Saturday, 16 December 2006

Machins, Train Spotting and The Age of Steam

As a lad I spent many hours on the embankment, at the train station, or visiting the Locomotive works and sheds in various locations across the UK .

What for? Well, I was pursuing a former boyhood hobby of mine, collecting train numbers, or Train Spotting as it is known by its geeky or nerdy name.

I reflect back now, and think this hobby was more of a fascination with the steel monsters of the time, the smell of oil, coal, the steam and the sheer power of these metal beasts that attracted me to this strange passtime.

I still hold a fascination for trains and Railways in a way, well they do say "men never grow up". I now have the opportunity to combine trains and railways with another boyhood hobby of mine, stamp collecting and Machins in particular.

Puzzled? All will be revealed, Just read on.

In 1983 Royal Mail issued a series of counter booklets depicting Railway Engines as theme for the covers . This was a series of 4 with illustrations by Stanley Paine.

Each of these booklets cost £1.25p on the day of issue and contained a pane of Machin defintives, 10 x 12½p values, this was at the time of print the second class rate for inland mail up to 60 grams. The stamps were light emerald green in colour and had a central 4 mm phosphor band. They were were printed on Fluorescent Coated Paper with a PVA dextrin gum.

The panes were available affixed to the booklet with either a left selvedge or a right selvedge . The booklets and stamps were all printed by Harrison & Sons Ltd of High Wycome.

Number 1 & 1A
GWR Isambard Kingdom Brunel
issue date 16/02/83

Number 2 & 2 A
LMS Class 4P Tank Engine
issue date 05/04/83

Number 2 & 3A
LNER Mallard
issue date 27/07/83

Number 4 & 4A
SR/BR Can Line
Issue date 26/10/83

If this has grabbed your interest and you wish to read about more GB Counter booklets, please visit my web site, where you will find another interesting series on British Postal History.

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