort George (variant of picture on no. 115)
160. IP Dallas Dhu Distillery
161. IP Huntly Castle
162. IP Balvenie Castle
163. IP Caerlaverock Castle (variant of picture on no. 114)
 163a. Booklet "Historic Scotland" Nos. 163-167 UK 0039 24/11
164. IP Melrose Abbey (variant of picture on no. 107)
165. IP Jedburgh Abbey
166. IP Dryburgh Abbey (variant of picture on no. 108)
167. IP Threave Castle

All of the above have a panel at the right side which depicts part of the Scottish saltire.

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  1. Hello,

    I have been looking for information about Universal Mail since my last visit to Brighton where I found a booklet pane of 5.

    i hope you dont mind i use them for my personal collection:


    I wonder if you have spare for INTERNATIONAL LETTER. If you do perhaps I can buy/swap it from/with you.


    You can reach me at:


  2. I am surprised that they were approved for postage from GB without the Monarch's effigy.

  3. Thank you very much for putting this checklist together!

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