Sunday, March 20, 2011

Magical Realms UK Stamp Set (2011)

Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore), Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) and
Tilda Swinton (The White Witch) in UK's Magical Realms UK Stamp Set

Thanks to the Internet, courier services and portable communication devices, postal stamps have been relegated to the Almost Obsolete Club. In its heyday, stamps from the Isle of Man were the Holy Grail. Now-a-days, kids are going nuts with the glitzy Katy Perry Electronic Gift Certificate card. The digital era is in full swing and the odds are stacked against anything tedious, tangible and cumbersome. With the help of moneyed retirees and avid collectors, stamps managed to evade a bleak appointment with the Grim Reaper. Hallelujah!

Now back to more pressing matters....

Today's youth market is as bratty and finicky as ever. It's hard to get noticed when you're not Robert Pattinson, SpongeBob Square Pants or Justin Bieber. That doesn't mean stamps can't try, though. Innovations were made to make snail mail less tiresome. Sticker stamps were developed to address the mess of having to deal with the conventional self-adhesive stamp. Steps were also made to encourage young people to take up philately. (Although I'm not part of the J.K. Rowling target demographic, I found myself rushing online to buy the 2007 FrenchHarry Potter series.)

Most recently, the UK Royal Mail has released the Magical Realms Stamp collection, an eight-piece set featuring wizened wizards, hot witches and a talking lion. Although the legend of King Arthur, Narnia, Discworld and Harry Potter are well-represented, J.R.R. Tolkien's Rings trilogy is not. Where's Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and Saruman (Christopher Lee) when you need them? Sunbathing at the Grey Havens spa?

For now, the icy gaze of the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) is more than enough.