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Collecting GB Machin Stamps

Arnold Machin designed GB definitive postage stamps The current GB definitive postage stamps featuring the sculpted profile of Queen Elizabeth II were designed by Arnold Machin. The Machin definitive stamps have been in use since the first issue of June 5th 1967 when the UK was still using pre-decimal currency.

Like the Wilding issues used during the earlier part of the Queens reign, the Machin series of stamps maintained the tradition of using the reigning monarch portrait instead of naming the country. The United Kingdom, having been the first nation to officially issue postage stamps, is exempt by the Universal Postal Union from having to print the country name on postage stamps and an effigy of the reigning monarch is considered the sole national mark.

After more than four decades of use, the Machin stamp series has seen many changes in British postage stamp printing methods. The machin issues are now so diverse and complex in terms of design, values, printers, booklet combinations, perforations, gum, phosphor coatings and size formats that many philatelists and stamp collectors now solely focus on the Machin stamps as their specialisation.
In 1989, as fast-changing postage rates became an increasing problem, the use of "non-value indicator" (NVI) Machin stamps began where the postage class was specified using "1st" or "2nd" rather than the currency value.

It was not until 1990 that the first commemorative adaptation of the Machin design was used alongside the classic profile of Queen Victoria to mark the 150th anniversary of British postage stamps.

It has been proposed on more than one occasion that the Machin design be replaced. Perhaps the strongest case was made in the early 1980s following the adoption of the Raphael Maklouf effigy design to appear on new UK coinage. It was reported that a proposal was put forward to replace the Machin design as a way of marking the 30th anniversary of the Coronation in 1983. The Queen reportedly agreed to the idea although a letter sent on her behalf at the time suggests she was in fact very reluctant to see a new design adopted. The letter apparently said; "Her Majesty is very content with the Machin effigy and thinks that a work of real quality is required if this is to be replaced."

So it would seem that, in more than a quarter of a century since that letter was written, the Queen has yet to see a work of real quality worthy of replacing the Arnold Machin iconic design. No doubt many British philatelists and stamp collectors agree.

New GB postage stamps still influenced by Arnold Machin


Arnold Machin Centenary Stamps

Years after his passing in 1999, Arnold Machin is still making a huge impact on British stamp design. Perhaps the most interesting use of his iconic Queen's head design is on the latest Post and Go stamps which many collectors believe will prove to be the start of a new generation of postage stamps where services and values are overprinted at the point of sale on pre-printed stamp designs.

It therefore seems fitting that the centenary of Arnold Machin's birth was the subject of Britain's first ever commemorative Post & Go stamps.






Printing The London 2012 Olympics Definitive Stamps




Squared Circle Postmarks


Did You Know?

Did you know:  Traditional philately covers the study of all technical aspects of postage stamp production and identification. This includes the initial stamp designs, the paper stamps are printed on and any watermarks, printing methods, the perforations, any overprints, the gum applied and even studying philatelic fakes and forgeries.

Recent British Stamps & Philately Articles



New GB Post & Go Stamps to Feature Cattle Breeds at Stampex
Royal Mail will complete their series of Post & Go stamps featuring British Farm Animals during Autumn Stampex this year. The last of the series will highlight well known examples of British cattle breeds. [...]

London 2012 Olympic Gold Medal Wins by Team GB Will be Celebrated Next Day on Stamps
The stamp design for each gold medal Team GB win has been revealed by British Olympic gold medallist Sally Gunnell OBE. Each stamp will, where possible, feature a photograph of the Team GB athlete or team in action during their gold medal final. If that isn't possible then an image from the winner's gold medal winning journey from a heat or from their medal award on the podium. [...]

Second Farm Animals Post & Go Stamps to Feature Pigs
24th April 2012 will see the second issue released in the Farm Animals series of Post and Go Stamps which will feature six breeds of pig from around the UK. Post & Go machines can be found in around 150 Post Offices around the UK letting customers weigh and stamp their mail without needing to wait for counter service. [...]

New Royal Mail Stamps Feature Scottish Trains
Thursday 8th March marked the first day of issue for the latest set of special stamps from Royal Mail featuring classic Scottish locomotives. Apart from regular GB stamp collectors, this issue is likely to prove a sure fire hit with worldwide railway thematic collectors. [...]

Ultra Rare Penny Red Plate 77 For Sale at Stanley Gibbons
Dubbed the philatelist’s "Holy Grail" by Stanley Gibbons, the well known philatelic dealers are offering a single used example of the ultra rare Penny Red plate 77 for sale. [...]

Post & Go Stamps 2012: Sheep Breeds 24th February 2012
The next set of Post and Go pictorial stamps, the first of three sets that will feature British farm animals during 2012, is due to be released on 24th February 2012. [...]

The Post Office in Pictures Exhibition
The Post Office in Pictures is an exhibition of photographic images taken from The Royal Mail Archive which will run until 5th November 2011. Venue for the free to enter exhibition is The Post Modern in Swindon. [...]

Postal Termanology Explained: Poste Restante
Post Restante is a universal free service offered by Post Offices virtually everywhere in the world. [...]

Third Birds of Britain Post & Go Stamps Set
The third set of six pictorial Post & Go Stamps continued featuring the beauty and variety of Britain's birdlife. [...]

