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Finding Stuff

It is very easy to find the stamp issues you are looking for by clicking on the 'Browse tab' and selecting the various browse options. However there are a couple of instances where collectors are often flummoxed.

Definitves or Commemoratives

From 1840 to 1990 it was easy to categorise each stamp issue as definitives or commemoratives. Definitves featured the monarch's head and had been the same size since the Penny Black. The only exceptions in size and design were the 'high value' issues. Definitives always remained on sale for a long period until tariff changes made them redundant leading to their withdrawal.

This all changed in 1990 when Royal Mail marked the 150th anniversary of the Penny Black with a set of five 'definitives' featuring the heads of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. These stamps were issued to commemorate a specific anniversary and were only on sale for a limited period. Therefore many dealers classed these as commemorative stamps. Since then other so called definitives have been issued, viz: to mark the new millennium in 2000, and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. These both show the Queen's head in the standard definitive format. As the purpose of these issues is to commemorate events, you will find all of these in the commemoratives section of the British Stamp Organiser. This rule also applies to the 2012 small definitive sized Olympic and Paralympic stamps.

Royal Mail Coin, Medal and Ingot Covers

Initially many of these were issued as souvenir or commemorative covers, i.e. not on the stamp issue dates. These can be found by searching for the stamp issue to which they relate, rather than searching for the issue date. As an example: Royal Mail issued a coin cover in 2011 to mark the 500th anniversary of the Mary Rose - it included two stamps from the Tudors commemorative stamps (Henry VIII and The Mary Rose) which were issued on 21st April 2009. You will find this cover included with the 2009 Tudors issue.
Another way to locate these covers is to:
Select Browse Options:


  • Select Type (choose stamp type)
  • Select Year Range (choose year range)
  • In the Additional FDC Options:
  • Select Producer (Royal Mint)
  • Select Series (All)
  • Click on 'Show First Day Covers'.
You can find other Royal Mail souvenir covers by following the above but change Select Producer from (Royal Mint) to (Royal Mail/Post Office).



Souvenir / Commemorative Covers

The British Stamp Organiser was never designed to include the vast number of souvenir covers which have been produced over the years. However most of Royal Mail's souvenir covers (coin covers, medal covers, cachet covers, ingot covers etc) are included - see note above. It is possible to add souvenir covers by finding the stamp issue to which the stamps on the cover relate. To keep these items separate, you could store them in a separate collection.


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