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Discussion about “ Q&A:Stamps of Britain and Commonwealth ”

  1. FRED MUGURUZA wrote:

    Keijo, You should have one GB stamp which is part of a set of six “Great British Railways” that I sent to you for paying the postage on a cover a few weeks ago…well,that is an ‘intelligent’ stamp,combining state-of-the-art technology with rich cultural history…lol!

    The set of stamps, are the first to work with image-recognition technology, which launches online content, activated by the latest smartphones such, iPhone 3GS and 4; or Android OS4 platforms. And it’s free! Lol!!! you simply open the Junaio(which has been equipped to ‘recognise’ the stamp)go to the Royal Mail channel, select the Royal Mail logo, then scan the stamp with the phone and hey presto! you will see a short film of someone reading a poem!…the thing is, that I can’t do it myself cause I hate such technology…sorry guys, but if you have that thing…enjoy it.

  2. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Fred,
    Yes, I have that stamp… But to be honest; I too dislike the idea involved (and thus haven’t even tried viewing the smart content).

  3. Janita wrote:

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if you may be able to help.

    I’m looking to get a tattoo design made using postage stamps from Fiji, Uganda and India (where my parents and grandparents are from).

    I don’t suppose you have any stamps for these countries from 1947 (Fiji and Uganda) and India (1920s) that I could see images of do you?

    Any help would be SO very appreciated.



  4. Keijo wrote:


    According to Michel, neither Fiji OR KUT (Kenya-Tanganyika-Uganda) did not issue any postage stamps in 1947. I think postage was paid mostly with King George VI definitives; these were first issued in late 1930s, and several additional prints were done up to late 1940s. .. India on the other hand issued lots of definitive stamps in 1920s. All the below are from the proper eras:
    Early Commonwealth stamps

  5. FRED MUGURUZA wrote:

    !!!!???? Moi Keijo,
    I’m driving mad trying to get information on a stamp from Uganda, I hate stamps without date…wasting the whole afternoon and nothing comes up!!!looking at the SG catalogue and I can’t find anything…for them it seems doesn’t exist!!! H E L P !!! I’m going bananas!!!
    Sorry, I spent 2 hours after scanning the stamp but I don’t manage to send to you…I give up!
    Anyway…the stamp have printed in the bottom:”Great Scientific Achievements” and depicts in an oval, the face of Karl Benz and at the right of the face, a white sport car …(I think is a S300) and in top of that a very old car (tricycle)…The face value is 45/ (?)and the colours are white, brown and black…is it enough detail?…so easy with the date printed but we are poor souls…what I need to know is the date of issue, the value in any of your catalogues and the reference number…the ideal would be the SG data but…L O L everybody!!!

  6. Keijo wrote:

    @Fred… This one’s easy :) Issued in 1987, SG #599. A set of 4 + m/s.

  7. FRED MUGURUZA wrote:

    Keijo, this is the thing that deserve a big slap on the face!
    can you believe it?…yesterday, I was in tears and miserable
    now, I feel ashamed! I can’t understand how this things happen…what we poor souls, will do without you? well, I’m afraid you can not take holidays…stay glued in home…we need you! otherwise, the hobby go amok!!! (not really…enjoy a lot your days off)
    THANK YOU VERY MUCH…Next time I’ll use a big magnifier!!!
    L O L!!!

  8. Keijo wrote:

    @Fred… Unfortunately I’ve still got 2 more weeks before my holidays begin. As sad as it is, stamp collecting doesn’t pay the bills :(
    But from Dec 13th onwards I’ve got 3 full weeks of holidays (and yes, then I will be seriously cutting down my Internet usage and all of You have to do without me, LOL)

    But now I’m going offline for rest of evening… Got to go chop some wood. And then I’ll continue reading Terry Pratchett’s HogFather (something I can highly recommend).

  9. Renee wrote:

    Hi i have a first day cover that is Royal mail , the wierd thing about it is the word FIRST is spelled FIRFT wich is an error to me ,does anyone have any info to help me see if this is valuable ? thanks ~~Renee

  10. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Renee,

    a bit of Googling solved this mystery quickly… The 1992 UK “Civil War 1642-52″ FDC uses the “old fashioned” (15th century) writing style – in which the “s” looks a lot like “f”. So it’s a regular FDC with no special value.

  11. Marie Monaco wrote:

    Dear Keijo,

    I am a member of your stamp blog. I enjoy the many articles, comments and have learned a good deal, thank you.

    I hope you will be able to answer a question. I collect USA stamps and ‘World Wide Round Stamps.’ At present I have 5 volumes + 1 index volume of World Wide Round Stamps.

    I think I need one more stamp to have all the round stamps of Tonga to date.In 1975, Tonga issued; Scott#367 – #371, C184 – C188 & CO102 – CO104. In Scott#367 – #371, #371- a silver embossed reverse of George Tupou II coin.The other stamps are not round. Scott CO102 – CO104 are not round. I have been unable to find pictures of stamps C184 – C188, one of them may be round. The Scott catalogue 2006 does not mention any being round. It did not mention Scott#371 as being round but it is. I would greatly appreciate any help.

