2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the issue of new Queen Elizabeth II definitives featuring Arnold Machin's iconic bas-relief sculpture which replaced the Wilding definitives. Arnold Machin's 1967 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II (sometimes referred to as the Machin head) has been reproduced over 200 billion times.
Royal Mail issued two miniature sheets and a prestige stamp booklet (PSB). The stamps in the first miniature sheet were also included in two panes in the PSB and thus have been allocated individual catalogue numbers by Stanley Gibbons (3958-63). In the PSB the descriptions of the designs are on perforated tabs adjoining the stamps. The stamps show:
1st Class January 1966: One of the many preliminary sketches by Arnold Machin based on the Penny Black
1st Class February 1966: Preparatory work by Machin using a photograph of his coin mould
1st Class April / May 1966: One of many essays with the Coinage head surrounded by country symbols
1st Class October 1966: Essay of the Coinage head cropped and simplified, with only the denomination
1st Class August 1966: Photograph by John Hedgecoe with The Queen wearing the Diadem
1st Class October 1966: Essay of the first plaster cast of the Diadem head, without corsage.
Set of 6 from two PSB panes