Product guide - Stamps

It's perhaps no surprise to find stamps on the My Post shop website, but there's more to them than just their use in everyday postage. Stamps are not only highly collectable, but make beautiful souvenirs of special occasions and events.

Since the first postage stamp was introduced in the UK during the mid-19th century these small pieces of history have constantly changed and evolved to create a wonderfully colourful timeline of life throughout the years.

In 2012, for example, the Royal Mail has released a selection of specially created stamps to celebrate two of the biggest events in recent memory - the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games. These will sit alongside a host of other themed and commemorative stamps to be collected and cherished.

These commemorative stamps are not just must-have additions to any stamp enthusiast's collection but make great mementoes for anyone looking for a timeless reminder of these historic events. Who knows, that first stamp may become the first of many and the beginning of a brand new hobby!

Deciding which type of stamps to collect

Many people begin by collecting stamps that remind them of an event or occasion close to their heart or simply those that they like the look of. More serious collectors will look for all kinds of different features, such as the type of paper, the method of printing and the shade of ink used, as they get deeper into the hobby.

Here are some of the different categories of stamps that people collect by:

Machin

The Machin series of postage stamps are familiar to anyone who has ever sent a letter in the UK, as this is the name given to stamps that feature the iconic portrait of the Queen. The name Machin is taken from Arnold Machin, who sculpted the Queen's head that has appeared on all UK stamps since 1967.

There have been numerous variations of stamps in the Machin series over the years, giving enthusiasts no end of stamps to track down and add to their collections.

Not only have they been subject to many changes and innovations in British stamp making but different colours, printing methods, paper and denominations have featured. The one constant is that the iconic silhouette of the Queen has always remained.

Definitives

These stamps are issued for everyday use and are produced for an extended period of time - often months or even years. It's typical for them to be released as part of a definitive series and in a wide range of denominations needed to cover different postal rates.

It's also common for definitive stamp series to be themed to honour a person or event, which adds to their collectability. The Machin series is an example of a definitive series of stamps.

Commemorative stamps

These are typically produced to mark an historic event or occasion. Often they're released in limited numbers for a short period of time, and feature intricate designs, and as a result can be very sought after by collectors and enthusiasts.

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