Monday, 31 August 2009

Two More Isle Of Man Machins

If you think that your Isle of Man Machin collection is complete then you can think again. Below is a picture of two "Isle of Man Machins" that hardly get a mention these days. They are the 29p and 37p values (valid for postage in the IOM).

They were issued in the form of a miniature sheet to commemorate Postal History & Birthday of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.

The 29p value depicts the ½d pre decimal and the 37p shows the reprint of 2½p decimal issue.

This sheet was Issued: 18th April 2001 Designed by The Agency Ltd. The stamps are printed in lithography by BDT. I am informed that the stamps are Perforated 14 x 14

You can also obtain this sheet overprinted for The Hafnia '01 International Stamp Exhibition.

Whilst we are on the subject of stamps on stamps I would like to show you another two Isle of Man miniature sheet (sadly not Machins) that are amongst my favourites.

The first is a £1 miniature sheet commemorating 150th Anniversary of the Penny Black Issued: 3rd May 1990. The second is a strip of 5 values.

Design: by Colleen Corlett, Engraving : Inge Madle.

I believe they were printed in recess & lithography by Enschedé. Perforations are 14 x 13½ - Stamp sizes 26mm x 30mm (1p-37p) & 51mm x 60mm.

(£1) Miniature sheet 100mm x 71mm

The 4 values, 19p to 37p, were only issued in the strips of 5 illustrated.

The 1p value is also available as a sheet of 25.

I am informed that the strip of 5 values illustrated is also available overprinted "From Stamp World London '90 to New Zealand 1990".

Sunday, 30 August 2009

The Isle Man Triskelion

After receiving an e-mail from Dave F (inquiring about Isle of Man Machins) yesterday, he mentioned in brief "That Larry wrote about the Machin Regionals (part three) but failed to describe (or mention) the Legs of Man in (Part one of his articles. , or Part two" which can be read here

I have back tracked through this blog just to make sure, and right enough it seems we have missed them out. So without much of ado I have done a little research and come up with this post. Perhaps at a later stage Larry can add to it and describe the actual stamps in more detail as he did with the other Machin Country Regionals.

Some background info:

On 7 July 1971 the previous Wilding based designs for the Isle of Man, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were replaced with designs similar to the standard British Machin portrait. Each stamp had a reduced size portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin with a national emblem in the top left corner, the latter designed by Jeffery Matthews.

The other emblems used on The Regional Machin stamps have already been described by Larry except for as I have already stated : The Isle of Man, three legged symbol known as The Manx Triskelion and the Celtic Ring.

In the symbol for the Isle of Man, which is located in the Irish Sea, the "three legs embowed" of the heraldic triskelion are represented in armour, "spurred and garnished or (gold)." On Manx banknotes, the triskelion appears within a rim containing the Latin inscription QUOCUNQUE JECERIS STABIT ("Wherever you throw it, it stands").

The Manx triskelion is documented since the thirteenth or fourteenth century at the latest, and is alternatively known in the Manx language as the tre cassyn ("three legs"). The symbol appears on the Isle of Man's ancient Sword of State, which may have belonged to Olaf Godredson, who became King of the Sudreys (Southern Hebrides and the Isle of Man) in 1226.

A triskelion or triskele (both from the Greek τρισκέλιον or τρισκελής, for "three-legged") is a symbol consisting of three interlocked spirals, or three bent human legs, or any similar symbol with three protrusions. A triskelion is also the symbol of Brittany, as well as the Isle of Man and Sicily (where it is called trinacria . The Manx and Sicilian triskelions feature three running legs, bent at the knee and conjoined at the crotch area.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Machins In Spain??

I suppose as I am now a resident of Spain it was bound to happen . A special Spring Stampex 2000 folder with Machin and Spanish connections via Brian Horton has come to my attention.

This is a specially produced folder from Afinsa, which shows the 1850 35 pta issue. This folder is actually commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the very first Spanish stamp. The post mark which I found really interesting is tied together with a 1st class NVI millennium Machin and a special commemorative Stampex cancel.

The text is written by Javier Linares and reads as follows :

The first Postage Stamps of Spain

The appearance of the first stamps in England 1840 did not go unnoticed in the progress hungry world of the 19th century. It was not so much the novelty of the stamp it self, which was rather insignificant, as the fiscal advantages that receipts from carrying correspondence would yield.

This was a key element in the reform that resulted in the penny black during the reign of Queen Victoria.

