By Denise McCarty
Great Britain’s Royal Mail issued five new Machin stamps and eight country definitives March 21 in conjunction with new postage rates that went into effect March 27 (Linn's, March 27, page 27).
Five of the stamps feature the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that has been used on British stamps since 1967.
Royal Mail said: “Even though it’s been ubiquitous for almost half a century, Arnold Machin’s bas-relief portrait of Her Majesty the Queen remains as timeless as ever. Introduced in 1967, it’s one of the most famous images in the world, having now appeared on more than 200 billion stamps.”
The other eight are country, or regional, stamps for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. They are valid for postage throughout the United Kingdom.
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The Machin stamps display new colors in what Royal Mail calls the “jubilee palette,” which was introduced in 2013.
The denominations and colors are £1.17 sunset red, £1.40 dark green pine, £1.57 tarragon green, £2.27 harvest gold, and £2.55 garnet red.
The stamps pay various rates to countries in Europe and around the world: £1.17, letters to Europe weighing up to 20 grams and to other countries weighing up to 10 grams; £1.40, international letters up to 20 grams; £1.57, letters to Europe up to 100 grams; £2.27, international letters up to 100 grams; and £2.55, large letters to Europe weighing up to 100 grams.
The country definitives include four £1.17 stamps and four £1.40 stamps. All show previous designs, with an oak tree for England, linen for Northern Ireland, a thistle for Scotland, and a daffodil for Wales on the £1.17 stamps; and Tudor rose for England, Parian china for Northern Ireland, tartan for Scotland, and Prince of Wales feathers for Wales on the £1.40 denominations.
De La Rue Security Print printed the self-adhesive Machins by gravure.
International Security Printers printed the country definitives by lithography in sheets of 25. They have moisture-activated gum.
All of the stamps are perforated 15 by 14 and measure 20 millimeters by 24mm.
Royal Mail is offering various first-day covers and two presentation packs (one for the Machins and one for the country stamps) in conjunction with these new stamps.
Ordering information is available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland. This is their website.