    In quest of images I have searched:
    1. The Scott catalogue 2006 (I’m in the, US).
    2. Michels on line catalogue (your suggestion – thanks).
    5. Searched through computer and phone, different libraries in my area New York & Westchester County).

    Thank you.

  12. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Marie,

    would it be this set ? My collection on Tonga stamps is just few stamps, so I’m not much of an assistance with these I fear…

  13. Rick Young wrote:

    Any hints about how to tell the difference between the two Great Britain King George V series (1912-13 Scott #159-172 vs. 1924 187-200)? Are the watermarks different? Incidentally, I have trouble reading the Scott catalog. For example, it indicates wmk. 33 for the earlier series but I don’t think it indicates anything about the wmk. for the latter series. For the latter it indicates Typo. but doesn’t seem to indicate printing method for the earlier series. Thanks.

  14. Keijo wrote:

    @Rick… Indeed, the watermark is the difference.

    Scott definitely has a poor way to list details, but at least it is documented in preface (I just have a feeling most collectors never bother to read this extremely important information).

    If the detail is omitted (like in case of #187-200) it means the “defaults” (watermark, print method, perforations etc) are picked from previous issue. And if previous issue doesn’t mention any of these, then they go further down to history… I agree, it sucks big time as You should check for every “classic issue” what is inherited and what is not.

    For the original 1912/13-series, the watermark and perforation are listed because they are different from previous set (#158-159). To find out the print method, you’d have to go way back quite a long way (to 19th century I think).
    For the latter series, the watermark information is picked from #185-186, the print method and perf are included because they are different from #185-186.

    It’s uncanny messy and error prone system. I’m amazed that US collectors agree to live with it…. Yet another area where Michel catalogs are superior to Scott.

  15. Rick Young wrote:

    Thanks so much, Keijo. I actually did eventually stumble upon the important information about the defaults a while back, but did not trust it completely. Plus as you might remember from my trouble with the Norway posthorns, sometimes the way they distinguish similar definitive series is not so helpful. You were MUCH more helpful. Anyway, I see the main way to tell in this case is Wmk. 33 vs. 35. Also, By print method, I meant Typo vs. Photo, etc (sorry I used the wrong term). Regarding putting up with Scott catalogs, one of the drawbacks of being American is you rarely need to know any other language besides English. While I was a foreign language minor in College, it was Spanish and Italian. In anticipation of visiting Germany, I once tried to pick up some German (my Father’s family came from there), but I found it so difficult I finally gave up. I have been to Scandinavian countries, and managed to pick up a little Swedish but had no luck trying to understand spoken Danish. Anyway if it were not for that I might invest in Michel’s catalogs. Right now, I borrow Scotts from the library, but am thinking about purchasing an older used set for myself from Amazon. In your estimation how difficult would it be to get used to Michel’s terminology in German, description of the items, etc.?

  16. Keijo wrote:


    Personally I would say that language barrier is not a major issue. The most commonly used philatelic terminology is only about 50-60 terms, and Michel does provide a handy German-to-English/French/Spanish/Portuguese cheatsheet for non-german speakers (I’m emailing you a scan of my copy, it’s just 6 pages). And of course, a growing number of Michel catalogs are available in English too (just learned about english version of Michel Scandinavia/North Europe catalog)

    Cultural and editorial differences are guaranteed to cause some headache at first few days. For example the numbering system between Scott and European catalogs are very different.

    The only real issue would be trying to use/match Michel numbers with US based dealers and collectors. It’s the same situation as trying to use Scott numbers in Europe 😆

    Re, the difficulty of spoken danish… I agree. It’s totally in·comprehensible.

  17. Rick Young wrote:

    Know what this one is? The issue is the S and E overprint. Thanks.

  18. Keijo wrote:


    It’s a commercial / private security overprint on British QE2 2d Wilding. As you notice most British stamps bear the words “Postage & Revenue”; well this is a sample of their revenue usage.

    I’ve never seen this specific overprint, but I know there are lots (likely hundreds) of various ones out there dating from Queen Victoria to Elizabeth II stamps. Diffeferent Gas and Electricty Boards are most common; I’ve got several of these in my collection. Likely the last two letters (EE/EB) on your overprint refer to some Electricity Board.

  19. Kev Dalby wrote:

    SEEB is probably South Eastern Electricity Board, which became defunct when the Gas and Electric companies were privatised in 1990.

  20. Don wrote:

    I have an old stamp, a british guiana one cent, but it is not magenta, it is brown/tan. I got it out of my grandmother’s attic when I was a boy. I know there is a 99.9% chance it is fake, but I have always been curious to have it examined. Can you assist?

  21. Keijo wrote:

    @Don… I fear I can’t help much with classic stamps of British Guiana. I do know that the forgeries are plenty (by Spiro, but others too). Likely I could not tell fake from real one too 😆

    Possibly your best bet would be to sent it for certification; national stamp associations can assist on this matter.

  22. Rick Young wrote:

    I have some questions about the Great Britain items scanned.

