A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

News items. General trends, new issues, new policies etc. **Whatever** you like. WORLDWIDE. Start a new thread on your question. Please do not discuss ebay in THIS forum as we have a separate and popular Forum for that discussion.

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A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Rod and Madel Perry in Cairns, August 2019, and grandson Raphael popped in at the end, for a photo taken by his mum Alana.
Rod and Madel Perry in Cairns, August 2019, and grandson Raphael popped in at the end, for a photo taken by his mum Alana.



Admin Note, and WHY this thread is here - the sad and sudden passing of Rodney Perry in May 2020 was a shock to most, and global tributes piled in here - read and add to them by all means -

https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=90512

Margo and I had a lonnnnng lunch with Rod and Madel in Cairns latter 2019, and it seemed to me he was in good health then, so things happened very fast, sadly.

At the lunch, Rod remarked on how satisfying it was to him, to see that I had rescued all the past ‘Stamp News’ columns of our mutual dealer very good friend Simon Dunkerley, before his website expired and totally vanished, after he tragically passed away so young, and they are all saved recorded for posterity here -

https://www.glenstephens.com/simondunkerleytribute.html

They are saved forever now – all that lifetime of detailed stamp knowledge.

And I know Rod would be delighted to see his own decades of ‘Stamp News’ columns similarly be preserved for perpetuity, as his website has now also long vanished.

Why this thread is here.

I touched on that in late 2019 with Rod in Cairns, and he had been having issues with his website, and it had expired, and he asked if there were some way we could transfer his articles across to stampboards in some way, as he would like to share all the research he had done, with others.

Rod (like me!) was not very tech savvy - it took him ages to learn how to add even simple images here, but he did well for someone in his 70s!

Rod made near 4,000 posts here in his 10 years membership, and his super detailed stamp knowledge and the images posted here are a permanent tribute to his deep knowledge.

With the new stampboards image loading capabilities, we are now able to do a far more extensive job on Rod’s past work as you can see below.

A group of volunteers, mainly CMJ and fchd in the UK, and AMark in Canada and Fletches1 in Queensland, have collectively produced this fine work in progress below.

Images for the older columns 20 years ago were nowhere near as large and detailed as they are today, as scanning technology and availability of source material was far harder of course.

ENJOY – read the wisdom of some 20 years of writings below, and many images and details are available nowhere else. Google will index it all now, and the data will be shared with philately globally. Rod’s long dead website, was not indexed in any way by google as it had lapsed.

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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Index of Woodchip-free Zone articles published in Stamp News Australasia

2002
How postal usage impacts on scarcity (June/July 2002)
Covers revive the thrill of the chase! (July/August 2002)
Sneaking value from 'worthless'' KGVI stamps (September/October 2002)
For these high values - "Big is beautiful"! (November 2002)
QEII £SD covers a worthy challenge (December 2002)

2003
January 2003 - no article
An Xmas pot pourri under the whip (February 2003)
Little Unsung Heroes of the QEII Reign (March 2003)
Woodchip Free Zone (April 2003)
Woodchip Free Zone (May 2003)
Cover + Postal History = increased character and value (June 2003)
Frugal but nevertheless fun (July 2003)
Collecting suggestions from left field (August 2003)
A pot-pourri (September 2003)
Decimals: fun for the more faint-hearted (October 2003)
Dare to be philatelically different? Then covers might be for you (November 2003)
If you like it and can afford it, go for it! (December 2003)

2004
Do yourself a favour in '04 (January 2004)
1988 Stamps hard-to-get on cover - but not in a Year album (February 2004)
Plenty of challenge in moderns (March 2004)
The Best of their kind (April 2004)
Sleepers’-a-plenty from PNG (May 2004)
Will covers outperform during the next 50 years? (Part I) (June 2004)
Will covers out-perform stamps during the next 50 years? (Part II) (July 2004)
Australia Post has the speed you need (August 2004)
A gaggle of good reasons to leave stamps on cover (September 2004)
Kangaroos on cover yet to leap (October 2004)
'Not Quite Right' - when defective is better (November 2004)
Try this at home in '05! (December 2004)

2005
The "Florin and treybit" Commems of the Sixties (January 2005)
King George VI - when common becomes uncommon (February 2005)
Fiji. The way the world should be (March 2005)
And now for something completely different! (April 2005)
Le style Francais (May 2005)
A selection of Pacific Explorer 2005 'finds' (June 2005)
Looking for a new collecting challenge? Try meter stamps (July 2005)
Norfolk Island commercial usage. Try finding these in a hurry (August 2005)
Money not scarce at Baillie Sale (September 2005)
Should you be more aquisitive in your collecting? (October 2005)
Big covers. More bang for your buck (November 2005)
King George VI - When common becomes uncommon (Part II) (December 2005)

2006
Germany (West), with acknowledgment to Mr Stadly (Stamp News January 2006)
February 2006 - no article
'He chose wisely' (Stamp News March 2006)
'A million bucks and nothin' to show for it' (Stamp News April 2006)
Usage. Is this the next big thing in Philately? (Stamp News May 2006)
PNG. Usage of the Early Photogravure issues (Stamp News June 2006)
Self-adhesive stamps of Tonga. (Stamp News July 2006)
Philatelic or Commercial (Stamp News August 2006)
Value buying in 2006 (and beyond) (Stamp News September 2006)
Usage of the 'Beef' set (Stamp News October 2006)
A Review of the past four years (Stamp News November 2006)
Ten collecting suggestions for '07 (Stamp News December 2006)

2007
The 'Arms' Series 1949-64 - When a Pound had real buying power (January 2007)
Usage of the £sd Birds (February 2007)
Evolution of collecting Decimals - Featuring 1968 'Flowers' usage (March 2007)
The 'Gray' Kangaroos, Of course! (April 2007)
The 1969 Primary Industries series. Their usage (May 2007)
PNG 1994 Emergency overprints and their usage (June 2007)
'Once were a buck, buck and a half' (July 2007)
Australia 1978-84 Birds. An overview of their usage (August 2007)
'Seldom seen Solo' (September 2007)
1988 Panorama higher values. Where have all the covers gone? (October 2007)
Navigating Australia's first Decimal series (November 2007)
Kangaroos. With a twist (December 2007)

2008
British Empire KGVI. Great subject for a Usage Collection (January 2008)
'Have a go at covers in '08', and don't be stingy!' (February 2008)
Kangaroos, again (March 2008)
1966 Decimals Part II. The "Fish" and "Birds" (April 2008)
Spotlight on Solos (May 2008)
Sand dunes. Once scoffed upon (June 2008)
Clarrie King. Putting more fun in Philately (July 2008)
Ten more Usage Collection suggestions (August 2008)
1966 Decimals complete including Coils (September 2008)
What's 'good'? (October 2008)
'78 Trees usage material doesn't grow on 'em (November 2008)
No financial crisis in Philately (December 2008)

2009
Air mail stamps. Made to fly (January 2009)
Don't forget to write! (February 2009)
Looking for 'sleepers'? Try Usage of 'seventies above base rate Commems of Australia (March 2009)
Queensland's Propaganda Envelopes initiative of the 1950s (April 2009)
Recent auction action (May 2009)
Up for a new collecting challenge? How about KGV usage? (June 2009 )
July 2009 - no article
KGV Heads usage: Part II (August 2009)
An even dozen usage results at auction (September 2009)
QEII £SD solo franking usages (October 2009)
Fiji revisited (November 2009)
A good excuse for collecting the World (December 2009)

2010
Add hundreds of covers to your collection, in the tens (January 2010)
Australian Decimal usage. Encouraging auction results (February 2010)
Hong Kong's 1st QEII series. Good choice for a usage study (March 2010 )
More newsworthy usage realisations at auction (April 2010)
Suggested model for a Usage collection (May 2010)
What's hot? Try Decimal stamps on cover, for one (June 2010)
Usage, with attitude (July 2010)
On-line auctions for cover enthusiasts (August 2010)
PNG Decimals. Stamp usage before Self-Government (September 2010)
GB QEII Usage. Now there's 'a great challenge' (October 2010)
Regional Postal History: great subject for a sideline collection (November 2010)
Five suggested 'don'ts' and a 'do' for 2011 (December 2010)

2011
'Kevin Nelson' Australian covers auction (January 2011)
Recent Auction Action, and General (February 2011)
Highly recommended Australia Post products (March 2011)
Usage. Is this the next big 'thing' in Philately? (Revisited) (April 2011)
A Tale of Two Collections (May 2011)
Australian cover prices on move, good value still abounds (June 2011)
eBay. One's that got away (July 2011)
"A Great White, in your swimming pool" (August 2011)
"A Special Delivery " (September 2011)
New Zealand's noble "Queen on Horseback" series (October 2011)
PNG and neighbouring Solomon's (November 2011)
Australia's 1970s Painting Series (December 2011)

2012
Covers that tell a story (January 2012)
Multiple milestones (February 2012)
What's "good"? (March 2012)
Pericles results up there, but still good value in KGVI (April 2012)
NZ higher denominations on cover: where are they? (May 2012)
Aussie high denomination frankings (June 2012)
Philatelic significance and value for money: some suggestions (July 2012)
Airmail arriving: "Fasten your seatbelts" (August 2012)
Covers, fully loaded (September 2012)
Survival by design, or by chance? Some observations (October 2012)
Sideline collection suggestions (November 2012)
They would be amused (December 2012)

2013
Mostly the Morgan Collection (January 2013)
Timing. It can be handy (February 2013)
New Publication with multiple applications (March 2013)
"Where's ya One Pound Seahorses?" (April 2013)
Airmail overload (May 2013)
Usage. Philately's most important aspect? (June 2013)
Hardy Kangaroos: cursory observations (July 2013)
A round with the Australian auction houses (August 2013)
Newsworthy Auction Results (September 2013)
Small Fish are Sweet (October 2013)
Colonial Philatelic Traders: NSW (November 2013)
Postal Stationery Revival Gaining Traction (December 2013)

2014
QEII 1952-66 £Sd Usage Selection (January 2014)
Usage Enlightenment. KGVI Usage Specifically (February 2014)
South Australia: Some Observations (March 2014)
Where's Ya One Pound Seahorses ? (April 2014)
May 2014 - no article
Parcel Post Items and Others (June 2014)
Recent Auction Usage Realisations (July 2014)
The Sato Tasmania and Accompaniments (August 2014)
September 2014 - no article
Auction Selection (October 2014)
Cover Auction Miscellany (November 2014)
December 2014 - no article

2015
Victoria Woodblocks (January 2015)
Recent Items Across My Desk (February 2015)
March 2015 - no article
Random Selection & 1972 "Beef" Set Revisited (April 2015)
Australia's 1973 National Development Series (May 2015)
1971 Australia Asia Series Usage (June 2015)
Western Australia: The Lord Vestey Collection (July 2015)
Is It Usage ... Or Is It Postal History ? (August 2015)
Australia's 1972 Pioneer Series: Usage (September 2015)
Australia 1978-84 Birds Series Usage Revisited (October 2015)
Australia's 1984-88 Marine Life Usage (November 2015)
December 2015 - no article

2016
Arthur Gray KGV Auction (January 2016)
Australia's 1983-88 Butterfly Series: Usage (February 2016)
Australia's 1981-85 Endangered Species Usage (March 2016)
Direct Link to Colonial Era Stamp Dealers Severed With Passing of Two Legends (April 2016)
Miscellany (May 2016)
What's a Bargain ? (June 2016)
Arthur Gray KGV - Part II (July 2016)
Identifying Subjects Suitable for a Usage Collection (August 2016)
A Few Cover Collecting Suggestions (September 2016)
Clarrie King Revisited (October 2016)
Australia's Living Together Series (November 2016)
Australian Post Office Generic "Shield" FDCs (December 2016)


2017
Items I Liked at Recent Australian Auctions (January 2017)
Australia KGVI Usage Collection Overview (February 2017)
Australia's Commercial Commem/Souvenir Covers (March 2017)
Australia's 1982-88 Reptiles & Amphibians Series: Usage (April 2017)
Early Frama Usage Overview (May 2017)
Covers Potpourri (June 2017)
Fastpost: Decimal-Era Overview (July 2017)
More Auction Action (August 2017)
Colonial Victoria Registered Covers (September 2017)
January 2010 Column: Revisited (October 2017)
Arthur Gray KGVI: Notably FD and Commercial Covers (November 2017)
Australia Post: Unlikely Collectables (December 2017)

2018
Part I of IV of Besancon Australasia (January 2018)
Advertising Covers: Automobilia (February 2018)
The Philatelic Auction Landscape Post-Mossgreen (March 2018)
Booklets and Kangaroos: At Spink (April 2018)
"Kevin Nelson" Australian Covers Auction (May 2018)
Ten More Usage Collection Suggestions (June 2018)
Chartwell and Besancon Sales (July 2018)
Chartwell and Besancon Sales (August 2018)
PNG Decimals, Stamp Usage Before Self-Government (September 2018)
Abacus Auction Result Steals Spotlight (October 2018)
Australian Slogan Cancels: WWII-Related (November 2018)
Why not collect covers you like...Just for the sake of it (December 2018)

2019
Besancon Australian Colonies (Part III) (January 2019)
Heading for Increased Popularity, 2019 and beyond (February 2019)
Selected Covers at Recent Autions (March 2019)
Australasia at Abacus Auctions (April 2019)
Mark Knothe: 50 years in Philatelic Auctions (May 2019)
Queensland's Propaganda Envelopes Initiative of the 1950s (June 2019)
QEII £SD Solo Franking Usages (July 2019)
Sir Daniel Cooper: Australia's First Distinguished Philatelist ? (August 2019)
A Good Excuse for Collecting the World (September 2019)
Fiji KGVI Pictorials: Usage Revisited (October 2019)
Fiji KGVI Pictorials: Usage Revisited (November 2019)
The Great Book we had to have: A Reflection (December 2019)

2020

Kanagroo Usage (January 2020)
Usage. Philately's Most Important Aspect ? (February 2020)





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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

Post by fchd »

Stamp News June/July 2002

Woodchip-free Zone


Postal usage of particular stamps has a profound impact on the availability of covers – and that in turn influences their on-cover values – Rod Perry explains in his new column.

I have long been interested in why certain Australian stamps were issued and the manner in which they came to be used. This interest was aroused in my youth when Australia issued stamps of odd denomination for that time such as Zoological/Floral 11d, 1/2d and 2/5d, values not issued previously by Australia, and at a time when one was accustomed to more ‘rounded’ figures.

Learning that these denominations were issued primarily to service the combined letter rate/certified fee, postcard airmail rate to UK/Europe, and the combined letter rate/registration fee, respectively, satisfied my initial curiosity.

Similarly, in more modern times some may have been puzzled by the 1987 Technology issue with its odd 53c, 63c and 68c values along with the basic letter rate 37c. These values were primarily intended for non-standard articles.

The Australia1966 3c Coil stamp

The primary use for this stamp, when issued, was to add to its companion 4c coil to make up the 7c 2nd weight step for letters within Australia and the British Commonwealth.

02-06-01.jpg

In practice, the stamp was almost exclusively consumed by the philatelic community for speculation or use to fellow collectors after withdrawal of the stamp. This 11.03.1966 use, with the 4c, 40c Tasman and 13c Avocet, for franking of 60c (airmail rate to Canada 20c x 2–double rate – plus 20c registration fee = 60c) is unusual. Value: $60.

During the decade (1992 – 2002) in which I was proprietor of The Australian Commonwealth Specialists’ Catalogue, the Editor, Geoff Kellow, introduced to the catalogue details on the primary use (or uses) for every stamp issued by Australia. The research which this entailed was the first step towards evaluating the relative scarcity or otherwise of a given stamp on original cover in order that we could provide a dedicated column giving market valuations for stamps on cover, postally used during period of issue.

Volumes have been written on the stamps of Australia, but little published research has appeared on the postal usage of the stamps, which after all is the purpose for issuing stamps in the first instance (apart from marketing to philatelists!).

Australia 1966 30c Ibis stamp

02-06-02.jpg

Primary use of the 1966 30c Ibis when issued was for Scale 3 parcel rate within Australia for which use survival rate is low (I am yet to see an example). The principal use I have recorded for this stamp is around October 1968, when the combined letter rate/registration fee increased from 25c to 30c. This 28.05.1968 single use to Indonesia is for combined Zone 2 airmail (10c) and registration (20c) is exceptional and the unclaimed, return-to-sender markings add to its character. Value: $50.

Most basic Australian stamps are comparatively easy to obtain mint or used, but many of the same stamps may be difficult to very scarce, postally used, in period, on cover. Stamps used on cover in the manner I refer to should not be confused with First Day and Souvenir/Commemorative covers, or other philatelically contrived items such as stamps used out of period, as are commonly concocted nowadays.

Worldwide, there is a steadily growing interest in collecting stamps postally used on cover – and for the philatelist seeking a new challenge I highly recommend the ‘thrill of the chase’ which such collecting delivers.

Over the years I have derived great delight in forming a reference collection of Australian stamps postally used on cover in a multitude of configurations of usage such as single, double and combination frankings. Many stamp issues served more than a single primary purpose (the 1986 65c Stingaree had nine usages!) and I attempt to show an example of every type of use. The pursuit of a philatelic masochist indeed!


Australia 1986 3c Alpine Wildflower stamp

FI6DBD_2.jpg

This denomination was issued to assist in raising the face value of the booklets, which contained this series to 80c and $1 for more convenient distribution, by vending machines. The only practical use for this denomination was for make-up purposes. This and the other sub base rate stamps (the 5c and 25c) actually were very little used, more often being discarded be the general public.

The 02.09.1987 use of the 3c either inadvertently or by design by the sender, as a single franking for the 36c letter rate, should have been taxed by the Post Office at 78c (representing a 33c postage deficiency plus a fine of 45c). German collectors love sub base rate single frankings. Value: $35.

The mission of this column is to persuade more philatelists to include examples of stamps postally used on cover in their collections, be they Australian stamps or otherwise, thereby adding greater diversity, interest and individuality to their collections.

Rod Perry has been a philatelic trader since 1962 and a regular Stamp News advertiser since the 1960s. He founded Rodney A Perry Auction Galleries (now Millennium Philatelic Auctions) in 1971. As a collector he has exhibited nationally and internationally. Rod prefers his used stamps on cover and likens taking a stamp off its original cover to converting a tree to woodchips.
http://www.fchd.info/stamps2000/index.htm - Stamps issued during the year 2000, worldwide!
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

Post by fchd »

Stamp News July/August 2002

Woodchip-free Zone


Most Decimal stamps of Australia exist in more than abundant supply mint and used and a complete collection on a simplified basis represents no challenge. For the more adventurous however Decimal issues can be a fertile collecting field indeed.

To expand upon a basic collection the specialist can include such variants as paper and gum differences, helecon reactions, ‘plate’ varieties and retouches through to the more major items such as colour-omission and partially or wholly imperforate errors. Postal use on cover, the subject of this column, adds further diversity to a collection of Decimal issues and this month a few examples of such usage are provided.

I have selected for comment some of the former ‘high flyers’ of the 1979-81 Decimal Boom when, as those who were present to witness the madness, speculation in Decimal stamps saw prices scale heights beyond belief. Sanity eventually prevailed and prices for what were of course very common items from the outset, available in quantities far beyond what pure collector demand could ever consume, came crashing back to earth.

Most of the issues which in boomtime sold for multiples of many times face value are nowadays unceremoniously despatched as postage. Not to be confused with this out-of-period use of 1960s and 1970s issues is the contemporary postal use of such stamps. Virtually overlooked during the boom (other than for floating off cover for sale as an over-priced used stamp) was the above base rate stamp postally used on cover.

Ironically, many stamps postally used on cover were always much more difficult to obtain than were their mint or used (off cover) counterparts, and those that have survived intact on cover to this day have indeed been vindicated.


2002 08 Image 1.jpg
Australia 1970 20c EXPO stamp. This stamp was issued primarily for the Zone 3 airmail rate and its use as such is particularly difficult to find. It is uncommon on cover in any form and this double franking of 24.7.1970 to pay surface rate (5c), registration fee (25c) and AR or Acknowledgement of Delivery (10c) is unusual. Value : $40.



2002 08 Image 2.jpg

Australia 1972 35c Primary Industries stamp. A rather scarce stamp on cover despite its primary use being the Zone 5 (which of course included U.K.) airmail rate. The value of this stamp used during the Decimal Boom was so high that it is presumed that most covers were indeed ‘wood-chipped’. This 26.8.1972 use for airmail rate to Germany is a fortuitous survivor. Value : $45.


2002 08 Image 3.jpg
Australia 1968 20c Weather Watch stamp. Primarily issued for registration fee and Zone 4 airmail rate. This 3.4.1968 use to uprate a 5c Stationery envelope for registration is a good example of the use of the stamp which is difficult to find postally used on cover for any purpose. Value : $35.


2002 08 Image 4.jpg
Australia 1973 20c National Development stamp. Primarily for Zone 2 airmail rate this stamp is more likely to be found (and even as such not often) used for make-up purposes such as this 30.6.1973 use with Pioneer 10c to create the 30c Zone 4 airmail rate. Value : $30.


2002 08 Image 5.jpg
Australia 1969 15c Primary Industries stamp. Intended primarily for Zone 2 airmail rate and Letter rate (3rd weight step) to foreign countries this stamp is more often encountered prepaying the combined surface mail and certified fee of 15c. This January, 1970, use for concessional Postcard and Greetings card Zone 5 airmail rate is unusual. Value $35.


Searching for covers such as those illustrated can bring back the thrill of the chase so often lacking amongst collectors of modern basic mint or used stamps, and once acquired can add diversity, interest and individuality to an existing collection. And of course its always satisfying to have something which not many other collectors will be likely to have.

Next month we will step back a few decades and highlight some stamps on cover of the reign of King George VI, a period which can be as interesting as it is affordable.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

Post by fchd »

Stamp News September/October 2002
Woodchip-free Zone


King George VI issues - anything but bland

There are many collectors who regard King George V Sideface issues as their speciality. Penny Reds for example have been an evergreen (no pun intended) favourite since the 1920s, and most other denominations of the series have their devotees past and present. That the series is a very worthy field for enthusiasts few would deny.

Of less obvious interest are the issues made during the reign of King George VI (1936-52). I know of but a handful of specialists who are presently collecting and studying this period. Yet many issues are rich in those elements which can cause philatelic corpuscles to multiply.

Such as plate varieties (often accompanied by retouches), re-entries, weak entries, ink-stripping, perforation anomalies (double, misplaced, mis-guillotined), marginal markings (imprints, plate numbers - the largest and most exciting range by far in Commonwealth, perforation pips, guide marks, etc), even Die proofs which are still reasonably affordable.

The Brusden-White King George VI (1995), although largely out-of-date with values, is an excellent introduction to the stamps of this period, which more collectors are encouraged to take up as a speciality.

This column of course has as its main focus the usage on cover of the stamps of Australia, and the study of stamp usage during the subject period has been even more neglected by present day philatelists than have the stamps themselves. Yet there is plenty of challenge to a study of usage on cover of the stamps of this reign.

For starters, there are a number of issues which are so common both mint and used that they verge on the useless, but some of these same issues may be quite difficult to find commercially used on cover during correct period of use. The above base rate commemoratives of 1945-47 are examples.

During the mid-1990s, at a time when I was researching the relative scarcity of Australian stamps used on cover for the purpose of pricing the column dedicated to used on cover in Brusden-White's ACSC series, I was surprised at how many otherwise common stamps were rather scarce on cover.

A philatelic journalist at the time asked me for one example and I gave the 1952 KGVI 4½d red, of which I had recorded less than 10 examples on commercial cover up until that time. I went on to elaborate that not one of these usages was for the prime purpose the stamp was issued, that is the postcard rate to foreign countries.

The journalist asked me what I thought such a specific use would be worth and I suggested that I would be unwise enough to pay up to $100 just to have one for my reference collection. A few postcard usages came to light following publication of the relevant article and one was subsequently offered at auction with an estimate of $1000 (perhaps the auctioneer felt it must be worth at least 10 times my offer), and although that example was unsold another did sell at auction later for $725.

The price has fallen to $300/400 as a few more have surfaced, but many readers will find this a surprising value for a stamp which is barely worth 20 cents used off cover. Finally, one little 'unsung hero', an otherwise virtually worthless stamp mint or used but scarce used for the very purpose for which it was originally intended (ie for foreign postcards), had come of age.


The following are other examples of difficult to find KGVI stamps commercially used on cover:


2002 10 Image 1.jpg
Australia 1941 KGVI 1½d red-brown stamp perforation change (to 14.75 x 4 from 13.5 x 14) + Queen Mother 1d to make new 2½d base rate (2d plus ½d War Tax) introduced on 10th Dec 1941, coincidentally the day this envelope was posted. This 1½d is scarce on cover even for the printed matter rate, a more logical use, of which I have seen only six examples. Value for illustrated: $75.



2002 10 Image 2.jpg
Another stamp issue necessitated by the ½d War Tax introduction, the 5½d surcharge on 5d Merino Ram stamp, primarily intended for combined registration/letter rate within Australia and British Empire and combined airmail/letter rate within Australia. An attractive use for the latter purpose on Official cover of 23rd Apr 1942 from Tennant Creek (N.T.) to Canberra. Value: $50.



2002 10 Image 3.jpg
Australia 1937 N.S.W. Sesquicentenary 9d stamp airmail use 1st Dec 1937 Perth to Singapore (9d per ½oz was also the airmail rate to other parts of Malaysia and region). A more philatelically desirable use of this stamp perhaps than its other primary use for the Parcel (Scale 2) rate. Value: $85.



2002 10 Image 4.jpg
If the term 'bland' could be ascribed to any KGVI stamp then surely the Australia 1951 2½d chocolate stamp would be a candidate, largely devoid as it is of most of those aspects coveted by specialists. It is however a surprisingly scarce stamp on cover (which I am indebted to Martin Walker of Adelaide for reminding me of). This 11th Feb 1953 use for Greetings card rate is the only example I have seen! Value: $40.



2002 10 Image 5.jpg
Australia 1946 Mitchell 3½d + 1/- stamps (the latter particularly scarce on cover) used 3rd Feb 1947 to N.Z. (1/3½d for 1-1½oz article - 5½d for 1st ½oz and 5d for additional ½oz x 2). The 1/- was primarily intended for basic Telegram and Parcel (Scale 3) rates, for which it is also seldom encountered. Value: $45.

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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

Post by fchd »

Stamp News November 2002

Woodchip-free Zone


In the World of Covers big can be beautiful

This issue features the use of a few King George VI stamps other than those selected last issue. For the first time I have included the usage of high denomination stamps.

Generally, denominations of 5/- and above were intended for higher telegram, parcel, bulk postage and airmail charges. The first three categories do not often produce examples of use which are philatelically convenient; parcel wrappings for example can be cumbersome. Exceptions are stamps affixed to a parcel label (often attached to fragment of parcel-wrapping) or parcel-tag. Parcel labels can be those issued by the Post Office, a philatelic collectable in their own right, or privately produced, the latter often with associated advertising of the sender.

Higher airmail charges usually involve postal articles which are larger than what philatelists have traditionally been accustomed to including in their collections in the past. However, exhibitors in particular are becoming aware that to exclude larger than 'standard' size covers in their exhibit is usually to exclude some of the highest rate items available, which can often be spectacular. At the recent Stampshow Melbourne 02 an increasing number of exhibitors displayed large covers conveniently presented on double format pages.

Even the largest of covers do not preclude philately from being considered a compact hobby, particularly in comparison with other collectables such as art and antiques, not to mention classic cars! And as shall be seen from some of the cover subjects which follow big can indeed be beautiful.


Coat-of-Arms series 1949-50
2002 11 Image 1jpg.jpg
2002 11 Image 2.jpg
2002 11 Image 3.jpg

The Australia 10/-, £1 and £2 stamps are rather scarce on cover; the top value more accurately being classed as rare (I have seen only two). The items illustrated are multiples of the 2/- per ½oz. airmail rate to U.K./U.S., the 10/- (plus 2/- Royal Visit x 2) being seven times, £1 ten times and £2 (plus 10/- Arms) twenty-five times the basic 2/- rate. Remarkably two of these larger than 'standard' articles were salvaged from the BOAC "Belfast" which crashed at Singapore on 13 March 1954 with the loss of 33 lives. How could a serious philatelist preclude such items from a collection on the basis of cover size? Values: 10/- $125, £1 $200, £2 $750.




Coronation Robes stamp series 1938
2002 11 Image 4.jpg
2002 11 Image 5.jpg
1941 cover to U.S. with 10/-, 5/- and 9d Platypus for an aggregate 15/9d on the Clipper service out of N.Z. The rate was 4/- per ½oz. suggesting that this was a 1½-2oz. article (therefore quadruple rate) which was underpaid by 3d. Value: $250 .

1948 tag from a parcel to a bank in Melbourne at a rate of £2 10 1½d (I will pass on attempting a calculation; we don't know if it was airmail or surface) made up by £1 x 2, 10/- and Queen Mother 1½d. A convenient item at the other extreme of the size scale. Value: $150 .




Australia 1952 KGVI 4½d red stamp
2002 11 Image 6.jpg
A departure from the high denominations and a favourite of mine. This little stamp has probably helped the cause of collecting Australian stamps on cover more than any other stamp, and largely by accident! In the mid nineties when I was researching the relative scarcity of the various KGVI stamps on cover to enable me to price the 'used on cover' column in the ACSC, a philatelic columnist asked me for a 'tip' for his column. I volunteered the 4½d red as a surprisingly difficult stamp to find on commercial cover (not to be confused with a FDC which is comparatively common), and added that I had yet to see a solo franking usage.

This journalist obviously had a wide following as his article promptly unearthed (in Austria!) a solo franking correctly used on postcard. Another example, to U.S., appeared soon after at auction with an estimate of $1000! Unsurprisingly, it was unsold, but a third example did sell later at auction for $725. During the past seven years the census has increased to six single frankings, which still rates the item as very scarce, although values have settled to a more sustainable $300 or so.

The example illustrated is unusual. The stamp was used on envelope (rather than postcard) at Cairns 29 Sep 1952 to U.S. which should have been at 7½d foreign letter rate. The item is endorsed at left by the Commanding Officer of H.M.A.S. "Bataan", who was returning to Sydney for R & R after seven months active service in Korean War. In the 1950s there was a Forces concessional air letter rate of 4½d to Malaya, but it would appear that this item (possibly influenced by the impressive endorsement) was allowed to travel underpaid at the 4½d foreign postcard rate without penalty.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News December 2002

Woodchip-Free Zone


QEII £SD covers a worthy challenge.

If this column had a charter it would be to persuade more collectors to try ‘something completely different’ (with due acknowledgement to Monty Python). The theme being the study of the use of stamps on commercial cover the recruitment of even one devotee to cover collecting will be reward enough!

Last issue we visited a few KGVI issues on cover, including high denominations on larger dimension covers, a favourite of mine given that such items usually provide the highest denomination frankings possible. This issue we consider some stamps of the King’s daughter, our own Queen Elizabeth II, and select the 1959-64 definitive series, which initially may appear to be unlikely to produce much in the way of unusual and desirable covers.

The series stamps themselves produced little in the way of major errors, aside from a few partially imperforate items, but are redeemed by some denominations being rich in re-entries, re-cuts and retouches (the 8d Tiger Cat ‘Typhoon’ being one of the more popular), together with presentation Die proofs and Plate numbers adding to the diversity, and of course this period saw the introduction of Helecon paper, an early appearance of hi tech in philately.

The use of the stamps on commercial cover is more interesting than would initially appear, and aside from the common surface rate 4d and 5d most denominations range from moderately uncommon to, for a few issues, the surprisingly hard-to-get category in this format. A collection of usages on cover would provide a worthy challenge. Here are some examples to search for:


2002 12 Image 1.jpg
The Australia QEII 2d stamp was largely for make-up and is usually met with together with the 3d to meet the 5d surface rate. A rare use (I have yet to see an example) would be for the U.K. Forces in Australia 2d surface rate to U.K. Unusual and scarce is this novel 1964 single use within Australia. The correct rate was 5d and this item should have been taxed 6d (double the 3d deficiency). Value : $30.



