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United Kingdom Of Great Britain And Northern Ireland - Decimal "Castle" High Values

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Posted 05/16/2021   07:54 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add NSK to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
The first UK definitive series of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II was the "Wilding" series. In 1955, it was complemented with four high-value stamps. Each of these stamps depicted a royal castle in one of the countries that constitute the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland together with the "Wilding" portrait of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. On 5 March 1969, these were replaced by stamps with the "Machin" portrait of the Queen.

In 1988, the four royal castles made a comeback. The new stamps were recess-printed by Harrison and Sons Limited. The engraving for the issue was done by Chris Matthews from photographs taken by H.R.H. The Duke of York (Prince Andrew). There were several issues of these stamps before being superseded by "Machin" stamps on 3 March 1999.

The new "Castle High Values" were issued on 18 October 1988. There were four values:
£1: Carrickfergus Castle (1177, John de Courcy), Northern Ireland;
£1.50: Caernarfon Castle (1283, Edward I of England), Wales;
£2: Edinburgh Castle (11th century, Malcolm III of Scotland), Scotland; and
£5: Windsor Castle (11th century, William the Conqueror), England.
In either the top left or top right corner of each stamp appears the "Machin" head of H.M. The Queen.



The stamps were printed in sheets of 100 stamps divided in four panes of 5 x 5 stamps. Between each pane there was a horizontal or vertical gutter. Consequently, both horizontal and vertical gutter pairs exist. The gutters in the vertical pairs are stamp-sized and have the same perforations as the stamps. To prevent the use of the gutter for forgeries, a line was printed across the gutter in the same colour as the stamp. At the centre of each sheet existed a "gutter cross."

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Edited by NSK - 05/16/2021 5:30 pm

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Posted 05/16/2021   08:46 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What was the postal purpose of the high values?
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Posted 05/16/2021   09:09 am  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Parcels, overseas etc. I used a £10 definitive (not a castle type) to send stuff to Costa Rica.
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Posted 05/16/2021   09:29 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
High values, primarily, were issued for use on parcels. £1 stamps have been issued since the 1880s.

The large "Machins" of the 1980s give some insight. They, first, were issued in £1, £2, and £5 denominations. In 1983 (the centenary of the parcel post service in the UK), the first weight step (up to 1 kilo) for inland parcels was raised to £1.30. This value was added to the range on 3 July 1983. On 28 August 1984, it was raised to £1.33 and that value was issued. On 17 September 1985 followed the £1.41, on 1 September 1986 followed the £1.50, and on 15 September 1987 the £1.60.

They are also used on registered and insured mail. The £2 and higher values, when issued, were make-up values used on international airmail parcels and insured mail.
A £10 stamp was issued on 2 March 1993 to "save space" on international airmail parcels. Oddly, it had the same size as two £5 "Castle" stamps.
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Posted 05/16/2021   09:46 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I used a £10 definitive (not a castle type) to send stuff to Costa Rica.


£10 "Britannia."



Stamps from plate 2A have fluorescent green "TEN POUNDS" behind and below the "£10."
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Edited by NSK - 05/16/2021 09:49 am
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Posted 05/16/2021   5:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Noocassel to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The decimal castle series was actually 3 series. The first series were £1.00 Carrickfergus castle, Northern Ireland. £1.50 Caernarfon castle. £2.00 Edinburgh castle. £5.00 Windsor Castle.
The 2nd series Carrickfergus castle, £1.50 Caernarfon castle. £2.00 Edinburgh Castle. £3.00 Carrickfergus castle. £5.00 Windsor castle.
The 3rd series £1.50 Caernarfon castle. £2.00 Edinburgh castle. £3.00 Carrickfergus castle. £5.00 Windsor Castle.
The 2nd and 3rd series had the Queens head printed as a silhouette printed in Irriodin ink. The 2nd and 3rd series can be distinguished by looking at the serifs on the lettering with a magnifier. the 3rd series have less prominent serifs and no serif on the C of castle.
There are also pre decimal castles in multiple varieties and they are more difficult to identify.
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Posted 05/16/2021   5:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I was not ready with the thread. There were five sets. The first is the one shown here.
The second is one with £1, £1.50, £2 and £5 with elliptical perforations and a silhouette head printed in optically variable ink.
The third was similar, but from re-etchedengraved plates and all with PVAD gum.
The fourth was similar to the third and also had a £3 stamp, but PVA gum.
The fifth was printed by Enschedé from engravings by Inge Madlé.

