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The 43p Machin welcomes you to the Machin Quiz

The Machin Quiz #2
See how much you know about the Machins

This quiz is a modified version of the one presented to members of the Machin Collectors Club in the December, 2001 Newsletter. Many thanks to Melvyn Philpott for permission to reproduce the quiz here. The questions are the same as the ones posed to the members of the club, but I have added multiple choice selections to many of them. With this help, you should get a perfect score!

The quiz covers some of the basic and not-so-basic aspects of the Machins. Read the questions and see how many you can answer. Clicking on the number of the question will take you to the answer. At the end of each answer is a link to bring you back to the top of the page. Keep track of your score and at the end, see what rating you’ve earned. Good luck!

Try the newly illustrated Quiz 1


1. In the summer of what year did the forgery of the 24p rust (brown) Machin begin to appear?

  1. 1989
  2. 1990
  3. 1991
  4. 1992
  5. 1993

2. Which three of these are perforators used in the production of Machin stamps.

  1. Comb
  2. ALF
  3. APS
  4. Chesnut
  5. Kampf

3. During which year was Arnold Machin born?

  1. 1906
  2. 1910
  3. 1911
  4. 1913
  5. 1917

4. What was the issue date of the first Machin stamps?

  1. February 5, 1966
  2. June 5, 1967
  3. July 5, 1967
  4. March 5, 1968
  5. December 5, 1968

5. Which three colors were used for the 34p Machin before 2003?
The first color in each pair is the name used by the Machin Collectors Club.
The second color is the name used in the Deegam Handbook.

  1. Ochre-brown/yellow brown
  2. Sepia/dark brown
  3. Deep bluish-grey/slate blue
  4. Deep mauve/purple
  5. Greenish blue/dark turquoise

For extra credit, what color is the 34p Machin issued in May, 2003?

6. Referring to papers used for Machins, what does “PPP” stand for?

  1. Partly Phosphorized Paper
  2. Phosphor Pre-printed Paper
  3. Phosphor Perforated Paper
  4. Preliminary Phosphorized Paper
  5. Phosphorescent Photogravure Paper

7. Whom are JET phosphors named after?

  1. Julius E. Thackery
  2. James E. Thomas
  3. Jack E. Tudor
  4. John E. Thompson
  5. Jean E. Tracker

8. In which year did elliptical perforations first appear on Machins?

  1. 1989
  2. 1993
  3. 1994
  4. 1997
  5. 1999

9. On what date were the first “window” booklets issued?

  1. August 4, 1987
  2. September 14, 1987
  3. November 22, 1987
  4. December 25, 1987
  5. January 15, 1988

10. The Machin Collectors Club was formed in what year?

  1. 1991
  2. 1993
  3. 1994
  4. 1995
  5. 1996

11. In which year were Machin decimal folded booklets first issued?

  1. 1968
  2. 1971
  3. 1972
  4. 1974
  5. 1976

12. Which three of these printing methods have been used for Machins?

  1. Lithography
  2. Embossing
  3. Intaglio (Recess)
  4. Photogravure
  5. Rubber stamping


The Answers

You aren’t cheating, are you?

1. In the summer of what year did the 24p rust (brown) forgery begin to appear?

24p genuine Machin 24p Machin forgery
  1. 1989
  2. 1990
  3. 1991
  4. 1992
  5. 1993
Even from these scans, it is pretty easy to tell that the forgery is the one on the right.  

E. A forgery of the 24p rust-colored Machin appeared in 1993, the first forgery of a current British postage stamp since the famous “Stock Exchange” forgery of 1872. As you can see from the illustrations, the color is a close match, but the perforations are very different. The genuine stamp is gauge 14 or 15, the forgery is 11. The forgery has no phosphor bands or phosphor coating as the real stamp does.

