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.