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Europe's definitives: Italy

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The Italian Machin

The Italian Machin

The Siracusana series broke with tradition by offering Italians a single-design definitive range, and its popularity is reflected in its impressive 35-year lifespan

Adrian26/04/2012 19:31:12
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You can read all about The Italian Machin, or the Siracusana definitive here, but here are some more images to illustrate that story.

For this set it is mainly the watermark varieties which provide the fun of specialising but they're hard to show so I'm just showing the obvious varieties here. Main one being the two dimensions of the design. the original large one and the later smaller one to yield a better signal for the sorting machines.

As it says in the piece, most bicoloured stamp are from the later, smaller set, but the first one is actually from the larger set. It is the 130 lire brown-red and greenish grey, issued in 1966, so just before the smaller design was introduced, which was in 1968.

The recess-printed higher values were first introduced in a larger format stamp, but later, from 1959 onwards, all values were of the standard small format. The 100 and 200 lire, already issued in large format, were then reissued in small format, though still recess-printed.

At the end of the series' lifespan, in 1977, two values were issued in a combination of lithography and recess-printing. The 170 lire is illustrated on the page of the feature, the other being the 350 lire, which also has a guilloche-type background.

I really love this set and would like to spend more time with it. If and when I get the chance, I'll show some more, or why not show us what you have?!

Julia Lee30/04/2012 11:22:53
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Why the colour change? It looks weird/like a fade.

Adrian30/04/2012 11:47:48
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1821 forum posts
954 photos
4 articles

Yes, I agree, it doesn't look good. Both the guilloche pattern and the colour scheme were introduced to deter forgers. As can be seen from the three values issued in 1977, they were experimenting a bit with the various options. And so, the 120 lire is printed in photogravure in two colours with a guilloche pattern at the base only, the 170 lire also has the guilloche pattern but is printed in a combination of recess and litho, and finally the 350 lire is also a combination of recess and litho but has the guilloche pattern over the whole design.

It would have been interesting to see which version would finally have won on the day, but no more new stamps were issued after these three, and some years later the set was replaced with a new definitive set.

Julia Lee30/04/2012 11:49:43
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2047 forum posts
1002 photos
230 articles

Straight down the middle or a gradual change would've been better. But was a gradual change achievable with printing technology at the time?

It definitely looks like one of those stamps someone's left a book on and then left in the sun.

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