In 1967 the first stamps bearing a new portrait of Her Majesty The Queen created by Arnold Machin OBE RA were issued. They were based on the coinage portrait he created for Britain’s new decimal coins struck by The Royal Mint and introduced in 1968. 50 years later his iconic design, heavily influenced by the famous Penny Black, is still in use and is one of the most reproduced images in the world, with two billion stamps issued to date.
The Royal Mint and Royal Mail have joined together to celebrate Machin’s coin and stamp designs with a limited edition medal and stamp for this 50th anniversary. The artist submitted six portraits and 70 sketches in the original competition to select the new effigy and the six stamps in this set trace the stages of Machin’s work as he perfected the final portrait. The Royal Mint has carefully recreated Machin’s designs to strike a specially-designed medal featuring the stamp effigy on the obverse and coinage effigy on the reverse. The portraits are also included in the unique handstamp used to cancel the cover.
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