The pre-decimal castles are Wildings and there are seven sets plus a stamp on chalk-surfaced paper. These also appeared as decimal stamps.
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Edited by NSK - 05/17/2021 09:09 am
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Posted 05/17/2021   11:02 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
On 28 March 1992, the original "Castles" stamps were replaced by "Castles" stamps with improved security features. The dies were re-engraved by Chris Matthews. The "Machin" portrait was replaced by a silhouette of Queen Elizabeth wearing a bandeau that also had been designed by Arnold Machin. This silhouette was printed in optically variable ink supplied by SicPa of Lausanne, Switzerland. The silhouette changes its colour from gold to green, depending on the angle at which it is viewed. When photocopied, the silhouette would not show the variable colour.


And somewhat less subtle:


Another security feature is the addition of elliptical perforations. These were the first stamps issued by Royal Mail with this security perforation. The elliptical perforation takes up the space of three ordinary perforations. When perforated correctly, stamps perforated by Harrisons and Sons have nine perforation holes above and eight perforation holes below the elliptical perforations. The later printings by Joh. Enschedé had eight holes above and nine holes below the elliptical perforation.



The sheet layout did not change much. The horizontal coloured line across the central gutter is now interrupted in the centre of the sheet.


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Posted 05/17/2021   3:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Another change was in the coating of the paper. The 1988 issue had fluorescent coated paper, the subsequent issues had nonfluorescent coated paper.


Fluorescence under a Leuchtturm long-wave uv-lamp.
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Posted 05/18/2021   09:16 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Late in 1993, new plates for the printing of the £5 "Windsor Castle" were etched. The deeper etching of the new plates was computer-assisted. Stamps printed from the re-etched plates were released from 2 January 1994. Later in 1994, such new "re-etched" plates for the other three values were put to press.

The re-etching affected the silhouette of H.M. The Queen on all four stamps. The bandeau is thicker on the re-etched stamps. Also, the lines of colour on the original printings show distinctive horizontal lines resulting in diamond shapes that are lying on a side. On the re-etched printings, the pattern consists of diagonal lines resulting in diamond shapes that rest on a point.

To the right is the silhouette on the original printing and to the left that on the re-etched printing.

From 22 August 1995, Royal Mail adjusted its definition of "high values." Subsequently, stamps with a face value of £1 were no longer considered "high value" stamps. The £1 "Carrickfergus Castle" stamp was replaced by a standard mauve "Machin" stamp printed by Joh. Enschedé. A purple £3-stamp showing Carrickfergus Castle was issued on the same day to replace the £1 of the same design. This stamp was printed from "re-etched" plates.


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Posted 05/18/2021   09:53 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Distinguishing the original and re-etched Carrickfergus Castle stamp.

Other than the silhouette, the clearest distinguishing feature of the Carrickfergus Castle stamp is the leftmost boat in the bay at the foot of the castle. The area to concentrate on is framed by the black box.



In the original printing there is no line on the front of the superstructure. This is clearly visible on the printings from the re-etched plates. Also, the diagonal line on the left side of the same superstructure is much stronger on the re-etched printings than it is on the original printings.



From left to right: original printing of the £1-stamp: no vertical line where the arrow points; vertical line on the re-etched printing of the £1-stamp; £3-stamp only exists from re-etched plates.
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Posted 05/18/2021   4:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Distinguishing the original and re-etched Caernarfon Castle stamp.

In general, the recesses have a much deeper appearance on the re-etched printings. The Deegam Handbook gives the line at the right of the highest turret as an example. I think the window to the left of the tower is a better example.



On the original printing, the rightmost line of the merlon is almost invisible. This and the diagonal lines are stronger on the printings from the re-etched plates. In general, the lines on the right side of this turret are much stronger on the re-etched printings than on the original printings.


