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Revised Machin definitive counter sheets were issued
on 17th February 2009 featuring new security devices. These sheets were printed
on self adhesive paper and came in a new sheet size of 50 (similar to recent
Christmas issues). The stamps have additional security features including :-
These features are intended to make it more difficult
to photocopy / scan stamps and also to prevent reuse of stamps.
As a result of these changes, the layouts of the counter
sheet have been redesigned to cater for the use of self adhesive paper - the
details are as follows :-
Primary Sheet size 300 (6x50(2x25(5x5)))
Upper Pane Sheet Markings :-
Lower Pane Sheet Markings :-
Standard sized cylinder pane identification
box for primary sheet giving 6 combinations :-
When the counter sheet size was changed
from 50 to 25 (basically just guillotining the primary sheet into smaller units)
the identification box size doubled to give 12 (4x3) combinations.
Primary Sheet size 200 (4x50(2x25(5x5)))
Large NVI cylinder pane identification box
for primary sheet giving 4 combinations :-
In the case of counter sheet sizes of 25
(basically just guillotining the primary sheet of 200 into smaller units) the
identification box size doubled to give 8 (4x2) combinations.
The Special Delivery ('SD') stamps issued on 26th October
2010 are from primary sheets of 400, however, the positions of the sheet markings
have be revised. The stamps themselves have the hidden year code 'MAIO'
as part of the iridescent layer and this appears in front of the Queen's forehead.
Counter sheets are of 25 stamps and sheet markings appear
to have been standardised for each panel of 25 with a new eight compartment
cylinder panel identification grid box. Previously, the 'Large' format stamps
had been cut into counter sheets of 50 and had a cylinder pane identification
grid box of four - the sheet being made up of two panels of 25. The new counter
sheet markings are as follows :-
Counter Sheet Markings of 25 (first version) :-
Counter Sheet Markings of 25 (revised FSC version) :-
The low value definitives were reissued on self adhesive
paper on 8th March 2011. These were for the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p and 20p values and
the counter sheet size was 25 (similar to the 'SD' NVI values, however, the
Barcodes are printed in black). Interestingly, the iridescent overprint was
not printed on these low values but they do have the four 'U' shaped die cuts
within the design area. Another interesting feature is that the 2p, 5p and 20p
values are printed on a common / shared primary sheet meaning there are only
4 cylinder grid positions per value (the other 8 grid positions are shaded out)
instead of the 12 that will exist for the 1p and 10p values.
Subsequent to this, all denominated values from April
2011 were self adhesive printings issued in counter sheets of 25 and with the
iridescent 'ROYAL MAIL' overprint.
From early 2013, De La Rue relocated their printing facility
from Dunstable upto Gateshead. The ATN printing press was moved and continued
to be used with no change being made to the prevailing sheet format, however,
for a short period the numbering unit was non operational meaning the early
sheet printings from Gateshead did not carry the printing date and sheet serial
As an additional security measure, a new Self Adhesive
paper substrate was introduced in early 2017 (Booklets and Business Sheets had
been using a version since early 2016). This has the wavyline 'ROYAL MAIL' text
printed on the carrier paper so that it appears where the paper matrix has been
stripped away. Counter sheets only appear in the second form of this feature,
that is alternating two rows of upright text - one large; one small and then
two rows of inverted text - one large; one small. The change dates to the week
commencing 27th February 2017. A handful of printings with the year code M17L
occur on both old and new Self Adhesive papers. These are £1.17, £1.40,
£1.57, £2.27 £2.55 and 2nd NVI.
Further to this, the revised (upright / inverted) 'ROYAL
MAIL' text in the Self Adhesive paper substrate can yield variants depending
on how the paper was reeled. This has happened with the counter sheet £1.17
value. The second printing in March 2017 (printing date 03/03/17, which was
the first printing with the new substrate) was issued with the paper direction
that was different from the Walsall 100x2nd Business Sheets (as this was the
first usage its classified - Type I). Subsequently, a third printing of the
£1.17 occurred in April 2017 (printing date 07/04/17). This has a different
paper direction - and is in fact the same as the first Walsall 100x2nd Business
Sheets (Type I).
Note 1 : In the case of single colour printings the second
cylinder prints the wavyline 'ROYAL MAIL' iridescent overprint text. The 1p,
2p, 5p, 10p and 20p values from ink cylinder D1 did not have the iridescent
Note 2 : The Barcode (and FSC info) is printed in black
but the cylinder was not engraved with a cylinder number (The SD values have
the Barcode printed in blue).
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