2002 12 Image 2.jpg
The U.K. Forces in Australia also had a favourable airmail rate to U.K. (7d vs 2/3d) although this 1962 cover was allowed to make the journey by air for 3d stamp only. Value : $35.



2002 12 Image 3.jpg
The Australia 6d Anteater stamp was another make-up use stamp and exceptional is this 1965 use on a Hong Kong formular Aerogramme by a Crew member of HMAS Derwent whilst at Singapore. Australian Forces servicing in S.E. Asia (and in R.A.N. Ships) were entitled to a concessional 6d per ½oz airmail rate (otherwise 1/-). Value : $60.



2002 12 Image 4.jpg
The Australia 3/- Waratah stamp is very difficult to find on cover given that its primary use was for parcels. Here we have a 1962 use on registered cover where an additional 1/3d has been paid to increase compensation in the event of loss to £15/18/-, making a total franking of 3/8d (5d surface rate + 2/- registration + 1/3d Compensation fee). Value : $40.



2002 12 Image 5.jpg
The Australia 11d Bandicoot stamp was primarily for combined surface (5d) and certified fee (6d) although it is rather scarce so used such was the limited use of the Certified Mail system in 1962. Value : $40.



2002 12 Image 6.jpg
Unusual items are the spice of life to cover collectors and undoubtedly in that category is this 1960 use of the 1/- Platypus (uncommon in any form on cover) for the 2/- airmail rate to U.S. where the informative marking ‘DAMAGED IN HANDLING’ would appear an understatement. Value : $75.



2002 12 Image 7.jpg
The Australia 1/2d Tiger stamp was recognised by a few pioneer ‘stamps on cover’ collectors as one to look out for, particularly used for the 1/2d postcard rate to Europe. The scarcity of this item was recently corroborated by an auction realisation of $125 which will surely surprise most readers. This late use in the £SD-period (29 Jan 1966) is of the Helecon printing. Value $125+.



2002 12 Image 8.jpg
The Australia 2/3d Wattle stamp was primarily intended for the airmail rate to U.K. and Europe, and the later White paper issue is rather scarce so used given its period of issue (15 months vs 5 years for the Yellow paper). More difficult yet again is this 1965 use to make up the 2/5d combined surface and registration rate. Value : $30.



2002 12 Image 9.jpg
One of the greatest challenges of the series on commercial cover is the Australia 5/- Cattleman stamp on White paper. I have recorded only four examples to date including this 1964 use with 6d Thornbill x 2 for triple 2/- airmail rate to U.S. Value : $150 .
.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News February 2003

Woodchip-free Zone


An Xmas pot pourri under the whip.


This issue features a pot pourri of unrelated items which I hope nonetheless will prove interesting, the criterion for their selection being little more than expediency. Printer’s end-of-year deadlines, Editor’s demands, and utterings of something or other to do with thumbscrews, have combined to see this column compiled in record time.

Given that the column hopefully serves to broaden interest in and knowledge of the use of the humble postage stamp for the prime purpose for which it was originally intended (ie as prepayment for an article transmitted from one point to another via the postal system) it stands to reason that diversity of subjects featured should serve to assist those goals. And so we commence to comment on the selection of items which follow.



Feb 03 1.jpg
Figure 1 is in the tradition of the reason/s for the use of a particular stamp on cover (or in this instance on Postal Stationery) which has been the principal subject in past issues of the column. On this occasion the 10/- Flinders is our stamp in question. I have found this to be difficult to find used on any type of collectable postal article. Here we have it and various contemporary stamp issues combining to uprate a 2/5d Registered Envelope to make for a total franking of 14/-. This paid airmail to Canada for a 2½-3oz. article (12/-), where standard airmail was 2/- per ½oz., plus registration fee (2/-). Value : $150.



Feb 03 2.jpg
In Figure 2 we see real Australiana. Such handdrawn envelopes were a popular pastime amongst the more artistically inclined Servicemen during World War II. Humorous depictions reminiscent of the local environment were a common theme and this is a good example of its kind. The cover was sent from the R.A.A.F. Post Office (‘Unit Nº 6’) as evidenced by the circular datestamp and this was located at Port Moresby in Papua. These handdrawn covers are wonderfully collectable and this provides a fine example of why stamps usually should be kept on original cover. Value : $80 (vs. 20c for the stamps should they have been taken off the cover!).




Feb 03 3.jpg
Figure 3. Always be on the lookout for covers bearing a combination of £SD stamps and their Decimal successors during the two year ‘phasing-out’ period for the superseded stamps (14 Feb 1966 to 14 Feb 1968). The old currency remained valid for postal use during that period although such usage is rather difficult to find and is sought-after by Postal History enthusiasts. This 10 Oct 1967 use of the QEII 3d x 4 (1/- equalling 10c) together with 15c Galah for 25c combined registration and surface postage is a good example of mixed currency use. Value : $40.


Feb 03 4.jpg
An example of how an even quite modern cover can be classed as a ‘rarity’ is shown at Figure 4. Here we have a 31 Jul 1995 use of a Counter-printed stamp (CPS) denominated at $20 which was the fee for the joint Tax Office/Australia Post initiative ‘TAXPACKEXPRESS’, which provided a priority service for lodging Tax returns (presumably for optimists anticipating a refund rather than taxpayers anxious to make early payment!). Although this item was lodged at the National Philatelic Centre (one of the few places to provide CPS facilities) it is a purely commercial use of the stamp and affixed to such a convenient article will be highly prized by specialists even now. Value : $50.



Feb 03 5.jpg
And now for something completely different. Figure 5 shows the earliest Australian Philatelic Industry ‘cover’ I have recorded. I have long been interested in the history of commercial philately in this part of the world, and this 1881 use of a parcel label for ‘Sydney Foreign Stamp Depot’ (Buckley, Blunsum & Co, 6 Bligh Street, Sydney) is a delight, and addressed to South America no less. Note the label simulates an early format stamp album (of the type which was usually replete with goldleaf edging to pages). Ah, they must have been the days for a philatelic enthusiast in Sydney Town.


Best wishes to Stamp News readers for a safe, healthy and philatelically fruitful 2003.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News March 2003

Woodchip-free Zone


Little unsung heroes of early QEII reign

This issue we will focus on some relatively modest stamps of the early years of QEII’s reign. Stamps which were it not for their being on cover could fairly be rated as seemingly ‘ordinary’. Certainly mint or used off cover they present no challenge to a collector. I will endeavour to explain however why I regard these items correctly used on commercial covers to be far from ordinary. Rather, I rate them in a category which I like to call ‘little unsung heroes’.



Mar 03 1.jpg
Figure 1

Figure 1 shows the 1953 3d Produce Food in strip of three format together with contemporary ½d and 3½d’s. The 3d was intended for postcards within Australia and the Empire (a very scarce usage), for commercial papers or printed matter rate, newspaper/ magazine rate overseas, airmail fee within Australia, and Forces’ abroad airmail letter rate (occasionally seen used from Korea). A strip of three is not necessary for any of these potential uses (other than perhaps as a three-times multiple of the airmail fee) and its use therefore can be expected most likely to be one of chance. This 7 Nov 1953 registered use to U.S. from Victoria Park East (W.A.) comprises use of the 3d strip for the 9d registration fee, the balance of 7½d in franking being for the Foreign letter rate. Value : $60.



Mar 03 2.jpg
Figure 2
Single usage of a given stamp for the specific purpose for which the stamp was issued is always desirable and justifiably sought-after by specialists. Although issued specifically for combined basic letter rate (4d) and certified mail fee (6d) the 1957 QEII 10d is most often found used as a make-up stamp. One usually finds it combined with the 1/7d of the series (or the 1/7d Registered stationery envelope) to accomodate the 1959 rate increase to 2/5d of the combined letter rate/registration fee. Figure 2 shows a 29 Jun 1959 scarce specific certified use within suburban Melbourne. The Post Office endorsements at left indicate that the addressee was not initially available for the required signature. Value : $35.



Mar 03 3.jpg
Figure 3
The 1956 1/- Olympic Games stamp was primarily intended for the parcel (Scale 1) and airmail to Malaya/Singapore rates, usages which are quite scarce. Figure 3 shows the 1/- and definitive 4d used 2 Apr 1957 for unusual combined registration fee (1/3d) and Forces concessional letter rate (1d) from Laverton R.A.A.F. P.O. (Vic). Value : $40.



Mar 03 4.jpg
Figure 4
The 1954 Royal Visit 7½d stamp was issued specifically for the Foreign letter rate and is very scarce so used, and indeed the stamp on cover is difficult to find in any form. The 15 Feb 1954 usage from Hobart (Figure 4) together with 3½d of the same series and late use of the 1d Princess was for the 1/- airmail rate to Malaya mentioned in the previous paragraph. Value : $30.



Mar 03 5.jpg
Figure 5
Philately registers high on the visual scale so the combination of colour and scarcity is alluring. We have both in Figure 5 where the 1955 2/- Cobb, a scarce stamp on cover, is presented as a triple franking no less for the 2/- airmail rate to U.S. (the stamp was primarily issued for airmail rate to U.K. and most Foreign countries) on this 18 Jul 1955 use from Perth of a colourful advertising cover for Albany Bell Hatchery (Chicks of “Real Quality”, which no doubt most male readers would have pursued at some stage in their life). Value : $75.



Mar 03 6.jpg
Figure 6
During recent research I was surprised to learn just how few 1958 5½d Canberra Memorials I have recorded on cover. Perhaps this is not so surprising when one considers that 5½d was for the low-survival commercial papers, printed matter and merchandise rates. Even more difficult to find is a joined pair on cover which from 1 Oct 1959 became viable for the 11d combined basic letter rate (5d) and certified mail fee (6d). Figure 6 shows such use on 26 Apr 1961 from Adelaide to Sydney, one week prior to the issue of the 11d Bandicoot which replaced the Canberra Memorial pair. Value : $50.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News April 2003

Woodchip-free Zone


Seeing my friend Simon Dunkerley's excellent as usual column last issue, detailing some of the extraordinary results from the auction of Australia from the George Zambelli Estate, has prompted me to contribute some additional comment on that subject in this column. George was a meticulous collector and kept a record of when he bought an item, from whom, and what he paid. An important client of mine in the 1970s he clearly had greater foresight in what material was going to do well as an investment than I judging from the difference between what he paid and the realisation for a few items shown in Simon’s table as having originated from me (eg 1972 cost $45, realisation $2151).

Zambelli’s 1960s/1970s purchases from Harmers of Sydney were even more remarkable, with the 1967 purchase of the Kangaroo 2/- brown imprint block at $92 against a realisation of $56,600 verging on the unbelievable. Clearly Harmers was the place to buy in that era. And I did. Problem is I didn’t hold for the long term.

This brings me to the purpose of repeating Simon’s information here. How does one enjoy the thrill of collecting, and George Zambelli was an enthusiastic philatelist not just a clever investor, and over the duration of a generation have the value of your collection appreciate to such extraordinary levels? It may well be that the type of material which did so well for the Zambelli Estate may continue to appreciate spectacularly during the next generation. However, I think it unlikely, particularly coming off such high dollar realisations, although I do believe that remarkable gains in values for certain philatelic categories will be achieved during the next decade and beyond.

What will be the star performers of philately in the future? In the 1970s Essay and Proof material was unpopular but look what happened. During the past decade such material has enjoyed great popularity and prices have escalated commensurately. The next categories in philately to become popular will most probably come what is presently less than popular. The collecting of Postal Stationery and stamps on commercial cover (the subject of this column) is enjoying a ground swell of interest. I believe that the popularity of these collecting categories will continue to grow and that they will produce many of the ‘star performers’ which will emerge during the next decade or more.

This issue I have selected for comment commercial usages of stamps of King George V (the first occasion for this column), the King’s son, and his grand daughter. Are items such as these destined for a bright future? Time will tell. From this issue onwards I am providing the value of subject stamps off cover by way of comparison to their on-cover valuation.

Apr 03 1.jpg
Figure 1: KGV 4d violet on a postcard to Sweden

Figure 1. KGV stamp issues have justifiably been one of the most popular collecting fields in Australian philately from the outset, particularly during the past decade. One of the more difficult issues to find used on cover is the 4d violet. Prior to 1 January 1922 it is found (and rarely so) used for double weight letters within Australia and to British Empire countries, and for the commercial papers rate (a low survival use) to Foreign countries. From this date 4d became the Foreign letter rate but the violet stamp was replaced by the blue in February 1922 allowing only a very limited period for use of the violet for this higher survival rate purpose. This 10 April 1922 use on postcard to Sweden pays the 4d letter rate when in fact the rate for Foreign postcards was 2d only. I have seen more imprint pieces of this stamp than usages on cover. Value : $200 (off cover $15).

Apr 03 2.jpg
Figure 2: Sturt set on cover from June 1930

Figure 2. A set of stamps (or in this instance more appropriately a duo) on commercial cover is always novel. This 21 June 1930 use of the Sturt pair correctly meets the 4½d internal airmail rate. Value : $80 (off cover $5).

Apr 03 3.jpg
Figure 3. 3d blue SA Centenary on advertising cover

The 3d blue commemoratives of the 1930s were largely intended for the 3d internal airmail fee, registration fee and Foreign letter rate, and most issues are not particularly scarce on cover utilised for one or other of these purposes. A popular pursuit for variety is to attempt to find ‘3d blues’ used on advertising covers such as this 12 Jul 1937 use of the 3d S.A. Centenary for the Foreign letter rate. Value : $75 (off cover $3).

Apr 03 4.jpg
Figure 4: 6d AIF used for combined foreign letter rate & registration

Figure 4. The 1940 A.I.F. 6d was primarily intended for the parcel (Scale 1) and Forces parcel rates. It is rather scarce on any type of postal article, particularly as a solo franking. Shown here is an example of solo use of 19 September 1940 for combined Foreign letter rate (3d) and registration fee (3d). Value : $100 (off cover $10).

Apr 03 5.jpg
Figure 5: Multiple 2/- Tasmania Sesquicentenaries on an overweight item

Figure 5. The 2/- commemoratives of the 1950s were primarily intended for the airmail rate to the U.K. and most overseas countries. They are not easy to find on commercial cover and usually are a solo franking when found. This item was overweight (i.e. above ½oz) and incurred the triple rate of 6/-, the utilising of three 2/- Tasmania sesquicentenary being particularly uncommon. Value : $65 (off cover $9).
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News May 2003

Woodchip-free Zone


This issue our selection of commercial use of Australian stamps on cover ranges from Kangaroos, the first occasion on which this series has featured in the column, through to Decimal-era. Most Kangaroo denominations are scarce to rare on cover, card or other postal item, and indeed I have yet to see a £1 brown and blue used on any commercial ‘entire’. Figure 1 is an advertising cover used to Germany 10 July 1913 bearing a First wmk. 2d and Victoria 3d for double Foreign letter rate (2½d per ½oz.). A 3d Kangaroo was on issue but it was then customary to ‘use up’ old State stamps in stock in the first instance before resorting to use of the newly issued series of stamps. Most combination State/ Commonwealth frankings are scarce and sought after and the subject cover, a fortuitous combination of attractive advertising, rare franking and even scarce cancellation (!), resulted in this item realising just under $4000, a record for a State/Commonwealth combination cover, in a recent auction. Value off cover : $15 (!).

May 03 1.jpg
Figure 1

May 03 2.jpg
Figure 2

Figure 2 is a postcard unusually sent by airmail from Melbourne to U.K. on 23 May 1938. The surface rate for postcards was only 1½d and few chose the luxury of the air service at six times the cost. This is a rare solo usage for a CofA wmk. 9d Kangaroo which is otherwise generally found (and then not often) as a solo stamp only on airmail letters to British S.E. Asia and Dutch East Indies. Value : $300 (off cover $5).

May 03 3.jpg
Figure 3

Moving downgear a cog or two, the Queen Mother 2d was issued on 28 March 1951 for Printed matter and Commercial papers rates within Australia, and Printed matter, Newspaper and Magazine rates overseas. However, a rate increase on 8 July 1951 rendered the stamp viable only for make-up use. An unusual solo use of 23 June 1960 is shown in Figure 3. Here we have a usage from Naval P.O. Nowra on cover inscribed ‘Commercial papers only’ and with handstamp indicating application of concessional rate for Defence Forces. The Forces rate was 1d per oz. for letters and 1d per 8oz. for Printed matter (or Commercial papers). It is unlikely that this cover contained over 8oz. of matter to warrant the use of greater than a 1d stamp, and it is more probable that it weighed over 1oz. and was paid at double the 1d letter rate by mistake, when as Commercial papers it would have required only 1d. Value : $30 (off cover 10c).

May 03 4.jpg
Figure 4

The 1956 Olympic Games 7½d, although not easy to find on commercial cover, is the least difficult of the 1950s 7½d commemoratives in this form. All were intended primarily for the Foreign letter rate although the Olympic issue is more often that not found as a make-up value in registered mail franking compositions. The usage on a Certified mail cover in Figure 4 is unusual. This cover is dated 12 November 1956 the day the certified mail service was introduced. Although possibly a contrived item the use of the current 2½d and 7½d to make up the 10d combined letter rate (4d) and Certified fee (6d) is quite legitimate. A 10d denomination for this service was not issued until 6 March 1957. Value : $25 (off cover 60c).

May 03 5.jpg
Figure 5

Figure 5 shows a postcard bearing the 1971 Australia Asia 15c. Other than for a couple of nice retouches on two units of the 50 in a sheet this is a stamp which has little to recommend it philatelically nowadays aside from its validity for postage purposes. However, in keeping with so many Decimal-era issues, this stamp is uncommon commercially used on cover (or card as in this example) in period of issue. Used in ‘period of issue’ is of course the key element for all items featured in this column. The use of this stamp for postal purposes today, as alluded to earlier, will not create a desirable philatelic item. Rather, the best that modern (ie out-of-period) use can be hoped to achieve is that the stamp ends up in a gift packet which ushers in the recipient as a new recruit to philately. Even I do not flinch upon ‘woodchipping’ covers bearing grossly out-of-period use of Australian Decimal stamps (unless of course the cover received some non-contrived postal markings of merit). Used on cover in-period the Australia Asia 15c is fairly scarce. Its primary purpose of issue was for the Zone 2 airmail rate although it is mostly encountered as a make-up value for registration and higher zones airmail. One other possible solo use, although scarce, was for the Zone 5 airmail postcard rate (15c vs. 30c for the letter rate) as shown in this 19 January 1971 use. Value : $45 (off cover $1).

Next issue I will introduce an element of 'Postal History' to demonstrate how various markings encountered during transmission of a postal article can add considerably to value and provide yet another reason not to ‘woodchip’ a cover.
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Stamp News June 2003

Woodchip-free Zone


Cover + Postal history = increased character and value

This issue I have introduced the impact of 'Postal history', the term given to the study of postal markings applied and other factors relevant in the transmission of a given article of mail on its journey from point A to B via the postal system, to illustrate how this element can add character and value to a cover.

Jun 03 1.jpg
Figure 1: An "irregularly posted" Registered item!

Figure 1 shows the 1950 8½d Aborigine used 16 November 1950 for the combined letter rate and registration fee. This stamp was primarily intended for this purpose as well as combined letter rate and Express service fee, both uses requiring 2½d plus 6d special services fee = 8½d. Express service covers are scarce, and even use for registration is not easy as the stamp could be utilised for that purpose for only 3½ months when a rate increase rendered it largely useless.

The illustrated cover has a story to tell evidenced by the handstruck marking 'IRREGULARLY/ POSTED '. This marking was applied by Post office sorting staff to articles which were received under circumstances contrary to regular procedure. Registered mail must be handed in at a Post office counter in order that a receipt be issued to the sender and handling thereafter by Post office staff conforms to the strict procedures required for registered mail. It would appear on this occasion that the sender has incorrectly posted the article in a pillar box and a diligent sorter has detected the anomaly, either by observing the red crossed lines required for registration service, or if these where not then present the relevant 8½d franking affixed. Post office procedure in such cases was to apply the handstruck marking and complete registered mail procedures at the Bulk postage counter, where the registration label was attached and from where the article would recommence its journey. This stamp on a regular registered cover would be valued at $25. With the added postal marking the value increases to $60 (stamp off cover 50c) .

Jun 03 2.jpg
Figure 2: Not irregular but insufficient!

Figure 2 illustrates another registered mail misadventure. This 8 December 1956 cover is correctly franked for the 7d airmail rate but the Postmaster at Hilton (S.A.), despite affixing a registration label, has omitted to add the additional 9d required for the registration fee. The deficiency was detected at Adelaide where the handstamped 'INSUFFICIENT POSTAGE DOCKET/ ISSUED AT ADELAIDE ' was applied. This is an uncommon marking used when a debit docket is made out to the Postmaster at an offending Post office of despatch, and increases the value of an otherwise $10 cover to $50 (stamps off cover zero!).

Jun 03 3.jpg
Figure 3: A double deficiency penalty!

Figure 3 illustrates another deficient postage article. This 31 July 1957 airmail cover from Coonamble (N.S.W.) to The Australian Stamp Monthly (now incorporated within Stamp News) in Melbourne bears only 4d letter rate franking rather than the required 7d for airmail service. The pair of 2d Queen Mother is the coil perforation which is scarce on cover, however such philatelic niceties are irrelevant to the Post office and the article received the handstamped ' T ' (tax) marking, with the appropriate '6' in manuscipt representing the underpaid 3d and a fine of 3d, the double deficiency penalty then in place. A Postage due 6d was affixed at Melbourne G.P.O. formalising the procedure. Value of $40 for coil pair on cover increases to $100 with tax marking and Postage due (stamps off cover $6).

Jun 03 4.jpg
Figure 4: Missent to Albert Park!

Figure 4 illustrates a scarce and desirable handstruck marking. This 2 July 1934 registered cover from Newcastle bears the Victoria Centenary 2d and 3d and although this was day of issue for these stamps this would not appear to be a deliberate FDC and the rate of 5d is correct for combined letter rate (2d) and registration fee (3d). The article is addressed to Albert Street, Melbourne, but has incorrectly been directed to Albert Park. The error has been detected at Albert Park P.O. where the ' MISSENT TO/ALBERT PARK ' has been applied and the article would then have been redirected back to Melbourne. A $40 cover has increased in value to $150 by the addition of this marking (stamps off cover $4 ).

Jun 03 5.jpg
Figure 5: A "Little Unsung Hero"!

Figure 5. No additional postal markings here but Postal history is expressed in the rate. The 1987 Technology achievements issue was notable not only for the striking 'hi-tech' designs but for the unconventional denominations, including the then unfamiliar 53c, 63c and 68c. Our subject item, 22 March 1988 use of the 63c to pay the airmail postcard rate to a Zone 5 country (Germany), is the first I have seen used for that purpose. This was an intended primary use for this denomination, as was the airmail rate for non-standard items within Australia, but the stamp appears to have seen relatively little commercial use. A modern item in the 'little unsung heroes' category. Value: $35 (off cover $1).
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News July 2003

Woodchip-Free Zone


Frugal but nevertheless fun

This month I have selected some stamp issues of the early 1990s . Modern stamps which are common mint (less so used) but take some finding commercially used on cover during their respective contemporary periods of issue . Frugal yet worthy Philatelic items which still embrace the thrill-of-the-chase.



Image 1 Missing from Archive - to be added later

Item 1. 1990 Animals of the High Country 80c used 4 May 1990 for uncommon concessional Zone 5 Greetings card airmail rate (to wife of fellow Stamp News columnist Sel Pfeffer!). The regular airmail rate was $1.10. Value : $12 (off cover $1.50).


Image 2 Missing from Archive - to be added later

Item 2. 1990 Anzac Tradition $1.10 used 10 May 1990 to uprate Postage paid (41c) P.S.E. for Certified mail service. A more unusual use of this stamp which was primarily for aforementioned Zone 5 regular airmail rate. Value : $10 (off cover $1.80).


Image 3 Missing from Archive - to be added later

Item 3. 1990 ‘Heidelberg & Heritage’ booklet stamp 28c. This odd denomination owes its existence to a need to ‘round off’ the face value of the booklet to a convenient sum (in this instance $2) for dispensing via vending machines. It is uncommon on cover and usually comes duly uprated with 15c Living Together stamp to make the 43c letter rate. Very occasionally one sees it as a single franking due to oversight (or perhaps out of frustration!) by the sender, which should of course be taxed by the Post Office which was not done here. Value : $15 (off cover $1.60).


Image 4 Missing from Archive - to be added later

Item 4. 1991 Australia Day 90c used 7 Feb 1991 for hard-to-find Zone 5 concessional airmail Postcard rate (regular airmail rate by then increased to $1.20). Value : $12 (off cover $1.40).


Image 5 Missing from Archive - to be added later

Item 5. 1991 Golden days of Radio 85c used 19 Jul 1991 for 2nd weight step for non-standard interstate airmail letter rate. Due to larger dimensions of articles usually found in such use survival rate of covers is not high. Value : $10 (off cover $1.40).


Image 6 Missing from Archive - to be added later

Item 6. 1991 Pets 70c used 13 Nov 1991 for non-standard rate for interstate letters by surface mail. Another low survival rate item due to oversize. Value : $8 (off cover $1).


Image 7 Missing from Archive - to be added later

Item 7. 1992 Boxlink stamp used 16 Aug 1993 cancelled by the special timeclock datestamp intended for this original service. A seemingly good idea (costing 38c rather than regular 45c) which nevertheless was short-lived, ceasing at end of 1994. Examples used on cover are not plentiful. Value : $15 (off cover $1.50).
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News August 2003

Woodchip-free Zone


Collecting suggestions from left field

I am often asked the question ‘What do you collect, Rod?’. My reply usually has the enquirer wishing he or she had never asked. I am a follower of the late Dr Ed Druce School of Collecting. The philosophy derived therefrom has it that one or two collections will never do when you can have 109 (which Ed claimed to have at the height of his collecting prowess). In replying to the subject question I attempt to select from my repertoire of collections a few which I consider most likely to ‘stimulate’ the conversation.

One of the aims of this column is to introduce the joys of cover collecting to those who may not have considered the prospect, and what better way to do so than by personal example? I have selected for this article six of my collections, some of which may appear odd to some readers. Others who dare to be different (as I like to think I do!) might be more inspired. Rightly might some be considered collecting suggestions from ‘left field’. Most provide good examples of why not to ‘woodchip’ covers.



1. Commercial commemorative covers


Aug 03 1.jpg
Figure 1: Commercial Commemorative cover
Most collectors will be familiar with commemorative and souvenir covers produced by Australia Post, Philatelic societies, institutions and organisations, etc, etc. Such items are usually targeted towards the Philatelic community. My collection of this subject comprises only items which are not obviously destined for that target. Figure 1 is a 1936 cover produced by Warrnambool Progress Association, promoting its City and more specifically Annual Gala Week – Dec 26 to Jan 3. It is addressed to The Age newspaper and thereby qualifies for my crucial ‘commercial’ imperative. Value : $75 (stamp off cover 50 cents).





2. 'Not Quite Right' (Misadventures in the Australian Postal System)
Aug 03 2.jpg
Figure 2: 'Misadventures in the Australian Postal System'
The title of an evolving exhibit in the pipeline, which hopefully is self-explanatory. To be eligible for this collection covers must show evidence of ‘misadventure’ such as may be provided by a Post Office explanatory label, handstruck (or handstamped), manuscript, etc, informative advice. Figure 2 is a good example of how added markings, lost when a stamp and its original cover are parted, can considerably enhance desirability, and as a consequence value. This 1953 cover with Post Office handstamp ‘DAMAGED BY FIRE/IN LETTER RECEIVER’ is a dramatic example of what Postal history can offer the enthusiast. Value : $100 (stamp off cover zero).




3. Illustrated Wartime covers
Aug 03 3.jpg
Figure 3: Illustrated wartime cover
This collection includes printed and handdrawn covers, sometimes of a patriotic nature, more often humorous. A fine and skilfully executed example of the latter is shown in Figure 3. Although dated 12 Nov 1945 (ie after end of WWII) I have included this lovely cover as it was clearly made by a Serviceman eager to return home. Value : $100 (stamp off cover zero).




4. State/Commonwealth combination covers
Aug 03 4.jpg
Figure 4: State/Commonwealth combination cover
Following the introduction of the Kangaroo stamps in 1913 the various State stamps were allowed to be used until stocks were exhausted. One occasionally finds combinations of the ‘old and new’ and this subject is one of my favourite collections. The cover I have selected in Figure 4 shows the outgoing Tasmania ½d Pictorial stampaccompanied by Kangaroo 3d and 1d (2) to prepay 2½d Foreign letter rate plus 3d registration fee on 24 Jul 1913. Relatively few ½d Kangaroo stamps were requisitioned by Tasmania so large was the stock on hand of the ½d Pictorial in 1913. A rare cover. Value : $500 (stamps off cover $18).




5. ‘Paid’ slogan cancels
Aug 03 5.jpg
Figure 5: 'Paid' slogan cancel
Slogan cancels in general are not as widely collected as are their circular datestamp cousins. Why this should be so puzzles me as slogans are a worthy challenge. Indeed I have taken up the challenge and show here an example of the ‘paid’ version of a slogan. ‘Paid’ indicates the sender paid postage in cash at the Post Office. In cases where the number of prepaid items was reasonably large a Post Office could revert to use of machine cancelling rather than the laborious affixing of postage stamps to articles. ‘Paid’ cancellations until the early 1990s were intended to be struck in red ink. Figure 5 shows one of the more attractive slogan cancels and is rather scarce as a ‘Paid’. Such window envelopes were once popularly adapted for storing stamps soaked-off cover! Value : $75.




6. £SD/Decimal stamp combinations
Aug 03 6.jpg
Figure 6: £SD/Decimal stamp combination
The cover shown at Figure 6 would be equally at home in collection ‘1’ above, being as it is a commercial commemorative cover (actually Stationery). Of greater relevance to me however is the use of the 20c stamp to uprate a 5d printed-to-private-order envelope for registration. £SD stamps/stationery could legally be used for two years after the introduction of Decimal currency (ie use was legitimate until 14 Feb 1968). Combinations on cover of the two currencies are surprisingly elusive, at least commercially which is how I collect them, and this 13 Jul 1966 item is a good example of the genre. Value : $40.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News September 2003

Woodchip-free Zone


This issue I have selected a pot-pourri of items unrelated other than by the fact that they have all come across my desk since I wrote the last column. At the very least they may demonstrate that interest can be present in a given cover irrespective of what period it is from.



Sep 03 1.jpg
Figure 1 shows an attractive use of the KGV 1/4d stamp (C of A watermark) on airmail cover of 26 Feb 1936 from Sydney to Hobart. The 1/4d is uncommon on cover and as a solo franking is very scarce indeed. In this instance it meets the combined surface (4d) and airmail (1/-) rates for an article weighing 1½-2oz. Value : $350 (stamp off-cover $10).



Sep 03 2.jpg
When I first laid eyes on Figure 2 I guessed I had another of the ubiquitous 3d + 6d + 1/- FDC’s of 2 Aug 1937, albeit with the scarcer ‘White wattles’ for the 3d. In fact this is a commercial cover of 11 Aug 1937 with the three stamps paying the correct airmail rate to U.K. (1/6d per ½oz) and registration fee (3d). The ‘White wattles’ is particularly scarce on commercial cover and this is the first I have seen in a long while. Value : $300 (off-cover $50).



Sep 03 3.jpg
The 1953 Produce Food 3d stamp is not common on cover/card. This is explained by it having been intended for (a) postcard rate within Australia and British Empire; (b) commercial papers and printed matter rates within Australia and Overseas; (c) newspaper and magazine rates overseas; (d) airmail fee within Australia; (e) Forces abroad airmail letter rate. It is mostly seen used for purposes (b) and (d). Figure 3 is a very scarce ‘(e)’ usage, in this instance on 10 Jun 1953 from a Serviceman in the Korean War. The ‘AUST UNIT POSTAL STN/388’ cancellation tells us this. Value : $100 (off-cover 50c).



