An Olympic Effort


An Olympic Effort

The Story of Royal Mail's overnight
Gold Medal Winner postage stamps

"The Games of the XXX Olympiad have been awarded to Great Britain." Following this historic announcement Royal Mail set about deciding how the UK could commemorate this global event through commemorative stamps.

The Sydney 2000 Olympic Games had seen Australia Post produce a world-first with its fast-tracked Gold Medal Winner postage stamps. Initial stock had been printed digitally (a first) and they were an amazing success story.

Could Britain follow suit? Of course! Moreover, stamps would be printed on the day of the win using images shot at the event and be sold next day, even when it was necessary to open 518 Post Office branches on a Sunday.

Getty Images was commissioned to supply the imagery within 20 minutes of the medal win and, after just an hour, PDFs of the final artwork would be at six regional commercial printers who would produce the stamps overnight by offset on a base stock that had been produced in advance by British-owned Cartor Security Printing.

This display focuses on trials undertaken for the Gold Medal Winner stamps in the lead-up to the Games and includes the two newly discovered Miniature Sheet printings that were produced in rolls for ease of application to official FDCs.


Frame 1

  1. Title Page
  1. The Sydney 2000 Games
  2. Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008
UK Trials
  1. Wild Focus Animals
  2. Cyclist: Complete Dummy Design
  3. Cyclist: 'Nelson' Sheets
  4. Cyclist: Partial Design
Issued A4 Stamp Sheets
  1. Team GB Win 29 Gold Medals
  2. Team GB Win 29 Gold Medals
Rolls of Miniature Sheets
  1. Rolls of Miniature Sheets
  2. Unissued Mint Rolls
  3. First Day Covers