UNITED KINGDOM. 2017, the Post&Go issues (2)

1967 - 2017, 50 years of the Machin stamps

June 5th 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the issue of the first definitive stamp series featuring the Arnold Machin image of Queen Elizabeth II. 
In the mid-1960s, five artists presented their works for a new profile portrait of the Queen, and the Arnold Machin design was selected. After several changes, in the final version the Queen is wearing a diadem, emulating the portrait of Queen Victoria on the Penny Black. This image was intended for definitive stamps featuring the portrait and face value only. However, a smaller image was required for use on commemorative stamps. Arnold Machin created a new design, replacing the diadem with a laurel wreath and ribbons (image). This version has been reproduced on special stamps since 1968, as a relief or solid silhouette version.
Throughout these 50 years, the Machin portrait of the Queen, a national icon, has been reproduced in more than 130 colors and has appeared on more than 200 billion stamps.

Royal Mail celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Machin stamps with the issue of two mini-sheets, '50 Years of a Design Icon' & 'Golden Anniversary Celebration', booklets, and a new Post & Go series.

The design of the new Post & Go 'Machin Anniversary' series shows the full-relief design of the Queen's head with the laurel wreath. The label's security background consists of wavy lines with the continuous texts 'MACHIN ANNIVERSARY, 1967-2017' and 'ROYALMAIL'.
The series with the same six designs come in a colour palette inspired by some of the original definitive Machin stamps issued between 1967 and 1968 (see Presentation Pack illustrations, below); In the left image, from top to bottom we have spectrum violet, olive brown sepia, Paris green, olive brown, orange rust & oriental gold.
The rolls of labels were manufactured by International Security Printers, and have identical characteristics to previous issues.

Royal Mail produced some fifteen first day pictorial postmarks for the different Machin Anniversary issues.

First day cover with the six designs and 'Machin 50th Anniversary' pictorial postmark with Arnold Machin's portrait

The new Post & Go series could be obtained from June 5th 2017, at many of the NCR / SSK postal kiosks installed in post offices across the country. It was also available from the Intelligent AR kiosks permanently installed at the London Postal Museum and Royal Mail Enquiry Offices (images below).
Royal Mail released its usual presentation pack with the six designs (right image), all of them with the first priority domestic postage rate '1st Class up to 100g', and printed by the C001 in-house printer

Unlike the stamps printed by the kiosks, all the stamps included in the presentation packs have the same code at the bottom - B6GB17 C001-1840-026. B is for 'philatelic' issue, 6 is for the month of issue (June), GB for the country, and 17 for the year of issue. In the second block, C001 is the code of the printer. Then follows 1840, the usual fictitious session number, and 026 is the number of the pictorial series issued since the start of the 'Post & Go' series of stamps.

The following images show the 'Collectors strip', or the sets of stamps with the six face value indicators available from this set and issued by the equipment in service on the date of issue. 
Like other previous thematic series the rolls of these designs were intended to be used for priority mail or '1st Class' stamps only, however, a few post offices mistakingly used them in their NCR kiosks, for the issue of economy or '2nd Class' mail stamps

Postal kiosks

(Post Offices)
Postal kiosks
Intelligent AR
(Royal Mail Enquiry Offices)
Intelligent AR
(The Postal Museum)

The 'Open value stamps' can be obtained from the NCR / SSK postal kiosks only by selecting the 'Post an item' option from the main menu. These are variable value stamps, printed for immediate use and include some details about the shipment type, postage rate, destination and weight of the item (see article, also published in VARIABLE 34)
In the image, the 1L stamp correspond to the first postage rate for priority mail, '1st Class up to 100g'.

The 'Machin Anniversary 1967-2017' series was also available from the 'Post & Go +' A001 kiosk installed at The Postal Museum, (replacing the 'Machin 1st Class' definitive design) (see screen below), with the current graphic of the museum's logo. This printing was available for a little more than a month, from June 5th to July 12th 2017. On July 13th, the kiosk was moved to the new postal museum premises, where the machine will be programmed with a new graphic.
The postal museum produced a commemorative Presentation Pack and a first day cover

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This page was created in July 2017 and last updated: 14.08.17 . English edition last rewritten by J. Gareze (14.08.2017)