Friday, 21 June 2013

The Best Stamp is a Machin, Says Adrian

I've known that Roy is the master of the Machins, but little did I know of his other talents. Here's a guy who can take a holiday from his permanent holiday in Spain, or in American-speak, a vacation from his vacation.

I find it hard to just take a vacation, not to mention a vacation from a vacation. 

I obviously have a lot more to learn from the master. I hope you and your wife are enjoying yourselves, Roy, wherever you are.

Meanwhile, I want to draw your attention to this week's edition of the Stamp Magazine blog, written by Adrian Keppel. Adrian's blog is a must-read, always interesting and informative. The fact that Adrian loves GB stamps is icing on the cake. His weekly blog will brighten your Fridays.

(Note to Adrian: Have you considered moving the blog to Monday? Mondays need brightening more than Fridays, at least for those of us not on vacation from our vacation.)

This week, Adrian opines on the answer to a question from Royal Mail, "What is the best stamp you've ever seen?" As Adrian points out, the qualification "best" is very subjective and depends on what criteria are being used.

After providing some examples, he decides that the best stamp would be one which is "iconic in design, instantly recognized by millions of people,  interesting for stamp collectors..., and mostly affordable to collect." His choice: the Machin!

And he uses the Slania-engraved version to illustrate his point.

I heartily agree, Adrian.

This gives me a chance to picture a cylinder block that Czeslaw Slania autographed for me at a stamp show. Slania was always very generous in signing his work.

I discussed Slania and his work on Machins in an earlier post

Of course, the first high value Machins were also engraved. There were four pre-decimal denominations issued in 1969 and three decimal ones, plus a slightly modified £1 value, issued in 1970. The value tablet of the £1 was revised in 1972.

These were printed by Bradbury Wilkinson and Co. All I've been able to find out, from Douglas Myall's Deegam Handbook, is that two of the firm's engravers worked on the engraving. Myall notes that two dies were produced, perhaps one by each engraver, and the better one was chosen. Does anyone have more information?

My favorite of the bunch, the 10p cerise, is pictured here. Six years ago, Roy asked our readers to vote on their favorite Machin, and these early engraved issues got several votes.



Adrian said...

You make me blush, Larry, but thanks for the glowing report! I don't think the powers that be would care to change my day of publishing, but I'll try and let the apparently positive effects of my blogs last until the Monday as well!
As for your question who engraved the predecimal and decimal large format high values: you'll find the answer on page 17 of our forum thread 'Which engravers/engraved stamps do you most admire?' on the Stamp Magazine website. I'm not saying who but it's an interesting read so do have a look and bear in mind there's more than the one post on the subject.

GBStamps said...

I was just kidding about changing your publishing day. I just get carried away sometimes when writing, though perhaps I should not abuse Roy's blog (or Roy himself, in this case). He might fire me!

I have seen that thread on your forum but have not read all the way through it. Normally my attention span does not extend to 17+ page threads. However, I'll definitely take a look at it now. Thanks for the reference.