A recent auction purchase included a pane of six London 2012 Olympic Games Dummy Stamps. having no knowledge of the stamps I did a little research which I share below.
The stamps were produced for use in internal end to end tests undertaken by some Post Office branches in April 2012. A letter dated 14 June 2012 to participating Post Offices stated: “We did a test on 19 April, which really helped with our planning, thank you to those involved in that.”
It is thought that the dummy trail sheets were produced by all six of the printers involved in the project. The cyclist depicted on the dummy stamp is Wendy Houvenaghel of Northern Ireland who was not selected for the final Olympic team.
The stamps were delivered in a gold coloured outer envelope including an adhesive envelope with the name of the Post Office branch and its address, plus delivery route number and the quantity of dummy sheets enclosed and the sheet code GMW-E1.
The despatch note enclosed clearly stated IMPORTANT: TEST ONLY – PLEASE DESTROY THE SHEETS.
The destruction request was clearly ignored at some offices and Dummy Stamps Issue 27 – Q4 2012 stated that around 40 sheets had been seen on offer. At the time sheets printed in Swindon, Attleborough, London and Preston had been seen. The full sheet contained four panes of six stamps.
Some were even used to send items through the post.