Faeroese Postal History
Dutch Silver Stamp
A Jewel on a Stamp
Canadian Nat. Symbols
Private - Personalized
Philatelic Art Mews
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek
Machins for Disabled
Disabilty Discrimination Act 1995 which came into force last year [i.e. 2002]
imposed obligations on suppliers of services to take account of the special
needs of people with disabilities of one kind or another. In line with
this Royal Mail made various changes to their books of self-adhesive Machin
definitives issued from 5 June last year . These changes were
designed to help the visually impaired and those with arthritic hands who
found it difficult to extract stamps from books. The most important
1) Books containing 1st- and 2nd- class Non Value
Indicators (NVIs) had either one or two notches cut into the cover at the
2) The folding crease was placed off centre making the
cover overlap at the back, i.e., the front was shorter than the back. In
conjunction with the notch(es) this enabled people to orientate the book
- Great Britain 2002. Booklets of 1st and 2nd class Non
Value Indicators with 1 and 2 notches respectively in order to
"feel" which value one has in hand. The folding crease is
placed off center, leaving the "notched right side" of the booklet
3) The self-adhesive stamps were kiss diecut (like a
pastry or cookie cutter) and the waste surround, known as a matrix by RM,
was removed before issue. This made the stamps stand proud of the backing
sheet (which did double duty as the cover). This in turn made it easy to
feel for the stamps, how to tell how many were left and when it was time to
buy a new book. The raised stamps were also easier to peel off than when the
matrix was present.
4) The printing on the front of the cover used very
large figures for the NVI or value (books of 6 x 42p and 6 x 68p for
overseas mail were issued on 4 July 2002) and the number of stamps in a full
As part of their planning, RM also considered a major
alteration to the design of the Machin stamps. This involved a very small
head of The Queen at the top left and facing right (the monarch's head has
never faced this way since 1840 except for some of the QE2 stamps with
Castles designs). The only other element of the design was a very
large figure 1, without the letters ST. Self-adhesive trial books of 6 of
these stamps were made up and sent to interested organisations such as The
Royal National Institute for the Blind and The Arthritic Society for their
comments. In the end RM decided not to go ahead with this design and
all the trial books were supposed to have been returned. However, one must
have been left behind and used for ordinary postage because I have recently
acquired a large piece of a business envelope with one of these stamps on it
posted on 1 August 2002. As far as I know, this is the only example to have
survived but I suppose that there must be at least another 5 somewhere.
You may find one in GB kiloware if you keep your eyes peeled (or even half
closed, the appearance is so unlike any issued stamp). If you do, I
would appreciate hearing of it."
The 12 x 1st was
printed by Walsall Security Print Ltd. from colour cylinder W1 and phosphor
The 12 x 2nd was printed by The House of Questa (now owned by
De La Rue) from colour cylinder Q1 and phosphor cylinder Q1. One will
need a UV lamp to see the phosphor numbers.
Both books were printed in gravure from EME
(Electro-Mechanically Engraved) cylinders. These have a computer
controlled engraving tool; diamond stylus for Walsall and laser for Questa.
These are one of the better designs of this type of stamps that I have seen,
since it includes usage by both visually impaired and those with arthritic
hands. Chapeau to Royal Mail.
To conclude these pages I cannot resist showing you some
wonderful paintings and etchings, all related to The Blind Man's World, and all
made by Renaissance artists.
"The Parable of the Blind" by the Flemish Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel the
Elder (1525-1569), painted 1568 and issued by Belgium in 1976 for the Association for
Language Promotion! Click
here, or on the stamp, to see it large version. The link will
open in a new window.
A wonderful expression of black humour in the Dark Ages, maybe inspired
by St. Matthew: "If the blind lead the blind both shall fall
into the ditch" (Matthew 15:14).
- Belgium 1976. Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Parable of the
Jacques Callot (1592-1635), was a French
engraver and etcher, and an important innovator in both the technique and
subject matter of printmaking. As a court printmaker for the Medici in Florence
from 1612 to 1621, he developed a new etching medium (a varnish of linseed oil
and mastic), the hardness of which made possible greater fineness and detail.
This innovation facilitated the work of the great etchers of the 1600s, such as
Rembrandt. Callot, in works such as the monumental Fair at Impruneta
(1620), was one of the first artists to depict a complete cross section of
Returning to his native Lorraine in 1621, he adapted a more
realistic, less courtly style.
His masterpieces are the two series, each entitled
Miseries of War (both 1633), in which he stripped war of its glory and
romance, showing with a merciless eye the distress of the common people.
Click on either of the stamps to see a large
France 1957. Two etchings by J. Callot, both issued for the benefit
of French Red Cross, and part of the series "Miseries of War",
"The Blind and the Beggar" [L'Aveugle et le
persons with canes, and a small guide (?)-dog at the front
"The beggar and the One-Eyed Woman" [La Mendiante et la
Borgnesse]. The beggar with crutches to the left, and the one-eyed
woman, walking with a cane, to the right.
Machins for Disabled
An extensive, but not complete,
checklist that includes also blind personalities and guide-dogs, is available upon
request. The checklist is compiled by Ken Stuckey and Gunilla Stenberg
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