Machin Decimal Stamp Booklets. The 25p Issue.


Decimal stamp booklets. - The 25p stitched issues.

by Ron Shanahan


A set of 8 designs illustrating Veteran Transport was initially projected for these booklets. Each design was intended to appear on two consecutive editions, but the programme was not adhered to. The first and third in the series appeared only once. The April 1971 cover was changed to a special design publicising the Postal Museums exhibition 80 Years of British Stamp Books. The edition for December 1971 was cancelled simply because of a lack of demand for the series. A supplementary issue was made in December 1972 giving three editions with the design number 6 and the two editions with design number 8 were cancelled.

Veteran Transport. designed by David Gentleman.

The first in the series was issued on February 15th 1971 and the cover illustration was of A Knife-board Omnibus(Fig 1)

It contained three stamp panes on Original Coated Paper with PVA gum:-

5 x 2½p (centre band phosphor) with one printed advertisement label, (stick) (Fig 2)

4 x 2½p (centre band) with two printed labels (Uniflo/stick) (Fig 3)

and 5 x ½p (two band) with one printed label (B Alan). (Fig 4)

The second illustration was of The B-type Omnibus of 1910 and this was issued on June 11th 1971 and repeated on the August issue which was in fact released on September 17th 1971.

The third was A Showman's Engine No. 3 of 1886 and this appeared only once on the October issue, released on November 22nd.

The Royal Mail Van of 1913 was the fourth illustration and appeared on the February and April 1972 issues. These were released on December 23rd 1971 and March 13th 1972 respectively. With these issues the paper was changed to Fluorescent Coated Paper and also the advertisement labels were changed. The 5 x 2½p label was B. Alan, the 4 x 2½p two Rushstamps labels and the 5 x ½p label was Rushstamps.

Illustration number five was A Motor Wagonette of 1901 This appeared on the June 1972 issue, released on April 24th and the August 1972 issue released on June 14th.

The London Taxi Cab of 1913 was number six in the series and was shown on the October 1972 issue, released July 17th, the December 1972 and December Sissues released October 19th and November 6th respectively.

The seventh and last illustration showed Norwich Electric Tramway. This was the February 1973 edition released on February 26th 1973.

80 Years of British Stamp Books designed by Stuart Rose.

This booklet (Fig 5) was issued to publicise the National Postal Museum exhibition. It was the April 1971 edition but released on March 19, 1971. The stamp contents were the same as for the first of the Veteran Transport series.

Save the Children Fund

This was the June 1973 edition, (Fig 6) issued June 7th and it contained the same stamp content as the last of the Transport series.

Numbers issued.

These statistics are quite interesting with the highest figure being for the first issue which was 2,506,568 and the lowest was the February 1973 which was 310,480. This was a mere bagatelle when most contemporary booklet figures were in the millions. As examples, the 10p and 30p booklets issued at around the same time ran to 4,098,840 for the former and 3,335,240 for the latter. In fact nine of the 25p editions had figures of less than a million.


The panes have three or four perforation types except for the 2½p x 5 B Alan pane from cylinder B29, which has only two. It is worth while keeping a look out for the variations as, for example, the 2½p plus 2 labels pane is catalogued at £4.50 for the P (Margin fully perforated through - rough or smooth cut) and £42 for the APP(Perforated margin with alternate horizontal rows perforated through) (Fig 7)


The dates printed on the back covers of the booklets were for their expected usage period rather than the actual issue times.

Errors in make up.

These booklets were normally assembled by hand and although the contents of each batch was checked before sewing it was possible for different panes to be substituted for the correct version. Thus some of the booklets have different pane contents. The most variety appears to be in the Royal Mail Van issue which has four listed variations as well as the original. These varieties command high prices, so, naturally, they have been targeted by fakers. If buying, make sure it is from a reputable dealer and that he/she is satisfied that it is genuine.

Advertisement labels.

The existing machinery used for printing booklet panes was designed for panes of six. However, panes of four or five were needed to make convenient selling prices for decimal booklets, so the vacant spaces were used for advertising labels. The contracts for advertising ended in 1973.


Apart from the make-up errors already mentioned there are the usual crop of varieties such as missing serif to small 2 retouches, spots and scratches. A well recognised variety, listed by SG as UB34f, is the dark flaw in hair variety(Fig 8) which occurs on the cylinder pane of UB34. The illustration (Fig 9) shows this flaw at row 1, stamp 1, on the cylinder B17 pane. The pane illustrated also has missing phosphor and is perforation type APL a combination listed but not priced by S.G.

Another variety is the missing figure two on the bottom advertisement label.

For what was to have been a straight forward issue, this must rank as quite a

Philatelic Foul Up...

Change of design programme, confusing dates on the booklet covers, additional/supplementary issues and make up variations all muddy the waters. This is in addition to the normal selection of advert. panes, perf. variations and other varieties.

Just think of the fun you can have though, trying to get it all together

I wonder if the 30p issue will tangle the brain as much?

That, as they say, is another story!

This article was first published in Vol. 3- Issue 1 of


The Machin interest group of The Philatelic Society of Canberra.

Source acknowledgments:-
British Philatelic Bulletin.
Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Volume 4.
Mike Holt Price List No. 25.


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