Monday, 27 May 2013

Machin Diary 3

Surmounting the Mount!

I'm back again for another installment of my Machin diary. Number 3. Check out diary entries 1 and 2 for the story so far...

Okay, now that I have my Great Britain Machin album picked out - see this website HERE - my pages printed, and my mounting system all worked out, it's time to start sticking the little fellas in!

As I mentioned in my previous diary entry, I had already purchased a few boxes of Hawid stamp mounts, but I had never pulled them from their packaging and looked at them. I tell you now it came as a shock to me what they looked like. I have never used a mount in my life. Hagners - yes. Hinges - yes. But mounts - no! So I freely admit that I had absolutely no idea how I went about affixing them to the album pages! Luckily I am a member of a very good stamp forum known as The Grumpy Old Men's Club. I went straight to the forum and posed my embarrassing question. A member answered me almost straight away.

The answer to my conundrum was very simple. Lick - or wet - the backside of the mount. Okay then, problem solved. Armed with this information, I grabbed a stamp mount, licked the back, then with shaking hands placed it on the album page. There. Easy. I leaned back to admire my work... Horror! The mount was crooked!! Undeterred, I had another go. A little better, but still not great. Bugger! My disappointment rising, I headed back to the GOMC forum to vent my troubles. Within moments I got a tip that I am forever grateful for. Thank you Roos!! 

Use a ruler.

So I did. And lo and behold my mounts started going on nice and straight. I did discover one trick for myself while happily sticking on my mounts. Using a ruler with a thick edge - mine is of the wooden variety - works the best. I have now applied this method to several album pages and I'm quite happy with the results. Here's one of the pages:

Incidentally, those first two crooked mounts, I managed to, very carefully, remove from the page and apply them straight!! Here's a close-up of one of the mounts...

Next time round I'll take a look at the criteria used by the author of the album I am using to sort Machins into a workable collection.

Until then...
Stay Stamp Crazy!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Machin Diary 2

Mounting Troubles!

Welcome to my second Machin Diary post. Those of you who read my first diary post will know that this whole blog series revolves around my journey collecting Great Britain Machin Head stamps. Much of the information in my initial posts comes from a fantastic website, in which I found a great set of album pages to download. Click HERE 

In this post I'll be looking at the different choices I had for mounting my collection on the printed pages. But first I thought it might be fun to have a bit of a history lesson. 

Why are Great Britain definitives called 'Machin Heads?' 

Machin (pronounced may-chin) Heads are named after Arnold Machin (1911-1999), a British artist, sculptor, and coin and stamp designer. 

Machin's road to fame began in 1964 when he was selected to design an effigy of the Queen's head for a new series of British decimal coins scheduled to be released in 1968. Incidentally, this same effigy was also used on Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand coins until the 1980's. In 1966 a similar design of the Queen's effigy by Machin was approved by the Queen to be used on stamps. On 5 June 1967 the first Machin definitive was issued - the 4d denomination. And so began what is arguably the longest running definitive stamp series. 

Now let us turn to the question of mounts. What is the best system? Hinges? Hingeless mounts? These choices come down to personal preference. My preference is not to use hinges on mint stamps. Since my collection - at this point - will be mint stamps, hinges are out. That leaves hingeless mounts. 

Decision made, I thought. Wrong! Now I had to choose what type of hingeless mounts I wanted to use. The standard Hawid mount with a clear flap behind which the stamp is inserted. Or the other type of mount known as the GARD mount.

Hawid Mounts

GARD Mounts

A couple of years ago I had already bought a few boxes of Hawid hinges so my choice was, in effect, already made. Hawid mounts come with a clear backing or a black backing. At first I thought the black backing would look cool. But then I got to thinking: what if I placed the darn thing on the page slightly crooked? A black square on a white background would stand out like the proverbial. Thankfully I had purchased clear mounts. Phew!

Next time - Sticking the mounts in! Plus a few more goodies.
Until then...
Stay Stamp Crazy!!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Machin Diary

The Beginning

For several years now I have been planning to start a Great Britain Machin Head collection. Due to many different circumstances I have put it off and put it off. That is until the other day when I found a great website that sells Machin Head Album pages already laid out for the collector. Click HERE to have a look for yourself. It's well worth it. After looking at the site I decided to go for it.

