Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Regional Machins

One subject I have not touched upon on this blog to date is that of Regional Machins, which is in reality the only closed chapter ( excluding Pre decimals and Anniversary double heads).

Although there were a lot of issues over the period whilst these were on sale, and this section is now closed, it is perhaps one of which could be completed by potential collectors without the worry of having to keep up with new issues.

This is still a vast specialised subject and hundreds of pages have been written about them, this post will only touch the surface, but will give the layman some idea of the stamps and what they represent. If you wish to learn more, I will no doubt be describing various aspects of this issue in the future, but in the mean time you will have to read one of the specialised catalogues that are recommended in earlier posts.

What is a Regional Machin?

Regional Machin stamps replaced the previous Country Definitives on decimalisation. They have the same Machin head as the nationals. The stamps were designed by Jeffrey Mathews, the machin portrait was in fact smaller, reduced in size in order to incorporate the corresponding country emblem in one corner.

The post office actually call these country issues, but to to philatelists they have always been called Regionals. The description of the individual emblems are as follows:

Isle of Man

The Legs of Man and the Celtic Ring.

Northern Ireland

The Hand of Ulster and Crown


The Lion of Scotland


The Dragon of Wales

Harrison & Sons printed regional stamps in sheets of 200 up until 1981, then Waddington and Questa produced lithographic sheet versions. Walsall Security printers took over the contract and printed the later sheets in gravure.

Regionals have also been issued in se-tenant panes in prestige booklets, printed by Questa and Walsall. If you notice ( the wales 20p stamp above) with the latest printings, the stamps conform to the national Definitives and have security ellipses incorporated into the perforations

Prestige Panes

Panes can be found in The Scots connection £5 booklet, Gymru Wales Booklet, a pane from the Beatrix Potter Booklet, Several panes from the Northern Ireland booklet. The National Trust booklet produced a pane and The Speed booklet produced a pane also.

Finally a pane was issued in a Prestige booklet during the Stamp Show 2000, this marked the work of Jeffery Mathews.

The Welsh regional have had the ( P) in the value tablet omitted on the later issues and in June 1999 were the first to be decommissioned (along with stamps of Scotland).

Northern Ireland followed suit at a later date and now all these regional countries have their own pictorial country issues, so no further Machins will appear for these countries unless special prestige booklet panes are printed in the future.


larry said...

Rumor has it that to follow the 40th anniversary of Machins this year, next year Royal Mail will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Regionals. If that happens, we will no doubt see new versions of these designs, most likely in prestige booklets and miniature sheets, as well as a generic sheet.

Roy Simpson said...

Interesting Larry, I do know its the 50th Anniversary(1958)of the pre decimal Regionals, which were not Machins, but Wildings.

It would be interesring to see if the Machin Regional makes a comeback as part of this celebration.

Nice to think so!