The History of Discworld Stamps

“They look very nice, Mr Lipwig,’ said Stanley. ‘All that detail. Like little paintings.”

Discworld Stamps began in 2003 while Terry was writing Going Postal. As part of his writing process, Terry’s would revel in the opportunity to indulge boyhood fascinations with his subjects in the name of research. Being a stamp collector as a lad, philately was no exception and with our assistance he fully acquainted himself with the history of the Post Office and postage stamp manufacture in the Victorian era.


Even before Going Postal was finished, Terry believed in the stamps’ success as merchandise. Buoyed by the idea of Discworld fans going all ‘Stanley Howler’ over his very own postage stamps, he enlisted us to devise the very stamps designed by Moist Von Lipwig and Mr Spools in the book, The Penny Patrician; Halfpenny Post Office; 2p Coat of Arms; 5p and 10p Morporkia, and $1 Tower of Art.


The very first stamps off the press were perforated by Terry at Bath Postal Museum on a Victorian machine that we restored with the help of the author himself and a set of shiny new perforating pins! Terry became a patron of the museum and the Emporium consequently houses an array of postal paraphernalia that brings Going Postal to life!


 Our designs were commissioned by Transworld publishers to illustrate the book itself, and by Waterstones booksellers as exclusive gifts and giveaways. These stamps were produced according to Terry’s high standards and insistence on authenticity – as such we worked with the world’s biggest security printers of banknotes and postage stamps to produce ‘First Class’ Discworld Stamps of the finest quality.


On the release of the book Terry appointed the Emporium as an official branch of the Ankh-Morpork Post Office with an exclusive licence to produce stamps from all over the Disc, and our shop was ceremoniously reopened in the presence of Postmaster Moist Von Lipwig, Lord Havelock Vetinari and of course, Sir Terry Pratchett. Hundreds of thousands of issues later, Discworld Stamps are collected worldwide and a collection is even housed British Library Philatelic Collection in London – Stanley Howler would be proud!


Since their inception in the book, our range has grown to encompass an ever-changing selection from post offices all over Discworld, illustrating a myriad of Terry Pratchett’s characters and creations with contributions by guest artists including Paul Kidby, Joe McLaren, David Wyatt and Peter Dennis. Some of our older designs even make a guest appearance in Sky 1’s television adaptation.


We produce all manner of postal ephemera, from single stamps and whole sheets, to commemorative artefacts, lucky dip envelopes and first day covers. All our stamps are traditionally printed by our very own Mr Spools on authentic gummed stamp paper & perforated by hand. Like real stamps, designs come and go but thanks to a thriving secondary market older issues can be tracked down or traded on popular auction sites.


Just like the book itself, Discworld Stamps pay homage to the hobby of stamp collecting, and are the product of ours and Terry’s fondness for philately. They remain our fondest merchandising achievement, such was Terry’s involvement and enthusiasm in their creation. Far more than mere bits of literary merchandise, Discworld Stamps are miniature artworks, and the result of Terry’s methodical pursuit of knowledge culminating in a very special book.