Miniature Sheets

Most Machin Collectors are familiar with the Boots greetings card stamps issued in a miniature sheet, introduced in 1994 .

 So called Boots miniature when Boots the Chemist ordered a special consignment from royal Mail to attach to greetings card in-store. The first was printed in Lithography by Questa . The sheets measuring 85 mm x 43 mm carried a first class (Flame red ) stamp OFNP/PVA (creamy in colour) it has two Yellow flour phosphor bands elliipsoid type 1 (R) "Rugby Ball" at both vertical sides these were situated on the third perforation from the base of the stamp and approx. three perforations long.

The Boots Logo and text wording "FREE first class stamp included in the price" was added to the left of the stamp. Rouletting which formed a fold in the shape of a pyramid separated the stamp from the rest of the label, this had further text printed both left and right of the rouletting.

059 boots

On the top left was the the wording "Valid whatever the current postage rate for First class items up to 60g in the UK". The current 1st class rate at the time of issue was 25p. On the top right  were the words "Royal Mail."  (see picture left).

Several of these sheets have been discovered containing  minor defects in the positioning of the phosphor bands, giving a short band bottom,  inset band right or inset band left.

These were so popular with customers and collectors a  reprint was issued in October 1994.

This was also printed by Questa. This differs to the original in respect of the ellipse, reverting to Type 11(S) or sausage like, it also had a whiter gum. Short band bottom,  inset band right or inset band left are also known from this printing. the sheet size was reduced slightly 85 mm x 42 mm

A third printing was issued in September 1995 on unbranded sheets. To the left of the upper fold the text changed to wording "(c) The post Office 1995". On the upper right of the rouletting were the words "Valid  for Royal Mail First class up to 60g within the UKĒ.

Philatelicly the stamps had changed also. Still OFNP /PVA white gum but the phosphor tags were replaced with a Blue flour , they had two  DGA2B (Blue) phosphor bands radiating with a Long wave afterglow under long wave UV light. The ellipse was of the type 11 ( S) shape. (see picture right right)

060 AB Phoshor

April 1997 we saw a 4th reprint and a change of printer.  Enschede of Holland had taken over the contract to produce this version. The Flour of the phosphor was a dull blue, they also had a sharper look to the portrait as they were produced on computer engraved cylinders. It is noticeable the the value (1ST) is thicker than the Questa printing. This sheet is known with short bands top, also short bands bottom.

Further printings are known, these were not available to collectors and can only be found folded at the roulettes, as they were only available in retail stores.

Private overprints : Stamp dealers and companies also overprinted several of these sheets with logos to promote their business at major exhibitions. The list is quite long and they are collectable as a bi product of the original sheets. Both Branded and unbranded sheets have been used. The earliest noted is overprinted Singapore 95. The latest was produced to promote the US exhibition Washington 2006.

The Machin Collectors club produced a 10th anniversary souvenir sheet in 2005. Both Questa sheets Enshede and were used.

These overprinted sheets are catalogued in the region of £3 - 8. About 50 sheets with different overprints promoting stamp shows and dealers have been catalogued to date. Look out for inset and short bands on these they carry a very big premium.

The Anniversary of the penny black 1990 was commemorated with a miniature sheet.

Another Machin miniature sheet was issued to promote the work of Jeffrey Matthews during the 2000 Stamp exhibition.  A superb sheet depicting the Millennium Machin ( HM Miniature sheet ) was also issued at the show . 

2007 was the 40th Anniversary of the first appearance of Machin design (pre decimal definitives of 1967) . To commemorate this event The Royal Mail are to issue a special Miniature sheet on the subject. A Prestige booklet was issued at the same time.  Also in 2010 a spectacular miniature sheet with 11 of the (then) current sheet values was issued. See details of this and other issues on Machin Mania

Many thanks to Denis Stevens Specialised QEII Definitive issues for permission to show the above images. You can jump onto a link to Denisís site in our links section.

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