Thursday, 16 April 2009

Hidden Codes on Security Machins

Douglas Myall published the news yesterday that the non-denominated security Machins have a hidden code that identifies the format in which the stamp was issued. In other words, just by looking at a single stamp, you can tell if it came from a counter sheet, business sheet, booklet of four, booklet of six, booklet of twelve, or mixed definitive/commemorative booklet.


The code is a change of one letter in the curvy ROYAL MAIL pattern, located above the diadem.

The codes are as follows:

B replacing A in Royal - ROYBL MAIL - in business sheets of 50 (large 1st and 2nd Machins) [corrected April 19]

B replacing A in Mail - ROYAL MBIL - in business sheets of 100 (standard 1st and 2nd Machins) [corrected April 19]

C replaing A in Mail - ROYAL MCIL - in mixed booklets with four 1st Machins and two commemoratives ("C" is for custom)

F replacing R in Royal - FOYAL MAIL - in booklets of four stamps (large 1st and 2nd Machins)

S replacing A in Mail - ROYAL MSIL - in booklets of six (standard 1st Machins)

T replacing A in Mail - ROYAL MTIL - in booklets of twelve (standard 1st and 2nd Machins)

There are no hidden codes in counter sheets, which means that no denominated Machin has a code.

Royal Mail says that these codes let them know the source of a stamp when a problem is discovered, for example, a sub-standard application of the phosphor bands.

Myall is giving each of these stamps a separate number at level 3 in his Deegam Handbook. Users of the Handbook who have signed up for electronic download of his Deegam Reports can download the latest, DGR 82, at his web site, http://www.deegam.com/. This issue shows the various codes and includes his catalogue listing and profiles.

UPDATE: Some images are here.

If you need a refresher on these new Machins, click here and here. Also this lengthy discussion on the Machin forum.

--Larry

5 comments:

Ian - Norvic said...

I thought for one terrible moment that Doug was doing an April Fool trick on us, but no, chekcing this morning's post I find one DLR (Counter Sheet) stamp, and one Walsall 1st class, the latter identified as coming from a book of 12, by the T in MTIL at the top right corner. Oh wonderful! (NOT)

GBStamps said...

Ian,

The first thing I did when I saw the Deegam report was to look to see if it was dated April 1. Really. FOYAL MAIL?

Then I, too, realized that Doug wasn't kidding.

--Larry

GBStamps said...

Thanks to eagle-eyed Douglas Myall for catching my errors in describing the two B codes. These are now fixed.

--Larry

Anonymous said...

Thanks to all the Machin experts for researching and reporting on this. While I have a Machin collection, I typically don't run out and just buy the new issues, but these changes are so interesting that I just ordered from RM the other day the full set of high value and each of the Security booklets. This will mean hours of fun peering into a 10x ...

Dennis

Ian - Norvic said...

June's Philatelic Bulletin includes a new excuse for these from Royal Mail:

"Identifying a stamp's original format will help RM to correct any production issues which may arise, for example, problems reading the phosphor signal on the stamps."

Nice to know there's a genuine reason, then.