September 29, 2019

More 19 codes and underprints this way and that

Two M19L MCIL 1st Class stamps that appear new - firstly with a paler shade of Royal Mail red and in both backing paper print orders. One, from the Elton John Concrete & Clay book is distinctly paler than its equivalent in the Birds of Prey book. The other is from the Royal Navy Ships Concrete & Clay book and has a duller fluor than those from the Marvel book. I have to admit to struggling rather with fluors which I can't see and underprints which I can never tell one from the other. 

An M19L MTIL from the books of 12. Is this really the first 19 issue for the T code? Gosh.

This £1.55 marine turquoise has a pale Queen's head and a bright fluor (as well as an inverted backing compared to the previously mentioned 19 code for this stamp).

M18L MFIL 2nd Large. I'm not entirely sure why I have this. I am advised that it has full length bands whereas a previous issue had short bands at the top. I stopped collecting the short or misplaced bands where this was the only difference a long time ago. However if that variety was the only one available before then I can see some logic in my needing the 'normal' stamp with bands where they're supposed to be now. Needless to say, if you are still collecting these different types (and underprint orders) then you'll need this one too.

Rather more normal, now, we have some more 19 codes for the 1p crimson, 2p dark green and 5p ash pink and the 1st Class Royal Mail reds with codes B, S and T as well as the T code 2nd Bright blue.

I did think we'd had all these but clearly I am imagining things! It is nearly October and these are the issues which I expect people to use the most and to have been needed rather earlier.

The Concrete & Clay booklet contents for the Royal Navy ships issue.

Some time ago my son bought me a couple of fat 'stock-book' style albums for my birthday which I thought would be sufficient to see out the Machins. It looks as though I shall need another as the NVI album (started with the new coded issues) is full to bursting as a consequence of so many variations within each year code (and not helped by two anniversaries). I bravely drew a line at short bands and underprint directions in the hope that the pages might be adequate. I should also have stopped getting fluors which, without an ultraviolet detector, remain what appear to be duplicates of stamps already there in some cases. Often, though, the different coatings had coincided with a distinct shade and they do continue to relieve the boredom.

So I'll stick with the fluors a little longer and just start a new album in 2020. I just hope like mad that I can actually fit in the rest of this decade in the old one.

As for the issues with specific denominations, I place these in individual mounts stuck on the pages. The number of times I have had to move huge numbers around and insert extra pages when yet another 20p or 2p arrives is crazy! And just as you think the higher values are fairly safe in their line-up, along comes a £1.88 or something to insert somewhere you really had not expected to have to disturb!

As for where to put panes from prestige books, I have left most of them loose around the page for the lowest value shown. To make space for these is an even more disturbing task. I get slightly annoyed with these books anyway and, whilst I am now committed to seeing them through to the end, they are now just an expensive thing that has little to do with the stamps I originally started to collect. I used to get quite excited when these booklets came out with their several panes of Machins.

Even then, I realised that the chances of finding a genuinely used stamp from a prestige booklet was minute but I didn't mind too much. They're fine production items now and certainly informative but the predominance of what seems pure advertisement rather than celebration gets on my nerves. They're often even worse now than the sets of plates or figurines which were promoted in mailings and the pages of Sunday Magazines. I do not want a hole on the page where a Marvel 50p should go!

I shall end on a more cheerful and appreciative note. The last few months' Philatelic Bulletins have had excellent articles on Machins and it has been a pleasure to see so many pages devoted to these stamps each month. As I have been banging on a lot in the past about how this publication seemed to have forgotten all about us Machin collectors it is only right that I should now give credit where credit is due and hope that they can keep up the good work.

September 05, 2019

Underprints and another 19 code

Add another 19 code to the list. This is the 2nd Quite Deep Bright Blue Business Sheet issue M19L MBIL.

Rather more interesting is this M18L MTIL item - from the booklets of 12 - which has come to light on the old 'Type 1' backing paper (in which the text is all the same way up as opposed to every other line being inverted in Type 2)

Not a great deal more has been happening in the world of Machins recently. There will be some new Concrete & Clay books for ships and now Elton John is getting some promotion but I expect this will produce merely the same MCIL stamps that we have seen already.

