A set of stamps honouring Dame Shirley Bassey’s 70 years in showbiz has been issued by Royal Mail – its first set dedicated to a solo female music artist.
The eight stamps in the main set show the Welsh singer performing during her illustrious music career at venues as diverse as a London nightclub and the opening ceremony of the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
Dame Shirley, now 86, is pictured on a TV show in 1963, near the start of her time in music, and as recently as 2013, at the Oscars ceremony.
There is also a sheet of four stamps of candid black and white photographs taken of her during recording sessions and rehearsals.
Royal Mail has issued dedicated sets of stamps for David Bowie, Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney, but never to a female solo music artist.
Dame Shirley said: “I am absolutely thrilled and would never have dreamed that one day my face would be on a stamp… that one day a letter might arrive and there I am, with a postmark next to me!
“It’s an absolute honour to be the first solo female artist to receive a collection from Royal Mail.
“The stamps are wonderful, and I hope my fans and collectors love them as much as I do.”
David Gold, Royal Mail’s director of external affairs and policy, said it is “a fitting celebration of one of the UK’s most revered and longest-serving musical icons”.
Born in 1937 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, the Welsh singer first performed in 1953 before scoring a number-one hit in 1959 with As I Love You.
By the 1960s, she was an international star with numerous hit albums spanning contemporary pop, show tunes and soundtracks.
Some of her greatest work was with film composer John Barry, creating the James Bond theme songs Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever and Moonraker, which became her signature songs.
In the 1990s and 2000s, she attracted a whole new audience, performing the official song for the 1999 Rugby World Cup with Bryn Terfel and wowing the crowds at the 2007 Glastonbury Festival in diamante Wellington boots.
She was awarded a CBE in 1994 and a DBE in 1999.
The stamps can be pre-ordered from Thursday and they go on general sale on 21 September. All 12 are available for £19.50.