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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:  Cinderella philately is the study of labels or other items that have the appearance of postage stamps but are in fact not official stamps. These could be Easter or Christmas Seals, propaganda stamps, souvenir issues or private issues from places like Lundy.

Recent British Stamps & Philately Articles

Stamp & Cover Sellers Face New Rules On eBay Picture Standards
Love it or loathe it, and despite the constant complaints we hear about excessive fees and rogue buyers repeatedly claiming not to receive items which have not been sent by tracked postal services, there's no denying eBay manages to stay the busiest online venue for UK internet stamp auctions. Stamp dealers and stamp collectors using the eBay marketplace should note that new rules governing the standards of images come in to force on 8th November (delayed from October 30th). [...]

Postal History Hunt for Stow Maries Aerodrome
The recent identification of the lost Royal Flying Corps training airfield at Stow Maries in Essex has led to the refurbishment of buildings and preservation of the site thanks to a National Heritage Memorial Fund grant . Now the challenge for a few specialist aerophilately collectors is to find some postal history for the airfield. [...]

Measuring British Stamp Perforations
The introduction of perforations to assist the seperation of stamps printed in sheets dates back to the line engraved period where, following the Archer experiments begun in 1848, a penny red-brown perf 16 was issued as an official Goverment trial in 1853. [...]

British Postmarks - The Brighton Maltese Cross Cancellation on Victorian Stamps
Brighton seems to have begun with quite a normal Maltese Cross in 1840 but this apparently wore badly and GPO records indicate that a replacement was issued during September 1841. However, before the replacement was issued, a distinctive local Cross also seems to have been used. [...]

Collect British Postmarks? It's Easier Getting Half Price Postage!
As I sorted through my incoming mail today I found myself asking why Royal Mail finds it so hard to reliably postmark mail as it travels through the commercial network. Of nine letters I received bearing stamps from various parts of the UK three were unfranked completely and the rest had blurred, unreadable or largely incomplete markings and I could only read the date on one envelope. [...]

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. [...]

Royal Mail Kick Off a Busy 2012 by Featuring Roald Dahl
With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 Olympics the next twelve months are guaranteed to be a bumper year of stamp issues from Royal Mail. Today they have launched the first of this year's special stamp issues celebrating one of the nation’s best-loved children’s authors, Roald Dahl. [...]

Post and Go Stamps: Quickly Identify a Post & Go Stamp's Machine Location
Post and Go stamps are creating a buzz. Whether you currently love or loathe them, I believe the Post & Go format looks set to become Great Britian's stamp for everyday use. To help collectors research and write up Post & Go stamp collections there's now a useful online database that's free and quick to use. [...]

GB Stamp Errors - King George V PENCF Error
I guess one of the most common questions dealers and experienced stamp collectors get asked is to confirm whether a stamp displays the charecteristics of a rare variety or error. [...]

75th Anniversary of Night Mail Film
The widely acclaimed 1936 short movie "Night Mail" - produced by the GPO Film Unit - has been featured on our home page for some time now at and, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the classic collaboration between poet W H Auden and composer Benjamin Britten, the British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA) have annouced an event that will include a public screening. [...]

FAB Thunderbirds Perforation Error Discovered
An imperforate miniature sheet of the four Thunderbirds stamps issued by Royal Mail to commemorate the genius of Gerry Anderson has recently been discovered. [...]

HAMPEX 2010 Receives Support from Stanley Gibbons
For HAMPEX 2010 Stanley Gibbons will be providing "goody bags" to all children attending and prizes for the winners of the various junior competitions running throughout the day. The HAMPEX Junior workshop will commence at 10AM Saturday 16th October 2010 and is scheduled to finish at 12.30PM with a light lunch provided. [...]

Queen Victoria Line Engraved GB Stamps 1840-1879

The earliest postage stamps issued in Great Britain used the Line Engraved printing process. Large print plates were engraved by skilled engravers. The printing process meant ink was applied on the plate with the excess wiped off before a paper sheet was pressed on to it so that impressions of the recessed, inked parts of the plate were transferred on to the paper.

For the line engraved stamps without plate numbers incorporated in to their designs it is only possible to distinguish between print plates used by studying the detailed variations of engraving, designs, repairs made and the alphabets used for corner lettering etc. This skilled aspect of philately has been made much easier for us today becuase of the many fine specialist reference books and catalogues published since victorian times.

Good quality Line Engraved stamps are always in demand. Take a look at the live online auctions for Line Engraved stamps ending shortly.

British Stamp & Philately Sites From Our Directory

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.

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.

Collect Indian Stamps
Every Indian Stamp has a story to narrate.The rich cultural heritage of India is brought alive through stamps.Stamp collect is no more just a hobby it's an educational avocation.This dedicated site on indian philately will keep you up to date with latest

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.

Bath Postal Museum Website
Bath Postal Museum is located at 27 Northgate Street (on the corner of Green Street) Bath, BA1 1AJ

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.

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.

The Whitehaven to Huddersfield TPO
Derwent Railway Society web page about West Cumberland's last Travelling Post Office (TPO)

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.

Chester philatelic postmark The featured GB philatelic postmark for Thursday Jan 29 2015 is from Chester.

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

Wales & The West Special Handstamp Centre
Royal Mail
220-228 Penarth Road

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

Recent GB Commemorative Stamp Issue

Royal Navy Uniforms GB Stamp Set issued 17th September 2009

This set of stamps depicts the traditions and development of Royal Navy Uniforms over more than two centuries. Issue date: 17th September 2009. Find out more at the Royal Mail website.

January 2010: British Design Classics: Classic Album Covers....

GB Stamp Collecting & British Philatelic Publication News

The British Philatelic Bulletin is published every two weeks or so by the Royal Mail. The publication contains various articles together with details of current and future stamp issues. Available by subscription from the Royal Mail Website at a current cost of £12.95 in the UK and Europe or £17.95 for subscribers outside of Europe.

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Royal Mail Copyright & Intellectual Property: Please note that most Royal Mail stamp designs and postmarks are the intellectual property of the Royal Mail. has permission to display images of Royal Mail stamps and postmarks on this website. We cannot give permission to other parties to use Roayal Mail's IP and any such enquiries should be made via Royal Mail Intellectual Property.