In a move worthy of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park Royal Mail has coded the new security definitives to identify their source. So as well as the variations in slits reported here earlier, we now know that there is a much easier way to identify the stamps.
As reported by Larry in the Machin Mania blog, Douglas Myall published the news yesterday that the non-denominated security Machins have a hidden code that identifies the format in which the stamp was issued.
I don't usually replicate entire threads, but this one is important for completeness.
The code is a change of one letter in the curvy ROYAL MAIL pattern, located at the top right, above the diadem.
The codes are as follows:
B replacing A in Royal - ROYBL MAIL - in business sheets (Large 1st and 2nd Machins) (corrected previous error)
B replacing A in Mail - ROYAL MBIL - in business sheets (standard 1st and 2nd Machins) (corrected previous error)
C replaing A in Mail - ROYAL MCIL - in mixed booklets with four 1st Machins and two commemoratives ("C" is for custom)
F replacing R in Royal - FOYAL MAIL - in booklets of four stamps (large 1st and 2nd Machins)
S replacing A in Mail - ROYAL MSIL - in booklets of six (standard 1st Machins)
T replacing A in Mail - ROYAL MTIL - in booklets of twelve (standard 1st and 2nd Machins)
There are no hidden codes in counter sheets, which means that no denominated Machin has a code.
Royal Mail says that these codes let them know the source of a stamp when a problem is discovered, for example, a sub-standard application of the phosphor bands.
So now we have different slits, different perforations, and ID letters. Who said Machins were boring!
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