Sep 03 4.jpg
The more astute philatelist of Australian philately is aware that the Australia 1/2d Tasmanian Tiger stamp of the 1959-62 zoological series is scarce used on airmail postcard. Perhaps fewer will be aware that the little 6d Banded Anteater of that series is even scarcer on airmail postcard. Whereas the 1/2d’s generally were sent to the U.K. and Europe, thereby ensuring a reasonable survival rate, the 6d’s were destined mostly for Asia and the Middle East, where quantities posted would be likely to be much lower as would be the survival rate of those postcards sent. Figure 4, a Radio Australia postcard sent 8 Jul 1964 to Indonesia, has survived by default. The addressee could not be located and therefore the card was returned to Australia thus greatly increasing its chances of finding its way in to the clutches of philately. Value : $100 (off-cover 20c).




Sep 03 5.jpg
The Australia 1968 25c Intelsat II stamp is a difficult stamp to find on commercial cover and a more desirable example than that shown in Figure 5 would be a delight indeed. The stamp was primarily intended for the Zone 5 (U.K. and Europe) airmail rate and the combined registration and letter rate within Australia and British Commonwealth. Our item is something else. Here the stamp is used 1 May 1969 by a Serviceman in Vietnam to pay the Forces concessional airmail rate (5c per ½oz) plus registration fee (20c). The envelope is a Military issue inscribed ‘FORCES’ which was at some time altered to ‘FORCE’. I have seen very few used of the illustrated type. Value : $150 (off cover $2.50).




Sep 03 6.jpg
The Australia 1972 Primary Industries 35c stamp is a popular and scarce stamp used on commercial cover. It usually turns up as a solo franking (35c per ½oz) on airmail articles to Zone 5 countries. Figure 6 shows an unusual usage on uprated 7c Stationery Envelope which has been registered 16 Oct 1972 to U.K. The 35c pays of course the airmail component and the 50c the registration fee. The 7c Envelope in fact does no more than act as a convenient medium for the transmission of the contents! Value : $60 (off-cover $4).
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News October 2003

Woodchip-free Zone


Decimals: Fun for the more faint-hearted

We all like to read about high realisations for Australian rarities which Stamp News so effectively provides. Few however can ever hope to form a collection rich in famous, highly-priced rarities of Australian philately. Unless of course one specialises in Decimal varieties and commercial usages on cover. I jest not. Any reader who has been astute enough to invest in Brusden-White's Decimals I, II and III published last year will be aware that there are many hundreds of varieties (and of course the more upmarket category of errors) listed and detailed.

Recuts, flaws and often associated retouches, weak entries, etc. Most are affordable and can often be found previously undetected amongst dealer's stocks, collector's duplicates, professional and club auctions, etc. There are many 'sleepers' amongst Decimal varieties, particularly for instance in positional blocks and amongst the recess-printed Booklet panes.

Combined with searching for varieties should be the seeking out of commercial usages of certain stamps on cover (not necessarily with varieties naturally although this is a worthy pursuit), many of which are surprisingly difficult to find. For the more faint-hearted one can aspire to form a very good collection of its kind for a not prohibitive sum. A case of 'rarity' of the not necessarily 'highly-priced' kind.

This column of course is about commercial use of Australian stamps on cover, and for those interested in the fun of searching for Decimal 'rarities' on cover I provide this month a few seemingly unlikely candidates. The Post Office special services such as certified or registered mail, and the now defunct Priority Paid and Security Post provide a potentially rich source of unusual and scarcer stamp frankings, not to mention cancellations and ancillary markings and P.O. labels for the specialist. I have recently spent some time with my registered mail stock and this month's selection emanates from that endeavour.



Oct 03 1.jpg
Figure 1
Figure 1 shows the first of three popular reprints featured this month. This is the second perforation (14.4 x 14 rather than 12.8 x 12.7 for the original printing) for the 1979-83 10c Parrot, a make-up value only. This 20 Apr 1983 use of a pair contributes to an aggregate franking of $3.60 which represents intrastate 4th weight step (60c) and $3.00 registration fee, a nice uprate for the otherwise humble 27c PSE. When I priced the 10c stamp at $25 on commercial cover in Decimals II I thought I might be sticking my neck out a little. At that time I had seen only two usages of the stamp on cover and a determined search since has increased the census to but four, so it is fair to class the stamp as a 'rarity' on cover. It was in use for only about six months, and this is an attractive example of the issue's use. Value : $30 (stamps off cover $2).



Oct 03 2.jpg
The 45c and 60c of the Australia 1978-84 Birds series stamps are not easy to find on cover and Figure 2 has them both, the 45c in a pair, uprating another otherwise dreary PSE. Decimals II proffers six possible postal category uses for the 45c and five for the 60c, mostly involving weightier and/or non-standard articles. This $2.74 franking represents 24c letter rate plus $2.50 registration fee. Often mixed or combination franking items provide a more convenient form of displaying usage of a given stamp/s and this attractive example featuring five varieties of fauna is no exception, and few would argue that my valuation is discouraging. Value : $12 (stamps off cover $1.60).




Oct 03 3.jpg
Still on the 'Birds', Figure 3 shows the 80c Rainbow Pitta and a pair of the $1 Magpie on 27 May 1981 airmailed cover Sydney Airport to London, representing Zone 5 airmail rate (60c) plus registration fee ($2.20). I referred above to 'sleepers' amongst Decimals and the 80c on commercial cover is emerging as an example of that genre. In Decimals II I priced covers for these two stamps at $12 (for the 80c) and $10 (for the $1). The 80c was largely for 3rd and 4th weight step articles, generally of larger dimension and therefore in the low-survival rate category, and in light of subsequent research I believe I have under-rated this stamp on cover. Value : $30 (stamps off cover $1.30).



Oct 03 4.jpg
The second of the three reprint issues is the 1981-84 25c Bilby in Figure 4. Again the second perforation (described for the 10c Bird above), this 27 May 1984 uprate of a 30c PSE incorporates our subject stamp with others to provide an aggregate $3.85 franking, representing intrastate 3rd weight step (55c) and the becoming rather expensive registration fee ($3.30). The 25c was a make-up value only and has proven scarcer than when I priced it at $12 on cover in Decimals II. In fact, I can say I have found only three on commercial cover making it comparable to the 'rarity' of the 10c Bird above. Value : $30 (stamps off cover $2.20).




Oct 03 5.jpg
Taking a step back in time, Figure 5 shows the last of the reprints, but nonetheless a bespoke item of its time, the 30c Waratah stamp of the 1968-71 Floral emblem series. Actually the fourth reprint in this series, this is in fact the only reprint which is readily identifiable from its predecessors in isolated used condition. It shows distinctively white tones (rather than pink) in the petals. This reprint was issued in July, 1971, and the stamp was replaced by the 30c Aboriginal Art on 29 September 1971. With only about two months in service it is not difficult to comprehend why this reprint is quite uncommon on cover. Our 22 July 1971 use from Australia Square to uprate a 6c Stationery envelope for registration, replete with Post Office informative embellishment lower left, is exemplary. Value : $30 (off cover $1).

The use of the term 'rarity' as applied to the above cover examples is of course charitable. I believe however that these items, and many other Decimal stamp issues will always prove hard-to-find commercially used on cover (in correct period of use don't forget), and will prove a worthy challenge for those readers who enjoy the thrill of the chase without necessarily blowing the philatelic budget.
.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News November 2003

Woodchip-free Zone


Dare to be philatelically different? Then covers might be for you

The eclectic selection of subjects under the spotlight this issue prompted the above suggestion. Regular readers will be familiar with the purpose of this column which is to promote an understanding of the everyday commercial usage of Australian stamps on cover; i.e. for the purpose for which the humble postage stamp was originally intended. For some of the many new readers of Stamp News the heading may at the least be enticing!

Very common Australian stamps, such as the 1937 Queen Mother 1d, may nevertheless have considerable possibilities. Inspection of the ACSC reveals a listing of many specialists' items for this stamp beyond its basic mint and used derivatives. In keeping with many seemingly unlikely Australian stamps this issue could be developed in to a one-frame (15/16 pages) exhibit. Even a five-framer (75/80 pages) is not out of the question, although the usage of the stamp on cover would of course need to play an important role in content in achieving such a goal. Be it suitable for such a goal, or just as an interesting example of the use of the stamp, Figure 1 is that little bit different. Advertising covers are often an attractive alternative, particularly when a very common stamp provides the sole franking. Here the cover advertises a specific event, the April 9 and 12, 1938, Adelaide appearance of the tenor, Dino Borgioli , and no doubt the cover (which is paid at the 1d Printed matter rate) once contained advertising material or perhaps tickets relating to the event. Value : $35 (stamp off cover zero).

Nov 03 1.jpg
Figure 1

I have not featured a Postage due stamp cover in this column and it's probably time I did. Figure 2 is a 13 Nov 1959 Melbourne cover franked at 5d basic letter rate only, and the handstruck 'EXCEEDS' and manuscript '1 oz' markings tell us that the correct franking should have been 8d, this fact being further confirmed by the oval 'T6D' which represents the 3d deficiency plus a fine of 3d (so-called double-deficiency). In this instance 5d and 1d Postage due stamps have been affixed and the recipient of the article would normally be expected to pay 6d upon its delivery. The 5d is the scarcer No watermark Die II printing which is particularly scarce on cover. Value : $200 (stamps off cover $21).

Nov 03 2.jpg
Figure 2

A favourite Australian stamp series of many collectors is the Navigators of late £SD and early Decimal periods. Other than for the 40c Tasman and 50c Dampier, which are not too difficult to find on cover, these stamps are moderately scarce to even rare on cover or parcel label, another collectable format of commercial use, particularly for higher denomination stamps. Figure 3 shows 25 Jan 1974 use to U.S. of 75c Cook to meet triple base airmail rate of 25c for Zone 4 destinations, a logical use for this denomination although one which I have seldom encountered. Value : $60 (stamp off cover $1).

Nov 03 3.jpg
Figure 3

I have occasionally featured printed or handdrawn illustrated covers of WWII-period in this column and Figures 4 and 5 are further examples of the respective types of this popular material. The first is a printed cover by cartoonist, Clarrie King, from a series of nine different designs which I have recorded (there may be more). These appear to have been widely distributed and I have seen usages within Australia and by Servicemen abroad. This is a 1945 use from Morotai in the Dutch East Indies (the Field Post Office '027' datestamp tells us this). Value : $50 (stamps off cover, well, zero).

Nov 03 4.jpg
Figure 4

The second subject is one of the more attractive of the numerous handdrawn wartime covers one encounters. This unusually is signed ('R. Newton') and was used at Kairi, Queensland, in 1944. It appears that the fleeing amphibian is the dreaded cane toad which one hopes was not intended for the stewing pot. Value : $75 (stamp off cover zero).

Nov 03 5.jpg
Figure 5

Figure 6 shows unusual 24 Dec 1946 use of 3½d Mitchell to a B.C.O.F. Serviceman at Kure, Japan. A concessional airmail rate of 3d remained in place after the end of WWII, and although this item is overpaid by ½d for the purpose it does not appear to me to be an obvious philatelic contrivance. Inwards B.C.O.F. mail is seldom encountered. I recently bought this item from an overseas dealer's website, and find the practise of seeking material via this revolutionary new medium both rewarding and relaxing. Adventurous philatelists are surely amongst the great beneficiaries of the internet phenomena, and if you are not already searching local and overseas dealer's websites for items for your collection you surely are missing a wonderful opportunity. Value : $30 (stamp off cover 30c).

Nov 03 6.jpg
Figure 6

The G.B. Machin 3p on cover shown in Figure 7 may appear beyond the scope of this column. It is however very relevant and I will soon explain why. Firstly however a brief 'plug' for the Machin series. This is a modern favourite of mine, commercially used on cover only of course! Aside from the handsome portrait of Her Majesty, the remarkable range of colours (which would do a Dulux colour chart proud), the extraordinary denominations (e.g.
£1.33 and £1.41), it is the combination of availability and affordability in Australia which makes this an irresistable collecting subject for me. Back to our subject cover, this is the overseas equivalent of the concessional airmail rate for Servicemen (and women) which we have featured from time to time in this column (including Figure 6 this issue). In this instance we have a 24 Mar 1972 use by an RAAF Staff member in London to Australia for which the concessional rate was 3p only (9p being the regular airmail rate to Australia). The handstamped 'COMMONWEALTH PERSONNEL/TO THEIR HOMELAND' conveniently completes the story. I have found such items rather scarce and value this cover at $25 (stamp off cover zero).

Nov 03 7.jpg
Figure 7
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News December 2003

Woodchip-free Zone


"If you like it and can afford it, go for it!"

My advice to readers for 2004 is summed up in the above. 'Going for it' does require a degree of courage, particularly if you have chosen a field which is not as popular as some collecting categories, or perhaps where you have selected a collecting field which you believe has potential but which has not yet been identified by the masses.

This column is of course about Australian commercial covers, and when it commenced a year and a half ago it would be fair to say that collecting such material was 'not as popular as some collecting categories' although it promised a hint of 'potential not yet identified by the masses'. Indeed, when I sat down to pen the inaugural column I was reminded of the introduction to The Postal History of the Port Phillip District by the author, J.R.W. ('Bill')Purves. Bill, who was my mentor in the early 1970s, had mentioned in his intro that he doubted if there would be more than six people in the world who would be remotely interested in the subject of his tome!

The power of the media I never underestimate and I am pleased to report that at least six readers during the past 18 months have expressed to me an interest in this column's subject matter. Some must even be 'going for it' for this year I have observed a considerable strengthening in demand and realisations for commercial covers at auction. Two interesting examples follow, and are the first purely Kangaroo covers I have featured.

Dec 03 1.jpg
Figure 1

Figure 1 is a lovely tricolour franking 1913 cover bearing 1st watermark ½d, 2d and 3d used from the unusual origin of Julia Creek (Qld) to U.S. The 5½d total was for Foreign letter rate (2½d) and registration fee (3d), and the black registration label is very rare and adds to the overall pleasing, highly exhibitable nature of this cover. A good example of a cover representing Philately-as-Art one could add. This item sold at auction in Melbourne in January, 2002, at $800 (estimate was $300) and again in October, 2003, in Sydney at $4600.

On next to Figure 2, an attractive and rare use of the 5/- (CofA watermark) as a solo franking on 1938 cover Brisbane to U.S. This paid 4/8d per ½oz airmail rate, 3d registration fee, and 1d Late fee (for an item delivered to the Post Office after advertised closing time for receipt of mail). Sold in a Melbourne auction in August, 2003, at $725 (estimate $150/ 200) it reappeared in Sydney in October when it fetched $3600. Realisations exclude buyer's commission.

Dec 03 2.jpg
Figure 2

These results do not necessarily tell us that Sydney is a better auction market than Melbourne, for I could readily reverse the situation with examples of other items resold between the respective cities. What I can tell you is that both Figures 1 and 2 were bought by dealers with an eye for value in the originating auctions, and a preparedness to 'go for it' when they identify that value for money relationship (although I am certain that these results were well beyond those individuals most optimistic expectations). I would not be surprised however if at some time in the not too distant future these lovely items fetch far more than even the most recent realisations.

The fact is that, despite regular publicity for outstanding results at auction for given items, there are many more items at auction which do not achieve their full potential. Some such items are bought by diligent dealers who in turn place a margin above auction cost and endeavour to resell to their clients, not all of whom are auction buyers. How fortunate would the secondary buyers of Figures 1 and 2 have been if they could have had the opportunity to buy these items directly from the dealer vendors at a typical dealer mark-up of 50%? Smart collectors source material from auctions and dealers, and when they see something they like, and if at that time they can afford it, they 'go for it'. There is no other way to form a collection which separates itself from the pack, and which will bring to its owner pleasure and ultimately profit.

During my 30 years as an auctioneer I sold many, many mediocre stamp collections. It was obvious from assessing most of these collections that the owners had not sourced material from auctions and/or dealers. On occasions I would inquire as to why the collector had chosen not to frequent auctions or buy from the Trade. Invariably the response would be such sources are 'too dear'. By not 'going for it' these collectors doomed their collections to mediocrity. Of course there is nothing wrong with forming a humble philatelic collection if that is all that one aspires to. The problems arise only when a collector has next to nothing and can't be convinced otherwise, an all too frequent occurrence which I am pleased not to have to suffer nowadays!

My best wishes to readers for the Festive Season.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

Post by Didge »

Folks,

Its great to see these articles coming to life again. Thanks to Glen and the Stampboard members concerned for making it happen.

Tim
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News January 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


Do yourself a favour in '04. Include covers and Stationery in your collection

An increasing number do include commercially used covers and Postal Stationery by way of adding spice to their collections. Demonstrating the usage of stamps on cover introduces a new dimension to what might otherwise be a collection with diminished individuality. Others collect Postal History (the advanced form of commercial cover collecting) and/or Postal Stationery exclusively.

For readers who are receptive to the concept of embracing covers/ stationery I have selected half a dozen collecting suggestions (accepting as I do that some readers would prefer half a dozen oysters natural) in which I see merit, and which need not send a collector 'broke'. The subjects are Australian although the basics could be applied to a collection of many overseas countries. Here are my collection suggestions in no particular sequence:


1. Slogan cancellations. These have been in general use in Australia since late-1917 and continue to the present, with private advertising messages being a more recent development. Some messages were adopted nationally (eg 'PREVENT BUSH FIRES' introduced in 1932) whilst others were for exclusive use by one State (or Territory) only. One could elect to collect the national 'definitive' types from any State/Territory (the lesser challenge) or by preferred State/Territory. Many slogan cancels are scarce to rare but are not necessarily highly priced.

Indeed, those who enjoy fossicking through dealers' boxes and cartons in auctions will be off and away to forming a representative collection in no time. Figure 1 is a 1971 Melbourne use of the bilingual 'AUSTRALIA PRODUCES / EVERYTHING / UNDER THE SUN / PRODUITS DU SOLEIL / PRODUITS AUSTRALIENS'. A number of variants on this theme were in use in four States from the 1950s to 1970s. Seldom are slogans found this clear and complete and one will generally have to be content with more average examples. Value: $10.
Jan 04 1.jpg




2. Uprated Postal Stationery. This occurs when a given article of Stationery is utilised for a postal service beyond that for which it was prepaid and intended (eg registered use of a basic letter rate article), or where a rate rise necessitates additional franking. The added stamps can offen add colour to an otherwise bland item as in Figure 2 where a 36c PSE has been uprated by $1.20 (bonus of 1986 60c Christmas (x 2) which is uncommon stamp on commercial cover) in 1987 to accommodate its sending by Priority Paid mail, which usually facilitated overnight delivery to many major cities throughout Australia. Value : $12.
Jan 04 2.jpg



3. Meter cancellations. A favourite of mine and undeservedly unloved by most, these were introduced in Australia in 1927. Initially rather mechanical in appearance some adventurous designs began to appear in the 1930s as user firms became more aware of the advertising possibilities delivered by meters. Some who collect these endeavour to obtain an example of every individual meter installation (identifiable by a user number incorporated in the meter impression), a rather large challenge. Others might prefer to collect only pictorial types which appeal to that individual; perhaps designs of a particular theme, or by a specific user. Figure 3 is one of many QANTAS pictorial or promotional meters produced in the 1950s and beyond, and is an example of literally thousands of subjects in which one could specialise in meters. Most are very inexpensive (as for 'Slogans' above with similar sources for supply) although QANTAS material is a popular exception. Value : $30.
Jan 04 3.jpg



4. Frama stamps commercially used on cover. Another comparatively unloved field but one brimming with scarcities for the philatelic sleuth. I emphasise here that I am referring to commercial use during the period of issue of the respective frama stamps, and in the region of issue. Of next to zero value (for me at least) is out-of-period use and use beyond region of issue (eg 'A23' cliché of Cairns used in N.S.W.), such as one sees prolifically on mail nowadays. When I conducted the research to enable me to price framas on cover for Brusden-White's Decimals II and III of the ACSC series, I reverted to our stock of commercially used framas on cover (about 15,000 of them) sourced from every State in order to provide a reasonably balanced overview of usage of the various cliché types.

Of many I found only one or two examples of use, and for some frama machine installations I could find no cover. Fellow Auctioneer and Stamp News columnist, Graig Chappell, long an afficionado of framas, tells me that he also has not seen several frama types on commercial cover. Figure 4 I have selected as an example of frama commercial use for no better reasons than it is a rather colourful use of two frama issues, one 'dialled-in' at 13c and the other at 14c (ie 27c for 37c letter rate), demonstrating the contrary accuracy of many frama installations, and finally for the slogan cancel, 'COLLECT AUSTRALIAN STAMPS' which some pundits would have that framas are not! Value : $6.
Jan04 4.jpg



5. Deficient postage markings. An interesting field which comes about when the postage on a given article is underpaid. Up until 1963 such articles usually had a Postage Due stamp affixed by the Post Office, and for some time later regular postage stamps were occasionally affixed. Covers with such additional stamps are popular, but less so are those with handstamped markings only, such as the specific type for Monto (Qld) shown in Figure 5, the '22c' double deficiency tax applied due to a 22c stamp having been used during the 33c letter rate period. One could collect the handstamped markings of a preferred State/ Territory, some towns and cities of which have quite individual or peculiar markings. Value : $10.
Jan 04 5.jpg




6. Advertising covers. A more popular field, and one where I know that some collectors endeavour to obtain examples of to add lift to what might otherwise be a comparatively bland section of their collection, say for example the basic letter rate section. Again, a dedicated collection of advertising covers could be drawn along preferred State/Territory lines, where a degree of nostalgia often occurs, particularly where one sees advertising from defunct firms which one might recall from younger days. Advertising covers are usually found from as little as a few Dollars each for items of say the 1970s onwards, rising to $10+ for more interesting themes (automobiles for example) of the 1950s/1960s, to $100 or more for colourful covers of the 1920s/1940s. Figure 6 is a good example of a 1949 advertisement for a movie, a popular theme. Value : $50.
Jan 04 6.jpg


I hope that more readers discover the joy of collecting covers and Stationery in 2004 and resolve to take up that new challenge. You will certainly be taking a step in the direction to 'Keep the Fun in Philately'. Best wishes for the New Year.
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Stamp News February 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


1988 stamps hard-to-get on cover - but not in a Year album!

Some readers will recall the hype surrounding the 'scarce' 1988 Australia Post Year album which peaked at a retail price of around $375 in the early 1990s (its initial cost was $66.95). Promoters of this product even went so far as to proffer that a figure of $1000 was a possibility. Fortunately that never eventuated and like all nine day wonders this item eventually fell out of favour and many a finger was burnt along the way as the value rapidly came back to earth. The fact is the item was always available in quantities far greater than any real collector demand, and it was greed, and greed alone, which fuelled the rise in the price of this item. Nowadays 1988 Year albums, and most other years for that matter, change hands for less than the face value of the stamp contents and are unceremoniously stripped for postage, which is a pity as they are rather attractive products.

Collecting Year albums is fine so long as one doesn't mind eventually losing money. A challenge however such collecting is not. I wonder how many collectors instead choose to collect the stamps contained in Year albums on commercial cover, used during the period of issue of the stamps? Very few of course in relation to those who buy Year albums, yet this is a challenge worthy of any philatelist who enjoys the thrill of the chase. Take the stamps contained in our 1988 Year album for instance. Obtaining an example of each of these stamps commercially used on cover during respective periods of issue is quite difficult (do not confuse 1988 stamps used in 2004 which is a common practice; such items are next to useless). Excluding the Possum Frama stamps, which are another challenge again (!), the Brusden-White Decimals II catalogue prices the 1988 stamps used on cover at a total of $357. I provided those prices in the catalogue based upon 15 years of research and believe that they reflect reasonably accurately the retail prices one might expect to pay for the respective stamps used on cover. Some usages, such as solo frankings, are scarcer and will probably sell at a premium. I have illustrated some examples of scarcer usages. Do yourself a favour, take up the challenge of collecting your stamps commercially used in period on cover, and put more fun in your philately. You will be making a sound choice as covers other than base rate items (ie 37c and 39c during 1988) generally exist in fairly limited quantities, unlike mass produced 'collectables', and you will have acquired something worthwhile and unlike what every second collector has. Items such as the selection illustrated will always be in demand with smart collectors and will increase in value as demand inevitably grows.

Figure 1 shows 13 Oct 1988 use of the Living Together 70c which, along with the 65c and 68c, is one of the more difficult stamps of this wonderful series to find commercially used on cover. Here two 70c stamps and a 4c make up the $1.44 combined certified ($1.05) letter rate (39c). Value : $15 (stamps off cover $1.80).


Image 1 missing from archive

Figure 1



Figure 2. The Art of the Desert 55c is a very difficult stamp to find on commercial cover, particularly as a solo franking. This 5 Oct 1988 use was for the intrastate surface rate for non-standard articles which became 55c four days earlier. My Decimals II price of $10 is intended for a mixed franking with other contemporary stamps. This is somewhat better and indeed is the only solo franking of this stamp I have seen! Value : $20 (off cover $1.25).




Image 2 missing from archive

Figure 2


Figure 3. Another very difficult stamp to find on commercial cover is the Booklet 2c Australian Crafts (the 5c is almost equally difficult). Here we have a 2c added to a Possum Frama 39c (cliché 'A49' which was allocated to Noosa Heads) used from the Sunshine Coast on 16 May 1989. In fact the letter rate did not increase to 41c until 1 Sep 1989 so the additional 2c was not required. Perhaps the sender just wanted to 'get rid' of a rather useless stamp. Value : $40 (stamps off cover $4.50). In Decimals II I priced the 2c on cover at $25 (for the white paper, the Harrison paper is $40), but the A49 Frama is even scarcer on cover hence my higher valuation.

Feb 04 3.jpg
Figure 3

Figure 4. 14 Nov 1988 use of Landscape of Australia 65c together with Living Together 5c to make up 70c 2nd weight step for non-standard intrastate articles by surface mail. The few usages I have seen of this stamp are more often than not on large covers. Value : $12 (stamps off cover $1.70).

Feb 04 4.jpg
Figure 4

Figure 5 shows exemplary use of the Christmas 63c for the concessional Greetings card airmail rate to Zone 5 countries, in this instance on 19 Dec 1988 to U.K. These are very hard to find. Value : $20 (off cover $1.50).

Feb 04 5.jpg
Figure 5
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Stamp News March 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


Plenty of challenge in moderns

An interesting development in philatelic exhibiting in recent times has been the introduction of the 'Modern challenge'. This concept, and the 'Frugal philately' discipline which preceeded it, is an attempt by the forward-thinking philatelists at the coalface of organised philately in Australia to encourage more collectors to participate in exhibiting. For 'Modern challenge' one may select a given stamp series (from any country), usually from the 1950s onwards, and set about presenting a specialised showing, including the all-important usages on commercial cover.

Frankly, I cannot encourage concepts such as 'Modern challenge' enough. Here one has the opportunity to form a collection which can be the best of its kind without necessarily having to outlay a daunting sum of money. I know there are some who will argue if it doesn't cost much then it probably isn't worth having. My response would be that many of today's more expensive items were once in the 'frugal' category. Take for example many postmarks, postal stationery and postal history items, where in the instance of the last category one often bought items for little more than the value of the used stamps on the cover.

For those interested in taking up a 'Modern challenge' here are three suggestions for Australia (there are many, many for overseas but they are not the subject of this column. Yet!). At the early end of the range is the KGVI series which commenced in 1947 (with the 1d Princess) and concluded in 1952 (KGVI 61/2d green). This series included the high denomination Arms and therefore is a worthy challenge for the more ambitious. At the other end of the range is the 1988 'Living Together' series which has a number of followers already (including me - for usages on cover), and in between is the 1959-62 QEII Definitives which included the little zoologicals, the subject of this month's column. I have tried to feature some more unusual usages of these stamps, something that one would strive to do to complement an exhibit.

Mar 04 1.jpg
Figure 1

Figure 1: 6d Banded Anteater. Largely intended for make-up use this 12 Jan 1962 is a good example of such, where four stamps together with a 5d serve the 2/5d combined registration (2/-) and letter rate (5d). It would appear that the Ardrossan P.O. from where this item originated may have temporarily run out of the 2/- (Flannel Flower), hence the utilisation of the 6d's for 'make-up' purposes. Not an easy stamp to find on commercial cover. Value : $30 (stamps off cover $1).

Mar 04 2.jpg
Figure 2

Figure 2: 8d Tiger Cat. A terrific stamp for the specialist, abounding as it does in retouches (such as the famous 'Typhoon'), recuts, weak entries, roller shifts, etc. Usually found used for the 2nd weight step of the letter rate, generally on larger covers. This 9 Sep 1963 Official use (of outdated Perth Games propaganda cover) is pleasing in that it is of standard dimension. Value : $15 (off cover about zero).

Mar 04 3.jpg
Figure 3

Figure 3: 9d Kangaroos. Another make-up use stamp and again rather uncommon on cover. This 8 Oct 1965 use (late as the 9d Magpie was a replacement on 11 Mar 1964) together with 6d Thornbill makes up the rather scarce 1/3d airmail rate to a Zone 3 country. Value : $45 (stamps off cover 90c).

Mar 04 4.jpg
Figure 4

Figure 4: 11d Rabbit Bandicoot. Rather uncommon even for the combined letter rate and certified mail fee for which the stamp was primarily intended, this 28 Apr 1962 use as a component for the 1/2d concessional airmail postcard rate to U.K. is even scarcer. The 1/2d Tiger had been issued five weeks earlier for that rate but perhaps was not yet readily available at Alice Springs where this item originated. Value : $50 (stamps off cover 50c).

Mar 04 5.jpg
Figure 5

Figure 5: 1/- Platypus. In my experience the most difficult of the six stamps in this series to find on a commercial cover. It was primarily intended for airmail to Malaya/ Singapore (Zone 2) although 1/- was also the rate to Fiji. This is a legitimate use on day of issue (9 Sep 1959) and I would not condemn it for that reason so scarce are solo uses on cover of this stamp. Value : $20 (off cover 30c).

Mar 04 6.jpg
Figure 6

Figure 6: 1/2d Tasmanian Tiger. A nice 17 Dec 1965 use together with 2d, particularly so as both stamps are the scarcer Helecon printings, for double 8d airmail rate to N.Z. Apparently originally containing a Christmas card the article did not find the addressee and was returned to suburban Melbourne. The informative markings add colour and character for an exhibit. Value : $40 (stamps off cover $2).
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Stamp News April 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


The Best of their Kind

The auction realisation of $86,800 for the Kangaroo £1 'CA' monogram, reported last issue, is to be commented upon in this issue by my friend and fellow Stamp News columnist Simon Dunkerley. This will be an interesting commentary of the usual high standard we have come to expect from Simon, based upon his meticulous research. Without wishing to pre-empt Simon's article I have more than a passing interest in this item, the reason for which I am about to reveal.

In April, 2000, my former auction business had the subject item available for Private Treaty sale, at an asking price of $27,500 (including GST). At that time we diligently set about offering it to a target audience of elite philatelists, one of whom it has since transpired was the buyer at the recent record-breaking event. The moral of the story? Philatelic items which are the best of their kind, or at least amongst the very best, and this may include items which are relatively modestly priced in comparison with this heavyweight, are probably never going to be cheaper than they are on the first occasion on which one has the opportunity to acquire them.

The mission of this column is to encourage more collectors to include covers, particularly commercially used, and Postal stationery in their collections. I am a subscriber to the school of thought which has it that many, many covers and Stationery items (not just those of Australian origin) represent the best value-for-money opportunities in the World of Philately. Here are some absolutely unrelated items which I rate as being amongst 'the best of their kind'.

