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, Victorias 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
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 worlds 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.