Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The Downey Head

Another double dose today to make up for missing a couple of days over Easter. Before you say, Whats this? I will explain that it is actually a Machin posting with a difference.

Someone once said "All stamps, and the material they depict are postal history in their own right, or in the case of modern material, they will be will be in the years to come". But what has this to do with Machins? Please bear with me for just a little longer.

If you have browsed my website you will have come across a section entitled Alternative GB, if you have not yet read it I suggest that you make time to so, as it holds some great information on Machin booklets and the panes they contain, click on the link above Machins Made Easy.

If we look close enough at certain modern Machin issues. These can actually describe Postal History through the nature of the theme and content. For this theme I am looking at Decimal Definitive Booklets and their covers, issued from April 1981 through to July 1985.

The contents of these form a very interesting collection of Machin definitives and the subject of the booklets describe stamps and Philatelic related material that was issued through the ages.

The Downey Head

This should please Michael of CDD Stamps as Downeys are a passion for him as Machins are to me. ( Just for you Michael)

The first George V stamps ( 1d and ½d ) were issued on 22nd June 1911 which was Coronation day. Although the design of these stamps are attributed to the name Downey, the actual work is also of three other people Some philatelists do refer to the name of Mr. Bertram Mackennal ( later to become Sir Birtram ) and Mr. G. E Eve, who drew the sketches. The name Downey only comes into the equation, as the sketches were engraved from a copy of a photograph of the King in a Admirals uniform taken by W & D Downey, who at the time were Photographers to the Royal Court.

The fourth name, almost a forgotten figure is the freelance engraver J. A. C Harrison who was contracted from the Royal Mint.

The booklet was issued on 30 September 1981, this booklet the 2nd in the series.
The contents of the booklet are a mixed pane of ten stamps 6 x 14p ( steel blue ) Machin definitives, with two side 4.5 mm phosphor bands, these covered the first class inland rate up to 60 gr.

Making up the remainder of the pane, joined se-tenant we have the remainder 4 x 11½p ( mushroom ) Machins these covered the second class inland rate up to 60 gr.

The 11½p values have either one 4 mm side band left or 4 mm side band right, .

The pane is available affixed to the booklet with either the selvedge affixed to the left 02 (above) or pane 02A (below). The stamps are printed by Harrison and Son on Fluorescent Coated paper and have a PVAD ( dextrin ) gum.

The 2 band stamps in positions 2 & 4 (14p values) have a right band short top and bottom, and Positions 3 & 5 left band short top and bottom. The 11½p values in position 7 & 9 have the left side band and stamps 8 & 10 a right side band.
The phosphor known as latterlite B3 glows violet when viewed under a short wave ultra violet light and has an afrerglow.

The pane shown (right) is the alternative ( 2A ) with the selvedge affixed to the right. For phosphor band alignment and printing details please refer to the information described above.

Your comments are always welcome, so do not be shy, what do you think of it so far? ( dont say rubbish :-) !


nnnnnn said...

Brilliant Roy... and while I have thought in my wildest moments of saying that a Machin is nothing more than plagarism of a Downey Head.. how could I do that and get away with it.. but I think I am right :-)

Best wishes... Michael

Roy Simpson said...

Plagarism of a Downey Head?

I think you meant to say the Downey was a plagarism of a Wyon head....he he...

In fact when you look at all the head designs to date from 1840 onwards they are all very much alike.

Anonymous said...

I doubt that Arnold Machin would have liked his work to be compared to the Downey Head!

These are, however, a fascinating series of booklets for all the reasons you mention.

nnnnnn said...

Larry. I am sure you are right....
I was having fun....

and Roy, I forgot to mention, your typo.. cddstamps... not ccdstamps


Roy Simpson said...

CDD rectified Michael...sorry