Someone at Royal Mail decided that, as we didn't like queueing for stamps they should do something to help us. Now, in the past, booklets have been fine and available at all kinds of places but they felt they needed to do more. Remember Framas? Well, they did as well and tweaked that idea so that we only had to tell some machine whether we wanted letters, large letters, Europe rate or one of a couple of Worldwide rates and it would print out labels like the one above which we could slap on any time, any place.
Now, I'm still not convinced that this is any simpler than buying booklets of the appropriate stamps but it might be cheaper to print rolls of these things and just have them printed on demand rather than make thousands of nice little booklets. Had I been writing this in 2009 then I am sure I would have left it at that and not thought a great deal more about it. The thought of little men dashing from selected Post Office locations where the new-fangled machines would need to be installed to fill them up, adjust them and fix them would have negated any potential savings. But that was then. This is now and I hadn't thought of the revenue possibilities if you print pretty pictures on them instead of just the Machin head.
So, for a standard 5 denomination set which one would need, and, say, 6 different pretty pictures of birds or something, collectors will want 30 labels each time. Hmmm, beginning to make more sense now...
So, as I said in my last post, they appeared in late 2008 with the first 5 labels. they're pretty much Machin definitives so I should be collecting these. Not the pretty birds or whatever so it shouldn't be too bad for those of us who do the same and ignore those.
Those who had orders with Tallents House didn't get the originals; they got packs which staff printed there in a slightly different way to avoid having to stand at a machine for hours fulfilling orders. That produced a clear variety straightaway so by March 2009 there are two distinct types of each of the five denominations.
In fact, due to all kinds of phosphor band variations, I reckon there are 26 labels that you'd need to have a complete definitive collection of these things. I have to acknowledge the considerable expertise of Norvic Philatelics and the ever brilliant B Alan people for helping me to make sense of all this. Nevertheless, the one thing I really really wanted but have failed to find anywhere on the net has been a simple table listing what was available and when. The B Alan Connoisseur Catalogue has a list up to March 2009 which was a great start but it took a trawl through almost all of Norvic's blog posts over the last few years to extract what came subsequently and when.
So I have now managed what I believe is a reasonably accurate list of definitive Machin Post and Gos to date. This is contained in the revised catalogue I'll be publishing shortly but if you happen to land here and have been looking for the same thing then here it is now.
You should be able to read the larger image that appears when you click it. These are just screen prints from the file I'll be publishing. If I've missed something or got something wrong do tell me! This includes 2010, 2011, 2012 and new items expected this year too which I will also refer to in the catch-up posts I'm doing.
And, yes, there have been Birds 1,2,3 and 4, a Flag version, Farm animals and goodness knows what else already!
I do still need the items in my lists above, by the way. All I can see for sale are bits and pieces at what appear ridiculous prices but I am hoping my new account with Mr Alan will resolve that problem for the future and, indeed, they may have the past stuff too.