Britain's most spectacular commemoratives, No54: 1985 Safety At Sea 17p

Few stamps issued by Royal Mail have more action realised in their design than this one, honouring the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the importance of international flag signals.

The emergency launch of an Oakley-class lifeboat into a dark and stormy sea is brilliantly captured, with waves breaking over the bow as it hurtles down its slipway towards a brilliant flare fired by a yacht in distress.

At the stern, crew members cling on in anticipation of a rough ride, while the flag signals and pennants at the bottom right give the RNLI’s initials and the year of the issue.

Designer: Newell & Sorrell.
Printing: offset lithography by Waddingtons.