A year later, a forgery of the 2nd class NVI Machin was discovered. top

2. Which three of these are perforators used in the production of Machin stamps.

  1. Comb
  2. ALF
  3. APS
  4. Chesnut
  5. Kampf

A,C,E. Comb is a type of perforator uses precisely engineered male and female dies. It is slow but the results are very even. Comb perforators are generally used after the continuous reel of paper on which the stamps are printed (the web) has been cut into individual sheets. The Kampf perforator is fast and perforates the stamps on the web, that is, before they are cut into individual sheets. It features a male drum with pins and a famale drum with a rubber sheet. The APS, or Lawnmower, perforator was introduced in the 1960s. The paper is drawn over raised pimples to create holes in relief, and then the raised portion is shaved off by a rotating cylinder with blades (like a lawnmower cutting grass) to create the holes. It also operates on the web. The APS perforator usually leaves telltale bits of paper and gum on the edges of the hole, and these can be seen on the back of the stamps. The name comes from the initials of the Swedish manufacturer, Ab Produktion Svenska.

Chesnut is a gravure printing press acquired by Walsall Security Printers in 1997 to enable them to follow Royal Mail’s mandate to use gravure rather than lithography for printing Machins. ALF is short for automatic letter facer. ALF (no relation to the 1980s television star) was introduced in the 1950s and was the first machine to sense the phosphor bands printed on stamps to help it orient and cancel the envelopes. top

3. During which year was Arnold Machin born?

  1. 1906
  2. 1910
  3. 1911
  4. 1913
  5. 1917

C. Arnold Machin was born on September 30, 1911 (9/30/1911). He passed away on March 9, 1999 (3/9/1999). Obviously, he had an affinity for dates containing only ones, threes and nines (and a stray zero). top

The original 4d Machin 4. What was the issue date of the first Machin stamps?

  1. February 5, 1966
  2. June 5, 1967
  3. July 5, 1967
  4. March 5, 1968
  5. December 5, 1968

B. The British Post Office was looking for a new design for definitive stamps. The Wilding designs, all five of them, had become tiresome. Sculptor Arnold Machin was chosen and he came up with the simple and elegant design we have all come to know and love. The first three values, 4d (four pence) olive sepia, 1/- (one shilling) bluish violet (called aconite violet) and 1/9 (one shilling and nine pence) orange and black, were issued on June 5, 1967. To learn more about the beginning of the Machins, visit the Virtual Machin Album. top

5. Which three colors were used for the 34p Machin before 2003?
The first color in each pair is the name used by the Machin Collectors Club.
The second color is the name used in the Deegam Handbook.

  1. Ochre-brown/yellow brown
  2. Sepia/dark brown
  3. Deep bluish-grey/slate blue
  4. Deep mauve/purple
  5. Greenish blue/dark turquoise
34p yellow brown Machin 34p slate blue Machin 34p purple Machin 34p lime green Machin

A,C,D. The ochre-brown/yellow brown was issued on August 28, 1984. The deep bluish-grey/slate blue was issued on September 26, 1989. The deep mauve/purple was issued on September 10, 1991. Sepia/dark brown was the color of the 35p issued on August 23, 1988. Greenish blue/dark turquoise was the color of the 32p also issued on August 23, 1988.

The 34p Machin issued on May 6, 2003 is lime green. top

6. Referring to papers used for Machins, what does “PPP” stand for?

  1. Partly Phosphorized Paper
  2. Phosphor Pre-printed Paper
  3. Phosphor Perforated Paper
  4. Preliminary Phosphorized Paper
  5. Phosphorescent Photogravure Paper

B. Phosphor pre-printed paper (also known as pre-printed phosphor paper) had a layer of phosphor ink printed on the paper before the colored ink was applied. The phosphor created a rough surface, resulting in a coarse image. This is especially noticeable on the Queen’s cheek. This paper was used in 1980 and was soon replaced by phosphorized paper in which the phosphor was included in the coating of the paper. This resulted in a much smoother paper and a sharper image. It also saved the printing step of applying the phosphor ink, so it was less expensive to use. The first phosphorized paper (excluding some early trials) was known as phosphor-coated paper, PCP. top

7. Whom are JET phosphors named after?

  1. Julius E. Thackery
  2. James E. Thomas
  3. Jack E. Tudor
  4. John E. Thompson
  5. Jean E. Tracker

D. John E. Thompson discovered this variety of phosphor used to print phosphor bands on Machins. It resulted from an error at the printer, Harrison and Sons, when a green phosphor ink was inadvertently mixed with the normal purple phosphor ink. It is most easily identified by testing the stamps for reaction to longwave ultraviolet light. Normal stamps react only to shortwave UV, but those with JET phosphor react to longwave as well. It was found on several low value Machins printed in 1973.top