    Scott #111 1/2 p. vermillion (i have this one)
    Scott lists a #125 blue green but it looks like I have one item that is a shade of blue and another that is a shade of green. Definitely different colors and not vermillion obviously

    Scott #127 or 143 1/2 p.: one listed item is gray green (127) and the other pale yellow greed. I seem to have three distinct colors and can’t find another listing in Scott.

    Scott #130 and 130b 2 p.: one listed is yellow green & carmine (130) and one is deep green and red (130b). I can’t tell which of the three I scanned is which.

    Note all seem to be perf. 14.

    Thanks in advance!

  23. Rick Young wrote:

    One more, if you’re in the mood. Can you tell if this is Scott #138 carmine and dull green or 138a scarlet and dark green. It looks just plain old red to me! Thanks!

  24. Keijo wrote:

    @Rick… I’m not sitting near my Scott right now, so I’m quoting Michel / SG numbers for details / advice.

    1) the 1900 ½d stamps are extremely prone to both water and sunlight. Based on picture I’d say that both of your copies have experienced some damages as neither of them seems to be of fully correct color / shade.
    SG notes that there is a bright blue changeling that is caused by the constitution of the ink used for some months in 1900 (but IMHO neither of your samples matches that either).

    2) There’s a ton of color varieties with these. And again, sunlight and other factors may have changed the colors (thought these should not be as prone as the previous stamp).
    I guess it says enough when I tell that SG has 10 major numbers with variety of colors & printers for these; non-specialized Michel on the other settles for just 2 major numbers (with various colors listed).

    3) I’d say that all but the first one are pretty badly faded… SG notes that the pale and dull green colours (except for deep dull) should be on chalk surfaced paper. I’d say that would be your best bet for identifying the pale/dull varieties.
    If I counted properly, SG gives 8 major numbers (with varying colors) for this stamp alone.

    4) Hard to say, as this is one of those stamps that is EXTREMELY prone (=almost as prone as the 1900 ½d stamp) to color changelings (due to sunlight, water etc). But would not appear dull green, so has to be dark green 😆
    (Seriously speaking, spending countless hours with SG or Michel specialized would seem to be a pretty must if wishing to identify these properly. Right now I just pick anything that looks different from others; then I’ll work my way with these some day. LOL.)

    Just my opinion. Likely someone more educated with these could say a lot more.

  25. FRED MUGURUZA wrote:

    Rick…the 1/2p of King Edward the VII, doesn’t exist on vermilion, but on SG267 dull-yellow green; SG268 dull-green; SG269 deep dull green and SG270 pale bluish green; if you have the last one, be happy, SG say £40.00 mint/used!…so LOL!!!!

  26. FRED MUGURUZA wrote:

    and that’s not all…if is perf.15×14 SG279 dull green or SG279a deep dull green by Harrison, they are worth over £45.00 used; and £40.00 mint!…WTF?

  27. Rick Young wrote:

    Thanks a lot, K-man! :)

  28. FRED MUGURUZA wrote:

    Scott 130; for me yellow green and carmine seems to be the one in the middle!…deep green and red, the first one…Sorry Rick I’ve got confused with the 1/2 vermilion…I’d realised is not Edward the VII the one you were indicating. The other stamp you show,(alone)is difficult to see because of the postmark, but could be SG257 dull green & carmine or SG312 dark green & scarlet; or SG313/4 which make the decision more problematic…here is where our Keijo could(alas)help?

  29. William (hadashi) wrote:


    I learned today that John Lennon used to collect stamps. Not something I knew. So the secret is: become famous, and your collection automatically becomes worth thousands. Er . . . how famous are you would you say?

  30. Keijo wrote:

    @Fred and Rick… Identifying colors accurately from PC screen is pretty useless, as each display presents the colors slightly differently. What I see as burning red, might appear dull red on Fred’s display and deep red on Ricks display.

    @William… I confess that this thought is something I’ve played with. The more famous the collector becomes, the more likely there will be (serious) interest towards his/her collections. Take for example James Mackays collections that were sold in recent years. If he had not written so much and actively about stamp collecting / philately, very likely there would have been much less ado / interest towards the items.

  31. Rick Young wrote:

    John Lennon also was secretly a fan of Ronald Reagan. Bet you didn’t know that!!!

  32. Keijo wrote:

    Actually I recall reading something like that recently in some tabloid. I think the same article stated Lennon being ashamed of his idealism with Imagine 😐

  33. Rick Young wrote:

    I also remember hearing that point about Imagine. What a shame how he died. :(

  34. FRED MUGURUZA wrote:

    That guy who won on friday the massive £167.000.000…never ‘imagine’ it…

  35. Charlie Jensen wrote:

    We have been dealing with Photogravure vs Lithographed stamps in the long never ending Machin series (British Queen Elizabeth II stamps 1967 to date) for quite a few years.
    We advise the collector to look either at the value borders or along the stamps outer color border.
    Photogravure stamps have a ragged edge where the color lines meet the non-color areas.
    Lithographed stamps have a more or less clean edge.
    In fact, in many Photogravure issues, where it is important for the specialist to determine whether a stamp was printed from top to bottom or bottom to top, ( or even left to right instead or right to left,) to decide which printing is being examined, we look along the outer edges with a magnifier and can see the difference in the way the raggety edge is formed.
    On Lithographed stamps the direction of printing can not be seen by examining the edges.

