World Stamps

How should Scott catalog editors list the new King Charles definitives?

Apr 19, 2023, 12 PM
The Royal Mail publicity image of a new Great Britain first-class definitive stamp showing King Charles III.

Philatelic Foreword by Jay Bigalke

On April 4, Great Britain’s Royal Mail issued its first definitive stamps showing King Charles III. Its design has nods to the previous Machin head definitives.

The Queen Elizabeth II definitives designed by Arnold Machin, hence the nickname, were so prolific with different denominations, varieties and more that they received a separate prefix in the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue listings. That prefix is “MH,” and there are more than 500 major listings in the Great Britain section of the catalog.

The Machins originally were in the regular Great Britain listings, but in the 2000 catalog, they were taken out of the postage section and moved to the MH section because the series had become so complex.

So what do you think Scott catalog editors should do with the new King Charles III definitives? Should these definitives continue to be listed in a separate section in the back-of-the-book area for Great Britain? Or should these stamps just be listed in the main postage section?

It is inevitable that Royal Mail will continue to pump out new varieties of definitives, so I don’t think anyone would expect just a couple of stamps to be issued as long as Charles continues to reign.

And, if the King Charles definitives do have a new section, what prefix should be used? Some thoughts range from CH for Charles Head, MJ for Martin Jennings the designer of the new portrait, KC for King Charles, and JH for Jennings Head playing off of the MH for Machin Head. Or perhaps, there should be something completely different.

Please send an email to with your thoughts.

Editors anticipate making a decision soon, with the first listings to appear in the Scott New Issues section of Scott Stamp Monthly later this year.

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