Thursday, 6 April 2017

Songbirds take flight, and first sight of 50th Anniversary Machin Commemorations


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.

On the top row: Great Tit, Wren, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, and Skylark
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
    country symbols
  • October 1966: Essay of the Coinage head cropped and simplified, with only the
    denomination
  • 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.

Based on a picture of the presentation pack that we have seen, the colours reflect the original 1967 ½d orange, 1d olive, 3d purple, 4d dark brown, 7p emerald, and 10d buff.  The background lines include reference to the anniversary, rather than the traditional Royal Mail pattern.

UPDATE 10 APRIL.  Comment from machinmaniac reveals more about the prestige stamp book:

Thank heavens for first day cover producers. Hopefully, they allow us to speak the unspeakable, as their web pages are freely available to the public and may (I hope) be commented on.

There seems to be a pane with the 7 different current values up to and including the £1 plus an extra 2nd class stamp. Eight different machins in one pane! Curiously, the £1 is in the wrong colour for a current stamp. It has reverted to ruby, which was replaced by brown in Sept 2012. Time will tell whether this is deliberate or an error. The 50p (still available from Royal Mail, if not from the Post Office) appears in the correct current grey colour.

Another two panes seem to be derived from stamps in the "50th anniversary celebration" miniature sheet. But not quite. One contains a small gold 1st, which I don't think is included in the miniature sheet.

Unsurprisingly, the new gold £1 (a commmorative, not a defintive?) gets a pane to itself.


11 comments:

  1. It's a little strange to me that the Post and Go labels which commemorate the Machin anniversary do not depict the Machin Head.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is the alternative Machin head used on commemorative stamps either as shown, or flat colour, or reversed out in white.

      Delete
    2. I have heard that a special Retail Booklet containing 6x1st RM Red with 'A Machin Definitive 50th Anniversary' Label will also be issued. Perhaps I have overshot the gun again, is there an embargo on this?

      Delete
    3. And I had always thought that was the Gillick cameo on commemorative stamps. I think it was the ribbon in the hair that threw me. Every day's a school day!

      Delete
    4. The retail booklet is shown on a cover,go to Buckingham Covers website and click on Sneak Previews.

      Delete
  2. I'm surprised the top left bird's name has not been changed yet, considering how 'PC' the world has become. In any case, you better be careful using this stamp on mail to a beloved female... ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Regarding that, on a bird forum, the word was actually censored!

      Perhaps the bird stamp is a better choice than Little Miss Naughty (or even Mr Grumpy) on mail.

      Delete
  3. Sorry, but the two miniature sheets for Arnold Machin are awful. Awful colour to start with. The two elements on each of the 50 Years First Class stamps are too large. The arrangement of stamps on the Golden Anniversary miniature sheet is dire and the golden £1 possibly embossed stamp is very subtly imblanced. An object lesson in how to ruin a classic...

    J. Paul Murdock

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just had a look at Bradbury website, looks like there will be 2 panes of definitive Machins in the PSB but as usual That may be an error.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank heavens for first day cover producers. Hopefully, they allow us to speak the unspeakable, as their web pages are freely available to the public and may (I hope) be commented on.

      There seems to be a pane with the 7 different current values up to and including the £1 plus an extra 2nd class stamp. Eight different machins in one pane! Curiously, the £1 is in the wrong colour for a current stamp. It has reveted to red, which was replaced by brown in Sept 2012. Time will tell whether this is deliberate or an error. The 50p (still available from Royal Mail, if not from the Post Office) appears in the correct current grey colour.

      Another two panes seem to be derived from stamps in the "50th anniversary celebration" miniature sheet. But not quite. One contains a small gold 1st, which I don't think is included in the miniature sheet.

      Unsurprisingly, the new gold £1 (a commmorative, not a defintive?) gets a pane to itself.

      Delete