Andrew Hammond, head of Stamps and Collectibles at the Royal Mail, wanted to put his stamp on the London Olympics! The challenge was to produce a commerative stamp for every Team GB gold medal winner featuring an action shot from the event and to have these on sale in Post Offices within 24 hours. Something never before attempted by any country. The normal delivery period for a commerative stamp is approximately 18 months!
We were one of four printers nationwide. We worked closely with the Royal Mail in the weeks leading up to the Olympics to ensure that colour quality was consistent throughout the project not just from stamp to stamp but coordinating with the other printers involved. In addition we also carried out several “dry runs” to ensure that logistics would work.
Throughout the Olympics we had a team on permanent standby to ensure the tight deadlines could be met. Once a winner crossed the line we received a text that was forwarded to the team. Within 4 hours the presses would be rolling with a team of trained packers on standby to ensure each of 500 Post Offices received the correct quantities. By 5.00am the following morning a fleet of couriers would arrive with each loaded with the correct deliveries.
“Super Saturday” was quite a challenge with 6 stamps to be produced and Mo Farrahs artwork not arriving until Midnight yet all went were distributed and in the Post Offices ready for Sale by 12.00 on Sunday!
Royal Mail are the first Post Office to be able to produce stamps with “live” pictures in such a short time frame. Previous organisers had used stock pictures but were still only able to produce in 48 hours. As a result Royal Mail vastly exceeded their sales target making these stamps their most successful collectable ever.