2009 Journey to the Moon sheet.jpg
2009  Journey to the Moon (GB)

This obscure collector’s item was issued by Royal Mail on 2009 July 21 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. It consisted of a sheet of ten self-adhesive first-class stamps accompanied by labels depicting various stages of the Apollo 11 mission from landing to touchdown, including a view of TV commentator James Burke broadcasting for the BBC. Being labels rather than stamps, these images did not break Royal Mail’s rule against depicting living persons.

Captions in the sheet’s margins described the events depicted on each label (for a view of the complete A4 sheet see here). At the bottom of the sheet was part of the first known telescopic map of the Moon made at Syon House, Middlesex, by Thomas Harriot in 1609, some months before Galileo’s first telescopic observations. Harriot himself had been a candidate for depiction on a GB Europa Astronomy stamp in 2009 but was eventually discarded for want of an authentic portrait; the honour instead went to Martin Ryle.

The Journey to the Moon sheet was accompanied by an illustrated folder on lunar exploration written by Patrick Moore. Given the relatively high cost of the sheet and its limited availability, it is unlikely that many of these stamps will actually have been used for postage except to provide rare collectors’ items.

This sheet is not catalogued by Stanley Gibbons.