A double-handed violin bow? Philatelists spot an epic blunder on new Royal Mail Sherlock stamp

24 August 2020, 12:54 | Updated: 26 August 2020, 09:08

Sherlock violin stamp
Sherlock violin stamp. Picture: Royal Mail

By Kyle Macdonald

Newly-issued Royal Mail stamp features a rather uniquely constructed violin bow. Elementary my dear Watson...

Stamp artwork and printing is subjected to incredibly high standards of design and scrutiny. However, a virtuosic blunder seems to have slipped through in a new set of stamps celebrating Sherlock Holmes, launched last week by the Royal Mail.

The collection features images and characters from the award-winning TV series, Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, with a focus on the specific stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sherlock is a Stradivarius-playing violinist who loved opera, and there’s a nod to his love of violin music in the new collection. On one of the stamps, he appears with his sister Eurus Holmes, also a violinist, playing a duet together in a scene from the series.

Read more: an you hear the difference between a $500 and $160,000 violin bow? >

However, this is where the mystery deepens...

Eurus’ violin bow, seems, err, to be uniquely double-ended. Take a closer look.

Sherlock violin stamp
Sherlock violin stamp. Picture: Royal Mail

String instrument bows are held at one end with what's called the ‘frog’, the place where you grip and tighten the hair of the bow. At the other end, you have the tip.

Violin bow
Violin bow. Picture: Getty

The stamp features a still from the episode third series of the much-loved programme. It would appear that an error in Photoshop when designing the stamp, has resulted in a uniquely symmetrical bow with two frogs and grips.

Specially designed for all those three-handed violinists, perhaps?

“If you know, you know”, said music consultant Kathleen Wallfisch on LinkedIn when she spotted the error.

“Elementary my dear Watson...the designer has never seen a bow,” another eagle-eyed philatelist wrote on Twitter.

The offending postage stamp was commemorating the 2017 Sherlock episode The Final Problem. With bows like this, it looks like their problems might actually number more than one.