Monday 11 July 2011

Arnold Machin Centenary MS - a missed opportunity, and so boring!

As reported here, Royal Mail have decided to mark the centenary of the birth of the sculptor Arnold Machin with a souvenir sheet of ten definitive stamps bearing his iconic image of HM The Queen will be issued on the opening day of Stampex, 14 September. 

The sheet will have conventional gum, but will have "full security features except for the security slits" according to the publicity information we have received. As this is a new source (miniature sheet) for security definitives it is to be expected that a new source code will be used.

Updated: we have been told that the sheet is printed by Walsall in gravure, and has PVA gum.

The souvenir sheet will reportedly be available at Stampex and on order from Tallents House but not, by implication, at post offices which seems odd.  If they are available at Post Offices, then it seems unnecessary to mention that they will be sold at Stampex and Tallents House, where all other new issues are sold!
Updated: this is a souvenir sheet not a miniature sheet so it will not be distributed to Royal Mail's MS customers on standing order. Special postmarks in use on the day of issue are shown here.
(as of 9 September we haven't received our advance supplies from Royal Mail!)

But once again, Royal Mail have missed a trick.  This is undoubtedly the most boring British stamp issue of recent years.  Why not a bold heading for 'Arnold Machin Centenary', rather than just dropping his dates alongside his signature.  As there is no date of issue, the sheet has nothing to indicate that it has been produced for his birth centenary.  On the other hand collectors of security definitives will be delighted that there will probably only be one collectable stamp here, and dealers will be able to supply 10 customers from just one sheet. 

These were, surely, better:


Or even this!!


  1. I agree with you Ian the miniature sheet for the Arnold Machin Centenary with ten gold first class stamps is the most boring of all the miniature sheets we have had over past few years. As you say why not a date of issue or something more for a heading. Even if it is only limited to two colours (black and gold) I'm sure something better could have been designed. As you say 'another missed opportunity'.

  2. This issue reveals the total contempt that Royal Mail must have collectors. "Market any product however badly 'designed' and the idiots will buy it" seems to be their belief. Sadly, many will. Kerching!

  3. Royal Mail is fast losing its inspiration and creativity. What do you call it? Senile dementia?

  4. I heard a whisper that although there are 10 x 1st class stamps the captioning may not be as shown. We should know soon.

  5. I agree with Anonymoous on 4 Aug 2011.
    I, for one, will NOT be buying these stamps. For one thing, where will I get them. Secondly, if the post office prefers to think we are fools, let them think again. Machin's have been going for donkey's years and should be celebrated in some way, not just as a passing interest.
    Annonymoous, yet Serious Maching collector.

  6. The 40th anniversary of the Machin stamp was commemorated in a much better way - and the issue included a portrait of Arnold Machin. A similar miniature sheet could have been produced this time.

  7. The codes for the Arnold Machin sheet are Year: MIIR Source Code:MMIL

  8. See

    The source code is MMIL but the year code is AM11 - in full ALAM11ROYALMMIL.


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