British Stamps News & Articles

50th Year of GB Machin Definitive Stamps Postmark Highlights Early Bird Opportunity

Just recently, on March 22nd, we had a reminder of the length of time we've been using Machin definitive stamps with a special postmark commemorating entry in to the fiftieth year of use.

Arnold Machin Post & Go cancelled 50th Year Machin Stamps Special Postmark
Arnold Machin Centenary Post & Go stamp with the special 50th Year of Machin Stamps postmark 22 March 2016
A few of these covers will be offered on eBay in coming weeks via this seller account

In my view it seems highly likely that, as the series gets ever nearer to ending, the humble Machin stamp will become the focus of many GB stamp collections and, if this is true, the shrewder collector will almost certainly be the one that anticipates the completion date and starts acquiring items earlier than others. With fifty years of issues already out there, I'd suggest the time to make a start is already here.

Almost everyone with even just a passing interest in GB stamps will be aware of the halfpenny sideband as one of the more pricey stamps to acquire. However, an unmounted mint example (with good perfs) still doesn't break the bank at the moment and nice stamps have traded recently online for less than £20. Other stamps likely to prove more expensive in time include the 10p value unique to the se-tenant pane in the Christian Heritage Prestige Booklet and the 26p Worldwide postcard rate stamp from the £1.04 booklet (SG No. GE1) issued in 1987. Again, these are still very affordable. It is probably the stamps issued in large rolls as used by mailing houses that will present the biggest challenge for future collectors.

As with most GB stamp issues, you can make life expensive for yourself if you also go hunting for the errors and varieties. But if you remain focused on just the actual normal stamps there is little to fear in terms of affordability yet and, if you start sooner rather than later, you can more easily spread the cost over the months and years to come. A complete collection based upon the Gibbons Concise catalogue is still a realistic possibility.

In recent years improvements in printing technology have meant a lot of new stamps are now appearing differentiated by their security features. These features include the printing dates and source codes revealed in the microprint backgrounds and the much disliked slits to combat kiloware cowboys who promote the reuse of uncancelled stamps. As this is an area that could become one of the bigger challenges to future Machin collectors, I strongly urge readers to follow the blog postings and resources made available by Norphil to keep up to date with current Machin developments and take advantage of their advice now rather than struggle in future.

Obviously I wish The Queen many more years of good health and don't want to see this series come to an end anytime soon but, being realistic,  there will not be another 50 years of GB Machins issued and we know it's the early birds that catch the juicy worms.

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50th Year of GB Machin Definitive Stamps Postmark Highlights Early Bird Opportunity

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