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The Magic Enigma

Between 1939 and 1945 a group of magicians were working in total secrecy deep in rural Buckinghamshire. But these were mathematical magicians tasked with cracking the most complex codes ever devised. Their objective: an early end to World War Two.

This is the story behind the beautiful first day cover issued for Royal Mail’s “Magic” stamps from Bletchley Park Post Office on 15 March 2005.

The cover design, by Alma Wiseman, shows scarves representing the flags of the UK, USA and Poland emerging from a magician’s top hat. It was mathematical geniuses from those three countries whose magic with numbers led to the cracking of the “unbreakable” Enigma code and the development of the electronic computer at Bletchley Park. Bletchley Park is now a heritage site covering 25 acres that is well worth a visit.

There is also a secret in the five new stamps as each contains its own magic trick. To finish this very collectable little piece of art and history the stamps have been cancelled on their first day of issue with a unique postmark. This features a rabbit being pulled from a hat surrounded by magic code words. As well as being the classic magician’s prop, rabbit pie and the song “Run Rabbit Run” symbolise the lighter side of WW2.

The cover is being issued as a limited edition of just 300 at £12.50 ($25) plus post and packing. Each cover is supplied in a protective sleeve with the story and full background details.

As a display item or part of a cover collection it will grow in interest and value. Although they only started issuing covers in 1995, some Bletchley Park Post Office covers have fetched over £300 at auction. With this being their 10th anniversary, interest and values are bound to soar.

The cover can be previewed on the web site at or ordered online or by post or phone from:

Bletchley Park Post Office
The Mansion
Bletchley Park
United Kingdom
Tel/fax: +44 (0)1908 631797

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