Machins are British stamps with a design based on a plaster cast profile of Queen Elizabeth II done by Arnold Machin. The first Machin stamps were issued in 1967. In 1971 new stamps were made after the introduction of the decimal value. Through the years many stamps have been issued in many values and many variations. Differences can be found in colors, gum, paper, phosphor bands, design, size and perforation.
Machins have not only been printed at Harrison & Sons. In 1979 the Post Office decided to spread the load and sought other printers to supplement production. Enschede of Haarlem in Holland, Waddington and The House of Questa printed Machins too.
Machins were also printed for regional use on the Isle of Man and in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The regionals were issued with a design incorporating the local symbol in the top left hand corner.
For the higher values stamps of a larger size were printed.
A magnifying-glass is a optical instrument used to examine the various details of a stamp. A magnifying-glass is made from special types of high-quality glass, known as optical glass, that are free from internal strains, bubbles, and other imperfections. Originally magnifying-glasses were made of glass, but recent developments of plastics and of special moulding processes have led to an increasing use of plastic for the manufacture of lenses. Plastic magnifying-glasses are cheaper, lighter, and less fragile than the glass ones.
There are many types of magnifying-glasses, some of them specially made to carry in your pocket, and the magnification differs from 5 to 100. Most collectors use a magnifying glass which blows up the stamp ten times.
Often the margins of a sheet bear marks, register marks, pointers, dates or other information which are of interest for collectors, but in general the margin of a sheet is an unprinted area.
The information printed on the margins can be meant for: Printer (register marks, plate numbers, date of print),
Post Office (date of issue, counting numbers), Customer (postal rates, information about the stamp)
Lines printed in the margin surrounding the stamps of a sheet are called marginal rules.
There are two reasons for the use of marginal rules: To prevent forgery. Unprinted margins of stamp sheets can be used by forgers to print stamps on.
To prevent damaging of the printing plate during surface printing. The raised edge around the printing plate reduces the shock that will be felt when the inking roller strikes the first row of stamps on the plate.
A maximum card is an illustrated postcard that has one or more stamps and cancels. Illustration, stamps and cancel are all on the same common theme. The date of the postmark does not necessarily has to be the day of issue of the stamps used.
Mint says something about the condition the stamp is in. A mint stamp has the same condition as on the day that it was printed.
Sometimes the term "mint never hinged" is used for stamps in this condition, because many people use "mint" for stamps that were unused and hinged. Stamps that have been hinged can better be called "hinged" or "unused with hinge", since during the manufacturing process of stamps hinges are never added.
A stamp that has been "hinged" is worth considerably less than the same stamp in mint condition.
It is sad, but many collectors are unwillingly damaging stamps by incorrectly mounting stamps in albums.
The most important thing to remember: Only use products developed for the job: Hinges and mounts
To affix stamps (mint) into your album you can use mounts or hinges. A mount is a plastic strip which can be cut to stamp size. Place the stamp between de two layers of the strip and moister the back of the mount. You have to fix the mount firmly to the album page.
Although hinges are cheap and are often used by collectors for mounting used stamps, for hinging mint stamps it is better to use mounts. Mounts are more expensive, but unlike hinges the gum of the stamp will not be damaged.
The fist pictorial envelope issued by a Post Office was designed by William Mulready. Two envelopes were issued in 1840 in Great-Britain: 1d and 2d.
Rowland Hill had commissioned Mulready to design an envelope which bore marks that postage was paid. Mulready pictured Britannia sending out winged messengers to the four points of the compass.
Press and public criticised the envelopes a lot. Public and private firms printed envelopes and covers in many humorous designs to ridicule the official stationery. Of course these caricatures did not have prepaid postage and thus ordinary stamps had to be affixed. Soon the Mulready envelopes were withdrawn.