Issue Date: 05/06/2007
Issue Name: 40th Anniversary of the Machin Definitives Miniature Sheet Cover
Producer: Buckingham Covers
The 40th anniversary of the Machin, that's the basic definitive stamp you see everyday. Professor John Hedgecoe was commissioned by the Post Office back in the '60s to photograph HRH The Queen for a new postage stamp, and the prints were sent to sculptor Arnold Machin. Machin made an exact relief plaster image, which Hedgecoe then photographed. The rest, as they say, is history. The image became an icon of British postage stamps and has been reproduced over 175 billion times since its introduction! This lovely cover features a photograph of Her Majesty the Queen, taken by Professor Hedgecoe, along with the Machin minature sheet and has our London SW1 postmark, and is available signed by Professor Hedgecoe.
The 40th Anniversary of the Machin Stamps
The Queen's head, or definitive stamps are called Machins after Arnold Machin, the artist and sculptor who designed them. He worked very closely with a photographer, but until recently John Hedgecoe's involvement was relatively unknown.
History though has tended to gloss over Professor Hedgecoe's role, giving the credit to the equally deserving Arnold Machin. The definitives are even referred to as "Machins". Our cover therefore seeks to redress the balance and celebrates Professor Hedgecoe, without whom the definitive stamps would not exist as we know them. The image on our cover is based on Professor Hedgecoe's photographic work while working with Arnold Machin on the stamps.
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John Hedgecoe was a British photographer and author of over 30 books on photography. He established the photography department in 1965 at the Royal College of Art, where he was Professor from 1975 to 1994.