Monday, April 6, 2020

Huge Special Delivery cover and small printed papers

As part of my de-cluttering exercise in Norvic Towers I've been emptying the attic.  Not the best place to store stamps or postal history, and of course I don't.  Which doesn't mean that I don't find things there!

Special Delivery.
When my wife and I received this stamps were the last thing on my mind - it contained a card for our wedding!   At that time I still thought postal history was something that the grey-haired old men exhibited at major shows and won medals for.  I collected stamps, but although I liked my Saudi Arabia and Scandinavian stamps on cover those are other stories, and I wasn't too concerned about GB.  So it was put away with a lot of other cards etc and memorabilia from the time.

From early September 1976 this is prepaid at 78½p for the inland Special Delivery rate. 

According to the very excellent GBPS website the SD fee was 60p from 29 September 1975 to 19 August 1979.  Postage is 18½p which represents the 4th step, or 151-200g First Class from 7 June 1976 to 12 June 1977.

Only when you see the whole thing, do you appreciate that the weight - for a massive greetings card in cardboard sleeve - was probably correct:

It's approximately 20 x 14 inches (520 x 370mm).  It's fair to say that my late aunt and uncle were quite extravagant and making a point.

You will notice that I have taken a liberty with the Special Delivery label!  The cover was badly foxed, damaged, and far too big to store or show sensibly, so I cut it down.  We know it was posted from Essex to Somerset, and even though one of the 20p stamps is damaged, it is still a good piece to have.

OHMS Newspaper Wrappers

The second half of today's post is illustrated by two newspaper wrappers sent (one at least in 1968) from Edinburgh to Germany, both paying the lowest (2 ounce) printed paper reduced rate of 2d.

My thanks to MC for allowing me to show these gems - I'm really quite envious of a 2d rate, and of the ½d block used on their own.

One is stamped with a 2d Machin definitive and the other with a block of 4 x ½d Machins.

What is especially interesting for me is the original source of these. Although attributed by the return address to the Registrar-General in Edinburgh, the wrappers - sent to the Federal German Ministry of Health - originated at Her Majesty's Stationery Office printing works in Annandale Street, Edinburgh - the site has since been redeveloped.

I can tell this by the H M / S O perfins - perforated initials in the stamps:

Under the 2d stamp is the Official Paid mark, which wasn't valid for sending outside the UK, so stamps were used.  Two copies of (I suppose) a Bulletin from the Registrar, were sent in each wrapper.  (2 CPS - CPS may well refer to the title but I don't know what it is.).

The HMSO in-house perfin machine was set up long before the Machins were issued - at least as early as 1949.  The machine possibly had two settings; one was for small definitives - sheets of 12 columns across.  The other was for large definitives, possibly the Wilding Castles.   So on the decimal low value Machins - only 10 columns across - the sheet margins were also perforated.  But the high value Machins were also used, mainly on overseas parcels of books or other publications.  In this case the sheets were folded in half vertically along the gutter, so not only is the gutter perfinned, but the stamps on one side are perfinned normally, and on the other side they are reversed, which makes an interesting pair.


Although I did have some of these I have passed them on to somebody who will appreciated them more - although I have kept a couple of covers.

If you collect perfins, you can still find these occasionally in dealers' 'back of the book' stock, and look out also for their predecessors from 1922-1949. This design mimicked the watermark widely used in security printing, and also appeared on many of the stationery and office equipment items, such as rulers.  Unfortunately the authorities pointed out that use of the Crown on the stamps was not permitted, so the design was changed.  

The Board of Trade also fell foul of this ruling but that department didn't use any alternative.

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