Sunday, 18 October 2015

Linn's Blog - Defino-memoratives

Since the LTR amethyst purple Machin is the latest entry in a series of defino-memoratives, I decided to introduce Linn's readers to this concept in their blog. You can read about it here.

Here are the earlier defino-memoratives.

UPDATE: As astute reader pointed out that I forgot the gold first-class Machin. Actually, I didn't forget it. I considered it and decided it did not meet my definition of a defino-memorative. 

The gold Machin was first issued in 1997 in celebration of the Queen's Golden Wedding Anniversary. It was on sale for about a year, after which the flame-colored Machin was reintroduced. If that had been the only appearance of the gold Machin, I would have included it.

The gold Machin was reintroduced in 2002. At that time, it celebrated the Queen's Golden Jubilee. That was one characteristic of a defino-memorative. However, it did not have a limited life and continued to be used for about 10 years, until the diamond blue Machin that celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. I decided that a stamp that was in use for 10 years didn't qualify as a defino-memorative, and I did not want to say that it was a defino-memorative in 1997 but not in 2002-2012. 

It's a close call, just like deciding whether a Post & Go label is actually a postage stamp. I made my decision, and I thank the reader for giving me a reason to explain it.

Please read the comments for more discussion.



Anonymous said...

You forgot the Gold 1st class which were introduced for the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002

Anonymous said...

I accept that for the NVI (1st class) version, however the denominated value (26p) was only available for a year.

How would you categorise the stamps from the Arnold Machin Sheet with ‘AM11’ in the iridescent overlay?

GBStamps said...

Good point about the 26p gold. It would classify as a defino-memorative with my definition.

I would group the stamps from the Arnold Machin sheet with things like the Machins in prestige booklets. I wouldn't make too much of them because they are specialized varieties of ordinary definitives (and I'm lumping the gold NVI in with the definitives for the sake of this discussion), and in this case I'm concerned with major varieties (Deegam level 1) and not distinctions such as the iridescent overlay.

We could have a group of stamps defined as "definitives issued in formats for collectors that would rarely if ever be used for postage by non-collectors." What should we call it?


Anonymous said...

I’m almost in complete agreement with you, not too sure about the Arnold Machin sheet though, it’s probably got more to do with how I see the yearly change in year code as qualifying them as different stamps as you can see the overprint with the naked eye. I would be in agreement with you if it needed an aid such as an ultraviolet lamp.

On the subject of prestige books, they can throw up a few oddities, such as those produced in the trilogy for the Stamp Show 2000 in London.

Would you draw a distinction between booklet stamps and defino-memorative for the three large size Machin stamps from the 1999 book and the re-issued of the Penny Back Anniversary stamp from the 2000 book 1st rather than denominated?

Whilst the 1998 book contained Wilding definitives and subsequent miniature sheets, would you consider a book/miniature sheets on similar lines, which contained Machins in the colours of the pre-decimal and early decimal issues as a defino-memoratives?

Should a time limit on the availability of a stamp be a deciding factor, we are seing an increase in the time available to special/commemorative stamps, would a stamp such as the £1 stamp, whose colour was changed to ruby to mark the 40th Anniversary qualify? And would you draw a distinction between water activated gum and self-adhesive reprints?

Do you think the adoption of defino-memorative as a type of stamp opens the possibility for highbred categories? For example, the 25p Machin, or indeed the multi value coil strips produced for Readers Digest promotions, which differed from the ‘normal’ stamps by not having elliptical perforations or containing a stamp not part of the over the counter range.

How would you consider ‘normal’ stamp with a special perforation, for example in the shape of a crown, a defino-memorative or a gimmick?

Now to answer your question on limited availability, common sense suggests ’partial postals’, the collector in me says either specialized or draws no distinction. If you were to draw a distinction, the list would include

£1.50, £2, £3 & £5 Machin stamps
Books of large letter stamps
Business sheets
Mixed content retail books
Prestige books
Post & Go labels
Miniature sheets containing special issue definitives (defino-memorative and Arnold Machin sheet type issues)
Stamps from rolls (both those produced for stamp vending machines and mailing houses)

I’ve based that list on a Post Office Local, the other types, sub, main and Crown offices, may have some or all of the above. There are probably others as well.

GBStamps said...

My apologies for the delayed response, and I thank you for your thoughtful contributions. Here are my further thoughts and my answers to at least some of your questions.

First, though, I want to discuss at least part of my definition of a definitive. To me, a definitive must be available in a format that the general, non-collecting public would purchase for use on mail. That would include counter sheets, business sheets, folded booklets and coils. It would not include prestige booklets and miniature sheets. So the three large size Machins from the 1999 book are not definitives at all, and therefore would not be defino-memoratives. They are obviously different stamps from the everyday Machins (e.g., the first-class flame Machin), and so I am willing to categorize them differently.

Second, my classification of definitive, commemorative or defino-memorative would be made at Deegam Level 1; that is, I would group all stamps with the same value, color, shape and design together and assign them one of these categories. From these three categories, the large 1999 Machins would be commemoratives, mostly because they do not fall in to either of the other two. The same for the first-class version of the black Penny Black Anniversary Stamp.

The time limit on the availability of a stamp is a deciding factor, and as I said, my criterion for a defino-memorative is that the time limit is announced when the stamp is issued. This was true for the Penny Black Anniversary stamps, the LTR stamps, etc. (If Royal Mail ever announces a stamp that will be on sale for ten years, I may have to reconsider.) This was not true for the gold first-class Machin (when it was reintroduced in 2002) and for the ruby £1 stamp, so I consider these definitives.

My stipulation for limited availability is only related to time, not location. Especially from outside the UK, it is nearly impossible to gauge how widely stamps are distributed. If customers cannot buy certain items at any nearby office, that's a distribution problem. One possible exception could be the high-value Machin stamps, which are intentionally not widely distributed, but I would still consider them definitives, because they do not commemorate anything. The same is true of the £10 Britannia.