  36. Keijo wrote:

    @Charlie… Thanks for sharing the advice / tip :)

  37. mrprgrmr wrote:

    @Charlie, Keijo
    This past week, I’ve been going through trying to differentiate my Machins, following the general guidance you described above. I think I finally found one lithographed yesterday, (confirmed based on the perforations) but I’m uncertain. The edges and numerals are clean, but the bust looks composed of small dots. Is this typical of Machins? I’ve found scans showing the difference between the numerals in photo. and litho. machins on the Internet, but nothing showing a close up of the differences in the bust. I think I’m going to go blind looking at these through the magnifier… and I’m not even planning to keep any variations other than print type (i.e. phosphor tagging, etc)! 8)

  38. Keijo wrote:

    @ ….
    Litho vs. photo on Machin stamps – I’m sure you have seen this:
    I’m not a specialist with these, but I would rely on AdminWares statement “The easiest place to tell the difference between photogravure and lithographed stamps is in the denomination.”

    I definitely do know what you mean with going blind with magnifier – I just spend few hours looking and identifying various inscriptions on Japanese prefecture / Furusato stamps.

  39. william wrote:

    I have 2 questions for you, Keijo. Is Michel’s GB catalog different from Stanley Gibbons as I am thinking of getting a1840-1970 SG GB Catalog and am looking for the best one for GB. Also can you recommend some good stamp collecting blogs as I love reading about stamps. Dont worry worry you are my #1 stamp blog but I am a voracious reader.
    Thanks so Much,

  40. Keijo wrote:


    Re, catalogs… The most detailed GB catalog money can buy? Likely Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Specialized Stamp Catalogue, volumes 1-3.

    Re, recommendable blogs… Here’s a collection of recommendable stamp related websites on my StumbleUpon.

  41. martyn carlin wrote:

    could you let me know where i can get a value of my benham silks first day covers thanks

  42. Keijo wrote:

    @Martyn… Not really my area, so I can’t be of much advice on this.

    There are some catalogs for GB First Day Covers – Bradbury’s BFDC likely being the best. As I don’t collect these I don’t know how accurate the catalog values are, but I have a gut feeling most dealers do these way below catalog values. Possibly some UK dealers / collectors could chime on about this.

  43. Rick Young wrote:

    Great Britain question: I have an orange 1/2 p. postage due (photo D1 in Scot) for which I cannot find a watermark. Scott lists three version of it: J34, J39, J55, and J 55, all watermarked differently. Scott also lists an unwatermarked series from 1968, but includes no 1/2 p. items. Is it just one of those cases where the watermark is difficult to see, or is the Scott listing incomplete? Thanks!

  44. Keijo wrote:

    @Rick… Scott’s right this time – there should be a watermark. They can be bit hard to spot sometimes (speaking from experience).

  45. Rick Young wrote:

    I am guessing you have done an expose’ on Great Britain Machins, but I did not have a lot of luck using the search engine on your blog. As a start, I found a useful pdf with colors and years at However my color guide and several webpages have what looks like conflicting years/colors. Any suggestions for how I can ID these successfully? Thanks!

  46. Rick Young wrote:

    Keijo, I kept looking, and did find the post below from your blog. Do you have anything to add?

    “@Seth… I do have a post about Machin stamps, or more precisely how I (try to) collect them. But it’s been stored on my “drafts” folder for several months already,as I haven’t had the time / focus to build / finalize the album pages I want to display as illustration. I’ll get there eventually, but in recent month(s) my interest has been on Czechoslovakian stamp hoard that’s been sitting on my stamp room far too long. Hopefully I’ll get the Machin post finalized sometime this decade 😆 ).

    I don’t have a magic potion with Machins. Possibly the best advice (and which I personally follow) is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid.

    Don’t even try collect it more deeply than what feels good. For example I have left out knowingly phospor band and paper varieties, as they are one pain in the butt with used stamps. What I include is more of the “design” stuff such as narrow / wide values, portrait types (original, EMEA) and technical advancements (different print methods and perforations/perforation types). Additionally, I try to include any (clear) color varieties I come up with these.

    I guess this is simply yet another of those sets where each collector has to draw a line somewhere with what to include / exclude.”

    Oh, I also found this potentially helpful site for ID-ing Machins:

  47. Keijo wrote:


    Not really. That response still pretty much sums up everything.

    Re, conflicting colors…. Each catalog uses a somewhat distinct naming system for colors. What is “crimson” in one catalog, might be “deep red” in another etc. Your best guide on this is “common sense” and relying on other factors (perforation, print method) for accurate identification.

  48. Ruppelt wrote:

    Hi Keijo,

    I collect lots of Australian stamps but I haven’t had time to study them closely. Do you know what the security features are? Also, what is it that makes them so hard to soak off?


