2007 marks the 40th anniversary of the issue of new Queen Elizabeth II definitives featuring Arnold Machin's iconic bas-relief sculpture that replaced the Wilding definitives. Arnold Machin's 1967 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (sometimes referred to as the Machin head) has been reproduced over 175 billion times
Arnold Machin created one of the most instantly recognisable images in the world with his classic sculpture of the Queen - and like many examples of great design it was simplicity that was the key to its success. Machin admired the design of the world's first postage stamp, the Penny Black and its effective use of a light image against a dark background.
When he was commissioned to create a new stamp design in early 1966, Machin worked from a photograph of the coin mould he had designed a year earlier for the new decimal currency. Over the course of the year the design changed significantly; including the removal of a tiara in preference for the same diadem worn by Queen Victoria on the Penny Black. The public saw the very first Machin definitive in June 1967 when the 4d sepia stamp was issued.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Machin definitive the present £1 violet definitive will be withdrawn and replaced with a £1 ruby red Machin to mark the Machin's ruby anniversary. The new colour has been devised by Jeffery Matthews, originator of the Jeffery Matthews colour palette.
Now that the Smilers Sheets have been delivered (7 days after the intended day of issue) we can tell you that this provides us with a new variety. The Arnold Machin stamp on the Smilers Sheets has no embossing thus it is a different stamp to that in the miniature sheet and PSB. The phosphor frame around the portrait is also quite different, although we have not tested the reaction to UV light. Album producers will almost certainly make space for these stamps and they will be separately listed in some catalogues. It has not been the practice of Stanley Gibbons catalogues to separately list Smilers stamps which are different (perforation, printing method), because they are sold at a small premium over face value. We will supply this stamp singly with or without labels.
Prestige Stamp Books have now been found with all panes duplicated. For details and pictures (more to be added later), click here.
The miniature sheet comprises of both the new ruby and the old violet £1 Machins flanked by two new 1st Class commemorative stamps featuring an early Machin from 1967 on the left hand stamp and a portrait of the man himself on the right hand stamp.
The £1 ruby stamp will replace the mauve one issued in 1995, and will be issued in conventional sheets of 200.
On the same date, the 2nd class definitive will be issued in pre-PIP design, in sheets of 200, printed by De La Rue from cylinder D3.
Accompanying the miniature sheet is a Prestige Stamp Book which tells the story of the development of the Machin in Arnold Machin's own words. Click on each pane to see a large image in a new window/tab.
Stamp details: (panes 2, 3 & 4 shown above)
Pane 1: Top and bottom rows 2p-48p-2p definitives; middle row 46p-label-46p. The label shows the Machin head of the Queen;
Pane 2: Top and bottom, £1 ruby definitive; label in the centre showing the Machin head as seen through a camera lens;
Pane 3: Two of each of the Machin anniversary stamps arranged A B / B A;
Pane 4: Top and bottom rows, 1st & 2nd class Large Letter stamps, middle row 1st & 2nd class standard letter stamps with a label showing Sir Rowland Hill.
Of note is the fact that 1st & 2nd class standard letter stamps have reverted or will revert to the original Machin design. The 1st & 2nd class stamps in this book will be PIP designs issued after that reversion.
A generic sheet consisting of 20 x 1st class Machin commemorative
stamps is designed to look like a page from a collector's album. The
stamps depicted on the labels are the complete range of pre-decimal
definitives, ½d, 1d, 2d, 3d, 4d sepia, 4d red, 5d, 6d, 7d, 8d
red, 8d blue, 9d, 10d, 1/-, 1/6, 1/9, 2/6, 5/-, 10/-, £1. The
labels also show the issue date and official colour descriptions.
Note: The Arnold Machin stamp from the Smilers sheet is NOT embossed, which means that it is a different stamp to that in the miniature sheet and PSB.
Uncut Press Sheets of 12 miniature sheets are also available (price on request). Unlike the 2006 Victoria Cross press sheets these are perforated horizontally between miniature sheets, but not on the trimming marks - see above
The Miniature sheet was designed by Jeffery Matthews in conjunction
with Together Design, and the PSB was designed by Together Design. The
£1 ruby, the miniature sheet and the PSB are printed in gravure
by De La Rue Security Print.
The Smilers Sheet was designed by Atelier Works, and we expect that it will be printed by Cartor Security Print in litho.
All stamp and other images except Norvic FDCs are copyright Royal Mail 2007. Norvic FDCs are copyright Norvic Philatelics 2007, designs produced using stamp elements by kind permission of Royal Mail.
We have three exclusive covers for this issue, for the prestige stamp book panes, the miniature sheet, and the third has been used for both the Smilers sheet and the miniature sheet. Our cover designs for this issue use stamps, postmarks, and the original 1967 first day cover design by kind permission of Royal Mail.
