The Royal Mail is issuing a set of 12 special stamps to celebrate one of the UK’s most influential music artists and cultural figures, Sir Elton John.

The superstar who has a home in Old Windsor and married his partner at the Guildhall in Windsor, is one of the most successful music stars of all time with more than 300 million record sales to his name. Over his 50 year career, he has achieved one diamond, 38 platinum or multi-platinum and 26 gold albums.

This year sees the 50th anniversary of his first album and as he continues his final tour Farewell Yellow Brick Road, Sir Elton becomes only the second individual music artist to have a dedicated stamp issued with their image. He was knighted in 1998 in recognition of his contribution to music and for his charity work, having been awarded a CBE two years previously.

He founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992, which has raised more than $450 million globally to combat stigma, prevent infections, provide treatment and services, and motivate governments to end AIDS.

Sir Elton said: “To say I was surprised when Royal Mail got in touch, is an understatement. Never did I think I’d appear on a stamp… It’s wonderful, a great honour.”

Philip Parker, Royal Mail, said: “Elton is one of the most successful British solo artists of all time. He has recorded some of the best-known songs in pop history such as Candle in the Wind and Rocket Man. Our stamps issued today showcase some of his most iconic albums, and celebrate his fantastic musical contribution.”