Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Dummy Machins

Glenn Morgan is a collector, exhibitor, author, volunteer - a philatelist par excellence. He maintains a web site at www.stampprinters.info which is primarily about stamp printing and printers, but he has other topics as well.

A related topic that he is interested in is Dummy Stamps. He defines them as "items that have the general appearance of being real, but which lack the capacity to function in the postal system." Dummy stamps are a subset of labels known as cinderellas.

Cinderellas are any label that looks like a postage stamp, while a dummy stamp is a cinderella that has a purpose relating to the post office, its printers or its customers.

Glenn publishes a periodic (roughly quarterly) Dummy Stamps Newsletter. All issues are available for download on a page on his web site, and it is free.

Now, that I've explained all that, the reason that I mention it here is that Machins show up fairly frequently in the newsletter.

In the most recent issue, number 20, Glenn pictures all 34 known varieties of the 00p Machins. Glenn also gives some background on these dummies, including his educated guess (no dummy he!) that they were printed in miniature sheets of nine.

In the prior issue, he discusses a test printing of linerless self-adhesive coil format stamps. A ilnerless coil is one that has no backing paper. The roll sticks to itself, like Sellotape (cellophane tape to us Americans).

The dummy linerless stamps do not have the Machin portrait, but a sample hang-sell package (pictured here) produced by the House of Questa (in cooperation with American/Canadian printer Ashton Potter) features a Machin stamp. The pictured stamp is imperforate at top and bottom - presumably the way the linerless coil would be produced, but not a format that has ever been issued.

Though Royal Mail has never issued a linerless self-adhesive coil, the US Postal Service did some years ago. Apparently it was not considered successful because it was never repeated.

So go on over to Glenn's site and download all of his newsletters. After you've read them, you'll be so smart that no one would dare call you a dummy.


PS Also on the web page is a flyer for the latest edition of Glenn's catalog of the sheets, cards, labels and packs distributed at British stamp exhibitions. If you are at all interested in these items, his book (available on CD) is worthwhile.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Larry for this piece. Just to let your self and other reader know I have now had my operation (a femoral by pass of the right leg and I am well on the road to recovery.

The doctors have made an appointment for me to visit the out patients dept on 31 March. If all is well they will give me the go ahead to fly back to Spain sometime after this date.

Looking forward to returning and getting back to work.


GBStamps said...


I'm sure our readers join me in being very glad that you are recovering well.

We look forward to having you back when your health permits.