Britain's most spectacular commemoratives, No45: 2004 J R R Tolkien 1st class

Whilst other postal authorities cashed in on the series of feature films, Royal Mail came up with something much more tasteful to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first two novels in J R R Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy. Its stamps were created from original designs by the revered author himself, and his son Christopher.

Every one of the 10 designs is a treasure, but the loveliest is that showing Rivendell, the serene Elven outpost in Middle Earth. The meaning of the word, ‘deep valley of the cleft’, is realised perfectly in the illustration.

Design: HGV Design.

Printing: lithography by Walsall.