14 October 1066 - The Battle of Hastings - Harold, King of England, is killed and the Duke of Normandy, William, seizes the English crown and changes the course of English history.
August 1971 - 6 small children's books - Mr. Tickle, Mr. Greedy, Mr. Happy, Mr. Nosey, Mr. Sneeze and Mr. Bump - are published in Britain and sell for 20p each and, er ..... change the course of British history (?).
Which of these above events warrant commemoration on British postage stamps - the 950th anniversary of The Battle of Hastings or the 45th anniversary of the first publication of the Mr. Men books?
Royal Mail says it's the 45th anniversary of Mr. Men that is the more worthwhile anniversary and not the Battle of Hastings because it has just revealed on its Phiatelic Bureau website that the mystery stamp issue it plans to release on 20 October 2016, just 6 days after the actual anniversary date of England's most famous battle, is indeed to commemorate the Mr Men anniversary and there are no plans to commemorate the battle apart from the release of an over-priced "Commemorative sheet".
It's been a bumper year for Royal Mail issues aimed at children or at least at adults who think they might be able to interest children in stamp collecting, what with the execrable "Animail" stamps, yet another Beatrix Potter issue and now stamps devoted to the Mr. Men characters. If only the stamps were sold at a price that children could afford.
Details of the issue have not yet been released but let's be honest, after all the mystery and drama surrounding the issue, it's not Star Wars is it?
The Mr. Men characters have made a number of philatelic appearances already - a large Smilers sheet of 2009 which contained 20 "Balloons" stamps and various labels depicting "Little Miss" preceded in 2008 by a pack of 10 "Balloon" stamps with labels featuring "Mr. Happy Classic Mr. Men and Little Miss". Another pack of 10 "Balloons" stamps was also issued in 2009 with attached labels featuring "Little Miss Sunshine Mr. Men and Little Miss" and another large sheet of 20 "Balloons" stamps dates back to 2008 with the title "Mr. Men Little Miss with Mr. Happy. Fortunately no further similar items were released by Royal Mail.
Guernsey Post issued a set of 6 Mr Men stamps on 15 May 2008 for no obvious reason. The complete set is depicted below:-
Looking at all that stuff depicted above, you have to ask yourself is there really any need for yet more Mr. Men philatelic products?
The Royal Mail Philatelic Bureau website also gives details of the next issue from Royal Mail which will be released on 16 August 2016 to commemorate the Tercentenary of the birth of the gardener, Lancelot Capability Brown. This is an issue clearly aimed at punters at the other end of the age scale from the Mr. Men fans - gardening and grand houses, the haunt of the over-60s with their National Trust and English Heritage membership cards.
It's an attractive set designed by Robert Maude and Sarah Davis and featuring such great establishments as Blenheim Palace, Longleat, Compton Verney, Alnwick Castle, Berrington Hall, Stowe, Croome Park and Highclere Castle which is where the internationally popular television programme, Downton Abbey, was filmed. I see this issue having a lot of appeal to the retired and to the worldwide Downton Abbey enthusiasts. The issue was lithographed by International Security Printers and perforated 14.5 x 14.
The issue is made up of 8 stamps and a self-adhesive counter booklet sold for £3.84p and containing 4 x 1st purple Machin definitives and 1 each of the Compton Verney and Highclere Castle stamps (hence we get gummed and self-adhesive versions of the Downton Abbey stamp).
I have to admit that I find this to be a very attractive issue. Rating:- *****.