Friday, 11 April 2014

Pack containing 3 prestige books

spotted on ebay

Special Pack

Special Pack containing 3 prestige books - The Definitive Portrait; Profile on Print and Special by design. 
This Pack also contains the 2000 Her Majesty's Stamp Show Miniature Sheet cancelled with a special postmark.
The pack was issued on 23rd May 2000.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

New Machins

After three long weeks I have arrived back from my trip to the UK. When one is away and returns there are always a few jobs to do, if you have a spouse like me you will no doubt know that she will find many things to do!

Some small jobs I have completed, many others are on the back burner until, in Spanish , Manana. 

This means "tomorrow". Although if you say la mañana, it means "morning"My version for the saying is mañana with a small m which means "later". This later can mean a week later or two years later. As I am an easy going type of chap I think it is a is a great word, very relaxed and vague., my second favorite Spanish word after my first favorite English word, Machin. 

Now here is the word Machin, and some pics of the new stamps.

Thats it for today, it is time for my second favorite Spanish word, siesta! 
Dont you love it when a plan comes together?

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Tony Benn (1925-2014)

What do Tony Benn, who passed away recently at 88, and the above proposed stamp design by David Gentleman have to do with Machins? Well, everything.

Tony Benn was Postmaster General of the U.K. from 1964 to 1966. At the time he was known by his formal name, Anthony Wedgwood Benn. One of his primary efforts as PMG was to modernize stamp design (in part to increase postal revenue). As a republican, he believed that an important part of this modernization was to remove the Queen's portrait from stamps.

(In the U.K., a republican is someone who wants to abolish the monarchy and replace it with a republic that has a non-hereditary head of state.)

He commissioned David Gentleman to create stamp designs that utilized symbols such as a coat of arms to replace the monarch's portrait. The image above shows one of Gentleman's designs. Benn showed the designs to the Queen, as well as others, but as we know, he was ultimately unsuccessful in his quest. He did, however, win a compromise that the portrait could be reduced to a small cameo.

In early 1965, Benn met with Sir Kenneth Clark, chairman of the Stamp Advisory Committee, to tell him about his ideas for new commemorative stamps. Clark took the opportunity to suggest a new profile version of the Queen's head for definitive stamps; the committee and others were dissatisfied with the design of the Wilding series with its three-quarter photographic portrait of the Queen.

Benn agreed, and that started the effort which led to the Machins over two years later. By that time, Benn had moved on to a new position in the government, so he is not generally associated with the Machins. However, it was clearly his efforts that paved the way for radical changes in design of both definitives and commemoratives.

The whole story - including Benn's effort to remove the Queen's head and the development of the Machin design - is told in Douglas Muir's wonderful book, A Timeless Classic: The evolution of Machin's icon. The book's cover, the beautiful Machin portrait, is shown here. It is available from the British Postal Museum & Archive and is highly recommended for any serious Machin collector or anyone interested in the history of modern British stamps.