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Page 1
1840 Anniversary Machins
15p 1840 Anniversary Machin   20p 1840 Anniversary Machin
  29p 1840 Anniversary Machin  
34p 1840 Anniversary Machin   37p 1840 Anniversary Machin

The 1840 Anniversary Machins were issued in 1990 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the introduction of uniform penny postage and the adhesive postage stamp.

For the celebration, Jeffery Matthews took the Machin design and added the portrait of Queen Victoria as seen on the Penny Black. In fact, an original Penny Black die, kept in the National Postal Museum, was used for the design. For the black 20p stamp, Victoria’s portrait was done in the sepia color of the original; in 1840 it was not possible to print a rich black color.

In the “Special by Design” booklet, which reviews much of Matthews work, Royal Mail says,

The [1840 Anniversary Machin] creates a dignified balance between the line engraving of the Penny Black and the photograph of the original bas-relief plaster cast of Her Majesty, preserving the Integrity of the two original designs and creating a miniature timeline of royal lineage.

A total of five denominations were issued on January 10, 1990, the 150th anniversary of the introduction of Uniform Penny Postage. The stamps remained on sale until September, 1990 when they were made obsolete by a rate increase and replaced by stamps having the usual Machin design. The world’s first postage stamp, known as the Penny Black, was issued on May 1, 1840 for use starting on May 6.

Collectors have several names for this set of stamps. Among them are “1840 Anniversary Issue,” “Penny Black stamps,” “Two Queens,” “Double Heads” and “Double Headers.”

The Penny Black
The Penny Black

Great Britain’s Penny Black, the world’s first postage stamp. It was designed and issued at Roland Hill’s request as part of his effort to reform the postal service. Hill introduced Penny Postage, the uniform pre-paid cost to mail a half-ounce letter to any place in Great Britain. The Penny Black was purchased by the mailer and affixed to the envelope or letter-sheet to indicate that the postage had been paid.

The profile was designed by Henry Courbould based on a medal designed by William Wyon to mark Queen Victoria’s visit to the Corporation of the City of London in November, 1837. The engine-turned background that was a defense against forgery was based on an idea by J. B. Bacon. The image was engraved by the father and son team of Charles and Frederick Heath, and the stamp was printed by the firm of Perkins Bacon & Petch.

The Penny Black was issued on May 1, 1840 and was valid for use starting May 6.

Click on the blue arrow pointing right to go to page 2 with the miniature sheet from Stamp World, London 1990. Virtual Machin Album Machin Mania Next

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