8. In which year did elliptical perforations first appear?

1992 castle high value with elliptical perfs
  1. 1989
  2. 1993
  3. 1994
  4. 1997
  5. 1999

B. Two enlarged, elliptical perforations were added to British stamps to discourage counterfeiting. They first appeared on the castle high values issued in 1992 shown above. They were added to Machins the next year. top

9. On what date were the first “window” booklets issued? First window booklet with 4 26p Machins

  1. August 4, 1987
  2. September 14, 1987
  3. November 22, 1987
  4. December 25, 1987
  5. January 15, 1988

A. Window booklets contain a single pane of stamps (with a couple of exceptions) and have a predominantly red cover. The first version of these booklets, issued on August 4, 1987, featured a small window in the cover. The window, covered with transparent plastic, allowed the buyer to see one of the stamps inside. These windows were expensive to produce and were quickly replaced by a printed image of one of the stamps. However, the name “window booklets” stuck and is still used to describe this type of booklet. Newer versions contain self-adhesive stamps. Some window booklets from 2001 are shown on the Musings page. top

10. The Machin Collectors Club was formed in what year?

  1. 1991
  2. 1993
  3. 1994
  4. 1995
  5. 1996

D. The Machin Collectors Club was formed in 1995 by Melvyn Philpott. For more information, visit their web site at http://www.machins.org top

11. In which year were Machin decimal folded booklets first issued?

First folded booklet
  1. 1968
  2. 1971
  3. 1972
  4. 1974
  5. 1976

Pane in 10p folded booklet E. Folded booklets consist of a single pane of stamps attached by its selvage to a single cover sheet that is folded in the middle, giving them that descriptive name. The first such booklet was issued on March 10, 1976. They were less expensive to manufacture than the multi-pane stitched booklets which they rapidly replaced. There have been several variations of folded booklets over the years, most notably thick covers that allowed the booklets to be sold in vending machines and thin covers for booklets sold over the counter. Technically, window booklets (see question 9) are also folded booklets, but window booklets are never referred to as folded booklets. Window booklets eventually replaced the folded booklets. top

12. Which three of these printing methods have been used for Machins?

  1. Lithography
  2. Embossing
  3. Intaglio (Recess)
  4. Photogravure
  5. Rubber stamping

£1.50 recess printed Machin A,B,C,D. Okay, so I misled you! Four of these methods have been used. The most common is photogravure, which has been used for most Machins since the series was introduced in 1967. Lithography was introduced as an alternative printing method in 1980. It was used concurrently with photogravure until 1993, when Royal Mail standardized on photogravure. Litho is now only used occasionally for issues with small printing quantities.

Intaglio, also known as recess, printing uses an engraved die for the original image. Britain had a tradition of engraving its high values, and this process was used for the first high value Machins issued in 1969. Decimal versions of the high values were issued in 1970 and remained in use until 1977 when they were replaced by photogravure high values.

Recess-printed Machins were reintroduced in 1999 one of which is shown here. Four values were issued and were in use until replaced by gravure versions in July, 2003. Another recess-printed Machin was included in the Profile on Print prestige booklet issued as a prelude to The Stamp Show 2000.

An embossed Machin was one of the three large-sized stamps featured in the Profile on Print booklet. The recess-printed one just mentioned was the second, and the third was printed by letterpress. top


Scoring:

Give yourself one point for each question answered correctly.

Rating:

0-3: Beginner. Machins are not yet your cup of tea, but don’t be discouraged. Getting to be an expert is half the fun.

4-6: Intermediate. You are doing pretty well, assuming you knew the answers and are not just a lucky guesser. Keep reading and studying to get to the next level.

7-9: Advanced. You are quite good at this. Have you considered writing an article about Machins to share your knowledge and bring new collectors into the field?

10-12: Machin Maniac. Welcome to the crowd that gets bigger every day. I trust you are having lots of fun with these fascinating stamps.

If you skipped ahead, you can go back to Quiz 1, now upgraded with illustrations.


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