The Millennium Machin
Printed by Walsall Security Printers, this is an interesting exhibition piece showing Millennium Machins in the form of a Cylinder block of 8 ( 2 x 4) with the numbers W2 W2 in the selvedge.
All indications point to the fact that the source of the block is from un-cut part of the original primary sheet.
No official post office counter sheet stamps were printed by Walsall or Questa (only De La Rue printed Millennium Machins in counter sheet form for the Royal Mail). Questa and Walsall did however print Millennium stamps intended for use only in Retail booklets in multples of ten. *
The stamps :
The left phosphor band is 9mm wide overlapping into the sevedge by 4. 5 mm the remainder of the bands are also 9mm wide stretching across the stamps forming 2 x 4.5 mm side bars on each stamp. This information indicates that this block is from the top right of the primary sheet.
The left side of the primary sheet had 6.5mm wide phosphor bands to the left, 2 mm overlapping in the margins, and 9mm, stretching across the remainder of stamps forming the 2 x 4. 5 mm side bars.
This perforation type is known as AP4 (R) Rugby ball type ellipse, (one ellipse at the left and one at the right) they are approx 3 prforations in length, set two perforations up from the bottom of the stamps).
The perforation is the norm for Walsall booklet x 10 Machins which is 14.75 x 14.
You will notice that the cylinder number (W2 ) appear in row 2 and row 4 of the block. On normal De La Rue post Office counter sheets the cylinder numbers only appear once.
There is no phosphor cylinder number shown. Paper type is OFNP with PVA lay flat gum and overprined with DG A2B 2 phosphor bands which has an wave after-glow.
The direction of the print is inverted ( as are booklet panes). The margin is perforated through the top and bottom edges of every 2nd row and there is a single extension hole in the selvedge in the alternative (other) rows.
Where the complete extension of the perforations exist through the margin, this is usually the tear or cut line. Indicating that this is the format that the single panes of 10 must have before they are inserted into booklets.
With this information above, all indications confirm that this is a genuine part of a un- cut primary sheet with two part booklet panes of 4 stamps showing a double cylinder number.
The GB DSB SC ( now MBPC ) code number for the individual panes of ten is DP301.
Booklets panes with W2 cylinders were printed in the latter period of the Millennium year 2000AD. W1 cylinders were used prior to this, being in use during the early months of the issue.
* Note: Panes of reduced size ( 8 Machin stamps) were used in mixed Millennium booklets of ten containing two different panes, the fist being a seperate pane of two 1st class Millennum special issue stamps ( also printed by Walsall ) .However the definitive Machin panes were the same pane as the one described above (DP301). Two stamps at the right of the pane were removed at the printers during the make up of the booklets, reducing the Millennium definitive panes to eight.