Norvic Philatelics

New Machin definitive stamps - 3 January 2013

Royal Mail have announced "a large revision of all the colours used for the UK Definitive stamps in 2013".  This starts on 3 January when the 1st class and 1st class Large change to Royal Mail red.

"We periodically revise the colours of the Definitives due to operational changes and technological changes in print, although we have not done this for many years. In the current colour palette certain colours produced similar readings when scanned in our Mail Processing Centres and some colours also caused difficulties in reading the phosphor bars."

The 50p will change to slate-grey, and the £1 to wood-brown (very reminiscent of the engraved £5 brown).  Low value (1p-20p) stamps will have the iridescent security overprint added.  The 2nd class values remain unchanged.  The remaining stamps in the range will have new colours introduced at the next tariff change.  At this stage the security overprint shows a year code of M12L/MA12 - we can expect M13L/MA13 later in the year.

It's not clear whether this includes the little-used £1.50 - £5 which have not needed a reprint since issue in 2009 (but for which stocks may be low) nor the dark-blue colour-branded Special Delivery pair, but we do believe that the Recorded Signed For stamps will change colour, despite being coloured to match the RSF stationery.  We thought the colour was designed to match the original 'flame' of the 1st class with the addition of the yellow stripe, but it seems that this is too close to the new Red colour.

The 1st class stamps will be available in counter sheets, business sheets and booklets, and the small stamp will also be available in self-adhesive coils of 10,000.  Following a review of use of 500 and 1000 stamp coils neither will be produced.

Country definitives in litho

On the same day Royal Mail will put on sale the England and Wales 1st & 2nd class country definitives printed by Cartor in lithography.  Although the new Scotland printings were issued with a specific day of issue and first day facilities, the England and Wales versions have been available at some Post Office branches since early autumn.  This is a convenient time for Royal Mail to send them to collectors.  There will be no first day facilities and no first day postmarks.  Full details and pictures showing the new versions compared with the originals is on our blog.

Scans of the actual stamps

1st class Machin definitive in Royal Mail Red, 2013. 1st class Large Machin definitive in Royal Mail red 2013.
50p slate-grey Machin definitive stamp 2013. £1 wood brown Machin definitive stamp 2013.
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The 1st class & 1st class Large stamps are printed in sheets of 50 with two panes. Cylinder D1 has been used.

Printing dates seen
19/09/12 1st red, and
24/09/12 1st class Large

The 50p and £1 stamps are in sheets of 25, with 12 grid positions for each. 

Cylinder numbers are D1 x3. 

Printing dates are 18/09/12 for both values.

  6 x 1st royal mail red cylinder book of Machin definitive stamps.
12 x 1st royal mail red book of Machin definitive stamps.
4 x 1st Large royal mail red book of Machin definitive stamps.


6 x 1st

Cylinder W6 reported packing date 31/10/12

12 x 1st

Cylinders W5 W1 W1

packing date 26/10/12

4 x 1st Large

Cylinders W2 W1 W1

Packing date 14/11/12

Source codes are as usual, MSIL, MTIL and MFIL.

Year codes are M12L for the small stamp and MA12 for the large.

The MCIL-coded mixed book of 6 (4 Machin and 2 special) will be issued on 9 January as part of the London Underground issue.

Sheet of 20p green stamps 2013.

The low value stamps are printed in sheets of 25 as before, but all are on separate 12-position cylinders rather than mixing 3 values on one cylinder as before.

Cylinder D2 has been used for the colour, but D1 for the iridescent overprint and for the phosphor.

This sheet of 20p stamps shows the 12 grid positions at lower left, indicating that there are 12 sheets of 25 per cylinder.

Printing dates seen:

1p   17/09/12
2p    12/09/12
5p    12/09/12
10p   13/09/12
20p   13/09/12

All these stamps have the M12L year code.

Technical information

See above - the sheets are printed by De La Rue and the booklets by Walsall. 
Business sheets have also been printed by Walsall - pictures are on our blog.

Special postmarks available on the day of issue will be shown here.  Sadly only 1 has been announced before the date of issue.  We expect more to appear in the next Postmark Bulletin, FDCs will be delayed as a result.

Official Edinburgh FD postmark for 3 January 2013.
Official Windsor FD postmark for 3 January 2013.
Official non-pictorial FD postmark for 3 January 2013.
Birmingham postmark showing Windsor Castle.
Ref FD1031TH - Official Tallents House Edinburgh postmark
Ref FD1031PL - Official Windsor postmark Ref FD1031NP - Official Windsor postmark
(wrong image supplied)
Ref M12778 Windsor View, Birmingham

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This page updated 19 December 2012

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Norvic Philatelics, PO Box 119, Dereham, NR20 3YN, GB.
UK Phone: 08450 090939 -- Skype:ian.billings-norvic