On the 17th August 1843 Minister fermin Caballero , in the name of the provisional government, sent an order to the Director General of the Post Office ordering the establishment of pre paid postage for correspondence. The order was full of good intentions and the minister himself was fascinated by not so much the stamps but the stamped envelopes which were already in use in England. Especially the famous and ephemeral " Mulready".

The order detailed how the reform of "stamped envelopes should be reduced to the fewest different suitable categories, to be issued by the offices of the Inland Revenue and be available in all inhabited places".

However it was another seven years before this innovation became reality. It is true that politaical stability was not at all propitious to the introduction of modernising measures.

It was necessary to wait until 24th October 1844 when another government minister, Lous Jose Sartorious, The Count of San Lois, established by Royal decree the payment of postage through the use of stamps.

Two months later official instructions were given on postage in which it was indicated that " From 1st January 1850 the present method of postage and registration of letters will be abolished. Any person wishing to post or register a letter, from that date onwards, must do so by means of stamps that will be sold singly or in numbers to suit the buyer.

And with dicactic eagerness it was added that "the stamps are of paper with the bust of H.M the Queen and have glue on the back so that to stick them it is only nessassary the wet the stamp"

The instuction proved to be pertinent. On New years Day 1850 the first edition of Spanish adhesive stamps went on sale made up of 5 values: A black 6 quarters; a lilac 12 quarters; a red 5 reals; a blue 6 reals and a green 10 reals. All of them displayed the portrait of the Queen Dona Isabel II engraved by Bartolime Coromina.

Spain was the tenth country in the world to use the pre paid postage system for correspondence.

Two original designs were reproduced in 1950 to commemorate the centenary of Spain's stamps (Scott Nos. C128 and 777.

For more information on classic Stamps and postmarks on stamps of Spain by William E. Critzer visit this website.

Until next time, Hasta luego.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Design Classics First Day Covers

Shown below are 4 x first day covers from Badbury.

Although I think these are a bit on the pricey side at £18.99 each they seem to have been well received as most have sold out. All have a Limited edition of just 100 numbered copies.

The 1st postmarked ,London (Charing Cross) and has a Special Hand stamp shows the Telephone Box and Double Decker bus

Number 2: Postmarked Longbridge (Austin Rise ) shows the Mini, again a special Special Hand stamp. This Road is 10 minutes walk away from where I used to live, I also worked at Longbridge for a couple of years building this famous car.

"The Mini came about because of a fuel shortage as a result of the Suez Crisis which reduced oil supplies. Britain saw the re-introduction of petrol rationing and sales of large cars slumped.

In March 1957 Alec Issigonis and his team starts work at Longbridge on the ADO15 (Austin Drawing Office) project. By October the first two prototypes were on the road, with approval to the project being given by the Summer of 1958.

Production versions of the Mini were demonstrated to the press in April 1959, and by August several thousand cars had been produced ready for the first sales. The name Mini did not appear until later. The first models were marketed under two of BMC’s brand names: Austin Se7en and Morris Mini-Minor, being built at Longbridge and Cowley respectively."

Number 3 in the series: Has again a Special Postmark Birmingham (Concorde Tower) situated in the city centre.

NB: The Flowers booklet (not shown ) also has Birmingham postmark (Kew Gardens - Iris) special Hand stamp Limited to 100 numbered copies.

Number 4: The 4th and last in this series Mary Quant and the Mini Skirt again has a West Midlands theme, Solihull Birmingham. This is titled "The Swinging Sixties", postmarked Knightsbridge Rd (my auntie used to live in this road). Again this is a Special Hand stamp with a Limited edition of just 100 numbered copies.

Nice Eh? Here is a link to the Bradbury web site.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

List of Machin Values and Colours

Someone recently asked me ( I can not remember who it was) if I knew of a website that listed all of the basic Machin Values and colours. Also if possible one which the date of issue was given.

At the time I referred him to the online Connoisseur catalogue.

Since that time, as I was surfing Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, I came upon this page which lists all Machins issued up to April 2008.

Above: - The 4d vermilion of 1969 replaced the dark-coloured 4d of the original 1967 issue

I thought this site ( page) deserved a mention, as who ever wrote it went to a lot of trouble to list each individual stamp in its actual colour box, it also mentions Regionals, Anniversary and Airmail stamps.

Please note:

This is a list of all the major variations of the Machin series of postage stamps in the United Kingdom. The complete list of all variations is vast and outside the scope of the encyclopedia.