From left to right: original printing of the £1.50-stamp: weak lines where the arrow points; re-etched printing of the £1.50-stamp: stronger lines.

The Deegam Handbook remarks that the re-etching strengthened the weaker parts of the design, but also led to less detail. This, especially, is visible on the shadowy side of the Eagle Tower. On the original printings the windows are visible. The topmost window has disappeared on the re-etched printings. The lower windows are hardly visible on the re-etched printings.


From left to right: original printing of the £1.50-stamp: the arrow points at a window; re-etched printing of the £1.50-stamp: the window is no longer visible.
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Edited by NSK - 05/18/2021 4:49 pm
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Posted 05/19/2021   06:54 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Distinguishing the original and re-etched Edinburgh Castle stamp.

The Edinburgh Castle stamps can be distinguished by the shading of the light part of the rock just below the rightmost part of the lower curtain wall.



On the original printings, this part of the rock is shaded. On the re-etched printings, the shading has almost disappeared. The difference in shading is easily visible.


From left to right: original printing of the £2-stamp: shaded rock below the lower curtain wall; re-etched printing of the £2-stamp: almost no shading of the rock below the lower curtain wall.
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Posted 05/19/2021   09:43 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Distinguishing the original and re-etched Windsor Castle stamp.

The deeper etching of the plates is particularly visible in the trees. This is best visible in, but not limited to, the foliage of the trees in the lower left corner of the stamp.



This results in a sharper contrast between the foliage that catches the light and the foliage that is shielded from the light as if it is a sunnier day on the re-etched stamps.


From left to right: original printing of the £5-stamp: light shading of foliage; re-etched printing of the £5-stamp: deep shading of the foliage resulting in a deeper shadow.
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Edited by NSK - 05/19/2021 09:48 am
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Posted 05/20/2021   07:13 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Polyvinyl-alcohol gum

On 5 March 1996, Royal Mail started to supply post offices with £1.50 stamps with a lay-flat polyvinyl-alcohol gum. Earlier printings of the decimal Royal Castles stamps were on paper with polyvinyl-alcohol gum with added dextrin. In the ensuing year, all four stamps were supplied on the papers with polyvinyl-alcohol gum.



Harrison and Sons Limited, normally, added a bluish dye to its polyvinyl-alcohol gum with added dextrin, whereas the polyvinyl-alcohol gum is colourless.



The stamps on the top row are those with polyvinyl-alcohol gum with added dextrin posted earlier. In the earlier post, it can be seen the £3 Carrickfergus stamp has the selvedge with plate number 1D attached. The stamps printed on paper with gum that did not have the dextrin additive were only printed from plates 1L and 1M.
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Posted 05/21/2021   11:41 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add NSK to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
In 1997, the contract for printing the high value stamps passed to the Dutch printers Joh. Enschedé. At the time De La Rue acquired Harrisons and Sons Limited that had printed the "Castles" since 1988. New engravings for the printing plates were made by Inge Madlé who worked for Joh. Enschedé.

There are several distinguishing features common to all stamps of the set. The first is the silhouette of H.M. The Queen. Joh. Enschedé used the silk screen printing process to print the silhouette in optically variable ink.



Harrison and Sons Limited used a single engraved plate and achieved the printing of the two colours by the cutting of shaped Chablon rollers. The engraving of the Harrison silhouette clearly shows in the lines of which it is made up. Joh. Enschedé sheets have two "plate" numbers: one for the intaglio plate and one for the silk screen (see below).

The second distinguishing feature is the perforation. Both printers used the same perforation gauge and had elliptical perforation holes on each short side. However, Enschedé stamps have eight perforation holes above and nine below the elliptical perforations. Harrison and Sons Limited stamps have nine perforation holes above and eight below the elliptical perforations.



The third distinguishing feature is the engraving of the letters. The Inge Madlé's "C" is distinct from Chris Matthews' "C." As the word "Castle" appears on all stamps, this feature can also be used for all stamps. Inge Madle's "C" has serifs at both ends turning inwards only.

Chris Matthews' "C" has a serif at the top end only. This extends upwards.

A similar observation applies to the serifs of each engraver's "S."


The sheet layout remained the same.

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