Despite all the hype and hullabaloo surrounding the launch of the Harry Potter film recently, one form of collectable was conspicuous by its absence, and that was the humble postage stamp. To be sure, the Isle of Man went so far as to release crown coins in cupro-nickel, silver and even pure gold, but of stamps there have so far been not a single item. But - give it time. Warner Brothers, who own the merchandising rights to Harry and the other characters created by J.K. Rowling, are no slouch when it comes to getting their products on to stamps, as witness the highly successful and very popular issues from the US Post Office featuring Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig and other 'Loony Tunes' characters.
Hard on the heels of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, however, came the film version of Tolkien's inimitable classic 'Lord of the Rings'. Already the subject of a British stamp issued in 1998, it is now celebrated in a set of six issued by New Zealand on December 4 to coincide with the premiere of the film 'The Fellowship of the Ring', first in a trilogy of movies.
Here we have startlingly realistic portraits of the wizards Gandalf the Grey and Saruman the White (40c), the elf Galadriel, lady of the Wood (80c), hobbits Frodo Baggins and Sam Gabgee (90c) and the Guardian of Rivendell ($1.30). The mysterious stranger Strider ($1.50) and Boromir of Gondor ($2) complete the set which is available in ordinary sheets of 25, self-adhesive booklets and a set of six miniature sheets.