The colours and the colour descriptions are to be used to give an idea only, as each catalogue and website will reference the colours differently.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Treasures of the Archive Prestige Stamp Book

On the 18th August Royal Mail released the Treasures of the Archive Prestige Stamp Book.

The text written on the interleaves and stamp panes explore some of the amazing artefact's held by the BPMA today. It is also written by someone who knows his onions, Douglas Muir the BPMA’s Curator of Philately.

Starting with the cover of the stamp book, this features a sheet of Penny Blacks in the BPMA collection. This is a complete proof sheet of the Penny Black, said to be "the most important Victorian item in the collection". The different check letters had not yet been inserted into each stamp.

No printing plates survive from the Victorian period. However, there are a small number of line-engraved (recess) steel dies including the “Old Original” for the Penny Black.

The best way to see all their philatelic and postal history collections is by appointment with the Curator of Philately, Douglas Muir.020 7239 2570 or email

We have already written about the Machin Panes, however here (below) are some of the latest pics which show the stamp panes printed by Cartor SP in more detail.

The other non Machin related Panes in the book tie in with the Postboxes Miniature Sheet which was also released on the 18th August. These show some iconic wall mounted post boxes.

Text copied from Royal Mails website

"The earliest known surviving posting slot was placed in the wall of Wakefield Post Office in 1809. Britain’s first roadside pillar boxes appeared in the early 1850s but in more remote and less populated areas, a cheaper and more practical alternative was needed, resulting in the development of smaller post boxes.

Initially, they were installed in walls, buildings or brick pillars: later designs were also attached to lamp posts."

Royal Mail is also producing a Presentation Pack, First Day Cover, Stamp Cards, Generic Sheet, and Press Sheet, to accompany the Post Boxes Miniature Sheet stamp issue.

1st Class – George V Type B Wall Box

This example with the royal cipher of George V was cast by W T Allen & Co Ltd, London, between 1933-36, and is from Cookham Rise near Maidenhead.

56p – Edward VII Ludlow Box

Introduced in 1887 this type of standardized box derives its name from the foundry where many of them were made. This example is from Bodiam, East Sussex.

81p – Victorian Lamp Box

The lamp box could also be attached to lamp post or other such structure. This example is from Hythe in Kent and was installed in 1896.

90p – Elizabeth II Type A Wall Box

This Elizabeth II Wall box is located in Slaithwaite near Huddersfield and would have been made between 1962 and 1963.

The Machin Panes

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Somaliland 1p Overprint (Part Two)

Thanks to Douglas Myall, Deegam Publications I can now show you pictures and add to the post written on 31st July 2009 which described the Somaliland overprinted 1p Machins.

It seems that 95% of the information I wrote was correct. The Deegam Handbook describes, and illustrates two versions of this stamp, these are listed on page A15 - 67 of the Third edition supplement 2 appendix 15 of the Deegam CD.

For more information on the Deegam CD a link to his website is listed below.

Douglas writes " it was due to a shortage of special paper that the planned new Somaliland stamps were not issued on time and no printer in Africa could be found to undertake the contract at such short time.

It was obvious that some stamps had to be issued so the overprinted Machin plan went ahead. It was decided to release a small stock of these 1p Machins which had been overprinted 5oo shillin.
These were not favourably received by the local population and after a few days stocks were withdrawn and destroyed.

"The stamps were overprinted by letter press in somaliland and almost appear embossed from the gummed side."

Douglas states "that according to a press release most of the stamps placed on sale were for genuine postage, but a number were purchased by foreigners in the country at the time. About 30 genuine delivered covers were purchased from one of the government offices".

There are actually two versions of overprinted Machin. DG Number OM 64.1 - 1p Machin 500 shillin (no star) and OM 64.2 - 1p Machin 500 shillin with an additional star overprint. This is the same stamp as Harrison Machin 1p DG 10.24.1 with AB phosphor.

12½ sheets (2,500 stamps) had the star overprint and 9 sheets (1800) had the star omitted.

Learn more about the Deegam Handbook

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Sir Nigel Continued

I have received quite a few emails in answer to the last post (many thanks) most remarking "what a beauty the Mallard is. The A4s are a terrific design.

I only had one negative reply (from Paul S), who asked me "To concentrate on Machins as steam engines are not stamps, steam is boring".

Well you can not please everyone can you? Sorry about that, I will get back to Machins Paul, after this short piece. Promise!!

Sorting through some bits that were tucked away with several other Railway covers I found this (left) designed and sold through Buckingham Covers.

