Stamp Collecting Ideas – Machins

Continuing with my theme of Stamp Collecting Ideas where I talk about ideas for collections that are relatively inexpensive to start with and yet interesting enough to keep you busy hunting for elusive stamps. I talk about Machins.

The Machin (pronounced MAY-chin) series of postage stamps is the main definitive stamp series in the United Kingdom, used since 5 June 1967. The Machin stamps consist simply of the sculpted profile of the Queen and a denomination, and are almost always in a single colour. Since their first issue in 1967, hundreds of different values have been released in many colours resulting in the largest definitive series ever produced.

Machins are named after Arnold Machin, a sculptor who designed the portrait of the Queen used on these Great Britain stamps. Machin passed away March 9, 1999 at the age of 87.

You could look to buying Machin in bulk (kiloware) and spend time in sorting them. The easiest way to get started with Machins is to sort them by value / colour and perforation. There are two basic perforations: Regular and Elliptical perforations.

Machin stamp

There are over 400 different Machins that can be distinguished by denomination and perforation. You can print a basic Machin album and organize your collection easily. One of the best sites for knowing more about Machins is Great Britain Machins run by Robin Harris. You can download basic album for free from this site.

Happy Collecting!!!

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My Machin Album

Since my rediscovery of Machins, I have taken on the task of building an album of machins. To start with, I am trying to complete the basic machins first. Since I had quite a few machins, I thought the task would be easy. Not quite. Turns out I have only 113 stamps out of 494 issued, and this doesn’t include variations like phosphor bands etc. So I do have a not so easy task at hand, specially since I have never encountered many of these (e.g. NVI) stamps in India before.

I have printed the basic machin album available free on Great Britain Machins website. My mounts arrived yesterday and I spent my weekend setting up my album. First few pages were easy to fill and then it got harder with high value machins. And my pages are all blank for NVI, double heads and security feature machins.

You can view pages of my album by clicking on the pic below.

My Machin stamp count:

Rediscovering Machins

When I started collecting stamps as a kid, these small stamps from Britain with the head of the queen were common stamps in the collection. While there were many different stamps, at that time these didn’t catch my attention, probably because they were available in abundant supply in my and my friends’ collections. As I restart my hobby, I am rediscovering these common stamps.

Machin (pronounced may-chin) are based on a sculpture by Arnold Machin and were first issued in 1967. I had no idea how about the intricacies of this series and am discovering how big this series is. From 1967 onwards, the machin series has evolved into many variations of denominations, colors, perforations, security features, any more. I found the Great Britain Machin website created and maintained by Robin Harris of great value. For examples, you can view how machins have evolved over time in the simple timeline of machins.

I am sure collecting the series and all its variations can take a lifetime. This seems like a subject that can be simple to start with and yet be of great depth to continue to delve into. So I start my journey of collecting machins with the few stamps that I have. First step is to print the free basic Machin album pages provided on Robin’s website and printing Machin 101 pdf for reference.