6. Machin Head Coils

Stamp Coils have been produced since the early 20th century, however, this article is concerned only with those produced using the Machin Head.

There are two types of coil:

  • Multi-Value Coils
  • Single Value Coils
Both are discussed below.


Multi-Value Coils



Multi-Value Machin Head Coils were first introduced in 1968 and just one issue was produced until decimalisation came about in 1971. 12 different coil values were issued between 1971 and the last to be produced in 1995.

Simple then - 12 varieties to collect. Wrong. Nothing is ever that simple in the Philatelic world. Stanley Gibbons Specialised lists 25 different variety strips (not including errors on individual stamps within the strip), and Deegam devotes 5 A4 pages of listing just for the decimal issues in Appendix 1 of his handbook.


We will start this with the easy "simplified" table below and then dig deeper into the "specialised" issues. The good news is that if you want to collect only the simplified set, the total cost should be less than £15 for MNH and a similar amount for a good USED set.

Value First Issued PO Ref SG Ref Strip Format


15.02.1971 G1/G2 UMC1/4 2p/½p/½p/1p/1p G1


03.09.1975 G3 UMC5/6 6p/2p/1p/½p/½p G3


14.12.1997 G4 UMC7 7p/1p/1p/½p/½p G4


16.01.1980 G5 UMC8 8p/1p/1p +2 labels G5


12.06.1981 RD1 UMC9 2½p/3p/3p/3p RD1


30.12.1981 RD2 UMC10 ½p/4p/4p/4p RD2


14.08.1984 RD3 UMC11/12 1p/4p/4p/4p RD3


05.09.1988 RD4 UMC13 2p/4p/4p/4p RD4


10.10.1989 RD5 UMC14 4p/4p/4p/3p RD5


27.11.1990 RD6 UMC15 4p/4p/4p/5p RD6


01.10.1991 RD7 UMC16 5p/5p/4p/4p RD7


31.01.1995 RD8 UMC17 5p/5p/5p/4p RD8

Some notes about the above table:

  • The only difference between the PO notation G1 and G2 is that G1 was issued on a roll of 300 strips and G2 on a roll of 600 strips.
  • The above table takes no account of different gums, papers, phosphor variants, or error strips - these will be discussed later.
  • The "RD" numbers aren't official Post Office denominators, they were invented by collectors to differentiate the issues as these were printed specifically for Readers Digest but were also available from the Philatelic Bureau.
  • The UMCxx numbers are taken from the SG Specialised Catalogue.


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