February 26, 2015

A few variations

No, the booklet isn't wrongly cut, just my scan not being up to normal standards! This is, though, quite an expensive little book as it features four 1st red with dull fluor and the iridescent coating is short at the top. The stamps are the Walsall M14L MCIL which have appeared before. I don't need this in my collection so will be selling it if anyone is interested.

These two strips of Machin Post And Gos look pretty similar. Indeed they look pretty similar to another strip with that feint IIA font released last year. So what's the difference. First, the strip originally released had short phosphor bands - quite common on these things it seems. One of the above has what I'd call 'normal' or properly synchronised bands.

The other also has the same short phosphor bands at the bottom as before but also have what is described as sometihng akin to AOP, a sort of phosphor wash, presumably where the equipment has allowed the additive to spread during production, and, as well as being clear under a UV lamp it has also affected the printing which is very weak in the affected area which starts about a third of the way across from the left. That strip is the left one shown above and the poor printing is quite obvious.

Both strips are undated.

Lastly in this less than enthralling group that arrived this morning, there is the 2nd Class Machin Post And Gos with 'normal' phosphor bands. the previous ones were interrupted at the bottom so looked a bit odd. These are MA14 dated as before.

Again, none of these variations particularly interest me so I will probably keep the 'normal' ones and sell the off beat stuff.

How I miss the days when there would be all sorts of interesting Machin definitives appearing each few weeks.

February 25, 2015

Back to that 81p

Well, if the many scrutineers at International Security Printers can miss it then so can I! The 81p in the British Inventiveness prestige booklet is sea green but it should have been holly green - the colour of the De La Rue self adhesive issued in March 2014. The sea green version dates back to 2008! So that is what all the fuss was about.

I am not sure it need make the stamp any more valuable, though, as it would have been a different item anyway, both as a new printer and with its security code.

February 24, 2015

Now an 81½p would have been more interesting...

A somewhat over-designed prestige booklet came out this week. Inventive Britain sort of excuses the enthusiastic design evident in the front and rear covers, celebrating as it does some remarkable achievements by inhabitants of our islands over the years.

Inside there is some good text and the set of 10 special issue stamps, with two of them duplicated to make the three panes of four add up. There's invention all right. More to the point, though, and the first stamp pane for a welcome change too, is the Machin pane in what has become a very fixed three by three affair with someone having to conjure up something suitable to go in the middle. Why we have to have a label in the middle when another stamp would be perfectly acceptable is beyond me.

Some commentators are promoting this as of equal importance to the Wedgwood £3 book and its ½p pale blue left band because there is just one 81p in this book and I suppose the 81p is vaguely similar in colour. It is, though, some 162 times higher in face value so may have a chance but with the ½p stamps currently going for about £10 in a complete pane a £10 price tag for the 81p isn't that difficult to envisage anyway.

There does appear to have been quite a bit of advance interest with Royal Mail apparently restricting orders of panes as dealers tried to stock up in a big way, expecting this to be something of a special item. I am not convinced, especially as no-one uses the stamps in prestige books these days. In the Wedgwood book days they did and there lies the difference. Even the design of the panes doesn't exactly encourage anyone to tear the stamps out, even on the special issue pages. The firm want you to but the book and put it away somewhere. If you need to post something the pop down to the post office and they'll put a Horizon label on it or just get some NVIs at the supermarket.

The book has four new Machins that we need: 

1p crimson 2B
2p deep green 2B
81p sea green 2B
97p mauve 2B

All have the M14L MPIL code and are printed by International Security Printers who, I think, get called Cartor still.