Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Machin Anniversary 50th Anniversary Commemoration: how many new stamps? [Revised and Updated]

As we have known for some time, Royal Mail are next month marking the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Machin definitive on 5 June 1967.  The issue consists of two miniature sheets... and a prestige stamp book, stamp cards, presentation packs, first day covers, a retail stamp booklet, press sheets, a medal cover, new post and go faststamps, a limited edition prestige stamp book. The stamps will be issued on Monday 5 June 2017.  (Updated again 23.5.17)

The first surprise is that one of the PSB panes is quite different to the pre-issue publicity picture that we were sent, which subsequently appeared in the Royal Mail Philatelic Bulletin.  The change introduces a new stamp and eliminates some of the duplication. Larger images of some of these products can be seen on our new webpage.

50 Years of a Design Icon Miniature Sheet
This sheet contains six new stamps showing the development of the Machin design from the design inspired by the 1d black, through to what was almost the final design.  The Machin head which is common to each stamp is embossed, as is the plaster cast portrait in the margin. Detail of the designs on the stamps is on our website.


Golden Anniversary Celebration Miniature Sheet
The second sheet shows the original 4d dark brown stamp issued in 1967, and includes many of the different design variants of the stamps issued over the 50 years. The stamps are, from left to right,
5p violet (1971), 20p black double-head (1990), 1st class orange (issued in 1993 as the first self-adhesive booklet), 1st class Millennium (2000), 1st class gold Pricing in Proportion (2006), 1st class red (2013), and a new £1 stamp based on the high-value range of 1969, printed using gold foil.


The Prestige Stamp Book contains five panes of stamps.  The first two have three each of the Design Icon stamps*, and pane 5 has a striking block of 4 gold foil £1 stamps.  But the other two panes contain 8 Machin definitives each, in various designs.   
*As these are separated onto two panes in the PSB they will be catalogued as individual stamps. 

Pane 3 has eight stamps and is described as having the 'make-up' or supplementary values.  These are 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p - plus 2nd class and £1 ruby.

The 50p grey and £1 ruby are not in the current colours, but in the colours first used in 2007.  Odd then that the £1 ruby - and only this stamp - has iridescent printing, coded M17L MPIL.  The central label is a detail from the 50p stamp.

Pane 4 also has eight stamps.  Aside from the 20p double-headed stamps (the pane contains two of these rather than three as shown previously), all the others are 1st class.  (Another odd decision given that the 1st class double-head stamp exists from the Special by Design PSB and the 2009 Treasures of the Archive PSB (SG 2133 and 2956 respectively).


There is also a retail booklet as unimaginative as the one produced for the 40th Anniversary; the security coding is M17L MSIL and the stamps are deep scarlet, not as shown in this publicity picture.



List of the stamps contained in the retail booklet, the Golden Anniversary MS and PSB panes 3-5.

1p crimson
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
Y1667
2p deep green
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
Y1668
5p pale violet
Gummed
Non-elliptical
Gravure
MS
X866
5p red-brown
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
Y1670
10p orange
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
Y1676
20p green
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
Y1687
20p black double-head
Gummed
Non-elliptical
Gravure
MS
1470
20p black double-head
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
2955
50p light grey
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
Y1727
£1 ruby MPIL M17L
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
New
£1 gold foil 2mm phos
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
MS
New
£1 gold foil 2mm non- phos
Gummed
Elliptical
Litho
PSB
New
2nd blue
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
1664
1st black
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
New
1st orange (Horiz)
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
MS
New
1st orange (Vert)
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
1667
1st gold
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
1668
1st Millennium
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
MS
2124
1st Millennium
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
2124
1st gold PIP
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
MS + PSB
2651
1st red MPIL M17L
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
PSB
New
1st red MMIL M17L
Gummed
Elliptical
Gravure
MS
New
1st deep scarlet MSIL M17L
Self-adh
Elliptical
Gravure
Book
New

Responding to a request for clarification Royal Mail have said that both £1 stamps are the same, ie gold foil embossed and neither litho nor gravure.
 But we now know that the stamp on the mini-sheet has phosphor bands which must be applied by litho.

The majority of these stamps are very good matches to the originals.  I've added SG numbers numbers in the table above, although some of the original stamps exist in several variants so other numbers may also be relevant.


The new stamps
There are four stamps with security printing: 1st class red (not deep scarlet) coded M17L and MPIL, MMIL*, and 1st class deep scarlet MSIL, and the £1 ruby (magenta) M17L MPIL.

The three other new stamps are the £1 gold foil embossed (with± and without phosphor bands), the 1st class black with elliptical perforations, and the 1st class orange, landscape format, on gummed paper rather than self-adhesive*.    This makes a total of 7 new stamps although specialists will identify some subtle and not so subtle differences from the originals.  The Millennium stamp, for example, has the head placed much further to the left than on the originals, aside from being in two slightly different shades.
±  Contrary to previous observations the £1 gold stamps from both sources do have phosphor bands. But we still don't know for certain what process was used.  BM has pointed out that the embossing must be the final operation after all printing (including phosphor) and application of gold foil.  He suggests that a third party printer may have been involved with this operation, as with the recess printing by FNMT on the Long To Reign ms.

*These two are unlikely to be allocated individual numbers in the SG Great Britain Concise catalogue as they only exist from the miniature sheet. 


There is also a Limited Edition version of the PSB which RM are pricing at £99.95.  This
"comes in an exquisite specially-created display case together with a silver Machin medallion which was handmade in the UK and has been struck in solid sterling silver, weighing 97grams (diameter 60mm). In addition, centrally placed in the lid of the case is an original 4d stamp as replicated on the Golden Anniversary Celebration Miniature Sheet".  

