Guest Blogs The Machins

Published on September 21st, 2018 | by Guest Post

The Machins

It’s one of the most common stamp designs in the world and it’s one of the most attractive. The Machins – the current design of The Queen’s head – may not be rare, but it’s an extremely nice stamp to collect.

I should point out that Machins were first issued in 1967. They were made from a portrait by the famous photographer John Hedgecoe. The portrait was used as the basis for a bust by a sculptor called Arnold Machin – hence the name – and the design has remained in use ever since. If you want to see the original bust, one of them is in the museum of the Royal Philatelic Society, although I would recommend that you phone before you visit.

My Machins Collection

A few years ago I bought a collection of Machins stamps, which went from about 1970 to 1990. The person who had put the collection together had bought every new Machin that came out in blocks of four. He also bought every configuration of Machin from stamp booklets. And they were all cancelled, with the dates clearly marked. I’m not sure if the original collector had sent the stamps through the post, but none of them had gum on the back.

I enjoy looking at them. Several billion Machins have been created since 1967. It is often said Machin’s image of The Queen has been reproduced more than any other portrait. Machins have a wide variety of different colours. I think the design is incredibly neat and attractive and the colour palates used are very striking. And I love the fact that my collection is all in blocks, which makes them into a really tidy collection.

A Design Classic

To avoid fraud, most modern Machins have special print numbers and security codes as well as special cuts that make it hard to re-use the stamps. Some specialists buy new blocks of every variety of Machin – including the various print numbers and security codes.

The Machins are a nice thing to collect. They are design classics, but they are very common so I don’t suppose they will rise in value very much. I’m pleased with my collection – it’s attractive to look at and for a relatively small sum of money it has given me a lot of pleasure.

So you can see what I’m talking about, here’s a picture of just one page of the collection. Isn’t it pretty?

Machins Scan

For more information on stamps and collecting, please visit

This article was produced by Jack Shamash, a top national journalist who writes on stamps. He is a keen philatelist and is a member of the Royal Philatelic Society London.

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