The latest prestige book would be a much more pleasant item to have on the top of the pile if it is the final one with QEII content. The content itself, though, with 12 different commemoratives and the now familiar bit still bizarre pane of Machins, is a hotchpotch that rather spoils the overall impression. Plenty of good text and illustrations for the steam train lovers but I don't see why 8 Flying Scotsman stamps were needed as well as a further 4 LNER or associated ones in a different style and format.
As for the Machins, where once there were 12 and then 8 there are now just four and, in this edition, only two denominations. A 20p green and a £2 blue. The head looks slightly paler on the 20p so I would say this is a separate issue for the collection (and, of course, the bar code will indicate its source too) and the £2 is the first from Cartor.
I shall stop collecting these books when King Charles takes over the panels. They are horrendously expensive now and, as I have said on many other occasions, the content is of minimal interest and the stamps merely one-offs which will be listed in catalogues as quite expensive singles but virtually never used as stamps. It will be quite a relief to abandon them. They remind me so much of those advertisements that use to be on the back cover of Sunday Magazines for limited edition sets of pottery, figurines or something. Along similar lines I have complete blue books of the 1977 QEII 25th Anniversary issues with stamps from probably every British Commonwealth country, including the Miniature Sheets and various variations on the theme available at the time. A colleague and I had committed to subscribing to Urch Harris for the whole lot but never anticipated the vast quantities that came our way. We bought the books to store them in, the pages and mounts and the whole thing went on for ever and cost us a fortune. Luckily I had a good income in those days and could afford them in the belief that they would be 'valuable' one day. No chance. I doubt I could sell the books for a tenner each now.
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