Monday, 11 July 2011

First Aerial Post PSB - wer'e getting closer to the facts

The Centenary of the First UK Aerial Post from Hendon to Windsor will be marked by a miniature sheet and prestige stamp booklet.  There has been much speculation regarding the Machin pane in the booklet, whether it will be litho or gravure, and with ordinary gum or self-adhesive.  Some of the uncertainty is caused by Royal Mail's pre-production publicity images, which never show the stamps properly joined, however they are produced.

Based on this, and technical information provided, I wrote:
The printing process is described as "Lithography, except pane 1 which is gravure", and the printer is identified as Cartor Security Printing.  However, we know that Cartor do not have gravure capability, so pane 1 will probably be printed by Walsall, especially if self-adhesive.  

I must admit the label confused me - I thought it was the same design as in the 2010 King George V PSB but that was a Mackennal profile of the King, and this is the Downey head.

Now we have images of what I believe are the actual panes, and not only have the values changed, the Machin pane is conventionally gummed.  How many stamps will have security features, though - we don't know!  Of these, the 5p has been issued with security slits but no overprint but only in self-adhesive form, the 1st class has been issued with overprint in both gummed and self-adhesive form but only the latter has the security slits.  The 76p has only been issued self-adhesive, having both security slits and overprint.  (I wonder if part of the "cost of production' - the reason for the selling price of these books now being 10% above face - is due to the complexity of the cylinders used for these security features?)

And while we're on the subject of costs - it hardly seems necessary to include two rouletting cutters for the panes which contain the commemorative stamps in this booklet:

For the record, the final pane contains 4 x Windsor Castle 50p stamps, printed in intaglio - or what we used to call 'recess' printing.

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