As the nation enters the final stretch in the lead up to the 2012 London Olympic Games, the Royal Mail is giving a philatelical nod to the sporting festivites.

It has launched the first collection of stamps in its 2012 series celebrating this year's Paralympic and Olympic Games.

The stamps, featuring the 2012 logo, are on sale in the 11,800 Post Office shops and other outlets.

It is the first time a logo has been used on a definitive stamp, which usually features only the Queen's head.

There are four new stamps - two 1st class and two for worldwide use.

During the games, each time the British win a gold medal a special stamp will be issued in celebration.

Royal Mail issued its first Olympic Games Stamps in 1948, with four stamps bearing the five Olympic Rings.

A Twitter account has been dedicated to the new stamps.