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Machin Head and Symbol Types
(page updated: Feb 8/04)

Head Types

Symbol Types



Head Types:

Various Head types (referring to the portrait of the Queen) have been required over the years. This is due in part to the different printing methods employed and the amount of room available on the stamp to print the image (due to regional symbols, value size, etc.).

A few stamps do exist with more than one head type. The differences can be subtle. The discussions here are limited to those stamps that require Head-type identification.

These descriptions are summarized from The Complete Deegam Machin Handbook (simply the best Machin handbook available anywhere), © D.G.A. Myall - click for details.


Head Abase of bust is "flat" Head A/B detail
Head Bbase of bust is "rounded"

Stamps that exist with both Head A and Head B:

  • 1d yellow ochre
  • 3d spectrum violet
  • 4d olive sepia
  • 4d vermilion
  • 5d stewart blue
  • 6d purple

  • Head B1the 6th dot from the lower left corner is missing1p Head (15k)
    Head B2the dot is present (ie. no break)

    Stamps that exist with both Head B1 and Head B2:

    1p crimson
    2p deep grey-green
    3p rose red
    4p turquoise
    6½p cerulean blue
    7p reddish brown
    8p blood red
    11½p drab




    Symbol Types:

    | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales |

    This refers to the symbol found in the upper left corner of Regional Machins.

    Three of the four countries have a few stamps that exist with two different symbol types (only the Isle of Man does not have symbol types).

    A magnifying glass may be required to spot the subtle differences in the symbol types.

    These descriptions are taken from The Complete Deegam Machin Handbook (simply the best Machin handbook available anywhere), © D.G.A. Myall - click for details.

    Northern Ireland
    Northern Ireland Symbol type (18k)

    Stamps that exists with both types:

    Type 1:
    • the left side of the hand is curved throughout.
    • the white line of the hand is thin and faint (sometimes absent altogether).
    • the bottom pearl underneath the orb is detached from the central cross.

    Type 2:

    • the left side of the hand is straight but curves in sharply at the wrist.
    • the white line on the hand is thick.
    • the bottom pearl underneath the orb is joined to the central cross.
    There are two subtypes of Type 2. In Type 2a, the pearls along the crown are all separate from each other. In Type 2b, the second pearl on the left is joined to the crown, and the last three on the left are joined to each other.
    Scotland
    Scotland Symbol type (18k)

    Stamps that exists with both types:

    Type 1:
    • the eye is usually open, with a white centre. It is not joined to the background.
    • the mane is generally lightweight. The three tips at its base are pointed, and there is a wide space between it and the body.
    • the body and legs are thick.

    Type 2:

    • the eye is always solid. It is joined to the background.
    • the mane is generally thicker. The three tips at its base are heavy and rounded. The space between mane and body is thin.
    • the body and legs are thin.
    Wales
    Wales Symbol type (18k)

    Stamps that exists with both types:

    Type 1:
    • the eye is usually open, with a white centre. It is not joined to the background.
    • the arrowhead tongue and tail have thin stems.
    • the claws are small.
    • the hooks on the wings are small and separate. There is one in the space formed by the curve of the tail.
    • the upper front foot is joined to the neck.
    There are two subtypes of Type 1. The principal difference is that in Type 1a, the vertical line down the body is broken; in Type 1b, it is continuous.

    Type 2:

    • the eye is always solid. It is joined to the background.
    • the arrowhead tongue and tail have thick stems.
    • the claws are large.
    • the hooks are attached to the wings and are large. There is none in the space formed by the tail.
    • the upper front foot is separated from the neck.


    Disclaimer: We apologize for any errors of information that might be present. Your feedback is appreciated.

    For even more varieties on Machin stamps, check out The Complete Deegam Machin Handbook (simply the best Machin
     handbook available anywhere) by Douglas Myall - click for details.

    Booklet pane numbers used courtesy the Modern British Philatelic Circle
    who publish 'The Bookmark' Catalogue

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