Thursday, 12 July 2007

Post Office Training Stamps

Over the last few years we have seen an influx of Machin training stamps on the market. As these stamps were not intended for release to the general public a lot of questions were asked about their legality.

The problem has now been addressed in a sense as certain experts have written to Royal Mail regarding these issues and have not received any reply. Either they are not bothered that major dealers and auction houses regularly sell these or the legality question was one of a more perceived problem than a real one.
These stamps are usually offered as singles or small multiple blocks, it is not often one sees them for sale in cylinder block form. In fact I have not seen them at all, that is until today.
Whilst browsing eBay I have come across a couple of lots which contained Training stamps in cylinder blocks of 6.
(left) 9p values with a varnished coating overprinted with black vertical bars. Cylinder 12 dot P17 block of 6. The same seller also has a 9½p block overprinted with black vertical bars. Cylinder 13 dot block of 6.
Both these blocks have a low start price of 99p. As these are not
catalogued, It will be very interesting just to see what they realise. *
Note* No one is suggesting that these are anything but what the seller describes them as, far from it, I think they are very interesting lots, but collectors should be made aware it has been said in the past"When buying training stamps be very careful as Machins in particular do not have the bars overprited, they have the bars applied by hand with something similar to a felt tip pen."

1 comment:

Allan Oliver said...

First to intoduce my self. My Name is Allan and along with a GB collection from pre-stamp to circa 1951 there are a number of side-line collections. The items form a joint collection with my father and are housed in two locations, London and Shropshire.

After reading this item on Training School Stamps I thought a few notes may be of use for collectors.

Machin stamps with overprints have been around in bulk since at least 1980 when we started forming our reference collection. The influx since circa 2000 seems to have happened when a number of training schools were being closed followed some years later by this material being offered for sale.

As a brief run down of the history - the training schools started in London in 1920 and soon spread to other large cities and towns, followed by smaller areas also having training schools established. At this time the stamps used were those in general use and these were overprinted with black bars. In the reign of King George 5 every basic stamp is known, both definitives and commemeratives with the exception of the 1925 wembley set, the £1 black of the PUC and the £1 green of the seahorses. From King Edward 8 throught to Queen Elizabeth 2 every stamp is known with a training school overprint of some form, be it black bars, (horizontal or vertical), application by pen, hand-stamped SCHOOL SPECIMEN or similar etc.

To return to the decimal Machin issues, those with printed bars are the general supply sent to the training offices on request. The idea of the overprint, as it has always been, is so that the training schools do not need to account for the stamps and also so that any in the public domain can not be used to pay for postage.

The overprinting by pen was done at offices where the supply required for a course could not be order in time and these were transfered from the main office, overprinted by hand and used. This problem had been about since the reign of King George 6 when a number of offices were supplied with a handstamp reading SCHOOL SPECIMEN which they used to overprint additional required items. This was used for a limited number of stamps at each operation but remained in used for a very long time, explaing why items appear well into the 1960's and maybe later.

In short Machins with printed black bars are not fakes and in our experience, turn up more often than those with the pen type overprint.

There are also a number of ways in which this material came onto the market legally and more details can be supplied should they be required ....

Enough rambling for now ..