It was a surprise to me that the majority of contestants that entered the Machin Quiz were stumped by question number 8 and 8A. This referred to The bank of England Commemorative Pane.
It is obvious from answers that there was either no information on the web or if there was it was difficult to find.
So today I am going to describe this issue in more detail, subsequent issues that followed this in the same series will be described at a later date.
The actual booklets or and panes are now known to Machin collectors as Commemorative Label panes and booklets. They were first issued on July 27th 1994. The booklet and panes were printed by The House of Questa in Lithography on OFNP(C)/PVAl paper. Label panes without the booklet cover were also available.
To look at the covers of this booklet one would not know that they contained a multicoloured commemorative label as it was identical to the standard bar code type booklets that were on sale which contained just 4 x 1st class Machins, they also had the same retail Bar code (1001800 ) see below.
The contents of this new booklet were still 4 x 1st-class flame NVIs and had the multicoloured commemorative label attached to the stamps at the left, this was attached to the booklet cover by a selvedge.
Plain and cylinder booklets / panes are known. Cylinder numbers were printed in the selvedge Q1 Q1 Q1 Q1 Q1 Q1 Q1 pQ1. These represent a number for every plate used to print the labels and the stamps.
The panes were perforated to the left where they joined the selvedge, the selvedge was ellipsed (as were the stamps). The ellipses were of the Rugby ball type. There were no perforations at the top or bottom of the panes. The labels were roughly the same size as 6 x definitives, so the actual panes gave the dimensions of a pane of 10 stamps.
Each stamp had 2 x 4 mm A - or C (yellow) Phosphor bands, Perforation was 14¾ x 14(ER). It should be known that error booklets and panes exist with missing phosphor.
A further issue was released in May 1995, this commemorated the birth centenary of R.J Mitchell.
For those who if you do not know the name Mitchell was the inventor of the racing sea plane that was developed into the famous WW2 fighter plane known as the Spitfire.
But that's another story for another time, any offers? R J Mitchell was also commemorated on another Machin booklet, also the Spitfire can be found on certain machin counter booklets which depict aircraft. Dont you just love Machins? :-)
The second part of the question asked what differed from the second issue compared to the first? This was actually not a trick question, as there were two main differences and either one was acceptable. I am pleased to say the majority who sent in answers picked up on one or the other and got it right.
The second pane was on the right of the stamps, still joined to the booklet by a selvedge at the left of the pane. The reason for the change in format was due to pressure from collectors, there were those who complained that due to the format of the label at the left of the Bank of England pane, a crease occurred across the centre of label where the booklet folded. And royal Mail know by now, we dont like creases do we? :-)
It ( the second booklet & pane) was also printed by a different Printer, this being Walsall Security Print .
I will describe another commemorative booklet and pane in my next post.