Thursday 2 April 2020

The 10p Farm Buildings machine vended booklets.

As Brian M commented on the previous post, Stamp Collecting Weekly (SCW) was a 'great magazine'.  The magazine was founded by journalist Douglas Armstrong, and in 1973 the editor was the eminent philatelic writer and editor Kenneth F Chapman, assisted in 1976 by Douglas Muir, another well-known writer currently Senior Curator of Philately at The Postal Museum. 

Some contributors were anonymous, like 'Watchman' (on market movements) and Queensman's Looking at Current G.B. column quoted last time, and articles.  Another was L.F. (Len) Newbery, whose speciality was GB Stamp Booklets, he also contributed to the Post Office Philatelic Bulletin and co-authored with Jean Alexander what was, at the time, the definitive publication on British Stamp Booklets.

This page from SCW 3 May 1979 describes the difference in the positions of the value on various folded booklets.  We'll start with the earlier 10p machine-vended booklet, SG FA4-9

This is the whole pane:

I don't have a full range of these, but can show these two 7p values compared:

The value block is higher on the left:

According to Newbery, the position of the value relative to the lower edge of the background and the point of the bust is minutely different between stamps on teh same 'sheet' due to incorrect register when the multipositive was produced. But there are patterns.

On the web the stamps are printed sideways in three columns of book panes - for some reason columns I & III had the head to the right, and column II had the head to the left.  But the stamps were always mounted in the cover with the stamps fixed on the left.  There are no miscuts which would produce tête-bêche pairs.

However, the position of the value relative to the foot of the stamp varies: Column III it is 3 mm, column II it is 2 mm, and in column I it is between 2 & 3 mm.  These are noticeable enough to be worth collecting even if they are only noted in some specialist catalogues.

Newbery's column also shows differences with the 8½p and 9p stamps from different booklets. This is the first 50p booklet sold from machines, SG FB1A/B, containing panes X841s/841sa, the former having the 8½p stamp on the right.
The 85p counter-vended booklet (SG FF1) contains 10 x 8½p stamps.  According to the article, the stamps from 50p FB1 booklet has the value spaced at about 2.5 mm from the foot, and the spacing in FF1 is 3.25mm, as shown in the picture below.

This pattern continues with other booklets.  The spacing in the 50p booklets is quite different from that in the 70p, 90p and £1.60 Christmas booklet although in these booklets the spacing for each value is the same.  More about this in the next post, when I should have more of my own stamps to show.


  1. Hi Ian,

    Welcome to the world of Machins. As well as different positions for the value, you can also distinguish between the 2 head types B1 and B2. B1 is positioned further away from the base frame than head B2. This can be seen in your last post about the 8p Rosine Machin in the 10p booklet pane. The centre stamp from the Chambon pane is set higher than the 2 from the Jumelle panes.

    A word of warning though, this can get very addictive 😁

    Have fun with your sorting.

  2. The page that is shown at the top of the blog is exactly what I talking about in the earlier blog. So much information could be got from these articles. I knew Len Newbery very well and we would often meet up and exchange news and information on Machin stamps. What great times.


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