Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Robert G. Godbehear


"Who is that?" I can hear you asking the question. 

That name was as unfamiliar to me as it is to you, but now I have discovered that his name is the answer to a question I have had for a long time:

Who engraved the first recess-printed Machins?

I discussed this previously in response to something written by Adrian Keppel. Adrian kindly responded that the information was in a long forum thread, but with one thing and another, I never went back to it.

Now I recently discovered that he added the information to his excellent web site, "Stamp Engravers." He did this last year, but I'm just a little slow at these things.

You can read the full story here. To summarize, Godbehear was one of two engravers who were evaluated for the job, and he was selected. The plaster cast was rephotographed in a way to emphasize the depth of the cast, making it easier to use by an engraver. Godbehear's resulting engraving had a little too much depth in its recesses, leading to many rejected printings and a high number of plates produced.

Keppel doesn't say, but I assume that as with the 1999 engraved Machins, one master die of the portrait was created, and this was used to make individual dies for each denomination. The four pre-decimal values - 2/6, 5/-, 10/- and £1 - were issued on March 5, 1969.

A new master die was created for the decimal values - 10p, 20p, 50p and £1 - issued on June 17, 1970.

Douglas Myall describes the details of printing in The Deegam Handbook, Chapter 4. He notes that the two engravers worked for the printer, Bradbury Wilkinson and Co., Ltd. He also notes that the Queen approved the final engraving.

In contrast to Godbehear's lack of visibility, the engraver of the 1999 issues, Czeslaw Slania, was well-known before he was given the Machin assignment. As a result, his name is frequently associated with those stamps. Keppel's page on Slania is here. Slania's autograph is in the margin of the pair shown above.


1 comment:

DaveM said...

Interesting article - cheers! The skill of the engravers is perhaps on of the untold aspects of why us MachinHeads love the hobby as mush as we do.