Thomas The Tank Engine Postcards and Stamps have been in production since 1952. They feature scenes from The Railway Series, stills from episodes, images from Day Out with Thomas events, or illustrations from artists like Owen Bell and Clifford Meadway.
The first Edmund Ward postcard series was issued in 1952, and comprised a total of eighteen postcards in three sets of six. They were produced using images taken from the Railway Series.
The sets were:
- Thomas the Tank Engine Series numbered 101/1 to 101/6
- James the Red Engine Series numbered 201/1 to 201/6
- Henry the Green Engine Series numbered 301/1 to 301/6
Originally, on one of the postcards in the Henry the Green Engine Series (301/1) Percy was incorrectly referred to as Toby. This was corrected the following year and postcard number 301/4 was replaced with a new image and caption.
In 1954 another set of six postcards was released; the Gordon the Big Engine Series numbered 401/1 to 401/6.
In 1956 an additional twelve postcards were added bringing the total up to thirty-six. It was at this time that the format of having six postcards in each series was dropped, however four additional series were added.
- Percy Series
- Edward the Blue Engine Series
- Sir Handel Series
- Skarloey Series
These were the postcards in use until 1958. In 1959 the series of 36 postcards once again used the number sequence 101/1 through to 101/36 with several of the images from the 1956 issue being re-used. The defining aspect of this series is the first use of deckled edging. Some postcards were printed with a spelling error in the publishers address reading "Bishopsg, ateLondon" instead of "Bishopsgate, London".
In 1964 the illustrations that the postcards used were changed again. Another change was that the number sequence was now 10/1 through to 10/36 rather than the previous 101/1 through to 101/36 format.
Many postcards were released from 1984 to 1986. They were produced by Judges Postcards Ltd, Hastings, England.
In 1986, a few cards were reprinted to include a border around the main image with either the engines name or the title "Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends". There were also a few multi-view postcards released with three or four scenes featured.
In 1990, a new set of postcards were released featuring artwork done by Clifford Meadway. Each one features a short little description of the engine shown on the front.
The series of eight included:
- Gordon (C12131)
- Bill and Ben (C12132)
- Edward (C12133)
- Thomas (C12134)
- James (C12135)
- Percy (C12136)
- Douglas (C12137)
- Henry (C12138)
The following year, more cards were released featuring images from the third series. Some of these were also given borders and the characters' name appeared under the image. Some new multi-view postcards featuring scenes from the first three series were also released with a duel copyright date of 1984 and 1995.
In 1997 a brand new design was released featuring stills and alternative shots from the fourth series.
- Caroline (C18349)
- Oliver (C18350)
- Sir Handel (C18351)
- Toad (C18352)
- George (C18353)
- Rheneas (C18354)
- Duke and Peter Sam (C18355)
- Rusty and Skarloey (C18356)
- Stepney (C18357)
- The Diesel (C18358)
- Duke (C18359)
All of them showed the image in the centre of the postcard with feathered edges and a neat thin border line around the edge of the front. The engine's name(s) are shown in a framed box below the image. These postcards were issued from 1997 up to 2004. In 1999 a few more postcards were made:
- Thomas (C20894)
- Edward (C20895)
- Gordon (C20896)
- Henry (C20897)
- James (C20898)
- Percy (C20899)
- Sir Topham Hatt (C25542)
Apart from the Fat Controller, the other six used alternative shots from series three and four.
Also in 1997, twelve die-cut postcards were released in the shape of the featured character. They originally had a white border around the character but this was later changed to red.
- Sir Topham Hatt (DAC18059)
- Thomas (DAC18060)
- Toby (DAC18061)
- Henry (DAC18062)
- Percy (DAC18063)
- Gordon (DAC18064)
- James (DAC18065)
- Trevor (DAC18066)
- Harold (DAC18067)
- Sir Handel (DAC18068)
- Bertie (DAC18282)
- Mavis (DAC18283)
On Mavis' white bordered postcard she is missing her exhaust pipe and her top lamp iron but they are present on the red bordered version.
A calendar for 2003 was released that included twelve postcards taken from the first five series. There were a few mistakes made on the back of some, with the wrong episode titles being shown. The images used were:
- January - Percy and Thomas from Thomas, Percy and the Dragon
- February - Harold from The Runaway
- March - James from Time for Trouble
- April - Toby from Woolly Bear
- May - Gordon from Tender Engines
- June - Bertie from Thomas Gets Bumped
- July - Percy from Thomas and the Rumours
- August - Mavis from Mavis
- September - Henry from Henry's Forest
- October - Toby and Percy from Special Attraction
- November - Thomas from Thomas Comes to Breakfast
- December - Gordon, Percy, Edward, James, Henry, Thomas, and Toby from Thomas' Christmas Party
A 2004 calendar was released that included twelve postcards and pictures of the engines to colour. On the back of Salty's postcard, he was mistakenly called "Sally".
- January - Asleep for the night from Sleeping Beauty
- February - Percy and Toby from Daisy
- March - Gordon
- April - James, Thomas, Annie, and Clarabel from Percy, James and the Fruitful Day
- May - Salty from No Sleep for Cranky
- June - Harold
- July - Percy from Mind that Bike
- August - Thomas and Bertie from Bertie's Chase
- September - Henry from Henry's Forest
- October - Thomas from Paint Pots and Queens
- November - Thomas
- December - Toby from Thomas and Percy's Christmas Adventure
In 1995, a series of postage stamps illustrated by Owen Bell were commissioned for the Isle of Mann.
In 2006, postcards were made available of the engines promotional shots and artwork. In 2010, illustrations from the Railway Series were used for the "Est.1945" range.
- A Really Useful Engine (TPC01)
- Working Together (TPC02)
- Road and Rail (TPC03)
- Three Friends (TPC04)
- Percy the Saddle Tank Engine (TPC05)
- No.1 Blue Engine (TPC06)
- James the Red Engine (TPC07)
- Always on Time (TPC08)
- Calling All Engines (TPC09)
- Back at the Engine Shed (TPC10)
- Really Useful Engines (TPC11)
- Number 3 (TPC12)
- Thomas and Toby (TPC13)
- Thomas and the Trucks (C-39373)
- Thomas' Train (C-39374)
- Gordon Goes Foreign (C-39375)
- Thomas at Speed (1) (C-39376)
- Henry with Onlookers Waving (C-39377)
- Toby (C-39378)
- Thomas and Gordon (C-39379)
- Percy (C-39380)
- Thomas (2) (C-39381)
- James (C-39382)
- Gordon (C-39383)
- Edward (C-39384)
- Henry (C-39385)
- 2 in Station (Thomas and Edward) (C-39386)
- Bertie the Bus (C-39387)
- Harold the Helicopter (C-39388)
In 2011, to mark the Reverend Awdry's centenary, a series of postage stamps were issued by the Royal Mail and these were also released as postcards.
- Once on the BBC gameshow "Pointless Celebrities", the contestants had a round to name any of the characters on the 2011 issued stamps along with characters from "Star Wars", the "Mr Men and Little Miss" and "Beatrix Potter" books on their own set of stamps. Toby was a pointless answer.
In 2015, to celebrate 70 years of The Railway Series, Australia Post issued a stamp pack book.