Britain's most spectacular commemoratives, No63: 2005 Magic Circle £1.12

The set of five marking the centenary of the Magic Circle might have been gimmicky, but it was also clever and highly original. Each stamp sought to bring a very simple magic trick to life.

In two cases this was done by way of optical illusions, and in three cases by inviting us to rub a coin or finger on it. Gently generating heat on the £1.12 value, for example, makes a pyramid appear under one of the three fezzes.

The illustrations have a simple style, reminiscent of instructions in books about magic for young children, and the white background contributes to a lovely clean and crisp set. It must be said, however, that the friction-based tricks work much less well now than when the stamps were first issued!

Design: George Hardie/Tatham Design.
Printing: gravure by Walsall.