Dracula puts a bloody stamp on the mail
Sunday 11 May 1997
On first class letters (26p) the Queen's head will be substantially overshadowed by that of Bram Stoker's Dracula, staring up at you from the envelope with red eyes and nicely protruding fangs.
On more expensive postal items you will find Mary Shelley's Frankenstein's monster giving you a stiff-necked glare (31p), the split face of Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (37p) and the gaping jaws of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Hound of the Baskervilles (43p).
The Post Office is capitalising on this year being a double anniversary in the annals of famous horror stories: the bicentenary of Frankenstein and the centenary of Dracula. It has commissioned the artist Ian Pollock to create monster likenesses true to the authors' ideas and not the popular images put forward by B-grade horror films.
Fans hope the four portraits will help win people back to the original tales. "Very few people have read Dracula and almost no one has read Shelley's Frankenstein," said Tina Rath of London's Dracula Society, which will celebrate the classic tale's centenary on 18 May.
"We must do it well because these classics have endured for so long. They still remain as popular today all over the world as when they were published," said the Royal Mail's Rowan Andrews. "The royal family are the only living people allowed to be on British stamps. We've broken with convention by featuring the first living-dead person - Dracula the vampire."
In a first for stamp art design, special ultra-violet colouring has been used to give the characters a suitably eerie "glow-in-the-dark" appearance. They highlight Dr Jekyll's transformation into the pale Mr Hyde, the fearsome fangs of the Baskerville hound, the bolts of lightning symbolic of the Frankenstein monster's creation and the moonlight of Dracula's world.
Special stamps like these are big business for the Royal Mail - selling up to pounds 90m worth a year in the UK and pounds 5m overseas.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
- 1 Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
- 2 Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Teacher looking fo...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...
£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...