Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

The Secret of Life - Discovery of DNA : 25 Feburary 2003

Prestige Book - Inner Space.

With these five stamps, Royal Mail commemorates the discovery of the DNA double helix by Francis Crick, James Watson in Cambridge in 1953, and the subsequent work on the Human Genome project.

2nd class 19p
"The End of the Beginning"
1st class 27p
Comparatvie Genetics
'E' rate 37p
Cracking the Code
Genetic Engineering
Medical Futures

The cartoons are the work of The Times newspaper's political cartoonist Peter Brookes, working for designers Williams Murray Hamm. Professor Susan Aldridge split the subject into the five key areas which Brookes translated into cartoons.

The story

Cambridge, England 1953 - Francis Crick and American James Watson discovered that DNA consists of four chemicals (nucleotides), paired with each other repeatedly, forming a double helix: a sort of 'twisted ladder'.
Within the nucleus of all cells, DNA is arranged in packages called chromosomes. Genes are strings of nucleotides dictating how to make protein at a particuar point on a chromosome. Each human cell contains 2 metres of DNA. Although the similarities are greater, each person's DNA has over 1 million small differences.
In 1962 Crick, Watson and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine.
In 1987 SNA 'fingerprinting' was first used to solve a murder enquiry.
The Human Genome Project is a joint venture by researchers in the UK, China, France, Germany, Japan & the USA to decipher the entire human genome. It is the differences which explain why some people and groups are more likely to catch certain diseases, or inherit genetic disabilities. Research into cancer has already discovered more than 100 genes linked in some specific way with cancerous tumours.

Prestige Book

Royal Mail will also produce a Prestige Stamp Book, entitled Microcosmos, containing 4 panes of stamps. The face value of the book is 6.99, and the panes are shown here on Norvic Philatelics Exclusive FDCs:
Pane 1: as shown below, contains Northern Ireland 1st & 2nd class stamps, with an atom illustration in the margin.
Pane 2: 1st class & 'E' rate Machin definitives, with a label showing DNA Sequencing. The margin shows a fly.

Pane 1 Pane 2

Pane 3 (below): a block of 4 se-tenant, 2nd - 1st / 1st - 2nd with plant hybridisation illustrated by peas.
Pane 4: block of 4 x 'E' stamps with DNA illustration in the margin.

Pane 3 Pane 4

Technical details:
The 50-stamp sheets and the book are printed by Enschede of Holland, all in lithography except for pane 1 in the book.
The Northern Ireland stamps are new as they have not previously been printed by this company.

All images are taken from Royal Mail's Philatelic Bulletin and Postmark Bulletin, and are Copyright 2003 by Royal Mail.

Norvic Exclusive First Day Covers

We have produced two exclusive FDCs for this issue. Cover no 8, priced at 6.95, was used for the set of 5 stamps. This is available with Crick postmark M8391 as shown or with Cambridge postmark E8403 (see row line of table below).
Cover no 9 was used for the panes from the Prestige Book - see above - and was sold only in sets of 4. All PB covers are now sold.

Exclusive Norvic FDC with set of 5 stamps - cover #8

Also available:
Set of 5 stamps - 2.75. Prestige Book - 8.75

The special postmarks announced for use on the issue date are shown below.

Scientist in lab Double helix (DNA) sperm? text as below - picture awaited text as below - picture awaited
Ref L8301
Discovery Walk, London E1
Ref M8310
DNA 1953-2003, Birmingham
Ref E8328
Medical Discoveries, Cambridge
Ref FD305
Philatelic Bureau Official postmark 'Our fate is in our genes'
Ref FD306
'We have discovered the secret of Life', Cambridge official postmark

portrait - but has he got a mouse on his shoulder? fingerprint scientist rat - or possibly a mouse
Ref L8342
William Harvey (1578-1657) Mechanics of Blood Circulation, Harvey Road, London E11
Ref E8329
Ref E8330
50th Anniversary of the Discover of DNA, Cambridge
Ref W8339
The Secret of Life, Chemistry, Whitchurch
Ref L8343
Discovery Walk, London SE1
text text text family tree test tubes
Ref E8351
H U T K, Bletchley Park Post Office, Bletchley, Milton Keynes
Ref E8365
Cavendish Laboratory "We have discovered the secret of life" Francis Crick 1953, Cambridge
Ref E8361
'The Eagle', Crick & Watson, Cambridge Public House/Inn
Ref E8362
The Secret of Life, Cambridge
Ref E8405
50th Anniversary - Harwell, Didcot
DNA strand, man & ape DNA strand & chromosomes DNA strand, foetus & jigsaw DNA strand and molecules DNA Strand and (cloned) sheep
50th Anniversary - the Discovery of DNA
Ref L8355
London W1
Ref L8356
London W12
Ref L8357
Harley Street, London W1
Ref S8358
Ref S8359
caveman DNA chain DNA Jigsaw - sorry for the poor image aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal male/female symbols
Ref M8391
Crick, Northampton
Ref E8403
Secret of Life, DNA & Genome, Cambridge
Ref E8404
50th Anniversary - Cambridge
Apologies for the poor image
Ref N8398
HMS Ark Royal Commissions 1955, build at Cammmell Laird, Birkenhead, Liverpool
Ref L8366
Working to Benefit all People, Genetic Interest Group, London

This page updated 20 March 2003 [7.2.05]

2003 stamp issues
14 January Birds of Prey 21 January Flowers Greetings Stamps Smilers Sheet 4 February Occasions/Greetings stamps and Smilers sheet 25 February - Medical Science - DNA & Genome 4 March Hello SA booklet & Wales 1st reprint
25 March Fun Fruit & Vegetables 27 March New definitives, SA airmail booklets of 40gr stamps 29 April Extreme Endeavours 6 May 34p definitives 20 May Wilding II miniature sheet
28 May Wales 2nd class, 1st class gold reprints 2 June - 50th Anniversary of the Coronation 17 June Prince William of Wales 1 July High Value Definitive reprints 15 July British Journey - Scotland
29 July Cartoons Smilers Sheet 12 August Pub Signs - Europa 18 September Transports of Delight - toys 30 September Christmas Robin Smilers Sheet 7 October 250th Anniv. of British Museum
13 October Reprints of Country Stamps 4 November Christmas: Ice Sculptures 18 December England World Cup - Rugby Winners