Wednesday 31 August 2011

Arnold Machin Centenary MS update - day of issue postmarks

This is an update to the original posting to show the special postmarks available for day of issue of this sheet. 

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.

And now that it has been delivered, the actual sheet:
This has the year code AM11 and the source code MMIL.  In full the relevant line of the overlay reads ALAM11ROYALMMIL.

These special postmarks have been announced for the day of issue of this sheet:

Ref M12265 - Stoke-on-Trent
Ref M12264 - Machin Street, Stoke-on-Trent
Ref L12244 - Piccadilly, London W1

350th Anniversary of the Postmark - generic sheet (update)

This is an update to the original posting in July, to show the special postmarks available for day of issue of this sheet.

The first type of British postmark was introduced in 1661, at the London Chief Office, when Henry Bishop was Postmaster General (June 1660 to April 1663).

With 2011 being the 350th anniversary of Bishop's Mark, Royal Mail has produced a striking generic smilers sheet showing more than 20 different types of postmark that have been used in Britain across the centuries. The sheet will be on sale from 15 September (including at Autumn Stampex).

Click here for larger image, and here for super-size (1.1Mb) image.

These postmarks will be available on the day of issue (15 September):
Ref M12267 - Royal Mail Birmingham
Ref W12274 - Bath (Maltese Cross)

These are illustrated with 16 September dates in error, and will be in use on 15th.

(Numbers changed for revised date, 15 September)
Ref W12275 W12289 Bath (duplex)
Ref L12259 L12283 London WC1 (wavy lines)
Ref L12258 L12284 London EC4 (Maltese Cross)
Ref L12257 L12285 Stanley Gibbons, London WC2

Special postmarks produced for the House of Hanover stamp issue may also be used (except the 4 inscribed First Day of Issue).

Friday 26 August 2011

First UK Aerial Post - Machin pane

We now have the miniature sheet and prestige book panes for this issue, originally mentioned here.  As expected the stamps have conventional gum, the 76p and 1st class stamps have a security overprint but the 5p stamps do not.  The phosphor bands are very opaque making the security overprint difficult to see where the bands are.  As expected the year code is M11L and the source code is MPIL.

2010 self-adhesive 1st class coil - we now have these in stock, but almost all are allocated to existing customers.  Due to a bereavement our office is closed and distribution of these - indeed all business matters - are delayed and will be fitted in as best we can.   These will probably be distributed with the stamps from the 9 September Aerial Post pane shown above - and the Machin Centenary stamp or MS which is issued on 14 September.
E-mails will be answered when we can.  Thank you for your patience.

Thursday 18 August 2011

2010 is not done yet - 1st class self-adhesive coil now available

Last month we mentioned the 2nd class self-adhesive coil from the 2010 MA10 printing.  A month later this is still the only copy that has been reported, although it is understood that a whole 10,000-stamp roll was used on the Sunday Times Wine Club mailout.  Some 2009 stamps were also used.

The 1st class MA10 coil is now available - so far in very limited numbers, possibly only one coil. Now 10,000 stamps sounds a lot, but it's only 1,000 strips of 10.  Not everybody will want a strip at the current price, but singles will be bought up quickly.  We will have a few for sale - see here !

Here's a picture of  the 1st class coil:

Tuesday 16 August 2011

Update on Machin Souvenir Sheet due 14 September

We have been given new technical information on this sheet.

The sheet is printed by Walsall using the Gravure Process & has PVA Gum

No word yet on whether the design has been improved from this preliminary, or on what the security codes will be, although 'AM' has been suggested - ROYAL MAML ?

Postmarks for the date of issue are here

Friday 12 August 2011

Which offices still have Birds 3 Faststamps?

As I've mentioned before the same quantity of Birds 3 Faststamps were printed for 120+ Post Offices as Birds 2 for 30+ offices.  Not surprisingly some offices have had to revert to Machin-heads stamps.

Which offices still have Birds 3?  Please email ian [at] - many thanks.

Sunday 7 August 2011

Machin and De La Rue news.

Graham Howard reports on his Smilers-Info website that Adrian Bradbury has produced a Business Customised Sheet marking the Centenary of the Birth of Arnold Machin.  The sheet utilises the Union Flag stamp but each label shows two Machin stamps or preliminary artwork, and the surround shows the huge range of different uses to which the Machin portrait has been put on GB stamps.

This is a limited edition of only 500 and Machin collectors are sure to be interested.

On a related subject it has been reported that De La Rue will close two printing factories, including the Dunstable stamp-printing works, and transfer production to Gateshead.  As this is only a relocation and not a consolidation of other printer's operations it is unlikely to create the variations in stamps that occurred with previous moves, but may see more UK stamps being produced by Cartor, Walsall, or Enschede for a time.