Sunday, 10 July 2011

Mind the Gap

Do you remember when the new self-adhesive security Machins first appeared in February, 2009? In retrospect, we can look back fondly on those days. We were preoccupied with whether the stamps really could be soaked off paper.

We looked at the die-cut slits in those first De La Rue issues. There were four U-shaped slits, two at lower left and two at lower right. On each side, one was inverted over the other to form an oval with a large gap between the top and bottom halves. Life was simple.

But simple is not the way of the Machins. Less than a month later, gaps started appearing at the top and bottom of the slits. These stamps became known as Type 2, with Type 1 referring to the original stamps without top and bottom gaps.

Then the top and bottom gaps became very small, and those stamps were labeled Type 2a (shown above). And then we got stamps with a gap in the bottom slit but none in the top, and these were called Type 3.

And recently it has gotten worse, with more variations in the size of the top and bottom gaps.

So Douglas Myall, who started the nomenclature and put it in the public domain for everyone to use, has decided to simplify the system. In his Deegam Handbook, there will be three Types:

Type 1 with no gaps at top and bottom
Type 2 with gaps of any size at both top and bottom
Type 3 with a gap of any size at either top or bottom but not both

Here's a diagram of the various types, with a line through Type 2a, requiescat in pace.

(Type 3 with a gap at top has not appeared yet, but it may.)

It remains to be seen whether others who use the Type notation follow suit. I should point out that Stanley Gibbons does not list slit types in the Specialised Catalogue.

For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of examining the gaps closely, there are some nice images on the Norphil blog here and here.

Meanwhile, for those of us who use the Deegam system, the security slits are now as simple as 1,2,3.



Brian Morris said...

What was wrong with the original security slit coding?

Ian - Norvic said...

When I was first supplied with Business Sheets with Type 2a I couldn't see the gap, even with a magnifyer. True, the lighting in our meeting place was not good.

The 1st & 2nd 2009 B/S are the only ones that I have separately identified and sold on my shop, and I have to examine them very carefully, in daylight, holding them up to the window and still using a magnifier to ensure that I am sending the right ones to customers who have asked for them.

Although important in the development of the security features, these very small gaps are a pain - and almost impossible to properly display to others.

alec withell said...

I agree with Brian Morris, it's quite simple really types 1 & 2a are De la Rue Types 2 & 3 are Walsall. Why confuse the issue with an illustration of a non-existant security slit is not a good idea, wait until it has been proved to exist then illustrate.
Why he needs to change things when an already established system is in place beats me.

Douglas said...

My reasons were fully explained in Deegam Report 93, uploaded to my website on 7 June.

Weird combinations do exist. For example, singles exist with different combinations at the left and right of the stamp. My original coding did not cater for them. To do so, would have required new codes.

Rather than create a host of new codes I decided to simplify things and expand on them in footnotes where needed. Of course, The simplest system of all is to ignore them, which is what Larry says SG have done


Brian Morris said...

I do not get Deegam Reports so I do not know what the reasons are for changing the original coding for the slit types.
However, I have noticed that now we have several different systems in use. One or two of the Machin dealers are using their own systems but all very similar to the original one. The MBPC uses another system which is based on the size of the slit and now we have this new one.
Like I said in my original comment 'what was wrong with the original security slit coding'.

Douglas said...

I do not see what the problem is for Brian, Ian, Alec and others who do not use DG systems in their sales lists; none of them has my CD. They can simply carry on as before. Should they wish to sell some of the later types, such as stamps where the left and right ovals are diferent types, they will probably have to describe them. This is what the Deegam list will do, via a footnote. There was nothing wrong with the "original" coding but it no longer suffices on its own.

Machin Man said...

No slits, wide slits, narrow slits, stits bottom or top. I think I will slit my throat :-)