Monday, 28 May 2007

Machin Trivia (Did You Know)



The word Machin in french, roughly translated is "thing-um-a- jig" meaning "Something difficult to classify or whose name has been forgotten or is not known" Also known as "Whats it".

It has been estimated that 180 billion Machins have been printed since its introduction in June 1967.

The Machin, known as "The Queens Head Stamp" been recognised and recorded as "An Icon of The British Isles".

70% of the British public have heard of the Penny Black, but only 17% know of the term Machin. (Perhaps the 40th anniversary next month will change this figure)

Before his death in 1999 Arnold Machin O.B.E - R.A was commissioned to design the Millennium Medal.

Arnold Machins Plaster cast was photographed out doors with a Box Brownie (on a cloudy day) to gain the right effect, it is said " that studio lights were to bright"

Machin chose the actual simplicity of the design, based on the very first postage stamps introduced by Great Britain in 1840 (the penny black).

The Wyon head of Queen Victoria was also used in conjunction with the Machin Head to produce the Double head Anniversary stamps in 1990.

Up to date seven different printing companies have been employed by the Royal Mail to print Machins.

Although these will be reproductions of the pre decimals, If we count the french subsidiary Cartor who will produce 40th anniversary Generic sheets the total from next month will be eight.

In 1972 the value tablet on the £1 value was changed from a script type to a more modern block type.

Chambon Printings

Harrison & Sons also printed stamps on a press called the Chambon, these had a different sheet layout to the norm and were printed in double sheets of 100, the sheets were located one above the other, not side by side.

The Chambon sheets were separated by a horizontal gutter, this was the same size as the actual stamps but they were left as a blank label, the gutters running the whole width of the sheet. The cylinder numbers from these particular print runs appear opposite rows 8 or 18, only no dot panes exist.

The cylinder numbers from the top sheet are opposite Row 8 and are collected as a block of 8 (2 x 4) with the gutter below stamps 5 & 6.
Stamps from the bottom sheet, the numbers are located opposite Row 18, stamps from this sheet are collected as a normal block of 2 x 3.
Chambon printings only affects 2 stamp issues printed in sheet form, these are both 10p values. The first is a two band FCP/DEX with 10 mm phosphor, the other is printed on PCP1/DEX with additional two 10 mm phosphor bands.

Gutter pairs are also known from the larger format Harrison Photogravure printings in 1977.


Booklets exist with transposed panes.








Following on from earlier my post where I described the content of miscut booklets.

Booklets also exist (normal cut) with transposed phosphor bands. Above is an example of a a Machin £1.54 “To Pay” booklet FQ1 with right margin pane UMFB36a, DP71C.

This booklet has (Error) Phosphor bands transposed giving 4x 13p with two bands (instead of side bands) and 4x 17p with sidebands (instead of 2 bands).

Contains 2 each of U219a, U219b, U248e, U248f. This is a Cylinder booklet B4B5

Certainly one to look out for

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