1. The Miniature sheet FDC based on the 1967 GPO first day cover - price
£7.50 - available with FD626NP Windsor FDI postmark as shown,
or with L10531.
Note: this is NOT a double-dated cover - 1967 covers were not big enough to accommodate the 2007 MS as well as the 1967 stamps. (Image of actual cover.)
2. The Prestige Book Pane set of 4 FDCs Price £18.75 per
set with 4 different postmarks. (Image of actual
This cover carries an illustration of the 1999 1st class black (typographed by Harrison & Sons) issued in the Profile on Print PSB, by kind permission of Royal Mail.
Click here for larger pictures of each of the PSB covers: Pane 1 - Pane 2 - Pane 3 - Pane 4
3. By popular request we have used our third cover for both the
Smilers and as an alternative cover for the miniature sheet.
This design uses the classic Machin head made of a montage of early Machin definitive and regional stamps, and is also used by kind permission of Royal Mail.
Miniature sheet FDC - price £7.50 - available with
L10532 only. (Image of actual cover.)
4. As the Smilers stamps are large we have just 10 stamps on the 4
covers with all the labels. Price £10.95 per set of 4 covers
cancelled with L10530 or M10548.
Miniature sheet mint
Single unembossed stamp from Smilers Sheet
Prestige Stamp Book
Set of 3 stamp Cards unused
Miniature sheet on Royal Mail fdc
£1 ruby mint or vfu
2nd class blue pre-PIP Machin, water-activated gum, De La Rue printing
[cylinder and other positional blocks also available, please ask]
£1 ruby on Royal Mail definitive fdc
2nd class blue pre-PIP DLR Machin on Royal Mail definitive fdc
Retail booklet with Machin advert & signature
Retail booklet on Royal Mail fdc
Postmarks available for the day of issue are shown below - these may not be to scale. The actual FD- postmarks were far better than the pre-issue images (see FDC #1 above); L10352 is larger than all the rest and so was not used on our Smilers covers because it would have swamped the stamps; impressions of L10544 are as poor as it looks, unfortunately. These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date of issue.
| Ref FD725
Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark "The Most Familiar Piece of 20th Century British Sculpture" A N Wilson
| Ref FD726
Windsor Official non-pictorial Postmark "Things men have made with wakened hands"
D H Lawrence
| Ref FD739
Stoke-on-Trent Official non-pictorial Postmark "I think I was born a terracotta modeller!"
| Ref FD726NP
Windsor Official Non-Pictorial FDI postmark
| Ref FD739NP
Stoke-on-Trent Official Non-Pictorial FDI postmark
| Ref L10531
The Machin Definitive Stamps - 40th Anniversary of a British Icon - Windsor, Berks.
| Ref L10530
40th Anniversary of The Machin Definitive Stamps - London SW1
| Ref L10529*
Machin Stamp Effigy 1967 - St Martins-Le-Grand London EC1
| Ref L10533
40th Anniversary of The Machin - Royal British Society of Sculptors - London SW7 - First Machin Issued 1967
| Ref L10522
40th Anniversary of The Machin 1967-2007 - Arnold Road, London E3
| Ref L10521
40th Anniversary of The Machin Definitive Stamps - Windsor Berkshire
| Ref L10523
40th Anniversary of The Machin Definitive Stamps - Old Street London EC1
| Ref L10524
40th Anniversary of The Machin Definitive Stamps - Picadilly London W1
| Ref L10525
40th Anniversary of The Machin Definitive Stamps - Old Brompton Road London SW7
| Ref L10526
40th Anniversary of The Machin Definitive Stamps - Kensington Gore, London SW7
| Ref M10535
40th Anniversary of The Machin Definitive Stamps - Stoke-on-Trent
| Ref M10536
Machin Definitive 40th Anniversary - Stoke-on-Trent
| Ref L10532
A Timeless Classic 40th London WC1
| Ref M10548
40th Anniversary of Machins, Machin Rd, Birmingham
| Ref M10547
The Machin Definitives fortieth anniversary, Oakhill, Stoke-on-Trent
40th Anniversary of the Machin (Machin Collectors Club logo), Windsor
Royal Mail Windsor Castle permanent postmark
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This page updated 9 July 2007
9 The Beatles
16 Definitive LOVE booklet
1 Sealife of the British Coast
13 The Sky at Night
1 World of Invention
1 Glorious Wales Smiler Sheet
22 Abolition of the Slave Trade
27 Definitive & Country stamps
23 Celebrating England miniature sheet and Glorious England Smilers Sheet
15 Beside the Seaside
17 Wembley Stadium MS and Smilers
5 Machins 40th Anniversary miniature sheet, PSB & Smilers
3 Motor racing Grand Prix
17 Harry Potter books
26 Centenary of Scouting (Europa)
4 Endangered Species - birds
20 British Military Uniforms (I)
16 60th Wedding Anniversary of HM the Queen
8 Lest We Forget
30 Glorious Scotland Smilers