Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Lavender Hill Mob Forgery

The Lavender Hill Mob were a gang of forgers who printed over £50 million of fake currency during the 1980’s and early 90’s. They managed to inject over £30 million of fake cash into the economy, some of which is still circulating to this day. Although specialising in fake currency, the gang also printed Postage, Gas, and TV Licence stamps.


The focus of this brief study is the forged 24p Machin Head Definitive Postage Stamp ...

Genuine Stamp

The gang chose to forge the 24p Rust Machin Head stamp, as 24p was the current inland letter rate at the time. They printed the stamp in offset Lithography. They used a Genuine half-sheet of 100 as their template. The forged postage stamps began to appear in the summer of 1993 in mail posted from London and Essex. Above is an example of the forged stamp alongside a genuine stamp for comparison. Clearly the colour is an excellent match to that of the genuine stamp, enabling the untrained eye to be fooled. To the trained eye, however, the forgery clearly stands out as a fake. For one, the perforations are much larger at 11 as opposed to 14 or 15. The perforations are also Line Perforated, not Comb Perforated. 

Large Forgery Perfs 11

Genuine Perfs 14 or 15

A close look at the gum also reveals a striking difference. The Deegam Catalogue further elaborates:  “The gum ... is very thin and shiny, with no green or blue dye. It does not appear to be gum arabic since there is no 'crazy paving' appearance under magnification … ”  Deegam further suggests,  “It maybe a variant of Polyvinyl acetate (PVAc).”

Until next time...

Sunday, 17 December 2017

2013 1st Class - Butterflies Custom Booklet

I was a late-comer to the party when it comes to Machin collecting - by only 43 years! The year was 2010. A year that was both auspicious (the beginning of something new and exciting) and  disastrous (for my bank account and sanity!). So being such a late-comer I had a lot of catching up to do. Especially since at that time,  hadn't decided I was going to focus primarily on my 1's collection. My first purchases were lots and lots of singles, since I hadn't decided yet if I was going to bother with other stuff such as booklets. So my first ever booklet purchase didn't actually come till three years later when I spotted one i rather liked and thought "Hey, why not!". I've written about this booklet before on a different blog, but I thought I'd share it again now that I have a dedicated Machin blog. 


On 13 May 2013 (according to adminware), Royal Mail issued a new Custom Booklet that I thought was rather charming. The booklet contains 4x1st Class stamps in the new 'Royal Mail Red' with M13L date code and MCIL source code. The 'C' stands for Custom. The booklet also contains two 1st Class commemoratives. The Chalkhill Blue butterfly and the Comma butterfly. Although Royal Mail have this booklet listed as having been printed in Lithography, it was actually printed in Grauvre. Royal Mail lists the printer as Cartor. But again this is incorrect. It was printed by Walsall. The two commemoratives are all-over phosphor. The definitives have two phosphor bands, and have type 2a security slits.

M13L & MCIL Security Code Detail

2a Security Slit Detail

There were two things I really liked about this booklet. The new Royal Mail Red colour of the 1st Class Machins and of course the stunning butterflies. Let's take a quick look at those, shall we... click on each of the titles for more info on each butterfly.

Until next time...

Friday, 15 December 2017

I Muse... On My First Machin Blog Post

Welcome everyone to my brand new blog Arnold Machin Stamps! As the title suggests, this blog is dedicated to the Machin definitive stamps of Great Britain. But with a bit of a twist! Ever since I started collecting Machin stamps nearly ten years ago, I have had a particular fondness for Machins with only the number 1 on them. These include: 1d, 1p, £1, and 1st Class stamps. Below are a few teaser images of what you should expect to see here in the future.

Accordingly, this blog will focus primarily on the multiple varieties of these stamps. I try to collect and identify everything with a 1 on it: from booklets and singles to mint and used. Basically if it has only the number 1 on it, I wanna know where it comes from.

Having said that, I'm sure I'll occasionally be inspired to write about the myriad other Machins out there. So hopefully this blog will be an entertaining ride for both you and me. Please post a comment on any of my posts if you have additional info (I love to learn), if you see an error in my commentary (highly likely), or just want to say hi. Anywho, enough for now. I hope you enjoy!

Until next time...