Posted inEurope - Variable value stamps - ATMs / Gibraltar

GIBRALTAR. 2023, the ‘Year of the Rabbit’ issue

The ‘Year of the Rabbit’ design is the eighth in the annual ‘Post & Go’ series, dedicated to the Chinese zodiac first launched in 2016, by the Royal Gibraltar Post Office. As in previous years, the image featured on the new design is the same as that on the two ‘traditional’ stamps in the ‘Year of the Rabbit’ set, released on February 20th 2023.

The design is by Stephen Perera, from illustrations by Bajena and SiewHoong, of iStockphoto. This is the first Gibraltar ‘Post & Go’ design to feature the royal cypher of the new monarch following the crowning of Charles III as King in September 2022.

The use of the same image for both types of stamps clearly simplifies the process in releasing a new issue, which is subject to the planned programme and the approval, in the case of Gibraltar, first by the local government and ultimately by Buckingham Palace!

See previous issues – ‘Year of the Monkey’ in 2016 (article & VARIABLE 40), ‘Year of the Rooster’ in 2017 (article & VARIABLE 44), ‘Year of the Dog’ in 2018 (article & VARIABLE 48), ‘Year of the Pig’ in 2019 (article & VARIABLE 55), ‘Year of the Rat’ in 2020 (article & VARIABLE 56), ‘Year of the Ox’ in 2021 (article & VARIABLE 60) & ‘Year of the Tiger en 2022 (article). 

The rolls of 1,500 thermal self-adhesive labels were manufactured by Cartor Security Printers in the UK, with digital offset printing. The labels include a neutral security background with the ‘Royal Gibraltar Post Office’ continuous text on the left of the label, and a glossy finish to the image area.

The ‘Year of the Rabbit’ design was available from March 30th 2023, from the GI05 DKU desktop kiosk system installed at the Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau premises.

Also as in previous years, the philatelic bureau sold sets or ‘Collectors strips’ with the six values or postage rate indicators programmed in the machine. These are issued from the same DKU kiosk, but reconfigured for back-office use (left strip below). In this case, the machine does not issue receipts nor does it print any ‘location identifier’ text on the stamps, only the face value indicator and the code at the bottom, which begins with the letter ‘B‘, and the reconfigured machine code GI04.

However, all stamps issued from the desktop machine when configured for public use -and therefore available to visitors- includes the ‘Philatelic HQ‘ identifier under the face value indicator. The code at the bottom starts with ‘D‘ (DKU), followed by the month, country and year of issue, machine code (GI05), followed by the session and stamp numbers.

The machine when configured for public use enables the purchase of stamps as singles, in strips of six local mail stamps (‘Local Strip’), and in strips with the six programmed values ​​(‘Collectors Strip’ – central image below with the receipt on the right), plus six strips of six values (‘Collectors Set’). This last option caters mainly for the series of stamps consisting of six designs. For each of these options, the system issues a receipt printed on thermal paper together with the strips of stamps.

Gibraltar Philatelic Bureau produced a pictorial first day cover with the set and special postmark. The postage rates corresponding to the six face value indicators in 2023 are 30p, 60p, 90p, £1, £1.15 & £4.

(English edition rewritten by J. Gareze – January 2024)

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