Saturday 26 October 2019

The consistent thing is the inconcistency...

... or is this just avoidance of an earlier error?  Regular readers will recall that this January's reprint of the 1st class Wales country stamp sprung a surprise because it reverted to the original font rather than that used for Machins and for the December 2017 printing, issued with the tariff change of 2018.

So when Royal Mail revealed a new 28/08/19 printing of the Scotland 1st class stamp,  it was with a sense of anticipation that I waited for our order to be delivered to find out whether it was consistent with the previous printing of that stamp, or with the new Wales printing.

The answer is that it is the same as the 2017 printing, so no change.  One might argue that the black cylinder (which prints the date) should have been changed to C2, but then it's the first cylinder with that date, so... we have come to expect that a change of date doesn't mean a change of cylinder number.


UPDATE 31 October

I am now able to show the earlier printings, scanned with different machines and so apparently different colours.  But the key is the grid position and cylinder number.

Left: The 2016 printing with grey head instead of silver, from cylinder C1 has a grid of four positions, but with the right-hand column greyed indicating that another value was in these positions.

Right: This image is the 27/08/18 printing which was the second in the new font.  Like the 2017 printing it is split between 1st & 2nd class stamps as the last 'old font' printing was.

Update 1 November
Now there is real confusion, as somebody has sent a scan of a C2 printing with four clear grid positions, ie none greyed out.  This is noted by him as being 27/08/18.  Even if this notation is wrong, it is an instance of a different printing of C2 to any others that we have noted.  No other dates have been provided on lists from Royal Mail.

If anybody else has a C2 printing with no grid squares greyed out, do please send a scan, with confirmation of the printing date.  As the 2nd class was printed in the right-hand column on that printing, any scans of other dates for the 2nd class would also be welcomed!

We now know that the above report was an error due to a faulty scanner. Apologies for the confusion caused.

It all goes to show that Cylinder Numbers are more or less meaningless now, apart from identifying the printer, which could be done by applying the printer's logo, something which Royal Mail eradicated some years ago.  The USPS was also heading this way, but haven't stopped yet. 

Machin news
There are also new printings of three Machin NVIs:

1st class  - 06/09/19
2nd class - 09/09/19 and
2nd Large - 10/9/19.


  1. In my point of view the C1 plate block (right-hand column greyed) should be replaced by a C1 plate block from printing date 27/12/17 with the 'new font' - then it would tell the whole story properly!

    1. Yes, I'm working on that. Currently I have two scans of the C2 27/08/18 printing, one with 2 grid positions and one with 4, ie none greyed out. We are trying to resolve this apparent anomaly.

      I'll now ask in the blog whether anybody else has a C2 with 4.


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