So, having decided to take the plunge, I thought, wouldn't it be great to document my Machin journey for posterity? A collection such as this will be full of excitement, pitfalls, and perils. But what an amazing journey.  If you are new to Machins yourself, perhaps you can learn along with me. If you're an old hand at these heads, then maybe you'll get at least a little entertainment over my fumblings. There are sure to be a few of those!!

To begin our journey, let's return to the Machin Album website. Upon close inspection I discovered that there were a few choices that must be made immediately. Oh dear!! I've only just started. But I took the bull by the horns - as it were - and probed deeper. 

Firstly, I was then prompted to choose which type of collection I was to embark upon. Basic (free). Novice. Intermediate  Advanced. Each of the categories delve a little deeper into this amazing branch of philately. I carefully studied each category to see what it had to offer. (In my next diary entry I'll look more in depth at each of these categories). I also tried to take into account my budget. I didn't want an album that I knew I'd never be able to fill because of high-end material that was out of my reach. Herein lay my first problem! I know little about these stamps so how do I know if I am getting an album that I can fill? A quick consultation with my Stanley Gibbons gave me some answers. 

Now I felt I was armed with enough knowledge to choose. Being a novice, but wanting a bit more of a challenge than the Novice collection allows for, I chose intermediate. Then it was simply a matter of parting with some hard earned cash, and pressing a button. Then presto, I was now the proud owner of over 300 Machin Head album pages.  

Here is a sample of one page from the album:

Now that I had my album sitting on my hard drive ready to go, I came to my next big question. So many questions so soon!! Aarrgh!! What weight paper should I use to print out my album? Research suggested no less than 160 gsm paper. I live in the country, so I don't exactly have a wide selection of stationery to choose from. I found a ream (500 pages) of decently priced 100 gsm paper. I reasoned that it would do the trick for me as I intend to place the pages in protective plastic sleeves. Now it was simply a matter of loading up the printer. And waiting...

Within minutes I had an album sitting before me. Well, not quite. Studying the album pages I found that it was yet again decision time. Hinges!! But I'll leave that dilemma till next time...

Until then...
Stay Stamp Crazy!!

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

QEII Definitives - Southern Rhodesia 1953 (Part 2)

Southern Rhodesia 1953 Part 2

On 31 August 1953 Southern Rhodesia issued its first Queen Elizabeth II definitives. This lovely set consisted of 14 stamps, on unwatermarked paper. This series was recess-printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co (except the 4d stamp, which had a typography vignette).

In Part 2 we shall study the 2d and 3d stamps of this set. The 2d stamp is perforated 14. The 3d stamp is perforated 14 x 13½. Both stamps were issued on 31 August 1953.

The first stamp we will study is the 2d deep chestnut & reddish violet. The focus of this stamp is Rhodes' Grave. Cecil John Rhodes (5 July 1853 - 26 March 1902) was born in England. He was a mining magnate who spent most of his time in South Africa. He founded the company De Beers, which today markets 40% of the world's rough diamonds. Rhodes, A believer in British colonialism, was the founder of the southern Africa territory that became known as Rhodesia, in his honour, in 1895. Cecil Rhodes died in 1902, aged 48. After his death, the government arranged for his body to be taken by train to Rhodesia where he was laid to rest at World's View, a hilltop just south of Bulawayo. His grave site is now a part of the Matobo National Park in Zimbabwe which was at the time of his death, Rhodesia.

SG 80

Now we shall turn our attention to the 3d chocolate & rose-red stamp. The focus of this stamp is a farm worker. Tobacco and cotton were the dominant farming industries in Southern Rhodesia. It was these industries that led to a boom in immigration to the colony in the 1920's. Unfortunately many farm workers were considered no better than slaves at this time. The political turbulent political history of this colony is beyond the scope of this humble article... This ARTICLE may be of some interest to those looking for some further reading. And you may also wish to check out this PAGE

SG 81

Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series. Until then . . .

Stay Stamp Crazy!!