By Denise McCarty
Royal Mail issued 20 new definitive stamps March 20.
Four of the stamps are Machins featuring the bas-relief portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Arnold Machin. This portrait has been used on Britain’s stamps since 1967.
The other 16 are country definitives. Also known as regional stamps, they are issued for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. They are valid for postage throughout the United Kingdom.
The Machins are in new colors and denominations to meet postage rates that went into effect March 26: £1.25 holly green, £1.45 dove gray, £1.55 marine turquoise, and £2.65 purple heather.
The stamps pay various rates to countries in Europe and around the world: £1.25, letters to Europe weighing up to 20 grams and to other countries weighing up to 10 grams; £1.45, international letters up to 20 grams and international economy letters up to 100 grams; £1.55, letters to Europe up to 100 grams; £2.65, large letters to Europe weighing up to 100 grams.
Four of the new country definitives (one for each region) are denominated £1.25, and another four are denomination £1.45.
The others are nondenominated paying the domestic first-class (67p) or second-class rate (58p).
All of the country stamps feature the same designs that have been used for several years. Royal Mail reports that the new versions of the nondenominated country stamps were issued to standardize the “typographical styling across this series and bring it in line with the current Machin Definitive.”
In each of the following descriptions, the first design is for the second-class stamp, the second for the first-class stamp, the third for the £1.25, stamp, and the fourth for the £1.45:
England, three lions, crowned lion, oak tree and Tudor rose;
Northern Ireland, Giants Causeway, farm fields, linen and Parian china;
Scotland, national flag (St. Andrew’s cross), lion rampant, thistle and tartan; and
Wales, leek, dragon, daffodil and Prince of Wales feathers.
International Security Printers printed the self-adhesive Machins by gravure in sheets of 25.
The country definitives have moisture-activated gum. International Security Printers printed them by lithography in sheets of 25 for the stamps with denominations and sheets of 50 for the nondenominated stamps.
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.
Connect with Linn’s Stamp News:
Ordering information is available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland.
Royal Mail’s two agencies in the United States are Interpost, Box 420, Hewlett, NY 11557; and the British Stamp Service in North America, 3001 E. Pershing Blvd., Suite 160, Cheyenne, WY 82001-5775.