This year marks both the bicentenary of the birth greatest naturalist in history and the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Royal Mail is celebrating these events with a set of six Stamps and a special Miniature Sheet.
1st class - Charles Darwin;
48p - Zoology (Marine Iguana);
50p - Ornithology (Galapagos Finches);
56p Geology (Pacific Atoll);
72p - Botany (Bee Orchid);
81p Anthropology (Orang-utan).
Miniature Sheet. Stamps
showing some of the unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.
The animals are shown against the background of the map produced on the Beagle mission.
It was always hoped that Charles Robert Darwin would join his mother, father and grandfather in becoming a doctor, little suspecting that he was destined to challenge the scientific understanding of how life on Earth adapted and evolved.
Born at the Mount, Shrewsbury on 12 February 1809, Darwin studied at both Edinburgh and Christ's College, Cambridge before in 1831, aged just 22, he embarked on a five year journey to south America, and beyond, aboard the HMS Beagle. He died on 19 April 1882 at Down House, Downe, Kent.
More than two decades after his return he eventually published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859. Darwin wanted to unravel 'the mystery of mysteries - the first appearance of new beings on Earth', and his book immediately challenged the established beliefs concerning evolution that were commonly held at the time, triggering a scientific revolution that still causes debate today.
Of the six stamps the 1st class shows a portrait of the man himself while the others show Darwin's areas of study that helped to contribute to his ideas on evolution: Zoology, Ornithology, Geology, Botany and Anthropology through a mixture of present day photography and relevant archive material from Darwin's time.
Zoology (48p) is represented by a photograph of a Marine Iguana, just like the uniquely adapted reptiles observed on the Beagle Voyage; ornithology (50p)> by the Galapagos Finches that demonstrated variation through the shapes of their bills; geology (56p) by a Pacific atoll; botany (72p) by an illustration of a bee orchid; and anthropology (81p) by an orang-utan like the one Darwin studied in London Zoo.
For these stamps design group hat-trick incorporated a radical jigsaw design, featuring a cut out and 'peg' into each stamp, to demonstrate how the various areas of Darwin's studies interconnected with each other.
The miniature sheet features four ctamps showing some of the unique wildlife of the Galapagos Islands that Darwin encountered during his voyage as Ship's Naturalist on the hydrographic survey ship HMS Beagle. The animals of these isolated islands and how they showed evidence of variation and evolution had a profound influence upon Darwin's theory of natural selection. The animals are shown against the background of the map produced on the mission by Captain Robert Fitzroy.
Inside the Prestige Stamp Book Eugene Byrne takes an in-depth look at Darwin's life. It contains four Stamp Panes: two panes include three of each of the Darwin Stamps in a unique gummed format, a third features the whole Miniature Sheet, together with a final pane of mixed Machins.
Enlargement of 'jigsaw' perforation in PSB
(the stamps are not self-adhesive)
stamps are designed by hat-trick
Design and are printed in gravure by De La Rue Security Print. The size
is 35 x 33mm plus the 'puzzle'-type tab.
The conventionally gummed miniature sheet is designed by Howard Brown and printed in litho by De La Rue Security Print, size 115 x 89mm, with stamps 41 x 30mm.
The Prestige Stamp Book is designed by Howard Brown with text by Eugene Byrne. It is printed by De La Rue Security Print.
Pane 1: three Darwin stamps (48p, 50p, 56p), conventionally gummed interlocked (see image);
Pane 2: Darwin miniature sheet;
Pane 3: three Darwin stamps (1st class, 72p, 81p), conventionally gummed interlocked (see image);
Pane 4: Machin definitives: 5p, 10p, 48p; 2 x 1st class separated by a Darwin portrait label; 48p, 10p, 5p.
All images are Copyright Royal Mail 2008/09.
Mint miniature sheet
Presentation Pack (contains set and MS)
Prestige Stamp Book (mint)
Set on PO FDC
MS on PO FDC
Set of 11 Stamp Cards
To order, please visit our online shop.
Postmarks available for the day of issue are shown below - these may not be to scale. More will be added later.
NOTE: These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date of issue.
| Ref FD905
Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark
|Ref FD906 Shrewsbury Official Postmark "I am turned into a short of machine for observing facts and grinding out conclusions."|| Ref FD906NP
Shrewsbury non-pictorial Postmark
|Ref L11241 - Darwin, Bletchley Park Post Office, Milton Keynes|| Ref M11254
Darwin House, Birmingham
| Ref L11245
Darwin's Finch, Downe Orpington
| Ref L11247 Carlton
House Terrace, London SW1
(location of the Royal Society)
| Ref L11246
Marine Iguana, Regent's Park London NW1
| Ref W11260
Charles Darwin, Shrewsbury
|Ref W11263 The Beagle Project, Lawrenny, Pembrokeshire (not M11263)|
|L11248 Piccadilly, London W1 (location of the Linnean Society of London)||M11253
|W11264 (not W11263)
HMS Beagle, Plymouth
|L11244 Friends of the Earth, London N1|
'On the Origin of Species', Downe, Orptington, Kent
Darwin Road, London W5 (Adapted Christian Fish symbol)
Charles Darwin, Shrewsbury
Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution, Cambridge
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This page updated 16 March 2009
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