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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



Winners of Royal Mail Design a Stamp Competition Revealed
The Royal Mail's Christmas Design a Stamp competition has ended and the winning designs chosen by the judges - which included The Prince of Wales - have been revealed today. Here are the two winning designs chosen from the 24 finalists: [...]

The Night Mail by W H Auden
W H Auden's classic poem about the now no longer running Travelling Post Offices, also known as Railway Post Offices until 1928. [...]

2013 Spring Stampex Post & Go Issue Features British Pond Life
On 22nd February 2013, which is the third day of Spring Stampex, the first in the series of "Freshwater Life" Post & Go pictorials will be issued. The first issue will focus on British pond life. [...]

British Stamps Without The Head Of The Queen Exhibited In Scotland
The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) is presenting a display titled "Off with her head!" forming part of the ABPS National Philatelic Exhibition in the Dewars Centre, Perth 19–20 October 2012. [...]

Spring Stampex 2012: TWO Royal Mail Stamp Issues
While the New Year has only just begun, it's nice to be talking about a "Spring" event! 2012 Spring Stampex, The British National Stamp Exhibition organised by the Philatelic Traders' Society and supported by Royal Mail, will take place at the Business Design Centre in London next month (Feb 22-25). So What's in store? [...]

Early Aviation Events In the United Kingdom 1909-1910
The first three aviation events in the UK took place in Blackpool, England and Lanark in Scotland. While the first official aerial post is recognised as taking place between Hendon and Windsor in 1911, collectors with an interest in aerophilately and postal history can still find UK aviation postcards and postmarks for earlier flying events. [...]

Win a Portfolio of Stamps Worth £5000 Courtesy of Stanley Gibbons
The top UK stamp dealers and catalogue publishers, Stanley Gibbons, are offering people the chance to win a pre-built rare stamp investment portfolio worth £5,000. [...]

Latest GB Kings and Queens Commemorative Stamps Feature The House of Hanover
Royal Mail’s Kings and Queens commemorative stamp series charting Britain's Royal Houses reaches the twentieth century with the House of Hanover in a new set of commemorative Stamps issued 15th September 2011. [...]

Unissued Royal Mail World Cup Stamp Design Surfaces
Just days prior to the 2010 World Cup kicking off, designs proposed for a Royal Mail postage stamp to be issued if England won the 1970 World Cup were discovered by archivists of The British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA) in London. [...]

Redruth Philatelic Society Meetings Start After Summer Break
Stamp collectors in Redruth have met after a busy summer and displayed the latest additions to their collections. [...]

Post Boxes Miniature Sheet Issue Date 18 August 2009
Post Boxes have been in use in Great Britain for over 200 years and, according to this forthcoming Royal Mail miniature sheet, the earliest known posting 'slot' was installed in Wakefield in 1809. [...]

The GB Travelling Post Offices - TPO Services
Mail was carried by train as early as 1830 in the UK but it was in 1838 that the actual sorting of mail began on board while the train was in transit and the Travelling Post Office service, or TPO as we know it, begun. [...]




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


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.

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.

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

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.

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

GB First Day Covers
Search among thousands of British First Day Covers at FirstDayCover.org.uk


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: CHESTER
Chester philatelic postmark The featured GB philatelic postmark for Thursday Jun 29 2017 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
CARDIFF CF11 8TA


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 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.



Discover Philately




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