As this is an edition of only 500 we don't know what supplies will be available for Royal Mail online and telephone buyers when it is issued.   We will have a few for those who want them.    We have been assured that the stamps they contain are the same.


The PSB, MS and retail booklet will be added to our webshop shortly.  We will also have some first day covers for sale available for pre-order. 
As we are on holiday from June 2 - 16 we will not be able to process any orders until June 19. Customers ordering these new products should not choose immediate payment by PayPal but choose 'Pay by Cheque' and await our return.

23 comments:

  1. With regards the Post & Go issue, only 1st Class Strips of the new Machin will be available from the Postal Museum.

    http://iarroyalmailpostandgo.com/latestnews/machin-50-at-the-postal-museum/

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  2. I have a feeling that SG will list the Deep Scarlet 1st class stamp from the miniature sheet M17L MML as a separate stamp which means collectors will have to buy 2 of these miniature sheets which is what happened with the Long to Reign Over Us MS more expense, thanks to Royal Mail .

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    1. It is up to collectors to buy it! A Catalogue is only a guide about what exist. Or do you fill obliged to buy everything what is listed in a Catalogue?

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    2. I will buy it if that happens as I don't really like gaps in my album.

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    3. This is most unlikely.
      The Diamond Jubilee MMND stamp is not separately listed but included in MS3272.
      The Long To Reign REIGM stamp is similarly included in MS3747 but not separately listed. Stamps in miniature sheets never are. Even the AM11 1st class gold from the Arnold Machin Centenary sheet doesn't have an SG number even though the sheet contains 10 identical stamps and has been split by many people.

      John Deering's tables in the GB Concise don't include those variants even though the LTROU stamps exist with two year codes in many cases.

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    4. Yes Ian, again I am mistaken the stamp from MS3747 is date coded O15R the stamp I got wrong was from the 90th Birthday PSB with SG3747 as the catalogue number & REIGP source code O16R date code.

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    5. All stamps from Prestige Stamp Booklet are catalogued individually unless
      - a. they are the same as a stamp which is already in the catalogue (see Trelantis Q. below)
      - b. they are also in a miniature sheet and are in the PSB in the same form as the miniature sheet, hence Darwin stamps don't have individual numbers from the PSB but Windsor Castle & Buckingham Palace do.

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  3. Am I right that the stamps on pane 3 (excluding the £1) will be part of the SG 'Y' Series?

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    Replies
    1. I've held back for the moment in trying to guess whether any of the stamps are covered by existing SG numbers; one of the 20p double-head stamps probably is. More on this later- but probably not until July!

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  4. Will the 4 gold first stamps in the PSB be printed by CSP in litho

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    Replies
    1. That's what we've been told, but I wonder...

      The PANE might be printed in litho but the stamp is gold-foil embossed as is the stamp on the MS.

      I suspect the two stamps are the same and that no part of the stamp itself is either litho or gravure, but simply embossed. We don't yet have pane 5 so I can't do any comparison. Time will tell.

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    2. Does the gold stamp have any phosphor bands on it? If it does then it will have gone through either a lithographic or a gravure press.

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    3. As far as I can see, in daylight, neither has any phosphor.
      Meanwhile I have put in a request to the Royal Mail product manager to clarify whether either of the actual stamps is anything other than gold foil embossed.

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    4. The Gold £1.00 stamp from the Miniature sheet has got a narrow (approx. 2mm)phosphor band on the left and right edge about the same width as the white border. They obviously cannot apply phosphor to the gold foil area.

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    5. Indeed, with the benefit of twilight I can see that there is phosphor on the MS but not on the PSB pane.
      Whilst the stamp with phosphor won't get a separate catalogue number (see 19 May comments above), it is certainly a different stamp to the one that will!

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    6. This might indicate two different printers even though both belong to the ISP group. Another thought is if this type of pane has been produced by an outside contractor. This has happened before.

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    7. Ian, I have now seen some books and panes from the 50th Machin Anniversary prestige book and can confirm that they all have 2mm phosphor bands like the Miniature sheet! Have you found a missing phosphor version??!!

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    8. The phosphor bands on the £1.00 embossed stamp from the miniature sheet must have had the bands applied before the embossing otherwise the press rollers would have flattened the embossing.

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    9. The Phosphor bands on the £1.00 Gold stamp from the Prestige book are very slightly wider, so the gap between the bands is about 1mm less than those from the Mini sheet. A small difference, but quite noticeable. The phosphor bands on the Prestige book £1.00 Gold stamp are also a duller fluor phosphor compared to those from the Mini sheet, so they are not as easy to see!
      All the £1.00 Gold stamps I have seen so far from books of miniature sheets, have 2 narrow phosphor bands, so it might be worth checking your "non phosphor" version again Ian, before non phosphor versions get listed unless the ones you have got are "non phosphor" of course!?

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  5. All items have just become available at the Royal Mail, incl. the limited edition prestige book.

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  6. Thanks for the table Ian, most helpful. Just one for discussion. SG2955 (20p double head black) is Litho, so perhaps this may be designated as New?

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  7. Good point, I had overlooked that! However, some doubt has been expressed that the PSB panes are gravure. I've been told that gravure cylinders are much more expensive than litho - and 8 or 9 would be needed for pane 3 because of all the different stamp colours. It may well be that the info we have been given is inaccurate. As always, I am checking with the 'competent authorities'.

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    Replies
    1. Understood. Personally, I would be surprised if the stamp panes were gravure, given that the non-stamp panes are reported to be litho. I haven't had sight of them yet, but I've polished up my magnifying glass in anticipation as it's usually more reliable than RM - litho has much sharper definition than gravure.

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