Friday, 12 March 2010

The Se -Tenant Pairs Story

In my last post I mentioned se-tenant pairs briefly and the cost of acquiring them.

When I was just a novice collector, I was encouraged and advised to collect Machin stamps by my uncle, he was a very active collector himself and actually gave me a small mint Machin collection which got me into a nasty habit. It got worse as time went by and turned into what we call today "Machin Mania."

The pairs story is just one of many Machin stories and goes like this:

Once upon a time about forty (40) odd years ago there were four (4) se - tenant pairs. A mommy pair = 1d/4d, a Daddy pair = 4d/2d and 2 baby pairs, = 2d/3d and = 3d/1d, these were all with Original Coated Paper / Gum Arabic.

They were found one day on the grand daddy one shilling (1/-) se -tenant coil. My uncle advised me to collect these as they were nice formations and would look good mounted on a page.

The sheet stamps which I also collected had PVAl gum.

Hence a new chapter, to my Machin collection was added.

Left Mommy Pair

Over and during the next few months or so , I discovered that there were actually more pairs in this se-tenant family, my pairs family actually trebled in size overnight. I was at the time chuffed to find out about these new relatives, so I eagerly went out and acquired them all.

I found out from a dealers list that "The Post Office" had also released similar pairs to the coil stamps in booklets, but they had a different type of gum, they still had Original Coated Paper, but with the same gum as sheet stamps, deliciously tasting PVAl GUM.

Of these new pairs, I discovered some had new values, new colours and even different phosphor tags. 1d/3d , 3d/1d , 1d/4d (sepia) also 1d /4d (vermilion) with a side bar. Others were 4d/1d , 1d/5d and 5d/1d. They were all added to my growing Machin se-tenant pairs family and looked real nice.

A new album page was needed to house the family as it was getting to big for the small page that accommodated them, they were used to having lots of room.

The new pairs were soon joined by more cousins as they came to my attention, the vertical pair side of the family, these were actually attached to labels. The powers that be at the time said they were part of the family (so did my uncle) so they should be added to the collection.

The four new vertical pairs were added, bringing my pre decimal pairs family to a grand total of fifteen (15).

The new vertical pairs were named 4d (sepia) and label with words £4,315 at 55, 4d (sepia) and label with the words see other pages, 4d (vermilion) /label £4,315 at 55 and 4d (Vermilion) and label see other pages.

Left one of the vertical pairs £4,315 / 4d vermilion.

I was very happy keeping this small selection of pairs in my collection, they looked terrific. Little did I know they would soon have lots more joining them.

As Britain turned decimal in 1971 . More pairs wanted to join my collection, I thought why not! Someone at the Post Office must have started to feed them porridge, the family grew and grew until they got so fat, the album and pages that housed them was no longer big enough. I had buy extension albums just to separate them and keep some sort of order.

More new pairs were released and more albums with lots of extra pages were purchased. This was now a great collection, I was very proud of it.

Cutting the story short, over the years it grew and grew and kept growing.

Forty three years later, new booklets and coils have given birth to more and more se-tenant pairs. Miniature sheets were also born which gave more to the fold. More and more booklets and prestige panes were needed to keep the growing family up to date. I also needed more money to house them all in suitable accommodation.

I dread to think how many joined this family, and more were still joining it month by month. They now had several albums, not to mention the extra accommodation for their booklet pane parents, single children and coils.

Sadly this particular caring adult ran out of money, he simply could not afford to keep this pairs family up to date. He just could not keep up with the birth rate. What do they put in that porridge where these blighters are born (now Royal Mail), they are breeding like rabbits.

All of this was costing a small fortune, they were difficult to look after as none of them worked. I came to realise, they have will have to be looked after and re housed by another capable caring adult who has the money to spare. My collecting habit needed to be curbed.

Parting with them (and the singles) was real hard but so was keeping up with the payments to acquire them. Some were fostered out and others sold to other caring adults who gave them the loving home they deserve.

I saved quite a lot by reducing the family, I still care for the cylinder blocks, coils, miniature sheets and booklet families as best I can, but even they do not have the luxury homes they deserve. One day I tell them, if I win the Lotto I will buy you a new set of albums, you can then move from these nasty stock books which house you. I could also re-acquire and look after your se-tenant pairs and single cousins again.

That would be a nice ending to the story, they could then all live together again, happy ever after.

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