Apr 04 1.jpg
Figure 1

Figure 1. 6d Airmail overprinted 'O S'. This is the only Official overprinted stamp of Australia to be placed on public sale. This 4 Jul 1933 solo franking for Express Delivery purposes from Burnie to Wynyard is rather special. Firstly, this is a difficult stamp to find on commercial cover. There were after all only 75,000 issued (the 5/- Bridge was 72,800) and the vast majority were bought by philatelists and therefore retained in mint condition. Secondly, a solo franking of the stamp is rare, and finally Express Delivery covers of the 1930s are uncommon and the use of this stamp for that purpose is exceptional. Are you detecting that I like this cover? Express Delivery was a little used service. It cost 4d in addition to regular postage (2d) and was limited to a maximum delivery range of two miles in city areas. This cover was endorsed '9.40am 4/7/33' (and initialled) at Burnie Post Office. The blue lines (front and back) were a requirement for items destined for this service. Value : $500 (stamp off cover $40).

Apr 04 2.jpg
Figure 2

Figure 2. Kangaroo/State combination. Regular readers of this column will know that this type of cover is a favourite of mine. In 1913, upon the issue of the new Commonwealth stamps (the 'Kangaroos'), most Post Offices in Australia would still have had stocks of the superseded relevant State stamps. The directive was to use-up the old stock before requisitioning a given denomination of the new issue. Occasionally one finds covers with combination franking of the 'old and new'. Here we have a 24 Jul 1913 registered cover from Wynyard (Tas) to New York which required 51/2d postage (21/2d Foreign letter rate + 3d registration) made up by First watermark 3d and 1d (2) plus Tasmania Pictorial 1/2d. Such items have become increasingly popular in recent years and values have increased accordingly. This is a particularly attractive example of its kind. Value : $2000 (stamps off cover $18 - yet another good example of why used stamps should generally be retained on cover).

Apr 04 3.jpg
Figure 3

Figure 3. 1977 $10 Painting etc. The $10 is a very difficult stamp to locate on commercial cover and the few I have seen used (in correct period of use of course) not surprisingly have tended to be on rather large articles. This 24 Sep 1982 use of the $10, $2 (2) and 40c for International Priority Paid is quite exceptional. The rate for this service to Zone 5 countries (U.K., Europe, etc) was $14.40 up to 500gms, compared to 75c for a standard-weight article, which this item probably was. It is addressed to 'The Video Shop' so perhaps the sender wanted to circumvent a large overdue fine on a video inadvertantly packed enroute to Australia! Postal markings front and back indicate a five-day journey which does not appear particularly useful given the outrageous delivery cost. Value : $150 (stamps off cover $4).
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Stamp News May 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


'Sleepers'-a-plenty from PNG


Occasionally I have been asked to feature in this column material from countries other than Australia. The fundamentals previously applied to Australian commercial covers can of course be subjected to material emanating from most stamp-issuing countries of the world. My research over many years has largely been confined to covers destined for Australasia, primarily and logically due to such material being the most readily available here. In the interests of diversity I will from time to time feature subjects from overseas countries where I believe my research is adequate for the task. In due course I’ll venture further afield but for now will constrain the diversification to a country close to home, Papua New Guinea.

The basic stamps of PNG are readily obtainable mint or used (yes, even ‘D1’ – just reach for that credit card). A greater challenge for aspiring collectors however is to find all of the stamps of PNG commercially used on cover. Some are common but many PNG stamps on commercial cover can reasonably be classified as scarce to even rare. Yet more often than not even these can be had for a relatively modest sum if one warms to the ‘hunt’. Market forces however are such that this situation is unlikely to last indefinitely. Some examples of what I like to refer to as ‘little unsung heroes’ are featured below with comments on why I have selected them.



May 04 1.jpg
Figure 1
Figure 1. PNG 1958 3½d Headdress colour change stamp. A really hard-to-find stamp on commercial cover this 20 Nov 1958 use is actually on a homemade wrapper to U.S. endorsed ‘PRINTED MATTER’, the rate for which to Foreign countries was 3½d to 2oz. Value : $75 (off cover $4).



May 04 2.jpg
Figure 2
Figure 2. PNG 1952 10/- Map stamp. Rather obvious that this will be scarce on cover, given that it was primarily a parcels rate stamp, the few commercial articles I have seen have in fact been covers from the one correspondence to the Lawson company (they were traders) in the Solomon Islands. This solo franking of 4 Nov 1961 paid ten times the 1/- ½oz airmail rate (ie the article weighed 4½-5ozs). Value : $500 (off cover $20). I had a £1 Fisherman on cover from this correspondence but let that fish get away. The 10/- Rabaul and £1 QEII I have yet to see on a commercial article. Can any reader help?



May 04 3.jpg
Figure 3
Figure 3. PNG 1958 1/7d Cattle stamp. This was a ‘glamour’ stamp when I was philatelically maturing in the 1960s and its rapid retail ascent to over £1 thrilled the impressionable amongst us at that time. Today of course it is just another passé, readily obtainable basic stamp. Commercially used on cover the stamp is quite something else. Plenty of 1/7d’s are found on philatelic covers prepared by the Papuan Philatelic Society but on commercial cover the stamp is very scarce.

To demonstrate its promise an example realised $294 at a Melbourne auction in March 2004. Our 26 May 1960 use, with ½d and 7½d (also scarce on cover) of the 1952 series, provides an unlikely although accurate franking composition for the 2/3d airmail rate to Germany. Value : $250 (stamps off cover $35).



May 04 4.jpg
Figure 4
Figure 4. PNG 1960 2/5d Cattle stamp. This successor to the 1/7d Cattle (both stamps were primarily for the combined letter rate/registration fee) I have found to also be very scarce on commercial cover. This 8 May 1963 registered solo use was for its primary purpose. Value : $200 (off cover $4).



May 04 5.jpg
Figure 5
Figure 5. PNG 1962 3/- Policeman stamp. Scarce indeed on cover, the Lawson’s we have to thank for the survival of this rather special quadruple franking of 29 Apr 1963. This represents 12 times the 1/- ½oz airmail rate (5½-6ozs). Value : $150 (stamps off cover $5).



May 04 6.jpg
Figure 6
Figure 6. PNG 1962 1/- Malaria stamp. 1/- was the ½oz airmail rate to most South Pacific and Malaysian countries, and the Lawson correspondence has produced most if not all such items from PNG that I have seen. This 9 May 1962 use was for the basic rate. Value : $50 (off cover $1).



May 04 7.jpg
Figure 7
Figure 7. PNG 1965 4/- Canoe Prows stamp. Primarily a parcel rate stamp and therefore seldom survived intact on commercial articles (I have seen only two commercial covers). This 20 Aug 1965 seemingly commercial solo use is for the registered (2/-) airmail rate (2/- per ½oz) to U.S. Value : $100 (off cover $2).



May 04 8.jpg
Figure 8
Figure 8. PNG 1964-65 6d Birds stamp. A rather quaint 8 Dec 1964 solo use for very scarce concessional 6d Greetings card airmail rate to Solomon Islands. Thanks go again to the Lawson family who, in keeping their covers intact, saved so many PNG stamps from philately’s ‘woodchips’ pile! Value : $60 (off cover 30c).
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Stamp News June 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


Will covers outperform during the next 50 years? (Part I)

No pretty pictures this issue, hopefully just something to think about for those prepared to consider alternative collecting concepts.

I always enjoy reading fellow Stamp News columnist Simon Dunkerley’s articles. Simon’s recent ‘50 years of Prices’ for Kangaroo and KGV issues was for me a particular eye opener. Always one to be mesmerised by figures, the revelation that during the past 50-year time span specialised Kangaroos and KGV have increased in value by average multiplication factors of 292 and 243, respectively, I found absorbing information indeed.

Few would not be impressed by such statistics, and I for one cannot help but speculate upon whether the next two generations of philatelists might enjoy such phenomenal increases in philatelic values, and if so for what type of material. Perhaps specialised Kangaroos and KGV will continue to perform spectacularly during the next 50-year time frame. Coming off such a relatively high base as that of today it must be regarded as unlikely. The mind boggles for instance at the possibility of the famous KGV 2d tête-bêche pair, which Simon shows increased in value from $600 to $250,000 in 50 years, appreciating in value by the same factor (416 times in its instance) in the next half century. I recall breaking out in a cold sweat when I paid just $4100 for this item at auction in 1971!

Do I believe any Australian philatelic material 50 years hence will be worth 200 to 300 times what that same material is worth today? Sure do. Through the semi-opaqueness of my crystal ball I see candidates for such glory coming from within the ranks of Australian (and the same applies to overseas countries) covers (commercially used only) and Postal stationery. The latter will have its day when a specialised catalogue, in the tradition of the Brusden-White series for Australian stamps and booklets, makes its long overdue appearance. Wise philatelists are quietly building their Stationery collections in anticipation of the inevitable appearance of a specialised catalogue. Meanwhile, such enlightened folk are enjoying the thrill of collecting something different, with the likely bonus down the track of having material which will outperform as an investment.

Let us return however to commercial covers, which it should be no surprise to regular readers of this column are my personal passion in philately. Unlike with stamps, booklets and Stationery, no two commercial covers are likely to be absolutely identical. Valuing commercial covers is therefore generally a more subjective exercise than is the case for valuing those other categories of philatelic material. Perhaps covers are more closely aligned to the art market, where valuations for a given artwork may vary considerably from valuer to valuer. With commercial covers considerable variation in opinions when valuing is more the rule than the exception, and this often works in favour of the informed buyer. To obtain an indication of how a given artwork has performed over time, experts generally have the luxury of citing prior auction or documented private sales when a change of ownership of that artwork has occurred.

Such historic comparison is also ideal for positively gauging how a given cover has performed over time. However, most of the types of commercial covers which I believe have the potential to outperform in the longer term are presently valued at such modest sums that it is not viable for them to be offered as individual lots at public auction. This situation is changing and in the past few years or so I have noted many covers, which once would barely have rated a single lot in a mail auction, suddenly graduating to public auction status, often replete with colour photo!

By way of indicating the potential inherent in commercial covers I will provide two case examples, at opposing ends of the valuation scale. In an earlier column I mentioned the rather sudden ‘discovery’ by the market of the rarity as a solo franking of the otherwise most humble 1952 KGVI 4½d red. That story is worth repeating here. This stamp was issued primarily as the postcard rate to Foreign countries. In the late 1980s Richard Breckon, a pioneer student of the then almost unheard of study of postal usage of Australian stamps, mentioned to me that he had yet to see an example of this stamp used on postcard. I took up the challenge and after seven years of searching eventually turned one up. It is fair to say that 15 years ago this item would barely have made it into a dealers’ ‘Dollar box’. A few years ago another example of a 4½d on postcard realised $725 (plus buyer’s premium) in a Sydney auction. Better even than our requisite target 200/300 times factor and in well under 50 years!

The rarity of this item has now been recognised by the market and I do not necessarily suggest that it has the potential to outperform in the future, coming as it does from such a relatively high base. The fact is that there are many hundreds (yes hundreds) of comparable examples of unrecognised rarities amongst Australian stamps on commercial cover, and most of these can presently be had for very modest sums by those who are willing to think beyond the square, and take to the thrill of the chase. Many examples of items with potential have been illustrated in this column during the past couple of years. Fun and potential profit in philately – irresistible!

Our other example of a cover with potential is the one I let get away. At New Zealand 90, the international exhibition, I was offered a £2 Kangaroo (CofA watermark) on a commercial cover. The price was A$750, or three times the price of a comparable quality used stamp off-cover. At that time I was more interested in 19th century covers and confess to not being particularly well informed concerning the rarity of this item (a classic case of lack of knowledge costing). I declined the offer on the flimsy basis that the premium for the cover was too great at three times the price of a used stamp. A more courageous dealer colleague bought the item and promptly resold it for $1250. By the mid nineties I learnt that the current owner would sell and was asking $5000. A grand sum indeed thought I. A well known collector obviously disagreed and bought it.

I didn’t learn of the existence of another £2 on cover (there are a small number about on tags from gold bullion packets which are desirable although not as valuable) until the late nineties when an example, sadly with a significantly rounded corner, reputedly sold for $11,000. On the basis of that sale price the owner of our subject cover told me that his must now be worth $30,000. Given my appallingly poor judgement record insofar as this item is concerned I thought it prudent to decline to comment. In view of what I regard as amazing prices presently being realised for KGV rare inverted watermarks, approaching $20,000 with the ‘add-ons’, and that for a category of error which is not one of your more highly visible from an exhibition perspective, perhaps the present owner of our £2 cover is not so much the optimist that I first thought. If his valuation is realistic (I’m warming to it!) then this cover would be worth 40 times the amount it was when offered to me nearly 15 years ago. Not bad. Meanwhile, the used off-cover equivalent stamp we mentioned can still be had for around the same $250. ‘Woodchips’ are not what they were.

Next issue, in the final part to this commentary, I will provide a few illustrations of my ‘Will this item be worth 200/300 times its present value in 50 years?’ selections of the month. Hopefully you will be amongst those fortunate enough to be around to pass judgement on my selections!
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Post by CMJ »

Stamp News July 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


Will covers out-perform stamps during the next 50 years? (Part II)

Last issue, in part I of this two-part commentary, I marvelled at the 200/300 times and more increases in values during the past 50 years for specialised Kangaroo and KGV issues, reflected upon by Simon Dunkerley in his Stamp News column for last April and May. I even dared to suggest that similarly outstanding results during the next 50 years might come from within the world of covers (commercially used) and stationery.

However, even if covers in general do not achieve the dizzying heights in value that I predict below might occur for selected types of material, one can reasonably be assured that cover collectors will be more likely to have enjoyed a higher degree of fun and profit from their philatelic endeavours than, say, those who build their ‘collections’ exclusively at the Post Office.

In the late 1990s, I auctioned an estate which included a large quantity of new issues from the 1950s and 1960s, still in the original glassines as supplied by the new issue dealer, showing prices at which the items were supplied. This ‘collection’ of world assortments included former Iron Curtain countries, amongst which we noted then highly sort after Space and Olympic Games issues. Amongst these was a 1956 miniature sheet which had been supplied for the then princely sum of £5 ($10), then about the cost of a mint 5/- Bridge.

For around double that sum, the even more astute collector could have sought out the odd KGV inverted watermark variety. The 2d orange Single watermark inverted for example was catalogued at £10 ($20) in the 1950s and is presently valued at $15000 (Simon Stamp News May 2004). Returning to our 1956 Olympic Games miniature sheet, we found that in the interim this had been relegated to the obscurity of a catalogue footnote, and accordingly was offered together with the pile of other new issues which realised a predictably mediocre sum. This collector, who seemingly had not touched his new issues since receiving them, had enjoyed neither fun nor profit from his philatelic endeavours.

Before providing enough rope to hang myself in selecting a few subjects from my ‘Will this item be worth 200/300 times its present value in 50 years’ list, a brief historical overview of the past 40 years or so may be worthy of indulgence. Reviewing Australian stamp auction catalogues of the 1960s and 1970s is an excellent means by which to glean a ‘feel’ for the market of the time. Having been there is also helpful. Many, many items then offered as a single lot would nowadays remain in a collection-remainder, barely rating a mention. The market has simply moved on, becoming more educated and therefore more demanding.

In those unenlightened times, essay and proof material, now much sought after by smart collectors, and accordingly comparatively highly priced, was seldom offered and then usually at give-away estimates. It was the powerful essays and proofs section of the legendary ‘Abramovich’ collection of Australia, fully one-third of the collection’s total value, which tempered the enthusiasm of the few dealers in the early ’seventies who could raise the $200,000 price tag. This fool was eager to rush in where angels feared to tread, but my proposed 10½d deposit left the Executors of the estate singularly unimpressed.

Similarly in the ’sixties and ’seventies, covers and cancellations, aside from slender offerings of 19th century material, didn’t get much of a look in either at auction. There were the ubiquitous First flight covers and other mostly philatelic covers, particularly of the Pacific, but commercial covers of the 20th century were seldom considered important enough to offer as single auction lots. Conversely, auction catalogue offerings, particularly in the second half of the ’seventies decade, were swelled by wholesale Decimals to fuel the speculative boom mentality then prevailing. At the peak of that philatelic madness my firm achieved $3570 for Decimal Navigators in blocks of ten. Irrational exuberance indeed.

Fortunately, philately’s maturity accelerated following the speculative crash of the early ’eighties, and today’s more enlightened philatelists, aside from readily embracing essays and proofs, actively seek out cancellations and Postal history in its myriad forms to enhance and add character to their collections. Their vision provides them with immediate pleasure and ultimately will deliver profit.

As and when more philatelists actively seek 20th century covers exhibiting various aspects of usage of stamps (alongside the more complex Postal history elements present in their collections), they will also come to appreciate that this is a diverse field worthy of the best philatelic mind, and resplendent with unexpected helpings of the scarce and desirable. When the number of philatelists pursuing stamp usage on cover gains momentum values will steadily grow, for material is finite indeed.

And we know what happens when demand exceeds supply, don’t we? This is why I believe 20th century commercial covers generally will be a philatelic out-performer during the next several decades. Here then are a few seemingly unlikely suspects to ‘out-perform’, extracted from a potential cast which numbers in the hundreds if not thousands.


Jul 04 1.jpg
Figure 1. Australia 1976 85c Ayers Rock stamp, now $20, $4000 within 50 years?
The 85c denomination from the 1976 Australian Scenes series was intended primarily for the fourth weight step for letters to foreign countries other than Asia-Oceania. Such usage will be rare and I have not seen an example. Indeed, the stamp is quite scarce in any form on a commercial article (used in period of use – never forget that qualification). Figure 1 shows the only solo franking I have seen, sent on 14 Feb 1980 from Hobart to Launceston at non-standard article rate of 35c (50-100g) plus 50c certified fee.



Jul 04 2.jpg
Figure 2. Australia 1972 80c Pioneers stamp, from $25 to $5000?
Another rather scarce stamp on commercial articles, intended as it was largely for parcel rates and higher domestic and overseas letter rates. Figure 2 shows a rare 16 Jul 1974 Overseas Express Delivery use from Victoria to West Germany, the rate for which was 35c for Zone 5 airmail plus 50c Express fee, rendering this article deficient (although untaxed) by 5c.


Jul 04 3.jpg
Figure 3. Australia 1966 75c Cook stamp, a bargain today at $60?
The Decimal Navigators are popular and sought-after on commercial cover. The 75c is rather scarce in this form, particularly as a solo franking, and a more desirable example than Figure 3 I would like to see. The Messenger Delivery service, by which means this item was despatched 12 Dec 1974 from Campbelltown to Sydney, was expensive at 65c (up to 500g) and therefore little used, and to this had to be added the regular 10c letter rate to provide us with this lovely solo franking. But could it be worth 200 times its present day value of $60 within the next half century?



Jul 04 4.jpg
Figure 4. Australia 1962 QEII 2d stamp lonesome but rare solo franking
The 1962 QEII 2d was a make-up value and is usually seen doing just that together with the 3d of the series to equal the then prevailing 5d letter rate. Very occasionally one finds either the 2d or 3d singly affixed to covers by absent-minded senders. Such underpaid articles should be taxed under the double-deficiency scheme but more often than not remain undetected in the postal system, and are delivered by normal means. Figure 4 shows a 2d solo use of 19 Jun 1963 from Bonalbo (NSW) to Brisbane. Present value $20.



Jul 04 5.jpg
Figure 5. 1941 KGVI 1½d red-brown perforation change.
Worth five-figures within 50 years?
The perforation change KGVI 1½d red-brown stamp comprised a very small printing and saw very little postal use. Most of the issue was bought-up by speculators and it is actually a scarce stamp commercially used even off cover. Figure 5 shows a rare solo franking used 4 Aug 1942 from Melbourne (where it was censored) to U.S.A. at 1½d Printed matter rate to Foreign countries (1d per 2oz plus ½d War tax). Worth about $50 today – a big ask to increase to $10000 within 50 years?



Jul 04 6.jpg
Figure 6. When four ‘Mona Lisa’s’ are worth far less than one!
Improbable? Fanciful? Perhaps the predictions in Figures 1 to 5 above are startling, but consider the situation in countries with more mature philatelic markets such as Germany. Figure 6 shows not one but four ‘Mona Lisa’s’ stamps supported by Posthorn 20pf block for airmail to US. In Michel’s German specialised cover catalogue a franking configuration similar to this cover is worth around A$12.

However, if there was just one 5pf ‘Mona Lisa’, and no supporting franking cast, Michel value escalates to about A$8000. Why? Obviously to qualify for such a grand value such a usage must be rare, and would owe its existence in the instance of the ‘Mona Lisa’ stamp, a make-up value only, to underfranking of the 10pf letter rate. ‘So what’ you may well ask.

Well, just as one seeks stamps which for one reason or another are different from others of their kind – for example most would include in their collection of KGV issues an inverted watermark to sit alongside the same issue with upright watermark – so too is an unusual usage of a stamp on cover desirable to demonstrate diversity of usage.

Specialised catalogues for some countries have three columns for pricing stamps on commercial cover; for solo frankings, multiple frankings, and combination frankings with contemporary stamp issues, and the differential in pricing for the respective categories may be quantum. Unusual usages on cover in particular are very sought-after not only in Germany, but in Switzerland, G.B., Italy and U.S.A., to mention but a few. Why then not in Australia?

Still a Doubting Thomas? Consider then our Decimal Navigator set in blocks of ten mentioned above. If one applies the Australian major capital city housing index increase since 1980 (and a large number of Australians have enjoyed that ride), when a hapless buyer paid $3570 for the Navigator blocks, today they would be valued at $24,990. In fact, they are actually worth about $100 wholesale, or little above their face value of $86.50. The opposite outcome can and does occur consistently in philately.

I refer readers once again to Simon Dunkerley’s April and May Stamp News articles. Fifty years ago if one had suggested to the owner of the KGV 2d orange Single watermark inverted that his £10 ($20) stamp would be worth £7500 ($15000) one day, well might he have responded ‘You’re dreaming’. In philately, expect the unexpected!
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News August 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


'Australia Post has the Speed you need'


No, Australia Post has not diversified within its product range to quite that extent. Rather, this slogan, first introduced as a postal cancellation in the early 1980s, doubles up as the subtitle for one of my fun collections, entitled 'Fastpost'. This collection encompasses the special services provided at additional cost by Australia Post to facilitate more rapid mail delivery; Express, Special Delivery, Messenger Delivery, Priority Paid, Express Courier, etc. In an earlier edition of this column I provided some examples of various 'fun' collections which I pursue, and this month I'll add 'Fastpost' and include some examples from the 'Express Delivery' section of that collection.

At Federation in 1901, only N.S.W., Queensland and Victoria offered an Express Delivery service - the forwarding of urgent correspondence by a telegraph messenger upon its arrival at the delivery post office. A national service commenced in late 1902 with uniform fees of 4d up to one mile in addition to normal postage. Express Delivery fees remained unaltered until 1935, when rather more complex services and fees were introduced. Some examples of articles sent by the Express Delivery service follows -



Aug 04 1.jpg
Figure 1. 31 Aug 1928 cover from Dongarra (W.A.) to Perth prepaid at 51/2d representing 11/2d letter rate plus 4d Express Delivery fee. In that era articles destined for this service were usually endorsed 'EXPRESS DELIVERY' in manuscript at the receiving post office, and vertical lines in blue were drawn on front and back by way of differentiating the article from regular delivery mails. I have found very few 'Express' items dated before 1930. Value : $125 (stamps off cover $14).



Aug 04 2.jpg
Figure 2. 6 Nov 1937 cover from Birchip (Vic) to Melbourne at 6d (2d letter rate plus 4d Express Delivery) with large "URGENT LETTERS'' label partly affixed over address leaving no doubt that this article was intended for special attention! This label is quite rare, particularly used so late (typically it was in use before 1913), and it appears that Birchip was unusual in having such stationery stock on hand this late. Quite by coincidence a very similar cover (from Birchip) was auctioned in Melbourne recently and fetched $480 plus the add-ons, excusing me from having to estimate a valuation on this occasion (in the absence of that event I would have come in at well under the auction realisation!). Value : $500 (off cover $1).



Aug 04 3.jpg
Figure 3. 19 Jul 1940 cover from Melbourne to Sydney bearing attractive franking composition for the 6d rate (identical computation to that in Figure 2). It's always pleasing to include attractive and/or unusual frankings where possible to add diversity to one's collection. I expect few would pass up this particular cover in favour of, say, one bearing three of the KGVI 2d to achieve the relevant rate (aside perhaps from cost factors!). The handstruck 'EXPRESS/DELIVERY' was in use at the Melbourne G.P.O. for a short period and nicely 'rounds-off' an altogether very pleasing example of its kind. Value : $150 (stamps off cover $4).



Aug 04 4.jpg
Figure 4. Rather overzealous application of the handstruck 'EXPRESS DELIVERY' (there are a further 12 strikes on reverse!) would have ensured that this 31 Aug 1950 cover was not overlooked for its intended consideration in the mail system between Ballarat and Melbourne. What was overlooked however was the postage calculation. The letter rate was 21/2d and Express Delivery fee 4d rendering an overpayment of 2d. Urgency of delivery appears to have overtaken economic rationale. Value : $50 (off cover 40c).



Aug 04 5.jpg
Figure 5. The Express Delivery fee was increased to 9d on 9 Jul 1951, and this 7 Mar 1952 cover from the Minister for Shipping and Transport out of Parliament House, Canberra, Post Office required a total franking of 1/31/2d, the initial 61/2d of which was for the airmail rate to its Adelaide destination. The handstamped 'EXPRESS DELIVERY' was applied in Canberra. The KGVI 21/2d brown is uncommon on cover and its inclusion in this franking composition is fortuitous. The Post Office 'EXPRESS' (seriffed font) label was introduced a year or more earlier. My earliest use is on a 14 Aug 1950 FDC but this may have been affixed after that date. Value : $50 (stamps off cover 60c).



Aug 04 6.jpg
Figure 6. This 22 Sep 1952 airmail cover from Melbourne to Brisbane is under same rate regime as for Figure 5. The 'EXPRESS' label is sans-serif and may have been the first type introduced, raising my doubt concerning the FDC described under Figure 5. I have seen only two usages of this label type, the other 1 May 1951, so it appears to have been relatively short-lived. Value : $60 (stamps off cover 35c).



Aug 04 7.jpg
Figure 7. 'Express' articles to overseas destinations are particularly uncommon and to complete this month's column is this 16 May 1962 cover Melbourne to U.S. The rate of 3/3d comprises 2/- airmail to U.S. plus 1/3d Express Delivery fee (the service was available to selected overseas countries only). The handstamped 'EXPRESS DELIVERY/SERVICE' was applied at Elizabeth Street Post Office. Value : $75 (stamps off cover 40c).
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News September 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


A gaggle of good reasons to leave stamps on cover

A colourful selection this month to vividly illustrate why stamps are usually best left on original cover. The picture being worth a thousand words I will provide only a bare minimum of comments to accompany the illustrations.

The subjects are of course souvenir or commemorative covers, justly very popular collecting fields, particularly when in combination with a dedicated cancellation which corresponds to the event featured on the cover. Such cancellations are listed and priced in the authoritative handbook catalogue, Australian PictorMarks, details of which are obtainable from your regular philatelic trader.

The items featured here however will not be found in that publication for they are commercially used souvenir / commemorative covers, a personal favourite of mine. Such items usually take some finding, but when found are often agreeably priced considering that most are rather scarce. This is because unlike a typical philatelically contrived cover, which by definition will have a higher survival rate, items conceived in the normal course of commerce or correspondence are far less likely to fall in to the hands of someone who appreciates philately.

Sep 04 1.jpg
Figure 1. A 1d red stamp appears at home on this bicoloured patriotic cover
In times when Australia Day was celebrated in July this cover of 1915 sent from Launceston to Forth in Tasmania bears one of the 1.8 billion Penny Reds printed, many of which have survived (not a lot of them still on cover!) to delight generations of philatelists. Value $100 (stamp off cover $1).



Sep 04 2.jpg
Figure 2. 2d Victoria Centenary on not so colour co-ordinated cover
Victoria Centenary 2d on 1934 Traralgon Centenary Celebrations cover doubling up for tourism promotion, sent from Traralgon (Vic) to Milton (N.S.W.) a few days after 2d was issued. Value $100 (off cover 50c).




Image 3 missing from archive

Figure 3. “Back to Donald” week in 1936
“Back to” covers are a worthy addition to a relevant collection of Regional postal history, an interest which more philatelists ought to take up as a sideline to their other philatelic interests. Appropriately used from Donald (Vic) to “The Age” newspaper in Melbourne on 1 October 1936, one could speculate that the purpose was to request some publicity for the forthcoming event. A good use for an otherwise moribund CofA watermark 2d Georgian. Value : $75 (off cover 50c – if you can get it).


Sep 04 4.jpg
Figure 4. Missing colour cover – a novel sideline collection?
A slender volume indeed would be that housing one’s collection of missing colour covers! However, I can’t avoid liking this rather striking error intended for the 1948 Central and Upper Burnett Centenary Celebrations. The error cover was used at Eidsvold (Qld) and the normal at Monto, two of the four towns united in the celebrations. They make a nice page and have saved a trio of otherwise fairly useless stamps from the woodchip pile. Value (the two covers) : $125 (stamps off cover, well, zero).




Image 5 missing from archive

Figure 5. Another “Back to” cover – 1950 for Mt Morgan(Qld)
This is a good example of how even a damaged stamp can look respectable when on cover. The 2½d has a chunk missing from right side but this is largely irrelevant in the scheme of what you see before you. Covers really can have something going for them, can’t they! Value : $75.



Sep 04 6.jpg
Figure 6. Nice combination of scarce cover and cancellation
Registered souvenir covers commercially used perhaps unsurprisingly are quite hard to find. Fortunately someone at the Electrolux Company kept the incoming mail and in so doing preserved thousands (yes, I have ’em) of often very nice registered covers for we philatelists. Portland West (Vic) is a scarce cancellation (a very good strike is on reverse of cover), and the sender certainly favoured Electrolux in sending them this 1960 little gem for the opening celebrations of Portland Harbor. Value : $100 (stamps off cover close to zero).


Sep 04 7.jpg
Figure 7. Jolly good fun no doubt on a weekend in Gayndah in 1963
Little need to add any comments to this ‘fun’ cover, which ain’t no lemon. Value : $20 (off cover 20c).



Sep 04 8.jpg
Figure 8. More philatelic terminology - an overprinted cover
Those responsible for printing Stanthorpe (Qld) Apple Blossom Week covers apparently overestimated demand in 1962. No doubt a philatelist amongst them came up with the solution to overprint the inscription for reissue of covers in 1963. Value : $15 (off cover 20c).



Sep 04 9.jpg
Figure 9. Not so often seen souvenir cover for Opera House opening
The 1973 Australia Post produced souvenir cover for the Sydney Opera House opening is one of the more ubiquitous philatelic items in the land. Quite scarce however is this souvenir cover produced by the N.S.W. State Government, replete with relevant meter cancellation. And who said meters are useless? Value : $50.
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Well done CMJ .. looking fantastic. :)

Glen
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Click HERE to see superb, RARE and unusual stamps, at FIXED low nett prices, high rez photos, and NO buyer fees etc!
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Yes, this is brilliant! Thank you.

Cheers, Gordon
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News October 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


Kangaroos on Cover Yet to Leap

Monograms, imprints, watermark inverted and other errors of the Kangaroo series have gone ballistic in price during the past half decade or so. Covers, which similarly are an essential component in a serious collection, particularly if one is an exhibitor, comparatively have yet to do likewise. Kangaroos are, with the exception of garden variety ½d, 1d, 2½d, 3d and 2/- (CofA wmk. only) - which are relatively readily available - generally rather scarce to often quite rare on cover or other ‘entire’ such as Parcel Post labels and parcel tags.

I have just researched my accumulation of Kangaroo covers in preparation for contributing my recommendations for pricing of commercial covers in the imminent reprint of Brusden-White’s ‘Kangaroos’. From a 21 litre plastic tub reasonably full of covers of most sizes, parcel labels/tags and parcel-fragments, I extracted 379 1d covers and found I was left with precious little else! There was enough material however to provide a truncated overview of ‘Kangaroos on cover’ for this month’s column.