  49. Keijo wrote:

    @Ruppelt… I too have not studied Australian stamps in depth, but I do know they have
    a) various perforation styles (sheet stamps vs self-adhesives; the latter has several variations for specialists)
    b) UV / tagging
    c) microprinting

    As for soaking… Honestly speaking Australian self-adhesives are somewhat easy to soak (compared to those of US or UK, that don’t have water soluble extra layer). The tip (and this is from Australian Post philatelicc website) is to use hot (not boiling) water, put in the stamp there for about 5-8 minutes, and then gently peel off the stamp from the gum layer. Some personal notes of mine… If you use cold or lukewarm water, the layer between gum and stamp will not come off well; the water MUST be hot. If you soak the stamp more than 15 minutes, the paper will begin turn into “mush” and any attempt to peel it off will easily cause either a tear or thinned stamp. And finally, the self adhesives will not come off by themself (like sheet stamps with regular gum); You MUST peel them off from the gum layer always.

  50. Ruppelt wrote:

    Hi Keijo,

    Thanks very much! I had always used cold water. I’ll use warmer water next time.


  51. stuart thom wrote:

    Hi Keijo,
    as you know the early British stamps had plate numbers and they had letters in each of the corners to try and stop them from being reused (if that makes sense with out going in to too much detail). Do you know of any other country that also used plate numbers and/or letters in the same way as the early British stamps did.


  52. Keijo wrote:

    @Stuart… I had to think this one for a while… Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me, but I really can’t come up with any country that would have done the same.

    PS. Sorry for (once again) moving your comment to new/different location.

  53. stuart thom wrote:

    Hi Keijo,
    this one has got me too. I guess I will have to keep flicking through my S.G. cats and see if I can come up with any.

    PS. Sorry for (once again) moving your comment to new/different location.

    I found it fine, just followed your instructions.
    Thanks and have a great day,

  54. stuart thom wrote:

    Hi Keijo
    I have some info that may help with this one as I have all 3 variations of this stamp.

    @ Scott #111 1/2 p. vermilion (I have this one)
    Scott lists a #125 blue green but it looks like I have one item that is a shade of blue and another that is a shade of green. Definitely different colors and not vermilion obviously

    1) the 1900 ½d stamps are extremely prone to both water and sunlight. Based on picture I’d say that both of your copies have experienced some damages as neither of them seems to be of fully correct color / shade.
    SG notes that there is a bright blue changeling that is caused by the constitution of the ink used for some months in 1900 (but IMHO neither of your samples matches that either).

    In my detailed British S.G. cat it says that there was two of this design issued in the 1887 – 1900 ‘jubilee’ issue. All 3 stamps have Wmk Imperial Crown (which is a single crown).

    The 1st is SG 197 1/2d vermilion (orange in color, i believe there was 2 shades of this) cat price mint £1.75 used £1.20.

    The 2nd is SG 213 1/2d Green, cat price mint £2.00 used £2.00, it was this one that was the changeling, changing from green to light blue and i believe it still holds the same cat price but this I’m not 100% sure on,

    Just one more thing, if you find any of these 3 stamps with the words “PEARS SOAP” printed on the back in orange, blue or mauve then they are worth around £400 each. Sadly I don’t have any with “pears soap” in them.

    Hope this helps

  55. Keijo wrote:

    Just one more thing, if you find any of these 3 stamps with the words “PEARS SOAP” printed on the back in orange, blue or mauve then they are worth around £400 each. Sadly I don’t have any with “pears soap” in them.

    Blimey 😯

  56. trev wrote:

    hi there ,whilst casting my UV light over the early HV castles set S.G 1410 £1 green i noticed most have flourescent paper & one doesnt .S.G says ordinary paper & stonehams says i think O.B paper anyway i cant see any mention that this stamp should exist in both types ….ANY opinions?
    regards trev

  57. Keijo wrote:

    @Trev… Just did a quick check on Michel for this. For 1988 values Michel states the stamp exist in ordinary paper only. However, for 1992/1997 castles there’s an longer explanation. The stamps are on ordinary paper, but the COLOR used to print the designs (with the exception of Queens portrait) is fluorescent. So I guess this is what you are experiencing.

  58. trev wrote:

    Hi & thanks, the stamps i have are the 1988 1st of the series,(no metallic embossed head) on one £1 stamp there is NO glowing , the other £1’s ones of the same 1988 series i have, the whole paper of the stamp glows EXCEPT the ink which the design is printed with. Interesting ?

  59. Keijo wrote:

    @Trev… If it’s a used stamp, then it’s likely due to something that’s happened when stamp was soaked.
    But if it’s a mint copy, then you’ve likely got something very special.

  60. Rick Young wrote:

    I recently acquired some Great Britain commemoratives on album pages from roughly 1950-65. Stamps of this era often were issued with both Phosphorescent tagging and no tagging. I was checking the new items on the original album pages with UV light, and many of them appeared to be tagged. However, when I lay them on the new album pages I printed (regular white cover stock) it became must less clear to me whether they were, in fact, tagged. I compared them to the stamps I already had which do not appear to be tagged and the difference was much more subtle. Any hints about the best lighting and backgrounds, or anything else, that might help me to be surer about whether the stamps are tagged or not? Thanks!

  61. Keijo wrote:

    @Rick… A dual band UV light should do the trick. Relying on pure eyesight can be misleading (especially on used stamps).