It depicts the A4 pacific loco "Sir Nigel Gresley" number 60007 running at steam on the 50th anniversary of the speed record.

The 18p stamp in the right hand corner shows once again the Mallard. This stamp was issued on 10th May 1988. It is depicted from the GB Europa set Transport And Mail Services in the 1930s.

Below is a black and white photo of Sir Nigel Gresley standing in front of his namesake. It gives one a sense of proportion to the actual size of these massive metal beasts.

Now for you Paul, some Machin news although this is 2nd hand (from Ian's blog), I report this for the record, plus you may not have seen it yet.

Firstly Ian reports on 9th August a change to the security slits on De La Rue business sheets, these business sheets have now been found (normal sized 1st and 2nd class stamps) with type 2 slits (cut in the middle, top and bottom of the arcs).

This now gives us two more Machins to collect. No news of a change to the slits on business sheets of the Large PiP Machins yet, but it looks likely they will appear at some stage.

I will now pass you over to Ian's site and the original story.

Whilst you are there take a look at his latest report regarding shades etc from the latest Prestige stamp books, Treasures of the Archives and Royal Navy Uniforms

These are new stamps in their own right as they are printed in litho I think at 350 dpi by Cartor. If I am wrong about this I am sure someone will let me know. That is not a dig at you Paul .

More News, Douglas Myall has written to me with some more information on the 1p Machin with the Somaliland overprint. I am waiting for a reply from him with permission (if granted) to publish this.

To finish off today I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who took the time to vote for my web site on top 50 stamp sites.

Please continue to to do so (once per day) when you can, I am now in spot number 4.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Sir Nigel Gresley & The Mallard

Way back in December 2006 I blogged about a certain certain set of Machin booklets that depicted railway steam engines on the covers. Both Machins and steam engines are and always will be a passion of mine , they have been since I was a a kid.

Reading through some of the other philatelic blogs I now know that I am not on my own, it seems that quite a few collectors enjoy stamps with the railway theme. One blog in particular is that of Michael Dodd who wrote about railway engines a few weeks back.

Today, I will expand on Michael's work and describe to you in more detail one of the engines (The Mallard) which was depicted briefly in the set of booklets above.

According to some experts, "The Mallard" was, and still is, the fastest steam locomotive in the world. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, an engineering genius who had already produced a world-beater in The Flying Scotsman.

BTW The A4 engine named Sir Nigel Gresley, is a sister engine of the Mallard, this is also depicted on a British Stamp. You can find it on the 17p value shown on Michael's site. This is from from the Railways set, issued in 1985. These were issued to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Great Western Railway Company.

Whats in a name?

Sir Nigel considered Herring Gull, Wild Swan, Gannet and Seagull as names for this loco before finally settling on Mallard. There were 35 A4 locomotives built in total.

Anyway, back to the story, which was during the period between the two world wars. This period of history was all about pushing the boundaries of technology and breaking records. International rivalry ruled the waves – and the skies - and the railways!

From what I have found out, To Nigel Gresley it became a matter of national pride to take back the speed record from the Germans . He built and carefully prepared the streamlined Mallard – The Blue Streak – and finally, on 3 July 1938, Mallard reached a top speed of 202 kmph (126mph), claiming an unassailable place in the railway hall of fame. Today for a steam locomotive its record is unlikely ever to be challenged.

The East Coast Mainline where the A4s ran was maintained at conditions allowing 90mph travel for large sections in the early-mid 20th century. As a result the modern inter city 225 trains average a speed of 112mph between London and York. This section of line between London to York includes Stoke Summit where the Mallard set the speed record.

A large proportion of the Class A4 steam engines have been preserved by the Class A4 society and according to them "They are now in better condition than they ever were in the 1930s."

"As a result a few have suggested trying to set a new steam speed record. Generally speaking most preserved engines are limited to 30mph (45km/h) but the preserved A4s are still allowed to run at up to 80mph (130km/h), for the sight of steam at speed is what makes them worth preserving."

This engine is preserved at The National Railway Museum in York, which displays a collection of over 100 locomotives and nearly 200 other items of rolling stock, virtually all of which either ran on the railways of Great Britain or were built there.

The NRM was established on its present site, the former York North locomotive depot, in 1975, when it took over the former British Railways collection located in Clapham and the York Railway Museum located elsewhere in the city; since then, the collection has continued to grow.

I hope you have enjoyed this change of pace from the norm. If you would like to read more on this subject let me know and keeping on a stamp related theme I will try to oblige.

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