July 09, 2019

An odd Welsh 1st issue and more 19 codes

Cartor have come up with an oddity for Wales, using the old sans-serif style tablet for the denomination. Maybe the others will revert - or was this just a mistake?

Another M19L MCIL from the latest Concrete & Clay book issued recently for the D Day celebrations.

An M19L code for the 100g Special Delivery stamp.

20 p, £1 and £1.55 get M19L MAIL codes

May 14, 2019

Some more 19 codes

This month we have the recent new values, all M19L MAIL an showing a bright fluor.

Next we have two 1st Class issues, each in Royal Mail red. The M18L MSIL stamp has a brighter fluor than before and the M19L MAIL is the first with a 19 code.

The £1.55 in marine turquoise is also now showing a MAIL M19L code, as are the 1st Large and 2nd Large issues.

Everything here is from Walsall.

It should also be noted that the 1st Class Machin in the Birds of Prey Concrete & Clay book seems to be a distinctly darker shade of Royal Mail red.

April 04, 2019

A few more 18 and 19 code oddments

Another M19L MCIL in the latest Concrete & Clay book.

1st Large M18L MFIL with bright fluor

1st Large M18L MAIL pale red (although the scanned image doesn't look any paler)

The previous M19L MCIL from the Marvel Concrete & Clay book.

1st M18L MSIL dull fluor with a yellow tint

March 20, 2019

Six more Machins for your album

Increases at the end of this month have produced six new Machin definitives and eight Regionals. Covering a range of parcel and international rates the face values start at £1.35 and this is quite an expensive lot to acquire. However, unlike many recent issues, these will get some real postal use and certainly need to be added if you are trying to keep that Machin album complete.

There are the usual two Regionals - now at £1.35 and £1.55 values in the same designs that have now lasted far longer than I am sure anyone would have predicted. Now I should know the answer but I am intrigued by the fact that there is a £1.55 value in the Regionals but a £1.60 value in the Machins. I had though that the Regional pairs were two of whatever was issued nationally but clearly I am mistaken. I shall to look back and also look at which rate is which. Still seems odd.

The Machins are printed by Walsall and have the M19L code. It is not easy to read and I can imagine it being difficult to distinguish M18L from M19L in Walsall printings should they use a similar process for some future values that are already out with M18L codes. I presume that the Regionals are Cartor products but I have not seen confirmation yet.

One would expect to have all these details, if not in the description at the Royal Mail shop at least in some article in the Philatelic Bulletin. There are pages of quite tedious text about forthcoming events and exhibitions but little by way of useful detail of issues. Once the Bulletin was a very useful reference for issue detail but these have not even been deemed worthy of a mention. Interestingly, the whole panel of 'Forthcoming Issues' in the recent Bulletin is taken up by the Marvel issues!

March 15, 2019

Another Prestige Book. Marvellous.

As if the issues nowadays were not a joke already, here is another laugh for collectors as Royal Mail celebrate comics, the Marvel brand in particular. For fans of this genre I have no doubt that this will be a splendid affair but that really is it. The number of the prestige books that will be sold to anyone wanting to use the stamps is probably a really low number. I have long said that we should be collecting used examples of the contents. But that, I guess, is not a simple task and would necessitate either weeks spent going through charity sacks or doing what by old friend Mr Vincent would do; take the stamped envelopes along to Kings Langley Post Office and ask the chap behind the counter to do the honours. Carefully. He called it 'tipping'.

For this issue there is the Concrete & Clay book with four 1st red stamps with the usual MCIL code but these seem to be the first with M19L codes. These we should expect to see on envelopes from time to time.

The Machin pane in the prestige book, contains 1p, 20p, £1.25 and £1.45 values. I'm not sure how useful they'll be with the forthcoming rate change!

With their M18L and MPIL codes they will need to be collected if you are trying to keep up-to-date.

That's two prestige books in two months. At £12 or so a time, I may have to start using the other contents of the books myself!

There seem to be 33 different items at the Royal Mail shop for this issue. I am beginning to wonder just what proportion of their business is now funded by collectors as opposed to people wanting to post stuff.