  62. Rick Young wrote:

    KK, I ran into several items like that in figure 4 (MEF) at
    Do you know if these items are typically associated with Great Britain or a Middle East country?

  63. Keijo wrote:

    @Rick… The MEF overprints are for the British Foreign Post Offices in Middle East area. As far as I know, these were valid in quite a many countries/areas where Britain had presence at a time. And if I recall correctly, these were valid also in the inland (UK) mail too (please do correct if I’m mistaken)… I think most collectors associate these to UK rather than Middle East.

  64. Kim wrote:

    The MEF overprinted stamps were not valid in UK until 1950. Usually, catalog prices for used stamps are for those showing territorial usage prior to 1950. Used stamps showing UK postmarks retail for less. But my guess is that many collectors don’t bother with the area/date of usage.

  65. Kim wrote:

    Regarding the phosphor bands bands during the experimental era, I agree they can be difficult to spot on certain stamps. Especially on stamps that have vertical color bands as part of the background! Most of the filtered UV lamps sold in the US don’t work well with the UK phosphor bands bands from that era. I looked for years. Even my research grade high wattage filtered dual-wavelength UV lamp doesn’t work well with these stamps.

    I’ve noticed that the bands show up very well on selvage; even without using a UV lamp. So I usually try to acquire tagged stamps of that era with selvage. You can always fold the selvage behind the stamp if you don’t like the unbalanced appearance. Even if you don’t have selvage, you can spot the difficult phosphor bands bands by focusing on the white margin.

  66. Rick young wrote:

    Thanks, Kim!

  67. Nadia wrote:

    Hello – My uncle collects Machin UK stamps, and he asked me if I could find out what a Dot Matrix Machin stamp is.

    Is it a stamp that has a series of dots or something on it?

    thank you
    Nadia ( Australia)

  68. Keijo wrote:

    @Nadia… I have to say I’ve never heard of the term ‘dot matrix Machin’. But it’s no wonder as I’m not specialized collector of anything 😆

    As a wild guess, I would say it relates to (or is alias of) some printing method. In computing world dot matrix printing usually refers to method that ancestor of modern day inkjet printers used: . These days there’s very little common usage for this – some cash registers etc. ‘print-on-demand’ devices may still use dot matrix (but it’s definitely going away). In a way the output of dot matrix devices is slightly similar to what photogravured stamps look like (a flow of small dots/cells), except usually much rougher.

    But I’m sure someone more knowledgeable (Ian / Norvic – where are You?) chimes in sooner or later.

  69. Jacques wrote:

    Happy Christmas, happy new year. I have a small number (not all that well preserved) NHS prescription stamps. I believe used as proof of payment and then cancelled by the dispenser at the chemist. I am far too young to remember these in use (60’s shillings and pence and 70’s new pence). Are these cinderella’s at all collectable or worthy only of the bin? I would be happy to provide photo’s via email if wanted.
    Please email me if you see fit.

  70. Keijo wrote:

    @jacques… I have to confess I have absolutely no knowledge of these, but isn’t everything collectible? It’s likely that they are nowhere as not popular as stamps, coins or viewmaster discs, but I’m sure somebody out there is interested of them if the price is right.

  71. Jacques wrote:

    If you email me your address you can be the proud owner of some (highly collectable!) NHS stamps albeit if only for the curiosity, a welcome addition to your collection for the new year. The only question remains how would you like them sent?

  72. Keijo wrote:

    @jacques… Thanks :) It will be interesting to see what they look like… A regular size envelope with some stiffener (=postcard, piece of cardboard etc) inside is recommended method to mail anything stamp related. Will email my address soon…

  73. Jacques wrote:

    I posted them today, sorry I couldn’t get any nice stamps to put on the envelope.

  74. Keijo wrote:

    @jacques… No problem. Any stamp is a good stamp :)

  75. Elisio Domingues de Souza wrote:

    Allow me to introduce myself: my name is Elisio Domingues de Souza, Brazilian, 57 years old, B. Sc. in Business Administration and an antique collector for the past 40 years.


    History of the abovementioned stamp:
    Before this stamp being sold to me I was informed that it used to belong to an old collector that used to work for Kitty Post Office (suburb of Georgetown) and, he had so many unused normal stamp sheets and among them had a sheet with a 1921 2c King George V head and ship British Guiana (it was said to me that: from the said sheet one or two of the first rows had the error the rest of the rows had normal ones). From the said sheet only 2 survived, mine in good condition the other one is badly damaged and belongs to a businessman and collector of stamps, coins and other antiquities in Guyana. Only two (2) are known to exist.The said stamp was discovered in Georgetown, Guyana, around the early eighties and sold to me in 2002.

    I lived/worked in Guyana from 1984 -2006 and I always used to hear comments about the said stamp almost every weekend when I used to visit to the antique shops in Georgetown.
    The said stamp has a major error/freak that occurred during the printing process in Great Britain (The King’s face from his forehead to the neck is partially hidden).
    Allow me to say that, this is an extraordinary stamp printed during his era. Besides that, H.M. King George V, was the most famous collector of the 19th – 20th centuries, as well, this said stamp comes from the same country where the 1856 British Guiana One-cent Black on Magenta came from.