Before embarking upon that subject, I can’t help but make a comparison between rare Kangaroo covers and their rich relative, the ‘rare’ mint £2 Kangaroo. In my formulative years as a budding philatelic trader, I recall the late J.R.W. (‘Bill’) Purves, considered by many to be Australia’s greatest philatelist, commenting upon the relative ease with which a mint £2 Kangaroo could be obtained, assuming that one had the necessary money. Bill commented ‘Mint £2 Kangaroos appear to be on a permanent circuit’. That went a little over my head at the time; I like many in those days thought a mint ‘Two-pounder’ was just about it in Australian philately. 35 years later, and having handled hundreds of our subject ‘joey’s’, I am slightly more jaded and in agreement with the Purves’ comment. I wonder just how many mint £2’s could be accumulated in, say, one year or two if a well-healed buyer just stood in the market and bought every example which appeared worldwide at auction and in traders’ stocks. Renato Mondolfo, the Italian Industrialist and philatelist, once did something similar to that in the 1970s and ended up with hundreds of examples. Compare that ready availability with the £2 stamp used on cover, or as more probable, parcel tag. It wouldn’t matter how deep your pockets, in the space of a couple of years you more than likely will be unable to buy a quantity of the stamp in that format greater than the number of fingers on one hand.

Oct 04 1.jpg
Figure 1
Some slightly more unusual examples of usage of denominations other than the rare £2 are shown below, with comments on more typical usage configurations for the given denominations. The humble ½d is usually found with a single 1d or 1d’s x two for Foreign postcard and letter rates, respectively. Solo franking for Printed matter rate is uncommon; the Figure 1 punctured Large ‘O S’ for 15 Oct 1913 Official purposes particularly so. Value : $500 (off cover $15).


Oct 04 2.jpg
Figure 2
Figure 2. 2d First watermark solo franking of 23 Jan 1915 Brisbane to Canada (double 1d British Empire letter rate). The 2d (usually Third wmk.) is more often encountered with a KGV ½d green to make up the 2½d Foreign letter rate (to 28 Oct 1918 at least). Some readers might well be thinking ‘It’s difficult enough to ascertain a watermark type off cover. How do I detect one on cover?’ Here are some tips. Most watermarks are detectable by holding a cover at an angle (tending to the horizontal) to a light source. I try to have three varying lighting facilities at hand; (a) desk lamp, (b) overhead light (fluorescent in my case) and (c) natural light which may include direct sunlight. It is surprising how one particular light source may clearly reveal the watermark impression when another will not. Firstly, however, take advantage of process of elimination to make life that little easier (eg a 2½d used before July 1915 has to be First wmk. as Second wmk. was not issued until that date). Value : $200 (off cover $10).


Oct 04 3.jpg
Figure 3
The 2½d is another of the comparatively readily available Kangaroo issues on cover; it serviced the Foreign letter rate. Most covers seen are rather pedestrian in appearance, so a cover such as Figure 3 is refreshing. Here we have a 1918 usage (another article has come between machine canceller and this cover to receive most of the intended cancellation – rather an unusual occurrence) from Melbourne to U.S. no doubt endeavouring to engender a little pre-FTA activity. Value : $250 (off cover $12).


Oct 04 4.jpg
Figure 4
The 4d is difficult to find on cover other than for punctured Large ‘O S’, of which a quantity originally emanating from the W.A. Land Titles Office came on to the market in the 1980s. The 4d was primarily intended to meet the combined letter rate (1d) and registration fee (3d) in Australia and the British Empire, and Figure 4 shows a 31 July 1914 such use locally at Perth. Typical of the Land Titles Office material this article was unclaimed, and replete with philatelically desirable markings was subsequently forwarded to the D.L.O. (Dead Letter Office). Value : $250 (off cover $35).

The 1/- is another difficult denomination to find on an eligible ‘entire’, be it a parcel label or tag, adequately detailed parcel-fragment or cover (and expect these to more likely be oversized). This denomination (and other contemporary Kangaroo issues) is also seen and often unjustifiably derided used on 1931 covers carried on Imperial Airways experimental flights to U.K. Such covers may be specially printed or otherwise endorsed for these flights and bear a relevant handstamp. Whilst many articles carried on these flights were obviously conceived for philatelic gain, and may have obvious telltale signs of that intended purpose (such as well out-of-period stamp uses – often seen are State stamps and 1d Engraved for example), many others were simply a case of family/friends or businesses taking advantage of a relatively fast service by which to communicate with those in a faraway destination. In the absence of obvious philatelic ‘indiscretions’ to the contrary, I am inclined to allow these 1931 covers to be given the benefit of the doubt as being commercial.


Oct 04 5.jpg
Figure 5
Figure 5 is a Melbourne to U.S. 14 March 1930 late solo use of a 1/- Third watermark (the Small Multiple wmk. had first appeared nine months earlier) on a standard-sized cover, which is particularly unusual in itself, and the article would have needed to have weighed 6-7ozs in order to have required 1/- (3d first oz and 1½d per oz thereafter), which is unlikely. The cover may have been utilised as an address label on a larger article, but whatever its reason for existing it does not obviously appear to be philatelic. For added measure the stamp is the ‘Broken value circle’ variety (BW 33i)! Value : $750 (off cover $40 – for variety).


Oct 04 6.jpg
Figure 6
In the recent census of our Kangaroo cover stock the 2/- maroon (CofA watermark largely) was the next most prevalent denomination after the 1d. The 2/- is most often found as a component of the airmail rates in place from December 1934. Most of ours have 2 x 2/- to meet the Flying boat (‘Clipper’) services 4/- ½oz rate to U.S. Figure 6 is unusual in that it is a solo franking of the 2/-, and it is Third watermark, which was generally replaced by the Small Multiple wmk. from March 1929 onwards (with it in turn replaced by the CofA wmk. 6 August 1935). This 26 January 1937 use from Melbourne to Austria is correctly paid for the 2/- ½oz airmail rate via Greece, and is one of the very few of this wmk. 2/- I have seen on cover. Value : $500 (off cover $35).
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Stamp News November 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


'Not Quite Right' - when defective is better
There can be few pursuits outside of Philately where imperfect items can be more sought after by enthusiasts than the perfect. While a printer would regard with a degree of mortification stamps he produced with an error such as colour omitted or inverted, or imperforate when intended to be perforated, philatelists are delighted by such anomalies. Similarly, Postal history buffs (those who study the stamp/cover relationship and subsequent journey) are enthused by misadventures in the postal system. Such items are highly sought after and consequently may be valued at considerably more than if no incident had occurred. A selection of 'N.Q.R.' items is the subject of this month's column. As will be seen, it is worth knowing about such material and keeping a lookout for it should it just 'pop up', which is usually the way I find it. And of course the subject provides yet more examples of why covers can be that tad more interesting than the humble postage stamp which may accompany them, and similar applications can be found for most other countries of the world.

Nov 04 1.jpg
Figure 1. 1942: fortunately stamp fell off cover
Occasionally it is a philatelic blessing when a stamp is lost from a cover during transit. The Official cover in Figure 1 almost certainly was franked with a 1942 KGVI 21/2d scarlet which has fallen off cover between departure from Melbourne (the void in line cancellation at top right indicates stamp was in place when machine cancelling took place) and arrival in Sydney. No great loss to the international stamp stock; over 1.3 billion were issued, but in place of the stamp we have a superb early strike of the handstamp 'STAMP FALLEN OFF / G.P.O., SYDNEY', thoughtfully applied in bright pink for added philatelic impact. This marking was used by Postal staff to prevent the recipient from being taxed for what otherwise might appear to be an unfranked article. Many larger post offices had a 'fallen off' handstamp, some of which varied greatly in configuration and provide in themselves an interesting study. Value : $40 (cover without incident $2).


Nov 04 2.jpg
Figure 2. 1954: machine 'spits' out letter to Tax Office
Unloved by man and machine alike the Taxation Office was probably fortunate to have received the article in Figure 2. Clearly the postal machinery had difficulty digesting it as attested by the covers condition and the unapologetic handstruck 'MUTILATED BY / STAMP CANCELLING / MACHINE' applied by Melbourne Postal staff, who also would have been responsible for the crude attempt at repairing the damage. A number of variations of this marking were in use throughout Australia and are sought after and not easy to find. Value : $50 (cover without incident $2 - largely for the Olympic slogan cancel).


Nov 04 3.jpg
Figure 3. 1943: minimal 'spit' - maximum philatelic salivation
From Braidwood to Terrigal, N.S.W., the cover in Figure 3 apparently arrived at Sydney G.P.O. unsealed and with the contents loose. One doesn't have to be Sherlock Holmes to know this for the highly explanative sealing label 'CONTENTS FOUND LOOSE / DEFECTIVE PACKING AND / OR / COVER TOO FRAIL / PLEASE REPORT ANY LOSS DIRECT TO SENDER/ REPLACED BY _____ G.P.O. SYDNEY' tells all, and cover is further embellished by the handstruck 'RECEIVED / IN WORN / CONDITION', in the philatelically-preferred red. These are scarce additions to an otherwise forgettable cover (franked on reverse by our ubiquitous 1942 KGVI 21/2d scarlet). I spotted this cover in the Argyll Etkin Ltd stock when I was at New Zealand 1990, the international philatelic exhibition. Fellow auctioneer and longtime friend, Hugh Freeman, spied it on my desk at the exhibition and persuaded me to resell it to him. Years later I bought it back, indirectly in an auction. Enthusiasts are incurable. Value : $200 (cover without incident $2 - for the Braidwood cds!).


Nov 04 4.jpg
Figure 4. 1997: minor incident - major apology
Way too much information from Australia Post to explain away relatively minor impact trauma to the cover in Figure 4. In case illustration is too small to read the post office-applied handstamp it states 'THE ARTICLE HAS BEEN DAMAGED AND DELAYED / WITHIN THE ADELAIDE CENTRAL MAIL CENTRE / AFTER BECOMING ENTRAPPED IN MAIL HANDLING / EQUIPMENT INSTALLED IN THE ADELAIDE / CENTRAL MAIL CENTRE - PLEASE ACCEPT / AUSTRALIA POST'S APOLOGY.'. Compare this to the P.O. explanation provided in Figure 2. Value : $15 (cover without incident 50c - for the cds, maybe).

Image 5 Missing from archive
Figure 5. 1960: long service award for Colonial device
One occasionally encounters Colonial-era postal devices used well past 1913 when the first Commonwealth stamps appeared. Use as late as 1960, as shown in Figure 5, is unusual. Here we have two strikes of the Victoria handstruck oval 'RECEIVED OPEN / AT / GENERAL POST OFFICE / VICTORIA'. In addition to the stamp haven fallen off by the time it arrived at Melbourne on 14 May 1960, the sender must have omitted to seal the envelope ('spit' again in short supply) hence the application of the oval marking, which clearly was by then in a very worn state. More modern devices or labels were available for this type of situation and resorting to such late use of the ancient device is both quirky and rare. Value : $75 (cover without incident virtually worthless).


Image 6 Missing from archive
Figure 6. 1968: stamps saved by a hand-stamp
Not much to recommend the cover in Figure 6 were it not for the application of the handstamp lower left, and surely this cover would otherwise not have survived. By unknown cause, but probably careless handling, this airmail cover from Switzerland to Hobart was found to be damaged upon arrival at Launceston. By way of explanation for the mishap the 'RECEIVED LAUNCESTON / IN DAMAGED CONDITION / SIGNATURE . . .' handstamp was applied by Launceston Postal staff and initialled. An instance of 'hand-stamp saves adhesive-stamp'. Value : $25 (cover without incident zero).


Image 7 missing from archive
Figure 7. 1944: QANTAS unscheduled landing in Sydney Harbour
Upon first glance of Figure 7 well might the reader react 'What is he thinking here?'. Certainly disaster has befallen this item but from a philatelic point of view this is disaster of the collectable kind, for this item is a survivor from the QANTAS flying boat 'Coolangatta' which crashed in Sydney Harbour shortly after take off from Rose Bay. Most of the mail on board was salvaged and received the handstamp 'RECEIVED DAMAGED / BY WATER / G.P.O. SYDNEY'. In this particular instance saltwater has caused not only loss of the stamp but also the address details, necessitating the additional 'INDECIPHERABLE' handstamp. The item was probably returned to sender unless the enclosure provided adequate addressee details. A very scarce survivor. Value : $250 (cover without incident probably zero).


Nov 04 8.jpg
Figure 8. 1996: 'philatelic' cover with attitude
The 'What is he thinking' comment could also apply to Figure 8! Addressed to my old firm, Brusden-White, the article was delivered by Australia Post in the accompanying sealed bag for obvious reasons. The handstamp upper left applied at the Perth Mail Exchange unsurprisingly gives 'FIRE' as the relevant reason from five possibilities for the 'IT IS REGRETTED THIS ARTICLE / WAS DAMAGED . . .' apology. Fortunately, philatelists never resort to such measures to contrive a philatelic item, do they. Value : $15 (cover without incident zero).
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News December 2004

Woodchip-free Zone


Try this at home in '05

If you’re seeking a new philatelic challenge, or can be persuaded to consider one, try this concept for 2005. From the myriad of world stamp issues of, say, the past 50 years or so select a series which you like. I suggest it be a postwar subject only for reasons of greater material availability and affordability. Your preferred topic might be a particular definitive series, even a range including commemorative and other special issues which appeared for a given country during the span of a decade or more. The parameters are limited only by the imagination, but to take Australia, for example, the first decade of Decimal currency would make for a worthy subject for the challenge I am about to suggest. Once having made your choice from the thousands of possibilities out there, then proceed to acquire material for a study of the ways in which your chosen series was actually used. This will be usages of the stamps on cover, uprating of postal stationery, and other postal articles which owe their existence to the everyday course of correspondence and commerce – however not use for philatelic purposes such as FDC’s and souvenir covers, which are not an accurate representation of our quest.

This suggested concept is basically a variation of the ‘Modern Challenge’ which has become so popular with exhibitors. However, whereas in that discipline the study of the subject stamps is usually an integral element of the exhibit, the variation presented here focuses singularly on usage. Well known exhibitor and friend, Geoff Kellow (editor of The Australian Commonwealth Specialists’ Catalogue), recently selected the seemingly unlikely 1950s-60s issues of Sierra Leone for this type of challenge and, well, it’s fair to say succeeded. Geoff’s exhibit was awarded a Large Vermeil medal (ie just short of ‘Gold’) at the September National, Swan River Stamp Show 2004. Well done Geoff and proof positive that ‘best of its kind’ need not necessarily be prohibitively expensive.

The subject I have selected for this ‘Usage challenge’, as we’ll call it, is the first QEII Pictorial series for Solomon Islands. The first QEII series for most British Commonwealth countries are attractive and of course many are now approaching their half century. A certain philatelic ‘respectability’ seems to flow from that distinction. Mint sets of these issues are readily available, as are most sets used. Covers however are a much greater challenge, and comparatively little research in to usage of the stamps has been undertaken. Here then is an opportunity to become a pioneer in the study of the usage of the stamp series you select for your challenge!


Dec 04 1.jpg
Figure 1. Not such humble use for the little ½d
An otherwise very ordinary 1964 cover from Australia has been rendered extraordinary by the omission of a 5d Australian stamp, for the surface rate to Solomon Is. The article was taxed 10d double-deficiency facilitated by affixing a 9d and pair of ½d’s in lieu of Postage due stamps. Value : $125 (stamps off cover $1.80).


Dec 04 2.jpg
Figure 2. When low values can be harder to get on cover than higher values
The 1½d as a solo franking is quite uncommon. This 14 Sep 1964 local use at Honiara was for the Greetings card rate. Value : $30 (off cover 40c).


Dec 04 3.jpg
Figure 3. Added handstamp – added interest
The 2½d used 10 Oct 1962 locally at Honiara; the handstamped ‘ WORLD UNITED/AGAINST MALARIA ’ was postally applied to many articles mailed during that year. Value : $25 (off cover 50c).


Dec 04 4.jpg
Figure 4. Formular aerogramme used to TPNG
I have found the 5d to be the hardest to obtain on cover amongst the ‘pence’ denominations. This usage, together with 3d, tied by ‘ BARAKOMA AIRFIELD/28 MAY 1956 ’ datestamp to formular aerogramme to TPNG at standard 8d rate is particularly scarce, and one sort after also by the postal history buff seeking scarce commercial use of the datestamp. Value : $150 (stamps off ‘cover’ $1.40).


Dec 04 5.jpg
Figure 5. 8d on mission of philatelic urgency
We have Rev Carter of TPNG to thank for another uncommon use of a formular aerogramme (see Figure 4), on this occasion bearing the 8d. This 1 Nov 1957 use was by the British Red Cross Society at Honiara. A philatelist in the U.S. had made contact offering to purchase Solomons used covers at $5 per 100. Sensing the offer might be too good to be true the Secretary sought advice on ‘how the scheme works and whether there are any snags’. Clearly postal historians then as now were regarded as ‘strange’. Value : $75 (off ‘cover’ 15c).


Dec 04 6.jpg
Figure 6. Slouch hat on 5/- but this value no slouch on cover
One of the reasons why I chose Solomon Is for this article is because it is not often that I have the top three denominations of a QEII first pictorial series on cover! Here the 5/- and 1/3d make up the quintuple rate for airmail to Australia (1/3d per ½oz x 5). This 3 Jul 1964 cover is from the traders, Lawson & Co, to their Australian solicitors – the only source of the 5/- and 10/- (which follows) on cover that I have found. Value : $75 (stamps off cover $5.75).


Dec 04 7.jpg
Figure 7. Penultimate value of series as a solo franking
This is the only 10/- denomination of the series that I have seen on commercial cover. A registered airmail use of 21 May 1965, it pays the octuple multiple for the 1/3d ½oz airmail rate to Australia. The registration fee of 6d has been overlooked by counter staff at Honiara, such oversights not being uncommon generally in the islands. Value : $200 (off cover $10).


Dec 04 8.jpg
Figure 8. Convenient item to anchor this ‘Usage challenge’
Seldom does one encounter the top denomination of a QEII first Pictorial series on commercial postal article, particularly not one of reasonably ‘standard’ dimensions. This remarkable and intact parcel-wrapping has not one but no less than four of the £1 denomination, and together with supporting cast provides an aggregate franking of £4-2-10d, for Jul 1959 registered airmail Honiara to U.S. This represents a multiple of 26 times the basic 3/2d ½oz airmail rate to U.S. plus 6d registration fee. A ‘cracker’ item indeed and, no, I haven’t been tempted to ‘tidy-up’ this natural philatelic wonder. One would have great difficulty attempting to convince me that items such as this do not have a wonderful future amongst enlightened philatelists. Value : for the sake of the exercise - $500+ (stamps off cover - £1 is £35 used in SG – say $100 for the group).

Best wishes to readers for a safe and healthy ’05, and may the ‘thrill of the chase’ continue to inspire you philatelically.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News January 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


The "Florin and treybit" Commems of the Sixties

Better known perhaps as the ‘two and threes’, the six 2/3d commemorative stamps issued between 1962 and 1965 were immediate ‘glamour’ items amongst collectors. They have always been difficult to acquire used in quantity, and I recall in the late ’sixties (when I was a wholesaler) soaking many off FDC’s to assist in fulfilling orders from the Trade. The fact is these stamps saw relatively little commercial use for postal purposes. The majority were bought by the philatelic community in the hope of making a speculative ‘killing’. A few did as we will see later.
The 2/3d’s were primarily issued for the ½oz airmail rate to U.K. and Europe, and the small number of commercial covers I have seen largely serviced that purpose. I say ‘small number’ for in some 15 years of maintaining a database I have seen between four and eight commercial covers only of the respective six stamp issues. These figures compare with many thousands seen of each of the same stamps in mint condition, and many hundreds on FDC’s. When I completed the pricing for 2/3d’s on commercial cover for Brusden-White’s QEII 1952-1966 catalogue in 1996 I valued the six issues at an average of $37.50. Given their scarcity however, and the fact that there are now many more collectors of such material than there were nine years ago, I have made a review of my suggested valuations for 2/3d’s on commercial cover the subject of this month’s column.


Jan 05 1.jpg
Figure 1. 1962 2/3d Perth Games
This 14 Mar 1963 use for airmail rate to U.K. is attractively completed by a nice strike of the commemorative Royal Visit slogan cancel then in use for the second visit to Australia by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh. Value : $75 (off cover $3).


Jan 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. 1963 2/3d Royal Visit
A more worthy addressee for the Royal Visit stamp is impossible! Here we have a loyal subject of Her Royal Highness who has sent her an example of the 2/3d (plus a garden variety – excuse pun – 2/- Flannel flower for registration) posted from Islington (N.S.W.) on 8 Mar 1963. The Royal Household must have from time to time disposed of what would obviously have been, at one point in time at least, a huge incoming mail. I assume most such articles were from time to time sold by auction, with the proceeds going to charity? Whatever the reason for it being in private hands I am happy to be the present owner of an ‘ex Royal Collection’ item! A good example of why a used stamp off cover often misses out on the ‘action’. Value : $100 - a 25% premium included for the addressee - (stamps off cover $3.20).


Jan 05 3.jpg
Figure 3. 1963 2/3d Commonwealth Cable
This in my experience is one of the more difficult to find of the 2/3d’s on commercial cover. This 17 Jan 1964 use of an illustrated airmail cover to Poland is a good example of the genre, replete with slogan cancel warning ‘Keep Australia clean – by plant quarantine’! Value : $90 (off cover $3).


Jan 05 4.jpg
Figure 4. 1964 2/3d Air Mail
Multiple use of a 2/3d commemorative is very unusual and this 1964 (rest of date illegible) use of a pair for an article weighing between ½ and 1oz sent airmail to France is a desirable item. Value : $100 – a solo franking would be $80 - (stamps off cover $6).


Jan 05 5.jpg
Figure 5. 1965 2/3d ANZAC
This issue I have found the most difficult on commercial cover of the six 2/3d’s; I have seen only four covers. The earlier 2/3d’s mint and used had by 1965 increased in market value, and the ‘punters’ were not about to let the general public get their hands on too many of the 935,440 issued of this stamp. As a consequence the stamp saw very little postal use, and this 6 May 1965 to London, again for the airmail mail, fulfills all that one could reasonably expect of an example of use of the stamp on a commercial article. Value : $100 (off cover $3).


Jan 05 6.jpg
Figure 6. 1965 2/3d I.C.Y.
Given that most usages seen of the 2/3d’s on commercial cover have been for the airmail rate to U.K. and Europe, this 26 Nov 1965 use as a component in the registered domestic letter rate is an odd one out. The total franking of 2/8d represents second weight step for letter rate (8d) plus 2/- registration fee. Value $100 (stamps off cover $2.20).

During the late ’seventies, early ’eighties boom the 2/3d commemoratives came in for more than their fair share of attention from the ‘punters’. As I alluded to earlier, a few (make that very few) did enjoy a ‘killing’ in the speculative frenzy which engulfed all who engaged in the madness which was the ‘Great Boom’. I vividly recall sitting through the Harmers of Sydney auction of 8 February 1980 and witnessing Lot 518 – 1965 ANZAC set in mint sheets of 80 – estimated at $480 sell in the room for $2300. With buyer’s premium this equates to over $31 per set. If one was to apply to that figure the increase in the Australian eastern states housing index during the period since elapsed the ANZAC set would today be expected to be worth $217. In fact it is worth but a few dollars. In mint condition there always was and always will be a far greater quantity of sets available than genuine collector demand could ever consume. My tip? Join the ‘thrill of the chase’ and see if you can find nice use of a 2/3d on commercial cover. They will turn up in Europe, albeit in numbers too small to satisfy emerging demand, and if you are lucky enough to find one it will probably cost you somewhat less than the valuations indicated above. Such is the joy of ‘getting in early’!
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News February 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


King George VI - when common becomes uncommon

The stamps of Australia issued from 1937-1952, during the reign of King George VI, present a worthy field of challenge for specialists, particularly if the unwatermarked 4d, 6d and 1/- of the Zoologicals (issued during the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II) are included. There are for example many flaws, some with associated retouches, re-entries, weak entries and recuts, and although most presently are not highly priced in Brusden-White's King George VI this will not remain the case, for the relative scarcity of many of these varieties has become apparent since 1995 when the first edition of the catalogue was issued.

Geoff Kellow, editor of the catalogue series, recently advised that a new edition of King George VI, to be combined with the present QEII - 1952 - 1966 section, is presently under preparation. In readiness for pricing the 'Used on cover' column in the catalogue I spent some time during the holidays sorting some 15 containers (each containing 800/1000 items) of KGVI-era covers. It was time to 'brush up' on my research and I was pleased that I had accumulated a reasonable sampling of material during the decade since I first conducted an overview of the relative scarcity of KGVI issues commercially used on cover.

The basic stamps of the KGVI-era are readily available mint or used, and every one of those issues can be bought in large quantity - just produce your Platinum credit card. Even the most expensive mint stamp of the period, the £2 Arms, can be had in large quantity. I had over 400 in stock at the one time in the 'seventies for instance. The £2 Arms on commercial cover or other postal article? Now there's a real challenge. Just as the desirability and value of basic stamps can be greatly enhanced when with a variety, such as those mentioned above, so too can the attributes of a used stamp when on cover (or other postal article), and this is particularly so when the usage is unusual. From my recent research (I've completed only 1937-1941 thus far) some examples of when 'common becomes uncommon' are provided next, with comments on why I have chosen them.



Feb 05 1.jpg
Figure 1. A 9d N.S.W. Sesqui for Christmas, 1937
The 9d of the 1937 N.S.W. Sesquicentenary is quite scarce on commercial cover and the half dozen or so which I have accumulated are mostly to overseas destinations (it was primarily intended for the 9d 1/2oz airmail rate to parts of S.E. Asia). Figure 1 is unusual in being an internal use of the stamp to pay airmail for what was almost certainly a belated posting (23 Dec 1937) of a Christmas card. The article by regular Printed matter rate required only 1d (up to 4oz), making the late posting by airmail at an extra 9d (which paid for 1-1 1/2oz) an expensive oversight by the sender. Value : $150 (stamps off cover $12).



Feb 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. Nice strip of Die Ia's headed for old country, and nicely centred they are too
I had previously found the Die Ia printing of the 1937 3d blue to be harder to get on cover than Die I (the normal printing - not the ink-stripped 'White wattles' which is very scarce indeed on cover). My recent census reverses the position with Die I emerging the new victor. As an example of Die Ia usage, however, that shown in Figure 2 is quite striking. Here a strip of three, plus a pair of the 6d Kookaburra (two of the triplets issued the same day the previous month; the third being the 1/- Lyrebird) combine to make up the 1/6d airmail rate to U.K. plus registration fee (3d). Value : $150 (stamps off cover $47).



Feb 05 3.jpg
Figure 3. One more good reason why stamps and cover shouldn't divorce
Airmail to the U.S. in the early 'forties could be an expensive luxury, the cost of a 1/2oz article via the 'Clipper' flying boat service for example setting a user back by 4/-. A much more economical alternative, albeit not much faster than surface mail, was to use the U.S. internal airmail service once the article had arrived stateside. The cost thereby reduced to 9d per 1/2oz. Figure 3 is an article sent via the latter service on 1 May 1945 (note 'Transcontinental A.M. [Air Mail]' typed at top), and although underpaid at 8d only was untaxed. Confusion may have arisen in that the rate for this service reduces to 8d for each additional 1/2oz. I have seen very few examples of the use of this service, and this provides a good example of 'when common becomes uncommon'. Value : $75 (stamps off cover 80c).




Feb 05 4.jpg
Figure 4. A very appropriate 'big tick' for this 'little' lyrebird
The first issue 1/- Lyrebird, issued in 1932, is parochially referred to as the 'large' lyrebird. Why this should be, rather than the 1937 issue which replaced it being referred to as the 'little' lyrebird, I guess we shall never know. Nevertheless, the 'little' lyrebird use shown in Figure 4 is a 'cracker'. This is not an easy stamp to find on cover (most were used on parcels) and the relatively small number I have seen are largely represented as a component in the franking of the airmail rates to U.K. and Europe. A solo franking as we have in this 16 Jun 1938 use to Japan is quite exceptional and represents the fully paid airmail service to destination (1/- for 1/2oz) rather than the 10d if Australia/U.K. service only was used. I presume the Japanese 'chop' refers to the fully paid status, with the giant 'tick' to further draw attention to ensure that the correct procedures are dutifully complied with in quintessential Japanese manner! This cover would be highly sought after by airmail rate specialists (of Japan also), hence my seemingly high valuation. Sadly, the used stamp off cover would not enjoy such demand. Value : $200 (off cover $2).



Feb 05 5.jpg
Figure 5. Post Office confusion = philatelic collectable
The 1/4d magenta is an attractive and uncommon stamp on cover. Surprisingly, however, I found more than I expected; perhaps due to targeting this issue more than most when I was accumulating material. Figure 5 shows the only solo franking I found, and it's existence is owed to apparent confusion at Casino (N.S.W.) P.O. This 21 Aug 1940 use for airmail to a Serviceman in Palestine required only 9d, the concessional rate for letters (under 1/2oz) sent to Military in the Middle East. The regular airmail rate to Palestine was 1/6d and it would appear that the P.O. clerk has commenced to frank up the cover with a 1/4d, with a 2d to follow to complete 1/6d (the two stamps are often seen together for the 1/6d rate), but has aborted the exercise when the impending error was realised. The article is therefore overpaid by 7d, and I presume that this sum forthwith would have been refunded to the sender (in the form of current postage stamps). Value : $100 (off cover $1.00).




Feb 05 6.jpg
Figure 6. In 1948 stamp trader's usually bought postage at the P.O.
The 5/- Robes on the thinner paper, introduced in early 1948 - only fourteen months before replacement by the 5/- Arms - is a very scarce issue on cover. I had only two (the other the 'tinted' paper first printing). These, and the 10/- and £1 on this paper, will be amongst the 'giants' to emerge on commercially used articles (I have yet to see the two higher denominations so used) as more and more smart collector's recognise the potential of this collecting field. The Figure 6 10 Dec 1948 use of a thin paper 5/- on 5 1/2d Registered envelope, together with supporting franking cast, equates to the quadruple 1/6d airmail rate to U.S. plus 3d registration fee (aggregate 6/3d). The U.S. contributed some handstamps relating to Customs regulations and charges (accommodated by the 10c Postage due stamp) to 'round-off' a very desirable item. The added interest to me is that the article was sent by Ken Baker, a friend and the Doyen of Philatelic traders in Australasia, and that he seemingly bought stamps current at the Post Office for franking this article. Traders in 1948 did not have the vast reservoir of discounted obsolete postage stamps to utilise that subsequent generations of traders have enjoyed. Value : $150 (stamps off stationery item $4.50).



Feb 05 7.jpg
Figure 7. 3d A.I.F. - more usually used abroad
The 1940 A.I.F. 3d is most often found used for the Foreign letter rate (notably to the U.S.) and even so is rather uncommon. Occasionally one sees it added to an internal article to pay the 3d airmail surcharge. Rarely does one find an internal solo franking. Figure 7 shows such a rarity, a 25 Oct 1940 use to pay Letter rate plus 1d Late fee (for an article posted after regular closing time for that day's mail). Being an advertising cover makes a good item even better. Value : $100 (off cover $3).



Feb 05 8.jpg
Figure 8. 5 1/2d Surcharge - one of many KGVI-era 'sleepers'
Being a provisional issue, pending the preparation of a dedicated stamp to embrace the 1/2d War tax introduced for postal articles from 10 Dec 1941, the 5 1/2d on 5d Surcharge was destined to be short-lived and little used. It's principal use was for combined Letter rate plus airmail or registration (both 2 1/2d + 3d). I have found very few of either and rate this as one of the more difficult KGVI issues to find on commercial cover or postal article of any kind. Fair to rate it a 'sleeper'. Figure 8 shows an attractive 21 Jan 1942 use for the combined Letter rate plus registration fee. Value : $125 (off cover $3).


I will complete the observation of KGVI-era stamps on commercial cover in a future issue of this column.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News March 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


Fiji. The way the world should be

Well, the way the philatelic world is if you are amongst that growing band of collectors for whom the early pictorial sets of the reign of King George VI possess a certain captivation. These stamps were issued at a time when cruise ships explored increasingly exotic destinations for daring tourists, and stamps were deemed a convenient form of propaganda for countries eager to attract their fair share of the burgeoning tourist trade.

