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Collect British Stamps

British Machin Stamp Anniversary of the Penny Black Machin 1st class large British Stamp GB Worldwide up to 40g Machin Stamp

Special offers on new & used copies of: Collecting British Squared Circle Postmarks

Collect British Machin Definitive 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:  The branch of philately called "postal history" focuses on the actual use made of postage stamps on mail. Postal History includes the study of postmarks, actual post offices, the postal authorities, various postage rates and regulations and the physical processes used to transport mail to recipients. Many postal historians will specialise in areas such as maritime mail and paquebot covers, wartime mail, railway mail or even the postal markings associated with a particular town.

Recent British Stamps & Philately Articles



St Kilda Post and Go Stamp Connections and Royal Artillery Evacuation Cover Wanted
I am trying to locate an example of a cover produced by The Royal Artillery Range Hebrides back in 1990 so I thought I would try posting details along with a little history of St Kilda and highlight some connections between the archipelago's wildlife and recent Royal Mail Post & Go stamp issues. [...]

Reports About The Death of Philately are Somewhat Premature
An interesting article has been published by FT Adviser.com which investigates why returns from traditional assets, such as equities and property, continue to fall, while the appeal of collectables like wine, coins, stamps and artwork keeps growing. [...]

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. [...]

Unique British IR OFFICIAL Overprint Used In Boer War to Auction
The next Stanley Gibbons bi-annual public auction will take place on Wednesday June 15th at 399 Strand, London, when a selection of world rarities will come under the hammer including a unique British IR Official used on cover. [...]

Royal Mail to Stop Using Counties in UK Postal Addresses
County names look set to be dropped from the official postal addresses used in the UK. Royal Mail is consulting on their plans to delete counties Postal Address Finder (PAF) database sold to companies and public bodies. [...]

Stamp Fraud: Former Shop Manager Jailed
The former manager of London's St Paul's Cathedral gift shop has been handed eight months in jail for defrauding her employer by ordering stamps in to stock and then selling them herself privately. [...]

Philatelic Publications: Railways of West Wales by Chris Whitehead
A well illustrated philatelic history covering the period of 1854 to 1958 and includes postmarks, photos and the railway letter stamps with particular reference to the Llandyssil railway post office. [...]




Queen Victoria Surface Printed GB Stamps 1855-1900

The process known as Surface Printing is basically the opposite of the Line Engraved technique employed for the first GB stamp issues. The recessed parts of the printing plate transferred no ink or a reduced amount of ink depending on their depth. The Surface Printed issues of Queen Victoria are widely collected and extremely popular. It is a huge area to study and collect as, apart from the wide variety of designs, values and colours, many of the stamps had different plate numbers incorporated in their designs.

Inexperienced collectors are often unaware of the true scarcity of genuinely fine used stamps from this period. At the time regulations said all stamps should be literally obliterated to avoid fraudulent reuse. As a result the cancels in use for much of the period are nicknamed "killers" because of the heavy bar patterns transferred on to stamps. Therefore stamps described and sold as "fine used" are not as "fine" as normally demanded for later issues when the Circular Date Stamp entered more common use. CDS or lightly cancelled surface printed stamps can therefore command a surprising price premium.

Take a look at the live online QV Surface Printed stamp auctions ending soon.



British Stamp & Philately Sites From Our Directory


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

GB Stamp Calendar 2013
Check the schedule of new GB special stamp and Post & Go faststamp issues during 2013.

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.

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).

Great Britain section of the Stamp Collecting Blog
Extensive philatelic blog. This directory entry leads to the GB section.

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: DURHAM
Durham philatelic postmark The featured GB philatelic postmark for Thursday Oct 02 2014 is from Durham.

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

Northern England Special Handstamp Centre
Royal Mail
South Shields D.O.
Keppell Street
SOUTH SHIELDS NE33 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 Great Britain Concise Catalogue offers comprehensive details and prices for every British stamp issued since 1840. The stamp designs are illustrated in colour and catalogue listings include detailed watermark information, perforation details, colour shades, paper types (including phosphor bands) etc.

The catalogue also lists and prices First Day Covers (FDC), PHQ Postcards, official presentation packs, stamp booklets, postage due stamps, regional stamp issues, official stamps, postally valid fiscal stamps and the Royal Mail labels (Smilers). Order from Stanley Gibbons or see if one is available cheaper by online auction.



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