Friday, January 27, 2006

The Machin Head

The current British definitive stamp (a stamp carrying the head of the reigning monarch, rather than a 'special' stamp) was designed by Arnold Machin and first issued in 1967.

When asked what it would ever take to replace the Machin Design, the Queen answered ‘A work of real quality’. Despite several secret efforts in the 1980s, no better image has yet been created. The Machin Design has graced British stamps and travelled the globe for nearly 40 years.

The stamp image was created from a photograph of a plaster cast sculpted by Arnold Machin RA. Machin's legacy is one of the most enduring and instantly recognisable icons of the 20th century. It is a striking design, simple and dignified, a timeless piece of work, which arguably has been reproduced more times than any other image in history - some 175 BILLION times to date, and rising.

Extracted from British Postal Museum and Archive (BPMA)

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