The subjects of the set of 10 x 1st class stamps featuring songbirds have now been revealed by Royal Mail, and I'm sure there will be some surprises as some of these birds are not noted for a melodious song!
Issued on 4 May 2017 in two strips of 5 (in separate sheets) the stamps are designed by Osborne Ross with illustrations by Federico Gemma.
Row 2: Blackcap, Song Thrush, Nightingale, Cuckoo, Yellowhammer.
More on our website later.
Of more interest to many collectors will be Royal Mail's commemoration of the 50rh Anniversary of the introduction of the Machin Definitives. The issue consists of two miniature sheets, a prestige stamp book, retail booklet, plus what are described as 'bespoke sheets' (a new one on me!), medal cover, and press sheets.
At this stage we can show only pictures of the two miniature sheets. The first contains six new 1st class stamps with a light buff (or mushroom?) background. Each one has the standard Machin portrait on the right and a variety of preliminary designs on the left. Entitled 'The Machin Definitive - 50 Years of a Design Icon' the individual stamps show:
- January 1966: One of the many preliminary sketches by Arnold Machin based on
the Penny Black
- February 1966: Preparatory work by Machin using a photograph of his coin mould
- April / May 1966: One of many essays with the ‘Coinage’ head surrounded by
- October 1966: Essay of the Coinage head cropped and simplified, with only the
- August 1966: Photograph by John Hedgecoe with The Queen wearing the Diadem
- October 1966: Essay of the first plaster cast of the ‘Diadem’ head, without corsage.
The other sheet, captioned 'The Machin Definitive Golden Anniversary Celebration' has the same neutral-coloured background, and contains seven stamps. These are:
- 1971 5p violet
- 1990 20p Penny Black anniversary double-head
- 1993 1st class self-adhesive in landscape format
- 2000 1st class Millennium definitive
- 2006 1st class gold Pricing in Proportion
- 2013 1st class Royal Mail red
- new £1 gold, apparently embossed.
The 1967 4d stamp is also shown in the heading, but this is not perforated and not a usable stamp. We await more details on which of these has any security features, although we would expect the 2013 red stamp to have, otherwise it would not accurately reflect the stamp that was issued.
No details of the PSB have been released but it would be reasonable to expect two panes to have the stamps from the Icon MS, and the other panes to have at least some other Machins, though not necessarily the same as on the Golden MS. I doubt that Royal Mail would miss the opportunity to include the embossed £1 gold in it, though. (See update at the foot of the post.)
The Anniversary Post and Go stamps are striking, and it will be interesting to see if they replace the existing 1st class design to provide some variety in the post. Look out for them at The Postal Museum and at Autumn Stampex with additional inscriptions.
UPDATE 10 APRIL. Comment from machinmaniac reveals more about the prestige stamp book: