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Deegam numbers explained, clearly, I hope.

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Machin Man

Joined: 08 Jul 2007
Posts: 970
Location: Houston, Texas pending eye surgery

PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2016 3:27 pm    Post subject: Deegam numbers explained, clearly, I hope. Reply with quote

I originally wrote this post sometime ago so that new members might follow the jargon that has developed among long term Machinistas as they merrily toss "DG#" this and "DG#" that about. I know the post is here, buried within one of the thousands of posts created during the last ten years (Is it longer ?) but I am too lazy to seek it out.
From my notes, I tried to correct some typos so here it is again.

A simple explanation of the Deegam numbering system.

It works like this.
Imagine that a 21p stamp was issued by Royal Mail. It gets the standard Deegam number of DG210. (technically DG 210.1.1) That is the numerical value times 10.
(Note: There are no 21p Machin stamps so I chose that value for illustration purposes.)
Six months later two almost identical stamps are printed and manufactured by a different printer, one with one kind of gum and one with a third kind of gum. They can be listed as DG 210.2.1 and DG 210.3.1 and without changing the 22p and other higher value stamp's identification numbers, we can easily see where these beauties fit in. Each collector can decide just how deeply he, or she, wants to collect the series, many are happy without the DG##.1.1. and so pn, as there are over 500 listed at that level.
Then some alert collector spots one of the stamps that is identical to DG 210.1.1 except for it having a single left band. After verifying its main characteristics Doug can assign it the number DG 210.1.2 so that we now have;
DG 210.1.1,-------- Still the same number
DG 210.1.2,---------The new variation fits in here
DG 210.2.1,-------- Still the same number
DG 210.3.1---------- Still the same number
Notice that the first, second and third variation all have kept their original designations.

Imagine further that several years pass by and other variations in printing method, phosphor bands, gum, paper type, and even a different color are produced or discovered.
The new stamps are given appropriate numbers according to the hierarchy established by Doug Myall when he devised the system and is thoroughly explained in the Complete Deegam Machin Handbook so that the section covering the imaginary 21p stamps in volume two would now look like this;
DG 210.1.1 -------- Still the same number
DG 210.1.2
DG 210.1.3
DG 210.2.1 -------- Still the same number
DG 210.2.2
DG 210.3.1 -------- Still the same number
DG 210.3.2
DG 210.3.3
DG 210.4.1 -------- the new color

Nine 21p stamps to collect.

The newly discovered variations slip neatly into place without changing the previously established order and when mounted alongside similar stamps the differences can be compared easily.
Now in truth, there have been a few adjustments mostly to correct typos and some unavoidable corrections, (Three or four in 50 years, imagine that !) but very few and easy to accommodate without any major overhaul of the rest of the 21p section. And definitely a correction of something in the (Imaginary) 21p group will not affect the higher listed values.
If a new stamp is issued that has, as its main characteristics that shows it is a further variation of DG 210.3.3 it can be assigned DG 210.3.4 or if it is only a very minor alteration of DG 210.3.3 it can be given the number DG 210.3.3a and any collector who has taken the time to follow the system knows just from looking at the number where that stamp ought to be placed, or found in a seller's sales sheet.
Meanwhile, during the fiftyyears since the first Machins were produced Gibbons has re-ordered its numbers several times and created a kind of havoc among collectors that even to this day there are times where in certain cases, I am not sure which number is assigned to which stamp, or why,forthat matter, unless I have bought the latest Gibbons guide and checked through the long list of corrections issued by them for typos or changes. Scott, generally the catalog of record here in the USA, finally had to hire an American Machin expert, Richard Muller, to completely overhaul its standard numbering system and they created the prefix "MH" for all Machin stamps. I am not sure what US collectors do when they come into possession of two stamps of the same value that even to the naked eye look quite different.

One major advantage also is that the Deegam system allows for three levels of collecting from the simplified "DG 210", to the more complex, "DG 210.1", or DG 210.1.1, one for each level of collector interest, to tempt them from the starting level one, to the specialized level three and even "3a." Accompanying all this in the Handbook there are, of course, the Deegam Profiles, one for every listed stamp at any level which in a shorthand notation allows the collector to identify each stamp that s/he mounts.

The CDMH was originally produced in print but as the flow of stamps and the explanatory details in the chapters and the appendix enlarged it was all put on a disc. Beware of bargains on eBay and elsewhere offering the old print versions at prices that often greatly exceed the cost of the updated disc edition which is available from the author.

I hope that this helps.
" .... You may think you understood what you thought I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you think you heard is not what I thought I meant. .... "
Charlie Jensen
Lecanto, Florida
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Diamond Poster

Joined: 24 Jul 2007
Posts: 141
Location: nomadic

PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Charlie for this little gem.

To add to your description on catalogue numbering , members may like to visit this page "Using and understanding the Deegam catalogue" written by David Gooderham for the West Toronto Stamp Club.
Roy Simpson
GB Machins
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