Index List of Early Post Office Numbers In Wales
Following on from the index list we recently published of early english Post Office numbers, this list indexes all the known early welsh post office numbers and locations. [...]

Stanley Gibbons Launch DVD Stamp Articles Archive
The GSM Archive Edition 1890-2009 which features over 40,000 pages of useful and interesting philatelic content from various Gibbons publications was launched on 30th June 2010. [...]

Stanley Gibbons Announce Sale of Rare 1904 GB Official Overprint Stamp
Britain's best known stamp dealer and philatelic publishers, Stanley Gibbons, have today announced they have sold one of the rarest of all GB stamps ever to reach the open market; The 1904 6d Pale Dull Purple with I.R. Official overprint. [...]

GB Official Postage Stamps 1882 - 1904
During the reign of Queen Victoria, and the early part of the Edward VII era, GB postage stamps were overprinted for use by  Government Departments and bodies like the Royal Household. These have become collectively known as Official Stamps although the first "official" was produced but not issued as early as 1840. [...]

The Amersham & District Philatelic Society
Meeting place, meeting times and contact details for the Amersham & District Philatelic Society. [...]




Edward VII GB Stamps 1902-1913

The stamps from the reign of Edward VII are an ever popular period for British stamp collectors and philatelists. Although only 19 basic stamps were issued during this period, the employment of three different printers means a huge array of variations exist relating to the paper, perforations and shades of printing ink. This explains why the Edward VII era is the subject of many specialised GB stamp collections.

Take a look at the live online Edward VII stamp auctions ending soon.



British Stamp & Philately Sites From Our Directory


Elite Stamps
US based online stamp auctions website that aims to highlight the cream of rare stamps and philatelic auctions from around the world.

Tractors on Stamps and Philatelic Covers
A page dedicated to collectors of farm tractors on stamps and covers.

Royal Mail Stamps Featuring Living People
Interesting article PDF file by Peter Jennings highlighting the current shambles of this once rigid Royal Mail policy.

Global Philately
Philatelic blog for all things philatelic, with a focus on the classics of the British Empire and Commonwealth

British Post & Go Stamps
Trace where any GB Post and Go stamp was issued from.

Aerophilately
UK Aerophilately website for airmails, first flights, Concorde covers and many other flown covers etc.

Positively Postal
I am so passionate about the postal system that I set up the website Positively Postal...

Index of GB Machin Definitive Issues at Wikipedia
A simplified listing of the iconic Arnold Machin designed definitive issues in use in Britain since 1967.

Machin Forum
The place to discuss the definitive stamp. Internet forum focused on the iconic QEII Definitive stamps featuring Arnold Machin's portrait of the Queen.

Footyphila Plus
Sports philately with an emphasis on football (soccer).

Stampex Website
The Competitions at Stampex are held under the auspices of the Association of British Philatelic Societies.

AK Philately
Adrian runs this interesting blog on all things philatelic from around the world.


Centenary of the First UK Aerial Post

First UK Aerial Post Centenary

We wrote some time ago about the first UK Aerial Post in 1911 and how the centenary of the event was approaching. As expected the Royal Mail marked the centenary on 9th September 2011 with a special stamp issue featuring photos of the event and a miniature sheet shown above which is styled on the publicity posters which were used to advertise the original event.

BRITISH PHILATELIC POSTMARK OF THE DAY: COLCHESTER
Colchester philatelic postmark The featured GB philatelic postmark for Sunday Apr 30 2017 is from Colchester.

Collectors can get this special postmark applied by sending the stamped (minimum 1st Class rate) addressed envelope(s) to:

London Special Handstamp Centre
Royal Mail
Mount Pleasant
Farringdon Road
LONDON EC1A 1AA


You can ask for any date (including public holidays) to be applied to your covers provided you send them to arrive on or before that date. It is advised you send a suitable return envelope also if you want the covers sent back protected rather than individually through the regular mail service.
We feature a different UK philatelic postmark every day so check back again


GB Stamp Set Creates an A-Z of the UK

The Royal Mail has now finished what they announced as "a dramatic 26-stamp, alphabetical odyssey around the UK" featuring stamps showing iconic landmarks from across all four countries that make up the UK.

In 2012 Royal Mail completed the series with 14 stamps featuring places like "Station X" at Bletchley Park and the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle. The journey had actually begun when the UK A-Z Part One was issued back in October 2011. This comprised of twelve 1st Class stamps showing landmarks from A to L. The stamps took a fresh look at some of the UK’s most famous sights, ancient to modern and from spiritual to spectacular. Learn more about these stamps

GB Stamp Collecting & British Philatelic Publication News

The Stanley Gibbons Collecting British First Day Covers Catalogue provides a comprehensive listing for FDCs for the 1840 Penny Black to very recent issues. The latest catalogue features more than 6000 illustrations of the various postmarks (including c.d.s. and machine slogans) used on the First Day of Issue for stamps and the pages feature illustrations of several hundred first day covers.

All the official FDCs (sponsored covers) are listed along with prices. Over the years your humble webmaster here at GBstamp.co.uk has used the information contained in this catalogue to identify many rare covers featuring scarce postmarks being sold as normal covers by unsuspecting sellers using the online auctions. Order from Stanley Gibbons or see if one is available in the philatelic catalogue online auctions.



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