Monday, 13 February 2017

The New Security Backing Paper

According to an article written by Don Staddon in the latest issue of Stamp Magazine a 1st class counter sheet with printed backing paper (PBP2) alternative background text has been seen. It has a printing date 09/12/16 and has iridescent code M16L. We have already mentioned a 2nd class value from a business sheet.

Above SBP2

It is only natural and sensible to conclude that dealers and catalogue compilers will call this (PBP2) = Printed Backing Paper 2

How does it differ from PBP?

The lines of alternating text are either upright or inverted. Printers have done this not as a further aid to deter forgeries but as an aid in the the production process. More booklets, business sheets and counter sheets will follow in the near future.

PBP2 consists of :

The text “ROYAL MAIL” is printed on the substrate paper and is divided into four repeated lines of text they are all different., 

A wavy line of the text in the upright position in a small font.
A wavy line upright in a large font.
A wavy line inverted in a small font 
A wavy line inverted  in a large font.   

Friday, 10 February 2017

Decisions, Decisions - What to Call the New Shade of Red

Last year Royal Mail made a significant change to the red color used for first-class Machin stamps. It was made darker and less yellow to better match their official brand color used on vehicles, post boxes, publications, etc.

The complete set of changes in this rebranding effort were discussed in this blog and in the Norvic Philatelics Blog.

Now catalog editors have the fun chore of deciding whether to recognize this as an official change and what to call the new color.

Royal Mail's name for the original color, introduced in January 2013, is Royal Mail red. This is what appears in the margin of the sheet stamps. We haven't yet seen sheet stamps in this new shade and Royal Mail hasn't indicated whether they will change the name of the color or not.

The 2013 version is on the left above and the new stamp on the right.

The Modern British Philatelic Circle used Royal Mail's name for the original color and is calling the new color Royal Mail red+. Douglas Myall, in The Complete Deegam Machin Handbook, also used Royal Mail red for the original and is calling the new color Royal Mail red 2, abbreviated RMR2.

Stanley Gibbons called the original vermillion and is calling the new color bright scarlet.

Here in the US, the Scott Catalogue editors are, as of this writing, still thinking about whether to recognize this new shade at all, and if so, what to call it. The 2013 issue is called bright red. I'll update this post when I know what they've decided.

As long as it's open season, what's your suggestion for the name of this color?


Here We Go Again - A Machin Plaster Cast For Sale

Plaster casts of Queen Elizabeth II made by Arnold Machin in the process of designing his iconic stamp have been trickling into the market over the past decade. We've written about sales in 2008 (here and here), 201o (here), and 2013 (here and here). Now another one has surfaced.

The previous casts were all auctioned by Cuttlestones, an auction house in Staffordshire where Machin lived but not one that specializes in philatelic material. This one is being sold by Cavendish Philatelic Auctions, Ltd., one of the leading philatelic auction houses in the U.K. It is being offered in their March 15/16, 2017 auction.

The description says the cast was executed by Machin circa March/April 1966 and was based on his previous work for British coinage.* Based on Douglas Muir's book, A Timeless Classic, and Machin's memoirs, it's probably closer to late February/early March 1966, but I won't pick nits.

The description says they know of one other cast of this model, which is held by The Postal Museum in London. It goes on to state that two casts of the final accepted head were sold, with Royal Mail paying £18,500 for the first in 2008, and a second selling for £21,000 in 2009, eventually winding up at the Royal Philatelic Society in London.

The cast was the property of a deceased estate of a former printer and has some small chips on the edge. 

The estimated price is £12,000. 

The cast is lot 815 in the sale. The catalog can be downloaded from the Cavendish web site.


*The Cavendish advertisement for it that appeared on the back cover of the January, 2017 issue of The Chronicle, the journal of the Great Britain Collectors' Club, dated the cast from March 1965, which is incorrect. That may have been a typographical error.