It was big news when a plaster cast made and owned by Arnold Machin was placed on sale a few years ago, and perhaps bigger news when a second one, believed to be one of the original six, followed shortly thereafter. The first was sold for £15,700 and the second for £18,000.
The second cast is shown above, held by Ben Gamble, head auctioneer at Cuttlestones, a Staffordshire auction house that handled the Machin estate and has sold all the casts.
In the fall of 2010, a third one was offered. This was stated to be a gift from Machin to an artist friend.
In his Deegam Report 91 in early 2011, Douglas Myall noted that the picture of this third cast revealed an oval sculpture. All of the ones photographed for the postage were rectangular, so this could not have been used for that purpose. Perhaps it was a slightly earlier version. The hammer price for the third cast was £1,400.
I have learned that Cuttlestones will offer a fourth plaster cast in their September 12 sale. This belonged to a master plasterer who helped Machin and who kept one of the casts he made. It is being sold by the plasterer's grandson.
It is not clear whether this cast comes from Machin's work on the stamp design in 1966-67 or his work on the head for coins, which would be 1963-64. Perhaps we'll be able to tell when we see the cast in the auction catalogue, which will be posted on the web site on September 6.
PS Welcome back, Roy.