An unannounced new Horizon Label, bearing the Machin Head and with die-cut 'perforations', was trialled only at the Branch Post Office at Camden High Street, in London, on Monday 8th June. The new labels were available only for the inland Special Delivery service.
These 59 x 65mm labels were printed by De La Rue in lithography, in sheets of 2 tete-beche, as all the Horizon label sheets are fed into the Epson printers on the short side.
Unlike traditional Horizon labels these are not straight-edged, and have clearly been designed to look like a stamp - albeit a very large one! The basic label is very similar to the 1st class gold postage stamp, and also has a security overprint (the words ROYAL MAIL repeated in wavy lines across the design, using a different format on the portrait). Whereas the white Horizon labels have four 2cm cuts at right angles to each edge, these have security slits similar to those found on the self-adhesive stamps issued on 17 February 2009, but in a much more elaborate pattern.As with ordinary Horizon labels the serviced indicator, date, price, location and serial numbers are printed at the counter at the time the label is applied to the item to be posted. A picture of an unoverprinted label* can be seen here, and a line-drawing of the security slits can be seen here.
Shown below are the First Day of Use cover that we obtained and, below that, a cover used later in the trial period. Note that the business-use cover was 'signed for' on a portable scanner, which is why all the bar-codes are intact. The FDC was signed for manually and the bar-code attached to the signature form.
All these items have passed through the post as Special Delivery items, and thus they all have minor corner knocks and scuffs. Nonetheless the number of FDCs - and even the number of 'commercially-used' labels - will be very small in relation to the number of Machin collectors worldwide. At the time of writing the highest price seen on eBay for a first day cover is £94.54, and no non-first day items have been listed. Updated: the highest price for a FDC is £102.50. Non-FDC items have reached £55, although prices areound £30 are more usual.
All our First Day of Use covers have been allocated to existing customers. We have some more later-use covers - Contact us if you wish to buy.
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