Royal Mail celebrates a modern masterpiece

Royal Mail celebrates a modern masterpiece

Key points

Gracing over 175 billion stamps it’s one of the most instantly recognisable works of art in the world

Gracing over 175 billion stamps it’s one of the most instantly recognisable works of art in the world.

Famously unchanged since its introduction in 1967, Royal Mail is celebrating Arnold Machin’s iconic image of the Queen as it reaches its 40th birthday. A commemorative Miniature Sheet is issued today, the same date that the first stamps went on sale in 1967.

Including a new £1 ruby red Machin, to mark the ruby anniversary, the Miniature Sheet also features two new 1st Class commemorative stamps; one features a portrait of the artist Arnold Machin, while the second shows one of the very first Machin stamps to be issued in 1967. Completing the sheet is the current £1 violet stamp.

The commemorative stamp featuring Arnold Machin marks the first time Royal Mail has honoured a stamp designer in this way.

Julietta Edgar, Head of Special Stamps, Royal Mail said, "Arnold Machin created probably the world’s most reproduced work of art with his classic sculpture of the Queen. Like many examples of great design simplicity was the key to its success.

"We wanted to celebrate this important milestone in the life of a true British icon, which continues to be seen on millions of items of post every day."


Issued by Eulogy! on behalf of Royal Mail
Tel 020 7927 9999

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Images of the 40th Anniversary of the Machin stamps are available by telephoning Christie Palmer at Eulogy! on 0207 927 9999 or via e-mail from

Miniature Sheet
Price £2.68

Current £1 Violet Machin and new Ruby Machin flanked by two new 1st Class special stamps, one featuring one of three Machin stamps issued on 5 June 1967 - the 4d Sepia - and the other featuring the artist. The sheet was designed by Jeffery Matthews in conjunction with Together Design.

Ruby Machin
The £1 stamp is also available singly.

Other commemorative products are available to celebrate the anniversary, details available on request.

Availability info - 40th Anniversary of the Machin stamps and products are available from Post Office branches and philatelic outlets or

Royal Mail Stamps - First Class Facts:

•As the inventor of the postage stamp, Royal Mail is the only postal authority in the world allowed not to have the name of the issuing country on its stamps - instead a depiction of the reigning monarch symbolises the country on all stamps
•Reproduced on stamps more than 175 billion times (175,000,000,000) the Machin image is arguably the most reproduced images of all time
•In 1965 Postmaster General Tony Benn announced that The Queen had consented to a new profile portrait for a new definitive stamp. Arnold Machin was one of the designers approached
•Arnold Machin OBE RA (1911-1999), was Master of Sculpture at the Royal Academy School. He had already won a design competition to create the image of the Queen for the new decimal coinage
•On 5 June 1967, the same week that The Beatles released Sergeant Pepper, Royal Mail issued the first Machin definitives (at the values of 4d, 1s and 1s9d). The sepia colour of the 4d had been specified by The Queen, because of its similarity to the Penny Black

About Royal Mail plc
Royal Mail plc is the parent company of Royal Mail Group Limited, the leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK and the UK’s designated universal postal service provider. UK Parcels, International and Letters (“UKPIL”) comprises the company’s UK and international parcels and letters delivery businesses operating under the “Royal Mail” and “Parcelforce Worldwide” brands. Through the Royal Mail Core Network, the company delivers a one-price-goes-anywhere service on a range of parcels and letters products. Royal Mail has the capability to deliver to more than 29 million addresses in the UK, six days a week (excluding UK public holidays). Parcelforce Worldwide operates a separate UK network which collects and delivers express parcels. Royal Mail also owns General Logistics Systems (GLS) which operates one of the largest ground-based, deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe.


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