Though sometimes it may feel like it, the Royal Mail cannot issue a pictorial stamp for every big occasion, so what dealers or even you yourself can do is produce a commemorative cover. For example, Royal Mail might not issue a new stamp to mark each of the Queen’s Birthdays, but there is nothing to stop you putting an existing royalty stamp on an envelope illustrated with a picture of the Queen and arrange to get it postmarked on the correct day in, say, London SW1 - and you have your own commemorative cover!
Since a commemorative cover is not about new stamps, the aim of the game is to find the most relevant old stamps to use. This can be a real challenge for the cover producer. You might find the perfect stamps but can you source out enough to produce all of your covers? When we made covers to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Victoria Cross in 2004, we searched high and low to find the Victoria Cross stamp from the 1990 Gallantry set but still couldn’t find enough to do all the covers that we’d planned. Of course, this makes our VC covers even more special.
[60th Anniversary of D-Day Cover] Our D-Day range is an example of different commemorative covers. Royal Mail decided not to produce stamps marking the 60th Anniversary of D-Day in 2004 but we felt it was important. Some of the veterans had told us they didn’t think they would be around to celebrate the 70th Anniversary so we wanted to make this occasion a big one. This particular example is a cover produced especially for Jim Wallwork DFM to sign. Mr Wallwork was the first glider pilot to enter France on D-Day. The cover is postmarked at Tarrant Rushton, where the gliders took off on 5 June 1944. The British stamps show the Distinguished Flying Medal (from a 1990 set of stamps), which is the medal awarded to Jim Wallwork for his services on D-Day. Next to it is a Queen Mother stamp (from 1980). Commemorative covers are also sometimes referred to as “souvenir” covers or “special issue” covers.