    Elisio Domingues de Souza
    Antique Collector

  76. Keijo wrote:

    @Elisio… Now that’s what I call a stamp story :) I’m sure quite many would be interested of seeing a picture/photo of the stamp in question, so could you please upload it somewhere on the web, please.

    PS. Hope you don’t mind me moving your comment under this section. I’m just trying to keep the blogs content more or less organized by it’s topic. And since your post is mostly about CW stamp, it suites this sections perfectly.

  77. Andrei wrote:

    Hi Keijo
    Do you happen to know if the Eynhallow stams are really considered as stamps or only cindarella/bogus? Are they listed in Michel or Scott or in any other catalog?

  78. Keijo wrote:

    @Andrei…. As Eynhollow has been inhabited for the past few centuries, they’re likely as bogus as a bogus can get (though some consider them as ‘British locals’). More than likely they are the works of late Mr. Clive Feigenbaum.

    I’ve got few pages of Eynhallow stamps in my stock books. Don’t know how many different designs are out there, but likely several hundreds.

  79. Andrei wrote:

    I’ve seen a lot of them out for sale…
    So there is no chance to find them in Michel or Scott? I do not have British locals catalog, maybe they are listed there…

  80. Keijo wrote:

    @Andrei… Sorry, but nope. This kind of items are not official postage stamps, and as such catalogues such as Michel, Scott, SG etc. will not list them.

    I do not have British locals catalog, maybe they are listed there…

    Pabay has issued a CD of British locals, and based on the index found, stamps of Eynhallow are on it. 127 pages / 2041 stamps of them to be more precise 😯

  81. Chris wrote:

    This might sound like a strange question, but in 1982, I was given a boxed set of eight gold-plated stamps (maybe 3mm thick) by my grandfather. They are in a red wooden box and are related to the Royal Wedding (Prince Charles and Lady Diana) I can’t find anything on the web, and was wondering if anyone could shed any light on their collectiblity/worth. I’m pretty sure that all of the certification is in the box, but I don’t have it with me. It’s in my paraents’ house in England.

  82. Keijo wrote:

    @Chris… All sorts of limited edition collector items are prepared for events such as roayl weddings, babies etc. but as they are manufactured in scale of tens of thousands of copies, their real value is very unlikely to increase from their original sales price. Current value is precisely what somebody is willing to pay.

    If they are what I suspect (golded stamps from Grenada, Central Africa, Guyana, Staffa etc), then the stamps are in £3-10/item price range.

    If they are stamp replicas made in gold (medallions), then their value is the value of gold (which can vary a lot depending on quality of gold).

  83. Rick Young wrote:

    I am finally trying to get a little more serious about Great Britain Machins. Specifically, I want to identify Litho. vs. Photo. issues. I recall reading (I think here) that Litho. have clean edges on colors, and photo. have ragged edges where colors meet.This seems to contradict what I read at the following website: Will you please help? Thanks!

  84. Keijo wrote:

    @Rick… Adminware website has got it right. Here’s a different page with better picture of the difference you should look at
    IMHO spotting the difference requires at least 10-12 magnification, and even so it can be frustrating.

  85. Rick Young wrote:

    Thanks, Keijo. One additional question, do these two descriptions actually contradict each other? Or is there something special about Machins?

  86. Keijo wrote:

    @Rick… Sorry for bit slow response. I had a busy day (dentist, shopping etc). Here’s a picture/quote from Argentinian definitives article:

    Photogravure looks like a photo. The colored areas are covered with tiny inkdots in different shades. In offset/litho the drawing is composed of colored (solid) dots/lines/fills with intermediate portions being white.”

    (My original image caption was likely not clear enough about the differences, hence I rephrased it a bit to make things even clearer. Or so I hope…)
    The essential parts are that:

    With photogravure You’ll always find TINY INKDOTS of different shades when looked at proper magnification (ie. look at the leaves on top of tree in above pic, or the frame… You should see tiny beam of dots there). Hence any straight lines appear “ragged/bumby/dotted (or whatever describes them best)”.

    With offset-litho you’ve got only SOLID dots/lines/fills. Hence the image is appears flatter (and sometimes more ‘rough/simple’ like with these Argentinian definitives).

    Hope this clears 😉


  87. Sue Hardy wrote:


    I checked your piece about telling the difference between Typographed and lithographed stamps of Argentina, but the ones that are giving me fits are the threatened species stamps of Australia Scott #1288-1295. According to Scott, there is a perf difference, but not according to Stanley gibbons.

    My cat is saying “Merry Christmas!”


  88. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Sue,

    there’s no perforation difference. What you need to look at is the ‘characteristics’ of typo vs. offset-litho. As I don’t any typo stamps from the 1992 release, I’ll show the difference using a 1994 series stamp instead:

    Typo vs Litho print on Australian Endangered species stamps

    The key is the ‘edge’ around numbers & letters. With typo stamps you should see it somewhat easily even with regular magnifier, with offset it’s always missing.

