Monday, 8 November 2010

The Colors of Special Delivery

The dedicated Machins for Special Delivery services have arrived, as noted here earlier. These stamps use the silver and blue colors of the Special Delivery brand, not the standard Machin colors from the Matthews palette.

Royal Mail has identified them as such in the margins by using the color names SD Silver and SD Blue, as shown above.

Royal Mail started adding the color name to the selvage of Machins in 2007, at the same time they removed the printer's imprint. There was some discussion at the time, and it appears that there is no operational reason for printing the color name. The story is told on my web site.

We learned last year, with the release of the Recorded Signed For stamps, that Royal Mail puts only one color in the selvage, even if the stamp has more than one. These were the first two-color Machins issued as sheet stamps since the color names were introduced.

By the way, the flame color on the Recorded Signed For stamps is a Matthews color, but the yellow is not.

One more thing about these new stamps. Look closely at the front of the Queen's neck on the 100g stamp. There's a thin blue line at the edge of the neck. There are other traces of dark blue around the edge of the portrait as well. (Click on the image of the two stamps at the top of the page to see a larger version.)

It appears to me that De La Rue graphically cropped the Queen's portrait from the 500g stamp and used that for the 100g stamp. In the process, they picked up a few dark blue pixels that shouldn't have been there.

Anyone have an alternate explanation?


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