Sunday, 26 February 2012

Castles - Sunday Stamps

Back in 1955 this set of four stamps was issued.

Castle Stamps (1955) 
(Scanned from an old catalogue)

30 years later on the 18th October 1988 the Post Office released four new high value stamps featuring the same castle. These are the ones I have in my collection or so I thought.

Castle Stamps
The castles came  four different regions of Great Britain ; Carrickfergus (Northern Ireland), Caernarfon (Wales), Edinburgh (Scotland) and Windsor (England). The 1988 stamps had been based on photographs taken by Prince Andrew, Duke of York and were engraved and printed by Harrison and Sons Limited

Four years later in 1992 the set was re-released with enhanced security features. The original Queen's head was changed to a silhouette and an elliptical perforation was added half way up the sides of the stamp.If you look at my stamps you can see both the silhouette and the elliptical perforation

By 1995 inflation had taken its toll and the £1 Carrickfergus Castle design was replaced by a £1 stamp of the standard low-value Machin design. The Carrickfergus Castle was re-released as a £3 high value in 22nd August 1995. My stamps include both the £1 and £3 denominations

In 1997, the contract for printing the stamps was moved to Enschedé.  Enschedé had to re-engrave each design. Although the general appearance of the stamp barely changed, the individual engraving marks were completely different,

Apparently you can distinguish between the two printers by examining the letters 'C' and 'S' in the word 'Castle' where there are differences in the lower point of the 'C' and the lower tail of the 'S'. This is difficult to see on my scanned images. The £1 Carrickfergus must  be pre-1995 and be by Harrison and Sons. 

There is no doubt about the Windsor Castle stamp being by Enschedé because their design has the 'W' looking as if it comprises overlapping 'V's.

The sad thing to me is that these lovely castle stamps were discontinued and replaced in 1999 by small format Machins just showing the Queen's head.

As you may gather participating in Sunday Stamps this week has taught me things I didn't know about my stamps. Now you may check out others choices at Viridian's Sunday Stamps-59


Doug Peabody said...

Those are beautiful stamps. There is always an interesting story when stamps are made in sets like that. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for visiting my crazy blog!

FCEtier said...

I've always been interested in castles.

Karen S. said...

Very nice to wake up to Castles and fresh coffee! It is too bad about how they changed the stamps, it seems downsizing is hitting everything we know and cherish!

Lisa B said...

Great stamps and very interesting, I think I've only ever seen/received a couple of the castle stamps, so I'm not at all familiar with their recent history and variations.

Elizabeth Nesbitt said...

My uncle used to collect and sell stamps and coins. My father worked with him for a bit and used to bring some home.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

Some of these castles now feature in the UK A-Z series. They do make good subjects for stamps. i remember some of the ones you've shown.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Bob .. very interesting to see - and I certainly didn't know about these differences .. Cheers Hilary

viridian said...

We can always learn more about our stamps! I don't think I have seen these - the denomination is too high for postcards.
Thank you for participating.

VioletSky said...

Lots of good research, here!
The Machins are nice, but nothing compared to these castles.

Postcardy said...

I think real stamp collectors love variations like that.

Marcie said...

I love castles. Thanks for sharing, I have never seen these stamps before. said...

Such beautiful images and detail on the small space of a stamp. I enjoyed all the color variations of the sets.

Postcard Perfect said...

These are a cool sets of stamps.I don't think I have one.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I picked up your message about a virus but I can't find any problem myself. Sometimes it's one of the links in a blog list but I would need to know which one. does your warning give any information?

I've had nearly 1000 visitors since Saturday and nobody else has mentioned anything, so I really don't know what to do.

Sreisaat said...

It's really interesting to know the story/stories behind each stamps. Like you, I'm learning a great deal about things :)

Thanks for your visit. Enjoy your week.

Postcards Crossing