    Hope this helps.

  89. Rick Young wrote:

    Keijo wrote on October 29, 2013 @Rick… Adminware website has got it right. Here’s a different page with better picture of the difference you should look at IMHO spotting the difference requires at least 10-12 magnification, and even so it can be frustrating.

    This response you sent me was very helpful. I also somewhere must have found a way to distinguish various types within a denomination by the bands (present or not, or one vs. more than one band?). But I cannot find where I originally got that information. It does not seem to be from the site I quote above. Any ideas? One other thing: what magnification would be ideal for distinguishing litho vs. photogravure or for distinguishing the various types (as listed in Scott’s)? I think my magnifier is 10X  but it does not seem to be strong enough for this purpose. Thanks!

  90. Keijo wrote:


    …found a way to distinguish various types within a denomination by the bands (present or not, or one vs. more than one band?). But I cannot find where I originally got that information. Any ideas?

    Sorry, can’t recall reading nothing as such.

    That said, I must say that I have doubts about the accuracy of using phosphor bands (or their absence) to define print method. Possibly Ian Billings and those more knowledgeable of Machins will chime in about this.

    What magnification would be ideal for distinguishing litho vs. photogravure or for distinguishing the various types (as listed in Scott’s)?

    x8-x10 should be enough (especially if you have some sort of lightsource within).

  91. Alfredo Rodriguez wrote:


    Which the difference is between  type l and typell in Elizabeth II stamps Wilding 2 1/2 p red. Thanks in advanced

  92. Keijo wrote:

    @Alfredo… I’m not by my catalogs right now, but I’ll check SG Concice when I get home for the weekend (unless somebody else manages to answer your question before me).

  93. Keijo wrote:

    @Alfredo…. Here’s how SG puts this:

    Type I: In the frontal cross of the diadem, the top line is only half the width of the cross

    Type ): The top line extends to the full width of the cross (and there signs of strengthening in other parts of the diadem).

    Hope this answers your question.

  94. Franz Feigl wrote:

    Good morning, Keijo

    I have two quick questions before I go to bed. I just added some New Zealand stamps to my collection, and I came across a couple of Scott unlisted perf varieties of two very common stamps. I only can give you the Scott#s:

    #184 (George V in field marshal’s uniform, 1926) and #650 ($5.00 Wellington Parliament Building, 1981)

    Scott lists 14 and 14×14.5 for #184 – mine is 14×15 
    Scott lists a perf of 14.5×14 for #650 – mine is 13

    #650 is from a set of three stamps (according to Scott), and a couple of perf varieties are listed for the 10c and the 24c stamp but none for the $5.00 stamp

    I know that you often find discrepancies and omissions with catalog listings, and I wonder what you can tell me about my “finds” (I only have a Scott catalog for New Zealand) 

    Thank you so much


  95. Keijo wrote:

    Hi Franz,

    fortunately I’ve got several catalogs to cover these 😉

    For the 1926 1d Admiral both Michel and Stanley Gibbons state perforations 14×15 and 14, Yvert mentions just perforation 14. So this is obvious error on Scott listings

    For the 1981 $5 Wellington Parliament Building Michel states 12 3/4 x 13 and, SG and Yvert state perf 13. And even my copy of Scott states perf 13. So likely there’s been some kind of ‘lapse’ in your edition.


  96. Franz Feigl wrote:

    Hello Keijo

    Thank you. My edition of Scott for New Zealand is quite outdated (1996), though our library will have the latest copy. Seems that I will have to invest in a couple of newer catalogs some day, though the prices are a real deterrent – I rather spend my money on stamps.

    Michel, you say, lists a perf of 12 3/4 x 13; likely, this is the true measurement as my gauge seemed to be a bit off on one side. How do you measure perforation? I use a Unitrade gauge, which allows me to measure perforations  from 7 to 16 1/2, in increments of 1/2. So anything in between, such as 12 3/4 is a bit of guesswork.

     I might be mistaken of course, but Scott seems to list perforations in 1/2-unit increments only (unless the newer catalogs are more precise), while Michel seems to list in 1/4-unit increments. Can I assume then that European-made perforation gauges are calibrated to 1/4-unit increments?


  97. Keijo wrote:

    @Franz… I agree that the cost of updating catalogs gives heartburn. Few days back I had a change to browse brand new Michel’s 2015 set for the Europe, and boy had these books lots to drool over. Hard covers, new varieties (including some of those I’ve found and blogged here), better illustrations etc. But the cost of updating, sigh…

    Re, measuring perforations… I think most collectors living in North or Central Europe use these beauties by Leuchtturm/Lighthouse:
    Lighthouse / Leuchtturm perforation gauge
    These are very easy-to-use and very durable; definitely worth the three euro cost.

    The British prefer SG Instanta which is even more precise. I’ve got one of them (somewhere) as well, but don’t really prefer it. It’s simply not as ‘comfortable-to-use’ as the Lighthouse version (and if I want to check something more accurately than the ¼ unit, I would check it digitally).

    And yes, Scott works on ½ unit increments. Same goes for SG most of the time (but not always). Michel uses ¼ unit increments most of the time


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