Robert Burns is first non-Royal to be honoured with three collections of stamps

January 19th, 2009 - 3:46 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 19 (ANI): Scottish poet and lyricist Robert Burns has become the first non-Royal to be honoured with three collections of stamps.

Burns, whose new edition of stamps will be unveiled by the Royal Mail this week, has outdone even wartime leader Winston Churchill, who got just two editions, and William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, who both got just one edition each, reports the Scotsman.

The Bards honour is the crowning glory of a 50-year-old campaign for Scotlands icon to be recognised by the Royal Mail, and a miniature sheet of the first-class stamps, which feature two Burns designs and four Scottish designs, will be released on January 22.

One of the stamps features the title of the poem A Mans a Man For a That, with a detail from a copper-plate engraving from a painting by James Sargent Storer of Robert Burns turning up a mouse in her nest with his plough, inspired by Burns’’s poem To A Mouse.

The second stamp features Alexander Nasmyth’’s famous portrait of the Ayrshire poet.

The other four stamps feature a saltire, a thistle, a lion rampant and a cloth of tartan.

The first edition of Burns stamps, finally issued in 1966, were meant to celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth in 1959, but the campaign was originally denied by Parliament despite 30 questions being asked in the House.

However, in 1964, Labour MP Tony Benn reversed the decision when he became postmaster general, and the first two commemorative stamps were released.

In 1996 a second collection of four stamps, each one featuring a line of Burns” poetry, were released in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of his death.

A Robert Burns commemorative 2 pounds coin, produced in association with the Royal Mint, will also be on sale. (ANI)

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