Tuesday 31 March 2020

A delve through the archives, and time for discoveries

Like many of today's 60+ collectors, I started collecting as a child.  Unlike many, I kept my interest going, alongside other things like non-league football, and bought what I could including maagzines of the day.  

I read as much as I could - something I still do within limits - even if it wasn't of immediate relevance to my current collecting.  Who remembers Stamp Collecting Weekly?  Yes, the UK had a weekly stamp magazine as well as Gibbons Stamp Monthly and at least one other stamp magazine from time to time.  Many of these date from before I married, but I am grateful that my wife didn't object to my continued interest in stamps - as long as I could cover purchases with sales of spares all was fine. I enjoyed buying and selling at Essex Stamp Auctions, but didn't auction much after we moved to Norfolk.

I've been sorting out drawers of papers, including scraps and cuttings from those magazines.  It made me realise how much I had forgotten, and how much times had changed.  Over the next few weeks I'll post some of these relics from the past, hopefully alongside the relevant stamps, if I can lay my hands on them.

I'll also try to add some Machin covers to my other blog on Modern Postal History and try to explain why it should be important, and why - if you have odd boxes of covers in your stamp den - now is a time to look at them afresh, and to critically examine what you have before you consign the cover to the bin after taking the stamps off and putting them in the charity bag.

GOING BACK IN TIME!   Machin 10p machine-vended booklets
These were first issued on 10 March 1976 containing 3 x 1p, 2 x ½p and a single 6p stamp.  With changes to postage rates the next variant was aa series of booklets illustrated with Farm Buildings, first issued on 8 February 1978.  This contained 2 x 1p, 2 x ½p and a single 7p stamp.  I may come back to those later.

The final variant was issued to publicise the London 1980 stamp exhibition and contained 2 x 1p stamps and single 8p.  These were printed on the Jumelle press.  A reprint was issued on 4 August 1980, printed on the Chambon press.  By the 14 August, Stamp Collecting's 'Philatelic Newsreel' had described the differences, and these were shown in the 28 August edition.

I looked at my own copies and found what appear to be more variants.

In these scans the stamp at the right is a Jumelle printing, and that in the centre is a Chambon.  The stamp at the left is also a Jumelle, but the alignment on the 8p, at least, is quite different with the value set higher than the other, more like the Chambon.

The 1p stamp on the left also depicts the 'repaired chin and beard flaw'.

When we are able to have our shop online, some of these will be there - hopefully with better perforations than some of those shown here!  Just for the record, here's the whole booklet pane, with the 'beard' flaw, etc, on the lower right stamp:

Some words of warning.
As regular readers will know, I have specialised on the U-numbered Machins with security features - cut-outs and iridescent text.  I don't know a great deal about the previous versions, so I'm treading into unfamiliar ground (or waters!) here.  If anybody spots anything that I've got wrong please add a comment, or email other images.  Thanks!


  1. I remember 'Stamp Collecting Weekly' and what a great little magazine. I did not buy it every week but if they had an article on a particular Machin issue it usually continued the following week so I then brought that one as well. I remember certain articles on Machin issues where all the details on the stamp and all it's many sources were all listed. It was always black & white but that didn't matter as it was the contents that was important to me. I would quite often cut out the pages relating to the Machin issues and keep these in a binder for future reference and it was only in the last couple of years that I got rid of them. What a great era in the history of the Machin definitive and what a great magazine.

    1. I used to do a paper round on Sunday, collect my Stamp Weekly after I had finished, roll it up and shove it down my anorak sleeve. Every week it had a different colour banner in rotation. Kenneth Chapman used to edit I think. That would be about 1967, but by 1981ish it was still being printed weekly. I learned a lot from that magazine.

    2. Nice to see we're all getting old(er) together lads....he says with Phil Collins warbling away in the background as I finish off my JB and new defs First Day stuff.....our first grandson is due in June....I'm looking forward to mentoring sessions on the wonders of the Machin Head in due course....


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