Fiji introduced its initial series of pictorial stamps for the reign of the then new monarch in 1938, and I have featured usage on commercial articles of some of the denominations between the ½d and 5/-. I would have included the 10/- and £1 issued in 1950 but for the fact that I have not yet seen them on a commercial article of any kind! Has any reader?

These are generally attractive stamps and good proponents of the appeal that pictorials in particular from the King’s reign hold for many collectors. I have only covers and stationery from this Fijian set, but for those who like to include mint stamps in their collections I can appreciate that a set of imprint blocks along for the ride would make for a handsome display indeed. And an eight-frame exhibit (120 pages) featuring this stamp series need not cost anywhere near the present day value of, say, a solitary rare inverted watermark variety of Australia!


Mar 05 1.jpg
Figure 1. Economy mail 1946 style
½d and 2½d used 2 Mar 1946 on air mail letter card from Lautoka to N.Z. The rate for such articles decreased from 7d to 3d in early January 1946. This was economical indeed, particularly when the sea mail rate at this time was fully 2½d. Value : $100 (stamps off ‘cover’ $1.50).


Mar 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. Try collecting your imprints on cover!
½d (3) and 1d imprint block of four comprise surface mail (2½d) plus registration fee (3d) for this 7 Jun 1948 item from Ba to Australia. Value : $80 (stamps off cover $3.25).

Image 3 Missing from archive
Figure 3. Manless boat in paradise
A popular little stamp when I was a kid was the 1½d ‘No man in boat’, which was replaced a couple of years later by a ‘manned’ design. This stamp was primarily for the Empire and Foreign postcard rate and here a postcard of 13 Oct 1938 makes its way from Suva to Germany, no doubt sent by one of the wave of tourists alluded to in the introduction above. Value : $75 (off ‘cover’ 50c).


Mar 05 4.jpg
Figure 4. Colourful tri-stamp franking
Frankings with a combination of stamp issues are often attractive and this trio of stamps certainly is no exception. The total of 11d for this 31 Aug 1948 item from Suva to Tasmania met the 8d airmail rate plus 3d registration fee. Value : $35 (stamps off cover $2.50).


Mar 05 5.jpg
Figure 5. Fiji. The way the world should be
Tourism again we have to thank for this delightful 8 Dec 1952 item from Suva to Australia. The 2½d was for nothing more exciting than the surface mail rate but we shan’t hold that against it. Value : $75 (off ‘cover’ 50c).


Mar 05 6.jpg
Figure 6. When rarity is a concession to condition
Not quite the quality I strive for in my covers, but this is the only commercial cover bearing the 5d ‘blue canes’ that I have encountered. Here we have a 26 Jan 1942 use from Suva to N.Z. by a Serviceman at the concessional airmail rate of 9d. It is possible to diminish the severity of the toning and in the fullness of time indeed I shall. Value (as is) : $150 (stamps off cover $10.50).


Mar 05 7.jpg
Figure 7. The curious 1/5d denomination had a specific purpose
13 Jun 1947 registered cover from Suva to Australia bears the 3d for registration fee and unusual 1/5d denomination for direct airmail rate. Ten days later the airmail rate more than halved to 8d. Value : $90 (stamps off cover catalogue only 40p in S.G. catalogue – the 1/5d at a poultry 10p (!) which appears unrealistically low for this rather uncommon stamp).


Mar 05 8.jpg
Figure 8. The flying kangaroo well established on the tourist route as early as 1953
The 1/6d denomination was a late addition (in 1950) to the series. This 30 Mar 1953 solo use from Suva to Canberra was for the increased registration fee (6d) plus 1/- airmail rate. Interestingly, there was a printing of this stamp issued 16 Feb 1955, well in to the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The QANTAS air mail etiquette is a welcome bonus. Value : $60 (off cover $2.75).


Mar 05 9.jpg
Figure 9. Double rate not so economical
The 5d ‘green canes’, unlike the ‘blue’ variety in Figure 6, is common on cover and here we have two together with a 2/- for a 3 Nov 1945 item Suva to Australia at double the 1/5d airmail rate (single rate shown in Figure 7). Rather an expensive service (compared to that in Figure 1) and consequently a scarce rate. Value $125 (stamps off cover $1).


Mar 05 10.jpg
Figure 10. Covers like this don’t grow on palm trees
Needless to say, one of my favourite covers from this stamp series. A franking of 14/2d composed with a 2d, 2 x 2/- and 2 x 5/- denominations met the quintuple 2/10d airmail rate to U.S. A fitting item to whet the appetite of a budding enthusiast for this series? Value : $400 (stamps off cover $5).
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Stamp News April 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


And now for something completely different!

This issue we feature Australia Post procedural labels associated with the intrigues of the postal system. On the subject of Australia Post a slight preamble if I may before plunging in to our topic. During the great philatelic boom of 25 years ago A.P. conducted a survey within its massive client base. From its research it was stated that 7% of the Australian population collected stamps. Impressive indeed, even if many respondents might have regarded buying new issues at the Post Office as qualifying as a ‘collector’. Other data released from the survey suggested that Australian Antarctic Territory was the most popular area for collecting amongst those surveyed. One suspects that a factor in this outcome was that even the kid up the street could claim to have a ‘complete’ collection of A.A.T. Hopefully some of those A.A.T. aficionados discovered the World of Postal history (in a nutshell, commercial covers and the study of their journey). Otherwise I cannot imagine that a quarter of a century later a pristine complete collection of A.A.T. stamps and FDCs will have been adequate to have kept the owners sufficiently enthralled to have enabled them to last that distance. If, miraculously, they have lasted until the present on their meagre philatelic diet of mint and FDCs, no doubt they would be somewhat bemused at seeing most of the stamps of A.A.T. issued since 1966 unceremoniously utilised on their incoming philatelic mail.



Apr 05 1.jpg
Figure 1
Back then to our topic, one which will never be as popular as A.A.T. once was, but one which I speculate may provide a lifetime of joy (unlike the experience of many unfortunate A.A.T. transients) for the handful of philatelists who take it up as a mainstream or sideline collection. The reference for this subject, and a superb work it is too, is The Official Postal Labels of Australia, by Eric J. Frazer, published by Cinderella Stamp Club of Australasia. The scope of material found in the reference book is very large and it would indeed take a lifetime to amass a comprehensive collection of the diverse range of labels used by the Post Office over the decades, particularly used on cover. I like this field, it’s full of character, and have featured a varied selection of labels used on cover. Figure 1 has been sent via the now defunct Priority Paid service on 7 Jan 1988 from Warragul (Vic) to Sydney South. This service offered next day delivery (at a premium of $1.20 above the then 37c letter rate) provided the P.O.’s of despatch and receipt were within the prescribed network. A series of four informative labels relating to the service, or inability to perform it, were in use only in Victoria it appears, from late 1985, and one of these, inscribed ‘Destination Outside/Guaranteed Network’ was affixed to this article. This was unnecessarily pessimistic as the timeclock datestamp on reverse indicates that the article was received at destination the following day. These little labels are scarce. Value : $40 (stamps off cover $1.80).




Apr 05 2.jpg
Figure 2
Figure 2 shows an example of the ‘BY/DIRECT BAG’ label. This was used on privileged Military mail which thereby circumvented normal procedures for handling of Military postal articles; a priority service precursor if you wish, and also rather scarce. This example is on a registered Army cover of 22 Feb 1944 from Papua New Guinea (the ‘0140’ datestamp tells us this) to H.Q. in Australia, travelling by air. Value : $150 (label off cover $20).




Apr 05 3.jpg
Figure 3
Some labels were produced for articles other than those sent by post. In the instance in Figure 3 we have one such item, which was affixed to Telegrams arriving in Australia from an overseas origin; to Brisbane from the outpost of Tuasivi, Samoa, received on 25 Dec 1938 – Christmas Day! What would be your chances of success with such service nowadays? Probably possible, but at what cost? This delightful item would be sought-after also by Telegraph/Telegram enthusiasts. Value : $100 (label off Telegram $20).




Apr 05 4.jpg
Figure 4
A number of P.O. labels relate to misadventures in transit, and some to major incidents or trauma. Figure 4 originated in Quebec, Canada, destined on 9 Jul 1942 for N.S.W. but along the way came in to contact with water (resulting in loss of stamp), and upon arrival at Sydney a handstamped ‘RECEIVED DAMAGED/BY WATER AT/G.P.O. SYDNEY 3’ (on obverse) was applied. The label we see accompanied the article, presumably in a separate postal container (a so-called ‘Ambulance’ cover) delivered to the addressee, for there is no indication that the label was affixed to the affected item. The datestamp tells us the article arrived at Sydney 28 Aug 1942, the lengthy duration for the journey (50 days) suggesting this item may have swum with the fishes for a time, although I can’t find a maritime incident which correlates. A very rare label. Value : $200.




Apr 05 5.jpg
Figure 5
The ‘Fastpost’ services had produced for them their fair share of label types. Figure 5 shows one introduced for the Express Courier service in late 1984. This service was expensive as evidenced by the $4.50 franking on this article of 6 Nov 1985 Muswellbrook to Castle Hill (N.S.W.), representing 45c intrastate postage (up to 50g) plus a whopping $4.05 for the Express Courier service. This item is particularly interesting as it additionally shows a ‘Service Performance Evaluation’ label, completed by staff at Muswellbrook. These are particularly scarce (this is the only example I have seen on cover). Value : $75 (stamps off cover $1.90). For lovers of errors in their Philately it is possible to occasionally find a missing colour in labels, as seen from the inset!




Apr 05 6.jpg
Figure 6
One can only imagine the look on the face of the Caulfield (Vic) recipient of the item shown in Figure 6 when the article was delivered on or about 22 Jan 1932. Here was the long-awaited U.K. to Australia special flight cover originally intended for delivery Christmas, 1931, with none other than the legendary Charles Kingsford Smith as Pilot (along with G.U. Allan and engineer F.G. Taylor) departing London on 7 Jan. And just look at it! Well, despite how the recipient may have felt all those years ago, we weird modern-day Philatelists are delighted to see it in this shape. After all, this is a very common flight cover and, quite frankly, in sound condition they are in over-supply in the marketplace. This one however is one out-of-the-box. It has obviously been traumatised enroute to Australia, and arriving in the shape it did necessitated a Post Office explanation which comes in the form of the improvised label with handstruck ‘RECEIVED IN A DAMAGED/CONDITION AT G.P.O.’. Lovely, although I doubt that the recipient agreed. Kingsford Smith flight material is very sought-after, and this item would be in considerable demand. Value : $250 (this flight cover in ‘good’ condition? Oh, about $30).




Apr 05 7.jpg
Figure 7
Yet another ‘Fastpost’ label was for the Special Despatch service, the precursor to the better-known Priority Post. The rate was double the letter rate, which on 10 Oct 1967 when the item shown as Figure 7 was sent was 5c. Items from this service are scarce (the public didn’t warm to a 100% premium for a service they felt entitled to without penalty), and it is particularly nice to find the label ‘tied’ to cover by the Melbourne datestamp as is the case here. Value : $60 (stamps off cover zero).




Apr 05 8.jpg
Figure 8
Not a Post Office label in Figure 8, but interesting nevertheless. Meter covers are unloved by most but you would find a place for this in your label collection, or at least I would. From a Pharmaceutical company (‘Ethical Pharmaceuticals’) on 29 Oct 1965 it was paid by meter to 3/2d representing 1/2d 4th weight step surface mail plus 2/- registration fee. It therefore weighed between 3 and 4ozs. and presumably enclosed a product sample with some degree of toxicity, hence the private warning label. Value : $20.




Apr 05 9.jpg
Figure 9
Unrelated to this month’s topic but more closely allied to the more usual ‘flavour’ of this column is a superb example of how the common stamp can be rendered uncommon by usage, a concept which I like to remind readers is one of the real growth areas in world Philately. The 1962 U.S. postcard shown in Figure 9 was recently sold on eBay. The 11c of the Presidential series was at the tail end of its life (it had been superseded by the 11c Liberty in June 1961) when the 11c airmail postcard rate came in to effect on 1 Jul 1961. Some Post Offices had residual stock of the earlier issue and these were used up in the normal course of postal demand, very few it would appear however for this specific postcard rate. I say ‘very few’ for this common stamp (it sells for 20c used) used as shown in Figure 9 sold for US$415! ‘Usage’ is certainly gaining international momentum.
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Stamp News May 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


Le style Francais

Something of a stroll down memory lane for me this issue, and the first occasion on which I have featured covers from a foreign country. The article is prompted as a consequence of having recently sorted and classified our 15-year accumulation of French covers/stationery, amounting to about 8 to 9,000 items. A lot of French letters, indeed.

Our cover stock has largely been sourced from within Australasia, and unsurprisingly is mostly addressed to Australasian destinations. As I initially formed my overview of our accumulation, it occurred to me that the French stamps from locally produced world packets, so beloved during my youth, would have arrived on our shores looking not dissimilar to what I had before me. Fortunately, the packet-making entrepreneurs of yesteryear were unsuccessful in facilitating the ‘woodchipping’ of every cover which arrived, and I am able to present this month some of the survivors to Australié. This is particularly pleasing, for not only do I get to reminisce about the stamps typically available during my youth, I get to demonstrate my mastery of year 7 French.

The stamps of France are, as one would expect from the inimitable French, generally individualistic, and I could easily convince myself to start sideline collections of French stamps (I do have one; see under Figure 9), on commercial cover only, of course! I have selected some stamp issues which appeal to me, and it will be seen that such rather pleasant items, to my eye at least, need not burst the philatelic budget.



May 05 1.jpg
Figure 1. The world’s first Art Deco stamps?
The 1924-25 series of six stamps for the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative Arts, the event which ushered in Art Deco style, were arguably the first stamp designs in that style. Here we have the 75c in a pair registered at Amiens 2 Jul 1925 for the 75c surface rate to Australia plus 75c registration fee. Value : $100 (stamps off cover $10).



May 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. 1934 Radio ‘Hams’ bridge the tyranny of distance
The 1930s hi tech equivalent of today’s internet, the amateur radio, played its part in making the world a smaller and more accessible place. While I’m in reminiscing mode, I recall seeing some of these radios in the 1950s stored in cupboards and garages in the neighbourhood (we kids called them ‘crystal sets’?). No doubt there are still units around and perhaps some of our more senior readers may even have been participants in the practise all those years ago. The fellowship of radio ‘hams’, as participants were affectionately referred to as, sent postcards to one another providing details of their respective radio signal details to enable mutual communication via the medium.

These are referred to as Q.S.L. cards and more usually took the form of postcards specially printed with the sender’s particulars. Figure 2 is unusual in being an adapted ‘Q.S.L. card’, made by uprating by 5fr 50 a 90c Stationery card for 6fr 40 rate to Australia by airmail via Netherlands Indies, and internally for Perth to Adelaide sector, then by rail to Sydney. Postcards sent by airmail pre-1945 in general are rather scarce, and this item is particularly desirable as very few came by that means from as far as Europe to Australia. Specialists would willingly pay around $400 for this (the stamps off card maybe $2), thereby perhaps creating an exception to my ‘burst the budget’ comment above.



May 05 3.jpg
Figure 3. A charming design magnified x4
The 1937 Paris International Exhibition produced a memorable 1fr 50 stamp (even the colour I find agreeable), appropriately as this was a propaganda issue for the surface rate to certain countries beyond France. The direct airmail rate to Australia by 1937 was 6fr thereby conveniently allowing a block of this lovely stamp to meet that rate on this 15 Jun 1937 cover to Melbourne. Value : $60 (block off cover $4).




May 05 4.jpg
Figure 4. A favourite stamp of Mr Max Stern?
‘Sports’ thematic stamps don’t come much better than this in my opinion. Capturing all of the action is this 1938 World Football Cup 1f 75, which made its way to Melbourne on 8 Jul 1938, paying the increased Foreign letter rate. Soccer was not a particularly popular sport in Australia prior to the postwar influx of Europeans, and that scarcity of enthusiasts may have contributed to this stamp remaining intact on original cover, rather than having been torn off and given to a devotee of the sport. Value : $80 (off cover $8). The above reference to Max Stern, a regular advertiser from its outset, and whose life story was recently serialised in Stamp News, is of course because Max is Australia’s oldest registered Soccer player, a remarkable achievement for one who is also a doyen of the gentle, noble pursuit of Philately.




May 05 5.jpg
Figure 5. This ‘Marianne’ knew no Robin Hood
The ‘Marianne’ series which commenced in 1945 produced 33 different stamps (more when the recess-prints and surcharges are included), and a colourful lot they are. One could form an attractive exhibit of the usage on commercial cover of this series alone. I have selected one of my favourites, the top denomination 100fr which was exclusively recess-printed. This is a stamp which doesn’t appear to have seen much use to Australia; another 100fr (airmail – see Figure 6) issued ten months later seems to have done most of the hard yards to our part of the world. Despite her hood this ‘Marianne’ probably knew no Robin, and here we have her with little sisters, a pair of 4fr bright violets, for this 19 Aug 1948 100fr second weight step (5-10gms) airmail rate to Australia plus postwar 8fr surcharge then in place. Value : $100 (stamps off cover $9).




May 05 6.jpg
Figure 6. Mythology meets the ‘modern’ age
Airmail stamps of the world are a personal favourite, and the 1946-47 set of four produced by France is no exception. Plenty of the 40, 50 and 100fr (although not many of the 200fr) made their way to Australia servicing the postwar expansion of the airmails. Not a lot survive on original cover and this 13 May 1949 use of the three lower denominations was for the 190fr third weight step (10-15gms) airmail rate to Australia. The initial rate was 80fr for the first 5gms and 55fr for each 5gms thereafter. Value : $90 (stamps off cover $3).




May 05 7.jpg
Figure 7. 1953, Haute couture arrives in Australia
The 1953-55 National Industries and Literary figures series produced some fine designs, including the delightful 30fr robed mannequin shown here in a pair (with ‘Marianne’ 10fr) uprating this 15 Oct 1953 metered cover by airmail to Sydney. The original franking was 90fr, the basic airmail rate, but upon arrival at the Post Office was found to be over 5gms necessitating the additional 70fr in stamps for the second weight step (5-10gms). Value : $20 (stamps off cover 80c).




May 05 8.jpg
Figure 8. From the design stable which produced “Concorde”?
Not a question which I can answer, but I can say that by 1960 the French franc was not what it was! At the commencement of that year 100 (old) francs became 1 (new) franc. The airmail rate to Australia had risen steadily until by 1960 it reached 2fr 30. The ‘old’ franc stamps continued to be used-up alongside the new currency as seen in this 17 Feb 1961 item to Brisbane where a pair of the 300fr Air together with the ‘new’ 2fr met the 8fr (previously 800fr) fourth weight step (15-20gms) airmail rate to Australia. The basic airmail rate being 2fr 30 and each additional 5gms 1fr 90 (ie x3 for this item) give us the resultant 8fr rate. Value : $50 (stamps off cover $3).




May 05 9.jpg
Figure 9. French impressionists visit Australia earlier than thought
One of the art highlights in Australia during 2004 was the ‘French Impressionists’ Exhibition staged at the National Gallery of Victoria. Visitors were struck by walls lined with treasures from the Musée d’Orsay, visiting Australia for the first time, although we Philatelists recognised that many of the works on show had in fact arrived in Australia as far back as 1961. It was in that year that France issued the first in the long-running ‘Art on stamps’ series, and one of the paintings featured in the inaugural set of four was Cezanne’s ‘The Cardplayers’, which was also present at the 2004 Exhibition. It was a particular thrill for me to see the original as I vividly recall the excitement the stamp series generated when it first appeared over forty years ago.

I had not much earlier joined Brighton Philatelic Society, and saw the set for the first time on ‘Exchange sheets’ circulated one evening, although I was a bit short of the shillings required to take a set home. Things have improved since and I’m pleased to report that I now have the set in various configurations commercially used on cover! I love the series and enjoy a little sideline ‘nostalgia’ collection which I have put together. One of my 1fr ‘The Cardplayers’ is shown in Figure 9, replete with the token French chateau (and ‘Harvester’ 10c) for a 12 Jan 1962 airmail visit to Australia at the 1fr 40 airmail Printed matter (imprimé) rate. Value : $25 (stamps off cover $2.50). A good example of Philatelic ‘cheap and cheerful’ to finish off our French excursion.
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Stamp News June 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


A Selection of Pacific Explorer 2005 'finds'

Philatelic Exhibitions are great places in which to hone one’s skills in the noble pursuit of the ‘thrill of the chase’. Where else can scores of philatelic traders be located under the one roof, many with stock sourced abroad and available for inspection in Australia perhaps for the first time? Pacific Explorer 2005 provided such an opportunity, and I was delighted to be on the receiving side of the Trade stands for the four days of the Exhibition. Actually, an extra day or two duration would have been well received by those of us who found just four days a struggle in which to visit every Trade stand and do justice to the magnificent Exhibits on display.

It is a pity that more collectors did not take advantage of a visit to Pacific Explorer 2005 – the numbers were well down on expectations – for the Darling Harbour venue and superb weather alone would have justified the exercise, not to mention how much knowledge could be gleaned from studying how dedicated philatelists ply the art of exhibiting. I was on the prowl to add fresh additions to various collections under construction, and a few ‘finds’ I’ll share with readers this month.



Jun 05 1.jpg
Figure 1. Fijian KGVI 10/- finds a new home
Firstly, in the March 2005 column which featured usage on commercial cover of the Fijian KGVI pictorial series, I made specific mention that I had not seen the 10/- or £1 denominations from that series on a commercial postal item. Well, seek and ye shall find, and amongst the stock of an overseas Standholder I ‘found’ Figure 1. This is a 7 Oct 1954 use of the 10/- for registered airmail from Navua to U.K. The airmail rate was 2/6d per ½oz and 10/- would pay the quadruple rate (for an article weighing 1½-2ozs).

The 6d required for registration has not been allowed for in this convenient rate assessment, therefore either it has been overlooked at the Post office or this is a philatelically motivated cover. The fact that it is a sheet corner stamp would appear to support the latter possibility, but in favour of it being otherwise should be cited the commercial size of the cover, collectors in 1954 (as now) usually preferred smaller covers, and the fact that the sealing flap on reverse has been crudely, rather non-philatelically sealed with adhesive tape, partly over which a Suva transit cancel has been applied.

The KGVI 10/- had been replaced by a QEII design three months earlier, but a smaller Post office such as Navua might reasonably be expected to have residual stock of a low demand high value denomination for some time after its replacement by a new issue. The fact that this was use of the KGVI issue at a time when philatelists would perhaps be more interested in receiving a new issue does for me tip the balance slightly in favour of this not being a philatelically motivated item.

Well, having now talked myself in to a more probable scenario, I will be pleased to add this item to our Fiji KGVI-era usage collection. Incidentally, for those who are interested in an interpretation of the format which a collection of commercial usage of a given stamp series might take, go to www.rap.com.au and select ‘Concept USAGE ’ from the menu at left. There will be found our developing Fiji collection. Valuation for Figure 1 : $250 (off cover $40).



Jun 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. The “Cyprus” green ½d commercially used
The final printing of the KGV ½d ‘green’ was in the highly distinctive ‘Very yellow (“Cyprus”) green’ shade listed in ACSC as 63I. The “Cyprus” was my contribution when I owned the catalogue and appears to have been accepted in to the philatelic vernacular (unlikely that the same will apply to my ‘Conce pt USAGE ’ buzz term above). So different was the shade that philatelists appear to have largely consumed the printing for posterity, with the consequence that it is very available mint but is very scarce, even rare, postally used. Simon Dunkerley and I can recall seeing perhaps half a dozen used examples between the two of us during the past 30+ years.

Figure 2 is the first instance of a contemporary use of the printing on cover, or card as this is. Here we have use with 1d violet and 1½d green from Mosman (N.S.W.) to Italy for a combined rate of 3d, the Foreign letter rate, when in fact the article could have been sent at the 1½d Postcard rate. The date slug is askew, but is probably Nov 1923. This is an important item for a KGV specialist, of comparable rarity to, say, the rarer of the inverted watermark stamps which presently fetch five-figure sums at auction. I’ll be a little more conservative. Value : $1000 (stamps off cover about $50).




Jun 05 3.jpg
Figure 3. 7/6d Cook on cover. Found one at last!
A small band of we ‘usage’ aficionados have for many years (about 25 in my case) searched for the 1964 7/6d Cook commercially used on cover. Not to be confused with the stamp on FDC, which is relatively easy to find, a commercial use of the stamp on cover was beginning to look as if it may elude me, and Figure 3 almost did. As I thumbed through the extensive stock of covers of the overseas Trader from whom I bought this item, a collector known to me arrived at the Stand and requested the box containing pre-Decimal Australian covers. I had yet to peruse that particular box, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed the subject cover appear as the collector waded through the box. Frankly I was amazed when he passed it by, particularly as the asking price was most agreeable, and I literally leapt on the box when he finished empty-handed from the exercise.


I bought five other very useful covers (see also Figure 4) from that box and concluded that this collector must never have read my column. His loss, my gain. Figure 3 also includes the 10/- Navigator, cream paper, of which I have seen very few on cover. The total rate for this 18 Nov 1964 cover is 27/- which conveniently is 12 times the 2/3d airmail rate to Europe. However, the cover is registered so it should have been 29/-, and therefore either the 2/- registration fee was inadvertently overlooked by the servicing Postal clerk, or this item was overpaid (by 3d) for 11 times the 2/3d rate plus 2/- registration, ie 26/9d. What’s the cover worth? Let’s just say $500, for at that level at auction I know at least six hands (mine included) would be gyrating in the air. The used stamps off cover can be bought readily for around $12.



Jun 05 4.jpg
Figure 4. 10/- white paper Navigator, no slouch either on cover
From the same correspondence as Figure 3 comes the first 10/- Flinders, white paper, that I have noted on commercial cover. On this occasion the total franking for this 26 Oct 1965 cover is 33/6d, representing 14 times the 2/3d airmail rate plus 2/- registration fee. It is noteworthy that the high frankings in both Figures 3 and 4 did not utilise a £1 Navigator. Even larger Post offices such as Royal Exchange did not necessarily maintain a stock of the £1 and £2 denominations, so low was demand.

I recall in 1965 doing a Post office ‘crawl’ for remnant stock of the £2 Arms, which had the previous year been replaced by the £2 King, and which was by then in short supply in Trader’s stocks. I did find a solitary £2 Arms in a larger Melbourne suburban P.O. and was told that it had been there for years. It remained there when I left for a clerk had carelessly deposited a biro mark on the stamp, probably during stock accounting. Value : $250 (stamps off cover $15).



Jun 05 5.jpg
Figure 5. These birds have come home to roost
Not from Pacific Explorer 2005, but rather a pleasant ‘find’ on eBay recently was Figure 5. This Papua New Guinea 12 Apr 1965 airmailed cover to Solomon Islands at 16 times the 1/- airmail rate I once owned but had parted company with in the early ’nineties. The 10/- Bird is rare on commercial cover and I had in the interim come to regret having sold this item. I was pleased to welcome it back (from Germany!) and will not be in too great a rush to allow these birds to again fly the roost. Incidentally, the only pre-Decimal PNG stamps which I have yet to see commercially used on a postal article are the 10/- Rabaul and £1 QEII. Has any reader seen them? Value of Figure 5 (my approximate cost on eBay) : $200 (off cover $10 - for complete Birds set).



Jun 05 6.jpg
Figure 6. Sexism 1950s style – rendering a useless stamp useful
On a light-hearted note to finish this month, accordingly to my Brusden-White Queen Elizabeth II 1952 – 1966 catalogue the 1959 QEII 5d blue had a total issue of 2,245,189,921. Surely a contender for the most common stamp of Australia, aside from having a major error or variety how does one extract value from such a stamp? When it is on an interesting cover, of course. In the instance of Figure 6 one of the series of ground-breaking propaganda covers produced by the Queensland Govt in the 1950s to promote tourism, commerce and industry in that State. I particularly like this cheeky, blatantly sexist type for tourism as redemption for the otherwise moribund stamp affixed. Value : $20 (off cover zero).
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Stamp News July 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


Looking for a new collecting challenge? Try meter stamps


One of the aims of this column is to endeavour to stimulate collectors to venture in to deeper philatelic waters than they perhaps otherwise would of their own volition. It is three years this month since the first article appeared, and I’m pleased that a small but steadily increasing band of readers have taken up some of the recommendations that I have put forward in the duration. I know this if for no other reason as some of the new ‘recruits’ now regularly outbid me for my type of material on eBay! I do accept that the vast majority of others are perfectly happy with what they collect, and the manner in which they ploy their craft, and that any attempt to expand their philatelic horizons would be a futile exercise. That group need read no further this month for the subject matter is strictly for the incurably curious.

Recently a rarity in publishing arrived on my desk. A new catalogue which actually expands philatelic horizons. The International Postage Meter Stamp Catalog, the first world meter catalogue for nearly 50 years, has just been published, all 1216 pages of it, and quite a revelation it is. The editors, Joel A Hawkins and Richard Stambaugh, are to be congratulated on producing an easy to follow publication with enough information to encourage even a novice to venture in to this interesting field of early philatelic hi tech. I’m pleased that catalogue prices are for complete commercial covers rather than cut-out impressions, which I had feared might be the case when I ordered the catalogue. And staggering indeed are many of the prices, ranging from US 25 cents to a whopping $10,000. Some rarities are unpriced, such as the U.S. 1897 Di Brazza meter, the world’s earliest meter stamp of which only one cover in private hands is recorded, and no doubt may be worth even more. I was particularly surprised to learn that some New Zealand meters can be worth as much as US$7,500.

Meters have been popular with a relatively small group of enthusiasts since as early as the 1920s, and this publication will no doubt do much to stimulate a new generation of enthusiasts to venture in to the field (I’m in!). If you are amongst that rarified philatelic group who like to ‘get in early’ then I highly commend meters to you. If you would like details on how to obtain the catalogue send me an email ( rap@rap.com.au ) and I’ll give you the publisher’s details. Mine cost about US$125 (postage alone US$36.50!) but empowered with my new knowledge of meters I managed to get more than my money back (US$158 on eBay) for a solitary Chinese meter which previously I would have rated as next to worthless. Ah, knowledge can be intoxicating.

As an introduction to the potential charm of meters I have selected a few Australian types for comment. The valuations are my own idea of a fair retail price, but this is a field where bargains abound for the philatelic sleuth, and scarce and attractive items can often be located for very nominal sums. But don’t expect that situation to last indefinitely! The subjects featured are on complete cover, which is how I recommend they be collected, but I have featured just the meter stamp impression for some due to space constraints.


Image 1 missing from archive
Figure 1. Golf or tennis anyone?
Meter stamps were introduced in 1927 in Australia. Neopost manufactured the type in Figure 1 and the ‘893’ (or various other alphabetical/numerical sequences shown in subjects which follow) within the ‘Postage Paid’ impression indicates the Licensee number allocated to the recipient of that specific meter franking device, the Dunlop Rubber Co. in this instance. The generic form of this meter stamp is valued at US$10 in the catalogue, but advertising when added for the Licensee can considerably add to value, particularly when it incorporates a popular thematic subject, such as Golf or Tennis as shown in these examples. Value : $30 (each cover).


Jul 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. Regular stamp enthusiasts need not do without ‘SPECIMEN’ items in their pursuit of meter stamps!
When meter franking machines are installed, or following subsequent servicing of machinery, it is customary for technicians to produce trial or ‘Specimen’ strikes to ensure the machinery is functioning correctly and stamp impressions are of satisfactory clarity. In Figure 2 this Neopost machine (‘AY-9’) has delivered to us a very collectable ‘Coca-Cola’ trial impression. Value : $25.


Jul 05 3.jpg
Figure 3. Nostalgia can feature highly in meter stamp covers
Universal Postal Frankers commenced supplying its meter franking machines to Australia in 1928. Figure 3 shows two early advertising meters dispensed by UPF machines. The upper item is from the inaugural year of supply and features a character who would not look out of place amongst Elliot Ness’s Untouchables. Value : $20 (each cover).


