Leeds & West Yorkshire

'Rude' Bamforth postcard stamps rejected by Royal Mail

Saucy Bamforth postcards
Image caption Bamforth produced its first set of postcards in 1910 in West Yorkshire

Suggestive postcards featuring buxom women displaying their cleavage have been rejected as stamp designs by Royal Mail.

Leeds firm Bamforth applied to have 10 of its vintage cartoons displayed on customised stamps, known as Smilers. The cards were first produced in 1910.

Royal Mail officials deemed seven of the pictures too rude.

Bamforth Chairman Ian Wallace said: "They are just fun, you take them for what they are, there's no malice."

The Smilers were planned as a limited edition of 200 sets to celebrate a century of cards and were aimed mainly for collectors.

Mr Wallace added: "They [the postcards] are not having a go at anyone, we are having a go at everyone actually.

"This is social history and that point seems to be totally lost on the Royal Mail."

The 10 postcards were each chosen to represent a different decade of the firm's history but seven were turned down for the stamps.

Partial nudity

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said: "Smilers allow customers to personalise their post by combining one of their own photos with a Royal Mail stamp.

"There are a number of restrictions on images which can be used on Smilers stamps, including images which may be deemed offensive or depict full or partial nudity."

James Bamforth began the original business in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire in 1870.

He was a portrait photographer who later specialised in lantern slides then in 1910 he published the first of the saucy postcards.

Ian Wallace bought the firm Bamforth in 2001 and now owns the rights to the pictures.

The old postcard pictures have appeared on mouse mats, clothing and greetings cards.

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