Red has been the standard color for the iconic U.K. mailboxes — known as pillar boxes — since 1874, but a number have now been turned gold in honour of all Team GB Olympic and Paralympic gold medallists as a way to help residents of their home towns to celebrate the historic victories.
A map of all the locations of the gold post boxes, as they are painted gold, is available at www.goldpostboxes.com. The pillar boxes were originally painted green to blend in with the landscape, but the red color was introduced in 1874 to make them more visible. It took 10 years to repaint all the post boxes, and the Royal Mail now maintains 115,000 red post boxes across the U.K.
A Royal Mail statement described the gold post boxes as “a highly visible and fitting way to recognize the successes of Team GB and ParalympicsGB gold medal wins during the games.”
The fast-turnaround commemorative stamps are a first for the Royal Mail. However, they did produce Olympic stamps during the last Olympic Games in London in 1948, when the stamps bore a simple design carrying the five Olympic rings.