Jul 05 4.jpg
Figure 4. Patriotic meters were prolific during WWII
One of many ‘Buy War Savings Certificates’ meter stamps which were in use during the war years is shown in Figure 4. This UPS type was a patriotic contribution by the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. There are many other types and one could form an interesting sideline collection of these alone. One I have features a ‘Biggles’-like character but the impression is not sufficiently complete to feature here (I’m on the lookout for a better one). Value : $5.


Jul 05 5.jpg
Figure 5. Overgrown teddy’s - typical of the abundance of thematic appeal amongst meter stamps
Pitney Bowes in 1950 entered the competition for meter franking machine supply in Australia. The postwar boom saw a marked increase in the demand for installation of franking machines for commerce, government and institutional use. Attractive advertising such as that in Figure 5 abound and are usually inexpensive. Value : $3.


Jul 05 6.jpg
Figure 6. Advertising overkill from Waltham Dan The Bargain Man
Roneo Neopost introduced in 1948 an obliging generic thematic with its ‘Kangaroo’ design. ‘K25’ went to Waltham Trading Co. who weren’t backward in coming forward with the impact of the 1955 advertising meter superimposed over a similarly designed illustrated envelope shown in Figure 6. Value : $5.


Jul 05 7.jpg
Figure 7. Did mum and dad really wear these in the ’fifties?
I’m still investigating who Roneo Neopost ‘909’ was licensed to, but they certainly produced a wonderful range of fashion advertising covers in the 1950s. The meter stamp did not include advertising but then I suppose it didn’t need to with such striking envelopes to be impressed upon. A gentleman wouldn’t be caught dead nowadays strutting along Bondi Beach dressed as the dashing young man in Figure 7. How about the gear on the mannequin? Well, at Sydney’s Mardi Gras that might not look so out of place. Value : $10 (each cover).


Jul 05 8.jpg
Figure 8. Meter stamp advertising all the rage by the ’sixties
In 1953 Universal Postal Frankers introduced a new ‘Postage Paid’ design featuring the Australian flag. By the 1960s ‘cutesy’ advertising such as that in Figure 8, doubtless influenced by the advent of the more creative Television medium, was becoming regularly seen in meter stamp advertising. Value : $3.


Jul 05 9.jpg
Figure 9. Framas didn’t produce the first ‘zero-rated’ stamps of Australia
Again from UPF, Figure 9 represents one of the more desirable meter stamps amongst thematic collectors. For a Royal Visit specialist this ‘Specimen’ impression (note ‘0/0’ in denomination sector) of the 1954 Royal Visit H.Q. meter, License no. ‘RV2’, together with Official handstamp and Perth datestamp, is rare and sought after. I doubt that even $100 would temper a specialists’ enthusiasm.


Jul 05 10.jpg
Figure 10. A tiger in this ungainly ‘tank’?
Pitney Bowes’ 1960 ‘map’ design also included emblematic aeroplane (upper left) and ‘surfie’ (lower right – I wonder if this has been noted by many?). Some of the advertising produced for this meter stamp series is amongst the finest one sees for Australia, comparable even to the outstanding designs seen in some German meters of the 1930s. Figure 10 shows two typical quality designs from the many encountered. More senior Nostalgia Buffs will recall the series of Esso ads on ’sixties TV featuring the ‘put a tiger in your tank’ motif.

So ends a truncated introduction to meter stamps. Any philatelic appetites out there whetted? Go on, surprise me.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News August 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


Norfolk Island commercial usage. Try finding these in a hurry

Norfolk Island was once a ‘Top of the Pops’ country amongst collectors in Australia. During the late ’seventies, early ’eighties boom its stamps reached heady levels indeed. Of course the stamps were never scarce, just heavily in demand by speculators intent on playing philatelic musical chairs. Prices for such ‘flavour of the month’ stamps eventually followed the law of gravity and came crashing back to earth, never to recover.

Ironically, what was scarce then (and is scarce to this time), but was totally overlooked by the less than enlightened buyers of that era (and indeed remains largely overlooked by today’s buyers), was the stamps commercially used on cover. Norfolk has a tiny resident population, moderately swollen by seasonal tourists, and the demand for stamps for postal purposes has always been modest, unlike the philatelic demand for mint, cancelled-to-order, and First Day Covers, which at various times since 1947 (when stamps were first issued) has been substantial. Assembling a complete collection 1947 to date in mint, CTO or on FDC is not a challenge. However, try collecting an example of every stamp issued but on commercial covers. Now there is a challenge!

But why would one bother to rise to such a challenge? Well, contrary to what many readers might believe, stamps are issued not only for collectors to diligently buy them from the Post Office and place in a stockbook or album; stamps do have another legitimate purpose to serve. That purpose is to pay for a postal service. Informed philatelists are coming to realise that to show examples of usage of the stamps they collect for the various ways in which they could be postally used is a very logical pursuit, and fun given ‘the thrill of the chase’ aspect which it entails.

This month I have featured some £SD issues of Norfolk on commercial cover. Most of these represent the only examples I have seen commercially used. This compares with sometimes thousands of the equivalent stamps in mint condition that I have handled during my philatelic career. The difference between my valuations for these covers and CTO or mint stamps will surprise many. I suggest that any doubters first try finding similar covers, following which I am confident they will become believers! Incidentally, I would love to hear from any reader who has, or has seen, the 1960 2/8d Local Government or 1961 10/- Bird commercially used on any postal article (email me on rap@rap.com.au ). Obviously I have not.


Aug 05 1.jpg
Figure 1. 2/- Landing, cleared for landing in U.S.
2/- was the airmail rate to U.S. when the item shown in Figure 1 was sent on 7 Jan 1958. The stamp (along with a companion 3d) had been issued on 8 Jun 1956 but, indicative of low local demand for stamps for postal purposes, had remained available at Norfolk Post Office for some time after. I had learnt of low local demand for stamps as early as 1965. Around the end of that year the Norfolk 10/- Bird had become exhausted at Australian philatelic bureaux, and the philatelic trade began to offer significantly above face value to obtain stock. A Post Office friend suggested I write to the Norfolk P.O. to enquire if they still had stock. So simple an initiative could never bear fruit thought I, but to my surprise back came a letter from the Norfolk Postmaster advising that indeed a complete sheet of the 10/- was available, and it would be reserved for a week pending my payment. Forty quid was a fair mouthful for a teenager but I was able to raise it and in due course I had the sheet. My elation turned to despair when I saw that the sheet’s gum was distinctly brown. Clearly it had been in stock on Norfolk for quite some time. I couldn’t afford to have so much money tied up in ‘dead’ stock and noted that dealers were paying as much for fine used of the 10/- as for mint. Back to Norfolk went the sheet with a plea to the Postmaster to neatly perform the old cancelled-to-order trick. Shortly after arriving in Melbourne for a second time, now duly neatly cancelled, the sheet was holding its breath under water, with the offending discoloured gum rapidly muddying that water. It was now early 1966, post-Decimal currency era, and the ten bob Norfolk Bird was ‘hot’. I had no trouble selling off my 80 superb used examples for between $4 and $4.50 each, thereby pocketing a nice little earner, and impressing upon my doubting parents that there just might be a future for me in stamp dealing. Back to Figure 1, the only example of commercial use on cover seen by me. Value : $400 (off cover $6).


Aug 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. Ball Bay 2/- blue, took over 30 years to find
The cover shown in Figure 2, a commercial use of the Ball Bay 1959 2/- blue, is also the only example I have seen. It was acquired just last year, over 30 years since I started looking for such items! Norfolk Island is notorious for the often poor quality of the application of its postmarks, and this very light strike does not provide us with a date of use, so we will say circa 1960s, at which time the airmail rate to U.S. remained at 2/- (as in Figure 1). Value : $500 (off cover $16).


Aug 05 3.jpg
Figure 3. PNG an unusual destination from Norfolk
I have seen two commercial uses of the 1958 8d on 8½d Surcharge, both from the correspondence in Figure 3. The airmail rate within Australia and Territories was 7d until 1 Oct 1959 when it reduced to 5d (8d for non-standard articles). Again, I can’t get a full date for this item other than it is 1959. It’s not a non-standard article, which would have required 8d, so is probably pre-1 Oct 1959 when the rate should have been 7d only. I believe it is commercial; stamp collectors seldom use scissors to trim open a cover at the side which is the case here. One can only speculate why 8d was used, and an incomplete inventory of stamp denominations at Norfolk P.O. would be amongst the possibilities. Value : $250 (off cover $2).


Aug 05 4.jpg
Figure 4. 1964. Covers/stationery items don’t have to be old to be rare
Figure 4 is an extremely rare use at Norfolk of the Australian (and Territories) formular Aerogramme. A few formular types of Aerogramme are known used from Norfolk, two of which (not including this type) were in the ‘Bradford’ collection, realising $950 and $700 at auction. The 1d and 9d stamps from the 1960-62 definitive series for a combined 10d correctly frank the Aerogramme for this 25 May 1964 commercial use to U.S. A modern rarity which is equally sought after by Postal Stationery aficionados. Value : $800 (stamps used off cover $1).


Aug 05 5.jpg
Figure 5. A more ‘joyous’ colour than Australia’s equivalent stamp?
Figure 5 comprises the only example of the 1960 5d Christmas I have encountered commercially used. This was a ‘find’ at Pacific Explorer 2005. Unusually clear strike of the Norfolk datestamp leaves no doubt on this occasion of a 5 Apr 1961 use to Australia at standard airmail rate. Some, me included, will find it extraordinary that such a commercial use should be so very scarce. Value : $125 (off cover $6).


Aug 05 6.jpg
Figure 6. Not much Christmas interchange of mail between Norfolk and Mainland
Similar to the 1960 Christmas stamp (Figure 5) which was not used at Christmas time, the 1961 Christmas stamp in Figure 6 was used after Christmas, suggesting that not a lot of mail was exchanged between Norfolk and the Mainland at that momentous time of year. I can only get 1962 out of the again frustrating Norfolk datestamp, which at least confirms the use as contemporary, which is important. My valuations in this column are always for stamps used contemporaneously. Out-of-period usage of stamps, such as we see so often on our incoming mail nowadays, do not qualify for the valuations I provide. Stamps which are clearly used out-of-period are worth at best no more than the equivalent stamp used off cover. Unless such covers have something else to recommend them, such as a less common cancellation or other noteworthy postal marking, even I don’t mind seeing such items ‘woodchipped’. I’ve seen only two of the 1961 Christmas stamp commercially used on cover. Value : $75 (off cover $2).


Aug 05 7.jpg
Figure 7. These Fish travelled above sea level
The franking of 1/- on the cover in Figure 7 I can’t reasonably explain, other than to add that I’m certain it’s a commercial cover (Winns Ltd produced a huge incoming mail from which I have seen hundreds of items, such as that in Figure 6). The airmail rate on 16 Nov 1962 was still 5d, although if the article was over ½oz. and non-standard (which it doesn’t appear to be) it would have attracted 11d, close enough perhaps to our 1/- franking. This is the only commercial cover from the 1962-63 Fishes series I have seen. Quite remarkable I think, particularly as I’ve been looking for such things for a long time. Value : $90 (stamps off cover $1).


Aug 05 8.jpg
Figure 8. Little used Second class airmail service to U.S.
Figure 8 comprises the only second class airmail item from Norfolk I can recall having seen. This 24 Oct 1965 cover is unsealed (a requirement for eligibility for this concessional rate) which was available for printed matter, greetings cards and also postcards. The item also boasts the only commercial franking of the 1965 ANZAC stamp I have seen. Value : $150 (stamps off cover $2.50).


Aug 05 9.jpg
Figure 9. Definitely not what it seems
To end on an unrelated but I trust interesting note, in the April 2005 column I featured a U.S. postcard bearing the Presidential series 11c as a solo franking on a postcard which realised a seemingly remarkable US$415 on eBay. This for a stamp barely worth 20c used off cover/card. Just as I penned these notes the 22c denomination of that same series (the Americans call them ‘Prexies’), worth all of 40c used, has fetched US$764 (bidding started at US$9.99) for a solo franking on 1941 registered cover. This was of course a commercial cover (FDC’s are common), 22c stated to represent letter rate (3c), registration fee (18c for $5-$25 indemnity), and fee for undeclared indemnity under $50 (1c), the last mentioned something unknown in Australian postal charges of that era. Take a look at Figure 9 and you will be forgiven for otherwise guessing that this cover could be in the ‘buck, buck-and-a-half’ range.

Who is buying this material and paying such seemingly high prices? Philatelic ‘nutters’? Well, actually no. I put the question to two American friends who I had the pleasure of catching up with at Pacific Explorer 2005 in Sydney recently. Both are very experienced international Philatelists, one a dealer/exhibitor and the other an exhibitor. They had no hesitation in informing me that amongst the leading enthusiasts for usage on cover of the ‘Prexie’ series are leading collectors of Classic U.S. material. In other words, the Smart Money. They recognise that rarities of usage are not confined only to the 19th century, but exist equally for 20th century issues. The sums involved may be vastly different, but rarity levels are comparable. Simply put, the Smart Money is getting in early before the masses learn what they already know. And we know what happens when everyman and his dog jumps on the bandwagon. Don’t we?
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News September 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


Money not scarce at Baillie Sale


The three-day auction by Sotheby’s in Melbourne of the Australia & Colonies section of the enormously valuable collection formed by Sir Gawaine Baillie, Bt, was a philatelic marathon event even by world standards. Colleague, Simon Dunkerley, will feature many of the outstanding results, and many there were, in his usual interesting and informed manner in his column this issue. I will make a few comments here which are purely from my perspective as an observer of the sale. Sir Gawaine was not a ‘Cover Lover’, thereby excluding his Estate of ever prising money from this little duck.

Some had questioned the rationality of Sotheby’s in conducting in Australia the sale of a U.K.-based collection, citing the U.K. as being the accepted centre for marketing of British Commonwealth material. Where would the millions come from here to absorb so much material they argued? They need not have been concerned, for the usual suspects in the U.K. were well represented by Agents present at the Sale, or in person on the well-manned phones. And of course, the Who’s who of local collectors of the material on offer would not have allowed a herd of stampeding elephants to stand in their way in attending. Frankly, I was surprised and a little concerned not to see any ‘new’ faces amongst the reasonably large crowd present. Certainly, there was a general consensus amongst the informed who were present that prices realised generally did not represent particularly good value for money for the proud new owners. The term ‘irrational exuberance’ was heard to be uttered on several occasions during the sale. Could it be that the emerging new generation of philatelists is seeking in their Philately greater value for money?

Actually, in my opinion, the Baillie Australia & Colonies Collection does not rate as one of the great collections of its kind. This may appear an odd statement to make of a collection which realised $3.2 million, but I don’t believe I’m being unduly uncharitable in making such a statement. Rather, I rate it as a valuable collection more than a great collection, given its structure and scope. Baillie was clearly a value buyer, with a comfort zone which restrained his auction bidding for example to participating in the activity to a level at or about auction estimate. This is a widely entrenched practice, particularly amongst bidders who have a sound general appreciation of their collecting subject, rather than a commanding knowledge of it. As a consequence of this acquisition style the Baillie Collection generally scored items which were good, but less than the best of their kind, and missed out on many of the most desirable pieces offered during the past few decades. Examples of comparative weakness for material which could have been acquired are the almost complete absence of Australian pre-war Essays and Proofs, Monograms and Imprints (particularly for Kangaroos) were patchy; Colonial imperforates were scant, and indeed the Colonials in general were more in the nature of a pot-pourri, albeit at times a peppered one. The Victoria was particularly ordinary, but given that when collecting it I didn’t allow Baillie, or anyone else for that matter, the opportunity to acquire outstanding items I’ll have to forgive that inadequacy. Further, in not including used (and used on cover!) the collection was deprived of many rarities, and such omission detracted from its overall character. Purely mint collections I find a little too sterile for my Philatelic taste (with apologies to unmounted mint only devotees). To conclude, I must add that as an investment, which the Baillie Collection could be said to encompass first and foremost, this was a most successful example!

Much of the material contained in the collection was offered in Australia during the ’seventies, when it generally represented good value for money. During that decade I believe it fair to say that I was one of the ‘movers and shakers’ in the market for exhibition-quality Australia & Colonies. I am and have always been, if nothing else, a value buyer in Philately. Examples of three ex-Baillie items which I handled in the ’seventies are given below, with relevant ‘Then’ and ‘Now’ comments. These items were purchased for Sir Gawaine in the ‘Holding’ Sale (Harmers of Sydney, 1982), having been acquired for the ‘Holding’ (pseudonym for a wealthy Australian family) portfolio in my 1979 Rarity sale.


Sep 05 1.jpg
Figure 1. 1d violet Imperforate three sides pair
Five pairs similar to Figure 1 are recorded in Brusden-White’s (BW) ‘King George V’ catalogue. This pair was from the famed collection formed by H.F. McNess of Perth (as were Figures 2 and 3). It fetched $5000 in 1979, $4400 in 1982, and $70000 in 2005. Realisations here and elsewhere do not include buyer’s premium. The ‘dip’ in realisation for this and Figure 3 in 1982 can be explained by 1979 being a boom year, while 1982 was well into the post-boom ‘depression’.


Sep 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. 1d green block of four Imperforate at top
BW records a total of 12 imperf. at top errors in various configurations. Figure 2 it is rumoured may already have been separated in to two vertical pairs. It made $600 in 1979, $1100 in 1982 (against the general post-boom trend), and $30000 in 2005.


Sep 05 3.jpg
Figure 3. 3d blue unique Imperforate three sides imprint strip
‘At least 36 examples of the error have survived’ according to BW, including three imprints, Figure 3 the largest of these. One of the more desirable of the great Commonwealth rarities, this strip made $10500 in 1979, a sad $6000 in 1982, and redeemed itself with $50000 in 2005.

The above three examples suggest that 1982 was one of the better years in which to buy Commonwealth rarities. 2005? I’ll let the reader be the judge of that. Will values continue to appreciate in a similar way to how they did between, say, 1982 and 2005? Let’s put it this way. If I thought the answer was yes I would be a ‘mover and shaker’ in that market, as in the ’seventies. I’m not, because being a value buyer I see much better value elsewhere, and there is no prize for the reader in guessing that ‘elsewhere’ lies within the realm of covers (and various forms of Postal Stationery). Ironically, the Baillie Sale, entirely devoid of covers as it was, has indirectly refocused the attention of the more enlightened amongst us to the fact that it is commercial covers which represent the best value for money in Philately. On that note, let’s finish the column with our usual covers ‘hit’.


Sep 05 4.jpg
Figure 4. A cover of Baronet quality?
Figure 4 would not have looked out of place in the Baillie Collection if he had chosen to include a representation of Australian stamps usage. As an example of usage of the 1934 Macarthur 9d it is a fine one indeed. In combination with contemporary 2d and 3d it formed part of a 5 Dec 1934 composition for the 1/2d ½oz airmail rate to India; even the regally named Post Office datestamp, Trungley Hall (N.S.W.), is befitting of a Knight of the Realm! This is a most attractive combination of a scarce postal rate and a scarce stamp on commercial cover. Nice covers bearing 1930s high denomination commemoratives are very hard to find, and I have reassessed my opinion of values following a comparison with far more readily obtainable items in the Baillie Sale which nevertheless fetched comparatively much higher prices. Such covers have a very bright future, and I can’t resist speculating on what this item might have fetched were it included in the Baillie Sale. Probably a good deal more than my valuation! Value : $750 (stamps off cover $36). Expect the gap between stamps used off cover and attractive use on cover to continue to broaden in the future.


Sep 05 5.jpg
Figure 5. One of life’s more forgettable marketing exercises
I wasn’t always a committed ‘Cover Lover’. In the early ’seventies I acquired a bundle of covers virtually identical to Figure 5. There were around 50 bearing the 1913 1d Engraved, which is otherwise a rather scarce stamp used on cover. I attempted to sell them at $1 each (you may be able to see in the scan ‘$1’ pencilled in lower left corner of Figure 5, which is in my hand), which was then about the price of a 1d used off cover. I recall there was little demand and I considered floating the stamps off whereby they would have been more readily saleable. Fortunately I did not, and sold them as one lot in one of my earliest auctions. On a few occasions in the interim I have seen the odd one of these distinctive covers appear on the market, this example recently on eBay. It fetched US$76.50, or about 100 times my earlier retail price. Actually, this was an astute purchase by the eBay winner as the current retail price for such a cover is more like A$200.

Next issue the subject will be ‘Should you be more acquisative in your collecting?’.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News October 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


Should yo be more aquisitive in your collecting? Only if you want to be a successful collector.

Philately has proven over many years to be one of the best investments amongst the many forms of collectables, producing pleasure and profit for countless astute collectors who have applied an intelligent approach to their collecting. Pleasure and Profit (let’s call it P2). Can any reader tell me which conventional investment provides that irresistible combination?

Now let me qualify ‘Should you be more acquisitive in your collecting’. By that I wouldn’t suggest, for example, doubling one’s New Issue order. Not unless contributing to the pool of discount postage for this and the next generation is your idea of pleasure, for profit would be a highly unlikely outcome based upon the record of Australian Decimal stamps of the past almost 40 years, at least for material mint or used off cover. Decimal issues commercially used on cover? Now that’s a very different proposition which I will shortly touch upon.


Image 1 missing from archive
Figure 1. An Aussie Decimal cover on philatelic steroids
On the subject of Australian Decimal issues, let’s at this point take a novel approach to comparing the performance of a key basic stamp, the 1966 $4 Navigator, in mint and used on and off cover. In 1966 the Letter rate was 4c, and today it is 50c. $4 is 100 times 4c, and therefore today we would need $50 in order to equal 100 times the present 50c Letter rate. Arguably, therefore, the $4 Navigator would need to be worth $50 today on the basis of the Letter rate comparison, which in my opinion is a valid and certainly relevant yardstick. In actual fact, the $4 stamp mint is worth only $2.40 to $3.00 to those who buy for the postage market, wherein lies the real demand for the vast quantity available of this and most other mint Decimal issues. Used the stamp retails at around $3 and there is no shortage of supply if you want them. But used on commercial cover? The only such cover I have seen (Figure 1), and what a cover it is (a ‘Schwarzenegger’ in rap-speak), is owned by a friend to whom I recently made an offer of $1000 (‘Tempting, but I’ll pass’ was the reply). I therefore am valuing this cover at around 300 times the worth of a single mint or used (off cover) $4 stamp.

Returning to our topic of the month, what then should one target for a collection in order to maximise P2 opportunity? Well, if you haven’t already joined the many collectors who have recognised the importance of including in their collections examples of commercial use on cover of the stamps they collect, I highly recommend that you consider doing so forthwith. It’s my recommendation for I firmly believe that stamps used on commercial cover will be an outperformer within the realms of Philately during the next decade. The momentum is already under way internationally and is set to grow steadily, and on occasions exponentially. Why? Well, a stamp used commercially on cover is the optimum collectable in the category of ‘used’. A stamp removed from its original cover can tell us little or nothing of the history of its journey from point ‘A’ to ‘B’, and that journey may well have been adventurous, or even a misadventure. The intact cover is an effective time capsule, often recording interesting and/or value-adding philatelic or historic occurrences during its journey, which would probably not be determinable in the dislodged used stamp. The stamp on cover may represent an unusual rate, or be addressed to an unlikely or exotic destination, again considerations which can add value, often considerably, and interest way beyond the limitations of the used stamp off cover. Searching for noteworthy usage on cover of the stamps you collect adds individuality and ‘spice’ to your collection, and can be both stimulating and fun!

In the thirty years that I operated a public stamp auction I saw thousands of collections, the vast majority forgettable clones of one another. I recall on one particular Round the Nation trip to visit potential sellers I met two collectors who happened to live in the one suburb. The collections sounded rather unexciting but the economy of scale made it potentially viable to visit both. One had mint Norfolk Island and PNG in big, heavy albums (also a turn-off given travel constraints) and I politely declined on the basis of too little value and interest. Had the collector included commercial use of some of the stamps on cover I would gladly have taken them. I can still hear his pleas of ‘But Mr. Perry, they’re complete’ as I quickly departed. The other collector had used N.Z. which he had catalogued up by Campbell Patterson and proudly proclaimed the value at ‘over NZ$45,000’. I have always felt that collectors who know the catalogue value of their stamp collection generally have nothing other than standard, everyday ‘garden variety’ collections, and perhaps achieve solace in knowing the ‘value’, rather in the nature of a junior collector knowing how many stamps he or she has at any given time (sadly, I confess I knew). The condition was typically mixed, devoid of the stamps that really mattered and heavily duplicated with those that don’t, and not a cover in sight! A really boring collection. To the astonishment of this collector I again politely declined, citing his certain disappointment at the really low percentage of catalogue value that his material would achieve at auction as my reason for abstaining.


Oct 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. ‘Show me your used $20 Paintings and I’ll show you mine’
The moral to these stories? If all you have is mint and/or used (off cover) of the basic stamps of a country or countries which are readily available in those grades, you’re probably kidding yourself if you believe that you have something ‘special’. If you collect modern Australia, for example, wouldn’t the inclusion of an item such as Figure 2 contribute a little ‘spice’ to your collection? This 14 Aug 1995 commercial use of the $20 stamp to pay the TaxpackExpress rate, a service which provided a speedy processing of your Tax Return (if required!). Many collectors of used off cover don’t like non-circular cancels (and light ones only even then). On cover I find unusual cancels such as this (and the also generally unloved coloured circular cancel) attractive and a contributing factor to character, and scarcity as it so happens in this instance for the ‘POSTAL MANAGER/WEST END 4101 ’ datestamp is seldom seen used for regular postal services. Value : $30 (off cover $6).

On a different, but potentially relevant note to the future of Philately as a wonderful source of P2, I recently watched an Australian documentary in which the subject was the increasingly high rate of separation/divorce amongst retirees. The crux was usually due to the male suddenly having nothing to do and being around the house all day doing it (to chants of ‘when do we eat’, etc). Surely, this presents to all we Philatelists an opportunity to become Ambassadors to promote whenever the situation arises our great pastime of Philately as a worthwhile pursuit (and remember, one which offers P2), while at the same time possibly saving the relationship of friends or family! Whatever we do, we must not let the Post Office run exclusively with this opportunity, and one may be certain their marketing people watched the same documentary as I. New Issues and other Philatelic Nine-day wonders do not a lifelong and rewarding interest make.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News November 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


Big covers. More Bang for your buck.

I’ve been a fan of larger, highly franked covers of the world for many years, particularly when the franking includes the highest denominations then current. Few in the past have shared my enthusiasm for ‘oversized’ covers, citing page size limitations as the reason for excluding large covers from their collections. I’m pleased to note, most recently at Pacific Explorer 2005, that more and more exhibitors have stumbled upon the revelation that if you double the size of your page you can display covers which are, well, double the size of what was previously possible. I find it curious that in the past some of the most breathtaking covers in existence could not find a home owing to a mindset which had it that if the cover was too big for a standard page it therefore wasn’t collectable.

Imagine if the National Gallery of Victoria hadn’t purchased in 1933 Tiepolo’s The banquet of Cleopatra for the reason that it didn’t have a space large enough to hang it? Fortunately, Australia was not about to decline the opportunity to own one of the great art treasures of the world for any such flimsy reason. Necessity being the mother of all invention, of course it would build a dedicated wall to hang the picture.

High denomination stamps are seldom conveniently found on standard-sized covers. When they are so found it is usually (but not always) the arrangement of a Philatelist. To necessitate a high franking the weight of an article is a major factor (dimensions are another), particularly for airmail where rates are usually calculated at ½oz. intervals. To incur say ten times the standard ½oz. airmail rate an article would therefore need to weigh 4½-5oz., and that requires a much larger cover than standard.

I’ve selected four ‘oversize’ covers of Great Britain this month. These include some good examples of why a collector would be doing a collection a gross injustice not to include such items. These are generally more valuable items than I usually tend to feature in this column.


Nov 05 1.jpg
Figure 1. Seldom is a PUC £1 seen used for the purpose for which it was intended
Although issued in 1929 as a commemorative stamp, the £1 Postal Union Congress remained on sale for several years thereafter, effectively in the role of a de facto definitive in the absence of such a denomination in the range of stamps then current. Figure 1 shows a 9 Jan 1937 commercial use from Wilton Rd Hudson’s Place in London to Australia, accompanied by ‘Seahorse’ 2/6d (2) and 5/- pair, making up a total franking of 35/-, or 28 times the 1/3d ½oz. airmail rate. The article would therefore have weighed 13½-14ozs., providing a good example of why one is unlikely to see such a high franking on a more conveniently sized commercial cover. So unloved were such covers that very few intact items bearing the £1 have survived. Value : $4000 (stamps off cover $650).


Nov 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. An indecent number of ten bob dark blues were required to transmit this large item by airmail from London to Melbourne
I have a colour photo of Figure 2 which once hung in a previous office. The late Peter Jaffé, one of Australia’s most famed collectors of classic material, noticed it on one occasion and remarked in his distinctive English accent ‘That must be the greatest 20th Century cover in the world’. This came as a surprise from Peter as I had not previously known him to have the time of day for ‘modern’ material. I certainly have no difficulty agreeing that it is a great cover. Sent on 18 Jul 1941 by a ‘Clipper’ Flying Boat on the Transpacific route established in emergency conditions during World War II when the traditional routes were by necessity closed, the rate was a sobering 4/6d per ½oz., which compared with the prewar rate of only 1/3d. The Figure 2 franking, a gob-smacking £17 6 6d sterling – or then about the price of a shack in Australia, represents 77 times that 4/6d rate. What’s it worth? Well, the owner doesn’t yet wish to part company with it, but I suspect that this item would breach the £5000 mark if offered at auction in London. The stamps off cover, if you wanted ’em, could be readily picked up for a couple of hundred Dollars or less. Incredibly, this cover was ‘found’ used as a liner in the bottom of a carton lot purchased from a major Australian stamp auction in the ’nineties. Admirers of ‘oversize’ covers can get their just desserts.


Nov 05 3.jpg
Figure 3. £1 Silver Wedding surprisingly rare on commercial cover
The £1 Silver Wedding is a readily available stamp mint or used (off cover) but the only example used on a commercial article I’ve seen is that in Figure 3. Here we have an improvised cover which, according to the Customs label affixed to reverse, once contained ‘Shoe wrappers’ and is further endorsed ‘Sample/12ozs.’. The rate of 33/9d is 27 times the postwar 1/3d ½oz. airmail rate, and equates to a weight of 13-13½ozs, rather than the 12 indicated in the Customs label. The London cancel is undated, but was probably sometime in 1948. Value : $500 (stamps off cover around $35).


Nov 05 42.jpg
Figure 4. Recent discovery includes first 1948 £1’s seen on cover
For almost 20 years I’ve been searching for a commercial cover bearing the short-lived £1 brown of 1948. I had expected to find one addressed to Australia but to no avail. At the very minimum such an article would have needed to weigh 7½-8ozs. (16 times 1/3d ½oz. airmail rate), and although I have seen higher frankings of the era they bore multiple examples of the companion 10/- ultramarine rather than the £1. The £1 is rather uncommon used even off cover, being one of the few definitive stamps to be more highly catalogued used than mint (£7 vs. £26). Well, recently I found Figure 4 in Australia, although addressed to Hong Kong. This is a Sep 1949 (datestamp has no day slug) use from Fenchurch St London of a pair of the £1 and various contemporaries for a total franking of 56/4d. The article appears to have once contained a book, and may have been sent at a printed matter rate (for which I don’t yet have readily available information) for the franking is not a convenient multiple of the 1/3d ½oz. rate. It was certainly very heavy – probably around 20ozs. or more. A rather handsome franking for my taste, I ‘found’ this in a carton of woodchipped on paper from the same correspondence offered in a major Australian stamp auction. Such is the disdain for such items amongst so many it did not so much as rate a mention in the auction catalogue description. Long live ‘the thrill of the chase’. Value : $750 (stamps off cover about $45).

On a final note, I wish to congratulate Dr Geoff Kellow for receiving a Gold medal at the State Level Sydney Stamp Expo 2005, for his ‘Sierra Leone Postal Rates 1937-71’, entered in the Inaugural Judges’ Tournament. Geoff is an early participant in the growing movement towards forming collections where usage on commercial cover is a key ingredient of the subject composition. Further confirmation that a ‘Best of its kind’ collection can be formed without having to outlay daunting sums.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News December 2005

Woodchip-free Zone


King George VI - When common becomes uncommon (Part II).

Part I of this two-part article appeared in the February issue. Then I featured issues for the period 1937-41, and on this occasion it’s the final decade of the King’s reign. In the first part I mentioned that Brusden-White’s ACSC-series King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II – 1952-1966 were to be combined in to a single publication. Geoff Kellow, catalogue series editor, now advises that owing to size constraints the two sections will remain as stand alone publications, with delivery to the printer imminent.

Having recently despatched to Geoff my suggestions for revision of the prices for the ‘On cover’ column in the catalogues, it’s perhaps timely for this completion of the overview of KGVI issues used on commercial cover. Most readers hopefully should agree the selected subjects are good examples of ‘When common becomes uncommon’.


Dec 05 1.jpg
Figure 1. The little ½d Kangaroo looking ever so lonely
The 1938 ½d Kangaroo underwent a perforation change in 1942 and in 1949 was converted to unwatermarked paper stock. This 22 Nov 1953 solo use of the last issue is particularly interesting. It was posted to Melbourne by a Corporal serving with the Australian Contingent during the Korean War (‘AUST UNIT POSTAL STN/388’) was the datestamp then allocated to 2 Battalion R.A.R.). The cover has been trimmed at sides as if to fashion it into a makeshift wrapper for the conveyancing of printed matter. We know of a ½d newspaper rate for U.K. Forces serving in Australia (although I have yet to see an example of that usage). Figure 1 is the first ½d solo rate I have recorded and I can’t find any reference to it having been a legitimate rate for Defence Forces Concessional Mail. Surface postage was free for those serving in Korea, but airmail for printed matter at ½d appears generous. The article was permitted to travel without taxing so either it was a legitimate use or was simply overlooked as underpaid, perhaps by a sympathetic Postal officer. Whatever the circumstances, this is a rare solo usage. Value : $100 (off cover zero).


Dec 05 2.jpg
Figure 2. Photos unlikely to be arriving in your mailbox any day soon
On 28 Feb 1950 the folder in Figure 2 was sent from Colac to Beeac (Vic), and the photos it contained would have been eagerly awaited by the addressee. The Printed matter rate was then 1½d only (it became 2d on 1 Dec 1950) so the article was actually overpaid by ½d. The excitement in receiving photos in those days would no doubt have greatly outweighed consideration of correct postal rates. Value : $10 (off cover zero).


Dec 05 3.jpg
Figure 3. 1940s 3½d ‘blues’ were intended for export
The five 3½d blue commemorative issues of the ’forties were issued primarily for the Foreign letter rate. They are rather uncommon used for that purpose and are more often encountered as a make-up value for domestic registered mail or above base rate (2½d) articles. Figure 3 is quite unusual in being a solo domestic use of a 3½d Mitchell on 13 Mar 1947 from Sydney to Newcastle. The machine-applied cancel conveniently tells us that this was a ‘Late fee’ article (a mss. marking at top further confirms its status) which incurred a cost of 1d over and above the standard 2½d Letter rate. I have suggested a cover price of $20 in ACSC for a more ‘garden variety’ use of this stamp, but this is a scarcer and more desirable usage. Value : $50 (off cover 30c).


Dec 05 4.jpg
Figure 4. 1950, when hats were sent by mail more often
The 1948 1/3d Hereford Bull is uncommon used on cover where it is mostly found as a make-up denomination for overseas airmail and domestic registered mail. It is very scarce indeed used for Parcel post, the primary purpose for its issue. Figure 4 is the only example I have seen of this primary use, on a label which was once affixed to a parcel containing a ‘Gladmore hat’. The rate was 1/3d for a 1lb parcel to an adjoining State. This was the ‘Scale 3’ rate for Adjoining States. However, the article was sent 24 Oct 1950 (well in time for “Betsy Jane” to wear to The Melbourne Cup) from Bourke St East (Melbourne) to Echuca, which should have been ‘Scale 2’, being within State but beyond 30 miles, for which the rate was 1/-. It appears that Echuca, which is on the Murray River, was close enough to the border by Post Office standards to qualify for the ‘Adjoining States’ rate. I value 1/3d’s on cover for ACSC at $35 but this solo use is an excellent example of its type. Value : $75 (off ‘cover’ 50c).


Dec 05 5.jpg
Figure 5. Two ‘One Pound Jimmy’s’ are better than one
Figure 5 is a novel cover bearing both the 8½d and 2/6d Aborigine (so-called ‘One Pound Jimmy’, for Djungarai’s standard reply when asked his daily rate was ‘One Pound, Boss’), together with KGVI 1/0½d. None of these issues are easy to find on cover, and the 2/6d is particularly uncommon; it was primarily for parcels and telegrams. The article is by registered airmail 24 Jul 1952 Sydney to U.S. at a rate of 4/3d. This actually overpays (by 6d) the double airmail rate of 1/6d per ½oz. plus 9d registration fee. The airmail rate was to increase to 2/- the following week, which may have contributed to confusion with the Postal officer servicing the article. Value : $50 (stamps off cover $1).


Dec 05 6.jpg
Figure 6. Worth $60, but check the fine detail before becoming too excited
Under Figure 1 we referred to the Concessional ½d newspaper rate for U.K. Forces in Australia. Concessions extended also to Liaison Staff in Australia and Figure 6 is a good example of the 3d airmail rate to U.K. then applicable (the regular airmail rate to U.K. was 1/6d), replete with appropriate informative handstamp, sent Melbourne to England on 2 Jun 1952. Do not confuse this solo use of the KGVI 3d green with common Printed matter usages of which I have seen (indeed have) hundreds. Value : $60 (off cover zero).


Dec 05 7.jpg
Figure 7. ‘In to the bath with this grotty little number’
Thomas Cook & Son in London at various times in history must have had a resident Philatelist or two on the staff, for I have seen many covers surviving intact addressed to the firm. Upon receipt of Figure 7 well may one have imagined a recipient making a statement such as the caption I have provided for this item. Fortunately, our Philatelic Guardian Angel at Cooks did not engage in such practice, and this highly franked article carried aboard the ill-fated BOAC Belfast, which crashed at Singapore on 13 Mar 1954 en route to U.K., remains intact. This high 36/- franking, which includes Arms £1 and 5/- pair, was for an airmail article originally weighing 17½-18ozs (ie 2/- per ½oz.). Coincidentally, I have a cover bearing Arms 10/- and £2 which also survived this air crash (see Stamp News November 2002), which completes the Arms set on ‘crash’ covers! Value : $400 (stamps off cover, well, in this condition not much).


Dec 05 8.jpg
Figure 8. 1951 5½d Federation. Should be worth a hundred used off cover in my opinion
The 1951 5½d Federation was issued primarily for the Foreign letter rate (FLR). The stamp was issued on 1 May 1951 and on 9 Jul 1951 the FLR increased from 5½d to 7½d, not providing much time in which the stamp could be used for its primary purpose. In fact, Figure 8, used 15 Jun 1951 from Newcastle to Norway, is the only use of this stamp for the FLR encountered. I’ve handled thousands of this stamp mint and used (off cover and on common FDC’s) but here’s the only solo franking for the primary purpose for which the stamp was issued that I’ve seen! As you may have gathered, I like it. Value : $200 (off cover 50c). If you think the valuation’s preposterous take a look at Figure 10.


Dec 05 9.jpg
Figure 9. 1951 Centenaries pair. Innocuous but rare
Figure 9 is what I regard as a good example of a rarity which would go unappreciated by all but a handful of philatelic aficionados so inclined. The Centenaries stamps were issued on 2 Jul 1951 for the 3d Letter rate, and it is very difficult to find a joined pair (the same applies for the other 1950-53 joined pairs) on a commercial cover. It’s most likely that if one was to make such a find it would be for the domestic Airmail rate, which was 6d per ½oz. However, given that the rate increased to 6½d on 9 Jul 1951, just a week after these stamps were issued, that was always going to be a tall ask. Figure 9, used 3 Jul 1951 from Hobart to Melbourne, is the only example of the 6d Airmail rate utilising a Centenaries joined pair that I’ve found. Truly a ‘little unsung hero’. Value : $75 (off cover 60c).


Dec 05 10.jpg
Figure 10. A Philatelic ‘New Age’ item triumphs yet again
The 1952 KGVI 4½d scarlet as a solo franking and its scarcity as such has been featured in this column previously. It was issued primarily for the Foreign postcard rate, although its use for that purpose appears to have been very limited. About seven examples have ‘turned up’ thus far, one of which (Figure 10) was recently offered on eBay (by a North American vendor to whom in the ’nineties I had telegraphed the significance of such an item!). This 16 Dec 1952 use from Melbourne to U.S. realised US$326, but to me the more interesting statistic was that there were seven (repeat, seven) individual bidders participating for this item at above the US$200 level. I was one of them (at US$275 – I still don’t have an example of this usage!) and I’m encouraged, indeed delighted, to note that more and more collectors are coming to appreciate the importance of including in their collections examples of usage on cover/card of those stamps they collect.

On reflection, I appreciate that if you prefer your stamps ‘squeaky clean’ (‘sterile’ as I irreverently prefer to put it) direct from a Post Office, this column probably wont have the slightest interest for you. If, however, you have the inclination and patience to learn more about the type of material that ‘turns on’ fastlane Philatelists (and hopefully aspire to become one of them), then you may recognise that this column could have something in it for you.

Fred Johnson, author of More Riches from Real Estate and at one time one of Australia’s richest men, wrote in the ’seventies words to the effect that of every one hundred people who buy his book he doubted that even one would act upon his recommendations. When I write this column I often think to myself Fred was an optimist. If even one in one thousand of the readers of this column acted upon my recommendations, and I accept that I am deluding myself as to the number of readers, then that would be a success rate beyond my wildest expectations!

Just as this column was about to be despatched to Stamp News Mr Harold Sheath, of country Victoria, kindly provided me with the rate information for Figure 4 in last month’s column (1949 56/4d cover from U.K. to Hong Kong). The rate translates as 56 times 1/- per ½oz. for an article weighing 27½-28ozs. plus 4d registration (which I had conveniently overlooked – demonstrating how easy such an oversight can be). Thank you Harold for responding to my tardiness and for being my ‘1 in 1000’ reader for the month!

My best wishes to readers for a safe and happy Festive Season.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News January 2006

Woodchip-free Zone


Germany (West), with acknowledgement to Mr. Stadly.

Germany this month, and I’ll not mention the war . I will however explain the ‘Mr. Stadly’ connection. I have previously in this column mentioned that nostalgia can (and perhaps preferably should) play an important role in considering new collecting topics. Personally, as I’ve intimated before, amongst other collecting interests I’m taken with collecting the types of stamps which I vividly recall being present in Whole World ‘all different’ packets of the type regularly received from family/friends when I was a kid. Now, however, unlike back in the ’fifties, I collect my stamps commercially used only on original cover, card, parcel label, etc.

Back to Mr. Stadly, who was the next door neighbour to my parents for decades. Mr Stadly was German, with an Import/Export business in which I worked during school holidays. Much of the business incoming mail was from his contacts in Germany, and I was permitted to keep the stamps which, sadly, I dutifully removed from the covers and parcels as they arrived. The ‘Heuss’ (Figures 2, 3, 4) series was the then current definitives, and the incoming mail I had access to was occasionally peppered with commemoratives. It was to me logical (and of course nostalgic) therefore that I should include usage of this stamp series, which I’ve expanded to include also the other definitive series’ shown in the illustrations. In this group of reference collections, and for all of the collections for other countries I develop, I include usage of the contemporaneous commemorative and other special issues, in combination or not with the subject definitive series’.

The subjects shown in Figures 1 to 5 which follow are selected from our reference collections for the respective series’, which range in scope from one (16 pages) to eight frames (120 pages) for exhibition purposes. I do usage only (ie commercially used on covers/cards, etc), whereas others may prefer to include mint stamps, philatelic covers, Stationery, etc, in a ‘Series’ dedicated collection. The valuations provided are largely interpreted from Michel’s excellent ‘stamps on cover’ catalogue, which provides a price for most German stamps commercially used on cover as a (i) solo franking, (ii) double franking and (iii) combination franking with other issue/s. These provide a useful ‘blueprint’ from which to extrapolate a usage collection. Michel also provide postal rates but as they are in German I have ‘interpreted’ these and may be proven wrong. I’d be happy to be corrected if a knowledgable reader cares to take the trouble to do so.

Fig-1 January 06.jpg
Figure 1. The ‘glamorous’ Posthorn series

The first definitive series of the then West Germany was the ‘Posthorns’. A ‘glamour’ set mint, and quite expensive in that grade yet readily available to those with the ‘readies’, I have found interesting commercial covers difficult to find, at least in Australia. I have managed only a ‘one-framer’ to date, although with the inclusion of mint blocks and varieties as detailed in Michel’s German Specialised catalogue one could greatly expand upon my humble exhibit. Figure 1 is one of the more attractive covers I have found. The ‘Posthorns’ are particularly notable for the often vibrant colours in the series, and the ‘apple-green’ for the 90pf is a good example of this attribute. This Michel (iii) usage (see categories above) of a block of five on 17 Sep 1952 registered cover (to the then Minister for Shipping and Transport no less) from Hamburg conveniently gives the weight (mss. ‘25g’ at upper left) for us to determine the airmail rate as 450pf (90pf for 5g x 5), plus 40pf registration. Value : $150 (stamps off cover $10).

Fig-2 January 06.jpg
Figure 2. Three ‘Heuss’, two ‘Fräuleins’

Definitive issues in combination with commemoratives often make for colourful diversity in a usage collection, and the inclusion of two issues from the 1958 Humanitarian Relief and Welfare Funds set certainly enhances the ‘Heuss’ 10, 20 and 40pf which are otherwise rather unmeritorious on this cover. The combined franking of 100pf for this 20 Jan 1959 cover to U.S. was for the 5-10g airmail rate. The ‘+5’ and ‘+10’ expressed in the commemoratives did not contribute to the postal rate but rather was accounted to for Charity purposes. Value : $10 (stamps off cover 70c). The ‘Heuss’ series is a good one for a usage study collection (I have no difficulty assembling an ‘eight-framer’); there are many uncommon usages, two of which follow.

Fig-3 January 06.jpg
Figure 3. 60pf ‘Heuss’ solo franking for airmail postcard rate

I have a number of the 60pf ‘Heuss’ (intermediate format) used as a solo franking to U.S. for the 5g airmail rate, and imagine that these do not represent anything unusual; postwar correspondence between Germany and the U.S. was large. I have one only solo use of this stamp however for the airmail postcard rate to Australia (the letter airmail rate was 90pf). Given that Australia is where one would expect to locate such usage I can reasonably deduce that this is going to prove an uncommon usage. Figure 3 represents that solitary solo, a 13 Nov 1957 use from Freiburg to North Fitzroy (Vic). Value : $30 (off cover 20c).

Fig-4 January 06.jpg
Figure 4. 1960 use of the ‘heavy’ denominations to Australia

The 2 and 3DM are the top two denominations of the ‘Heuss’ series and are rather uncommon on cover (less so on Packet cards). The use in Figure 4 from Hamburg to Melbourne on 3 Aug 1960 of a 2DM, strip of three 3DM and a 70pf is for a total franking of 11DM 70pf. This was for 55-60g airmail/letter rate, and 50pf was for registration. A very desirable item in a usage collection of this series. Value : $200 (stamps off cover about $5).

Fig-5 January 06.jpg
Figure 5. 1962 Registered, Express Airmail to Australia

‘Heuss’ was replaced by the ‘Famous Germans’ series from 1961 and the replacement is another good series subject for a usage study collection. Figure 5 is a 19 Jul 1962 use of the 50pf and 1 and 2DM denominations from Munich to Ringwood (Vic). This was 240pf for 15-20g airmail/letter rate, 50pf registration, and 60pf Express service. International Express items are sought-after. Value : $35 (stamps off cover 50c).

I find the above and indeed all definitive series’ of the former West Germany very good subjects for usage study collections. The material is generally readily available, although uncommon usages do take some finding. Still, that’s what makes the ‘thrill of the chase’ the exciting concept its followers know it to be!

Fig-6 January 06.jpg
Figure 6. ‘Lucky’ Fred receives a nice 3d ‘White wattles’ cover

Hardly Germany, but a nice cover to finish with for this month. Last issue I featured Australian KGVI issues, for which I had just completed a revision of suggested pricing for commercial covers for the pending ACSC King George VI. During November Figure 6 appeared in a Melbourne auction, and is only the fourth 3d blue Die I ‘White wattles’ I have seen on commercial cover, and is probably the most attractive of these. In my price revisions I suggested $400, up from $300 in the first edition of the catalogue. Some readers may be forgiven for being of the opinion that catalogue editors just ‘dream up’ prices published in philatelic catalogues, and on occasions they may well be correct! Figure 6 realised $372 at auction, so it is reassuring to learn that I dreamt reasonably accurately in determining a catalogue price for this item.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Placeholder for the February 2006 issue which is missing from the Web Archive.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News March 2006

Woodchip-free Zone


'He chose wisely'

I confess I like stories with a happy ending, particularly those of the Philatelic variety.

Back in 1984 when we were preparing a ‘blockbuster’ auction to be held in conjunction with the memorable International Philatelic Exhibition, AUSIPEX 84 , I persuaded a youthful member of our staff to take this marketing opportunity to cash in his ‘schoolboy’ collection. The collection comprised traditional British Empire issues of early reigns in typically varied quality, with a preponderance of ‘short’ and partial sets. The game plan was to get this lad started on some serious Philately, and the proceeds from the sale of the traditional collection would be his ‘seed capital’.

We catalogued the collection as two lots only, but offered them as Lots 1 and 2 in the auction for high exposure. Lot 1 read ‘British Commonwealth QV to KGV extensive mint collection in “New Ideal” album, mounted in “Hawids” with pencilled SG numbers (4,000+). STC £26,500+”, and Lot 2 “The companion volume of used issues (5,000+). STC £37,500+”. Our lad had diligently calculated the ‘STC’ (‘Stated to catalogue’ for the uninitiated) and quantities, and we were confident of their accuracy. Estimates in the catalogue were given as ‘$1000-1500’ for each lot, a little on the conservative side agreed, but not greatly having regard to the nature of the material.

Inspection of the auction lots was available at our Stand at the Exhibition, and in the days prior to the auction a Standholder handed in a completed Bid form with bids indicated for Lots 1 and 2 in the amounts of $6000 and $5000, respectively. I asked had he inspected the lots and he replied “Too busy. I’m bidding on the basis of the stated catalogue values”. I confirmed that whilst I believed the catalogue values to be accurate, he really ought to inspect the lots as the composition of the collections was rather ordinary. He abstained.

The day prior to the auction another dealer dropped in a Bid form, on this occasion with the words ‘Buy’ against Lots 1 and 2. I hadn’t been present when his bids were lodged but was informed that he also had not inspected the lots, and had since returned interstate. Concerned, I rang him that evening to indicate that his ‘buy’ bids were going to require him to have to pay far in excess of the realisable value of the lots for his intended ‘stripping-down’ for the purpose of resale. He wouldn’t be talked out of bidding (perhaps he speculated that I wanted the lots for myself and was attempting to eliminate some opposition) and I concluded the conversation with “You’re going to be very disappointed”. Come auction day the lots were not bid upon by the room attendees and accordingly were ‘knocked-down’ to the ‘buy’ bidder at $6250 and $5250, respectively. Naturally, our vendor was absolutely delighted. For years later I had to repetitively endure from the hapless buyer “I’m very disappointed” and “ Mate, I’ve lost heaps on those dud AUSIPEX auction lots ”. Actually, I didn’t mind the whingeing too greatly for it enabled me to cheerfully counter often with “Well, mate, I won’t say I told you so, but I told you so”. Clearly, our buyer had chosen unwisely, and this is not intended to be the ‘happy ending’ alluded to in my introduction paragraph!

Flush with a credit of $11500 (staff didn’t pay seller’s commission in those days), the young man took my advice and bought Lot 210 in the auction. This was a collection of Australian cancellations described as “A unique opportunity to purchase the best of its kind in existence”. The estimate was $10000-15000 and he managed to buy it for $11000. The following day at AUSIPEX the proud new owner further took my advice and extracted the off-cover cancellations from his newly won lot and satisfactorily ‘flogged’ them to a Standholder, thereby recouping much of his purchase price. He was now left with the core section of the collection, that with the greatest potential, the cancellations on thousands of complete covers, many of them registered. That initial purchase has since been greatly expanded to form one of the most desirable and valuable Philatelic holdings of commercial covers in Australia. “What’s the value of the covers from Lot 210 these days?”, I hear you say. Oh, several hundred thousand Dollars and climbing. “And the value of Lots 1 and 2?”, you add. Probably little more than our 1984 auction estimates, assuming anyone would want them. Our lad had indeed chosen wisely.

In the days following our auction I noticed that a Standholder had a rather nice 10/- Kangaroo solo franking cover for sale at $200, a full price although a rare item. I recommended the lad buy it and he nervously agreed; it was far and away the most he had ever outlaid for a single Philatelic item. I obtained a 10% Trade discount for him to lessen the sting. That cover is shown below.

Fig-2 Mar 06.jpg
Ten bob Kangaroo exported to Buenos Aires in 1939

The above is the only solo franking of a 10/- Kangaroo I’ve seen. Sent on 5 Jul 1939 by registered airmail from Newcastle West to Buenos Aires, Argentina, the ½oz rate to that destination was very high indeed. There was a choice of 9/6d for the Australia-UK-France-Argentina service, or 10/- for Australia-US-Argentina. Registration was an additional 3d so this item is either underpaid by 3d (ie 9/6d + 3d = 9/9d) or overpaid 3d (10/- + 3d = 10/3d). I’m inclined to think the latter; the registration component was simply overlooked (probably as a consequence of the P.O. Clerk being in shock at the cost of sending a humble envelope to South America by this means). The correspondence appears to have been of a private nature (The Mrs Fox & Scott no doubt enjoyed their exotic location) and an additional 6d for the quicker airmail service would have been unlikely at this level of cost to have deterred the sender from utilising it. This is a great item and today would easily realise $7500 at auction. Our lad had chosen well, yet again.

Fig-1 Mar 06.jpg
Rare covers don’t have to be expensive (yet!)

Just as I was about to submit this column to the publisher the item above arrived on my desk. An eBay ‘win’ (at US$53 – a ‘snip’) it is a 31 Oct 1960 commercial use from Norfolk Island to U.S. at 2/- airmail rate. The franking composition for the rate includes a 1/1d on 3½d Surcharge, the very first commercial use on cover of this stamp I’ve seen, 9d from the Pictorial series (second I’ve seen) and the 2d. Norfolk Island £SD issues in particular on commercial cover are really difficult to find (but when found are often inexpensive considering their scarcity). So difficult to find in fact that I haven’t bothered to try and assemble a Reference collection for this country. Even a one-frame (16 page) exhibit would be a difficult although not impossible challenge. The ‘thrill of the chase’ proceeds unabated.
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Re: A full Archive of Rodney Perry "Stamp News" magazine columns.

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Stamp News April 2006

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'A Million Bucks and Nothing to Show for it'

Watermark errors have long been sought-after by Australian Commonwealth enthusiasts. This is understandable as there are many stamps in the Kangaroo and KGV Heads series’ (there are also a few affected KGVI issues) for which inverted or sideways watermark is very rare to extremely rare (say less than six examples recorded). In a complete ‘collection’ of watermark errors there are 11 separate issues amongst Kangaroos, and 23 amongst KGV Heads. Unsurprisingly, the thrill of finding one of these rarities is on most collectors’ ‘wishlist’.

The record price paid for a watermark error was the $39,610 (including buyer’s premium) for an inverted KGV 1d red single-line perf. achieved at a Sydney auction in July, 2004. Firstly, let me mention here that watermark errors (of the inverted or sideways type) from the rest of the world fetch but a fraction of the value we place on our Australian subjects. Nevertheless, this remarkable record has recently been well and truly breached in a private transaction for one of the Kangaroo inverted watermarks. I’ll leave it to others to be more specific concerning precise details, but for the $45/50,000 price range, in which the new record falls, one could purchase a high quality work by leading Australian artists Gary Shead, Charles Blackman, Arthur Boyd, Robert Dickerson, et al. Such comparison begs the question ‘Are we losing the plot?’. I could also add, shamelessly, that for around the lower end of that price range one could obtain from us one of the top five collections of Northern Territory Postal history – comprising fully 1600 covers.

Given the very nature of a watermark error, surely it is logical to argue that on a scale of 1 to 10 for visibility, in what after all is a Visual Hobby, a watermark error can barely rate a ‘1’? Another sobering point is that the current unbelievably high prices are regularly ‘flushing’ out new discoveries of watermark errors. Fellow columnist Glen Stephens has made reference to new finds of the highly priced KGV 2d orange inverted watermark error in recent Stamp News issues. When I published the ACSC series ‘King George V’ in 2001 editor Geoff Kellow had recorded four examples of this item. Simon Dunkerley informs me that the current census is now 13 examples!

Why then this peculiarly Australian fetish for inverted and sideways watermarks? I suspect to a large extent it is the lure of seemingly endless rises in value for such items, particularly during the past five years. It’s only one man’s opinion, but I can’t help thinking that the present price levels for this material defy Philatelic gravity. It could be said that the participants are playing a Philatelic version of musical chairs.

Recently, when discussing the above-mentioned 34 separate watermark errors found in Kangaroo and KGV Heads, I remarked to a friend that it would cost fully a million dollars to put together a complete ‘collection’. He came back immediately with ‘Yeh, a million bucks and nothin’ to show for it’. Well may it be stated that watermark errors are the great Australian Philatelic Aberration.

Let’s now consider some unrelated subjects which certainly won’t cost a ‘million bucks’ and will provide an owner something ‘to show’.

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Figure 1. Scarcer Kangaroo than most unmounted mint bicoloured ’Roos!

The 12c, 18c and 24c denominations in the 1971 Animals series are uncommon on commercial cover/card. They were on sale for 13 months only, having been replaced by the corresponding denominations in the 1972 Rehabilitation series, added to which their postal use was largely confined to the low-surviving 2nd to 4th weight steps for articles within Australia and to Foreign countries. Figure 1 is the first example I’ve seen of the 18c used for the Zone 5 airmail postcard rate. This solo franking from Outer Harbor (S.A.) to West Germany on 16 Feb 1972 is a little ‘gem’. This 18c rate was introduced 1 Oct 1971, providing only ten months for the ‘Kangaroo’ stamp to be used for that purpose before being replaced by the 18c Rehabilitation. A more well-known Zone 5 airmail postcard rate is the earlier 1/2d rate, where the 1/2d Tasmanian Tiger so used has fetched up to $125 at auction. Figure 1 is somewhat scarcer but probably would fetch less than $100, for the present that is.

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Figure 2. Unusual commercial use of se-tenant strip

Still on the subject of Decimals, which are one of my favourite subjects for a usage collection. What a challenge to obtain commercially used on cover, card or other eligible ‘entire’ for each and every Decimal stamp of Australia from 1966 to the present. I’ve been at it for 17 years and still cannot boast completeness. Recent years issues in particular are proving difficult, as I no longer pursue the large quantities of commercial office mail which were supplied by various charities when I owned Brusden-White Publishing and needed to ‘keep up’ with usage of New Issues. I highly recommend the pursuit of collecting Decimal stamps on commercial cover, etc, as an alternative, real challenge rather than the popular but mind-numbing, profitless ‘collecting’ of mint New Issues. Figure 2 is one of the more difficult-to-find usages of Decimal stamps which one would encounter in accepting my recommended challenge. This 1 May 1970 cover to West Germany shows a valid and legitimate use of a se-tenant strip of the 1969 5c Flight Anniversary for the Zone 5 15c airmail Greetings card rate. This and two similar usages appeared on eBay recently and are the first examples I’ve seen. Value : $100 (strip off cover $3).

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Figure 3. Mr Sturgess’s ‘Famous Stamp Packet’ going to a famous Philatelist

One of my favourite of our many Reference collections is Early Commercial Philately in Australasia. It features covers and related printed matter to or from pioneer Philatelic Traders, such as that shown in Figure 3. This is a 25 Jul 1903 registered use to U.S. of the E.R. Sturgess of Williamstown (Vic) ‘Importer of Foreign Stamps’ advertising envelope at 5½d combined Foreign letter rate (2½d) plus registration fee (3d). The franking of the ‘bantam’ ½d x 11 is novel, but I particularly like the fact that the addressee was none other than Charles Lathrop Pack, one of the great early Philatelists. Pack was particularly fond of the stamps of Victoria (he published Victoria: The Half-length Portraits and the Twopence Queen Enthroned in 1923) and I at one time owned most of his great Victoria items. It is irresistible for me to speculate just what Mr Sturgess had to offer Pack in this missive. A new find of ‘Half-lengths’ perhaps? I can’t imagine that Mr Sturgess’s ‘Famous Stamp Packet’ would otherwise have held any appeal for a Philatelic giant such as Pack then was. Value : $150 (stamps off cover $11).

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Figure 4. 1900: Pioneer international Philatelic entrepreneur targets Australia

From the same collection as the preceding subject, Figure 4 is another recent eBay win. Diverging for a moment, while on the subject of eBay, I am enjoying Simon Dunkerley’s excellent ongoing series in Stamp News on the trials, tribulations and elation’s of bidding on eBay. Fortunately for we ‘cover lovers’, covers appear to be less prone, or to lend themselves less readily to some of the scams which are being attempted on eBay for stamps as distinct from covers. Back to Figure 4, this 24 May 1900 use from Karachi (now Pakistan) of the India 1 anna on 1½ annas stationery Postal card ‘To The Agent of the old Stamps Dealer’ in ‘S Australia at Adelaide’ really tickles me. The sender is offering current used Afghanistan stamps per 100 in ‘quite genuine & good condition’. The insufficient address was overcome by the South Australian Colonial Post Office directing the item to F. Krichauff, a noted Adelaide Philatelist. If my great grandfather was a Philatelist in those days I would like to think that he would have intervened to request of this early entrepreneur that the Afghani stamps be left on cover! Value : $100.
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Stamp News May 2006

Woodchip-free Zone


Usage. Is this the next big thing in Philately?

Philatelists both amateur and professional love to speculate amongst themselves as to what might be the next ‘thing’ in Philately to go ballistic. This can be harmless and inexpensive entertainment, and I confess I’m often a willing participant in the preoccupation. I’ve considered the A to Z of possibilities in Philately during over four decades of trading, and have from time to time made recommendations befitting a given era. Regular readers of this column, during its almost four years lifespan, ought to be abundantly aware of what I presently can’t see past for potential. That of course is the outstanding value for money, and glowingly bright future of ‘usage’ in comparison with any other aspect of Philately. For the uninitiated I’ll shortly explain ‘usage’, together with some background as to why my present prediction is so inclined.

In the early ’seventies, when I first visited the U.K., eminent Postal Historian and author, E.W. (‘Ted’) Proud, provided my first lesson in the noble pursuit of Postal History – the study of aspects of the journey of a postal article from point A to B (via points ‘C’ to ‘Z’ as the case may be), replete with any deducible ‘story’ encountered along the way (note Figures 3 and 5 below). Ted has done more for cover collecting during the past 25 years than any other Philatelist. His series of books on the Postal History of a wide selection of British Empire countries is a must have for enthusiasts of those respective countries. It was Ted who introduced the guide to pricing used on commercial cover in Stanley Gibbons’ B.E. catalogue in 1980.

When I met him, Ted reasoned that the more intelligent amongst Philatelists would soon tire of more traditional elements of Philately (in particular the mind-numbing practise of filling ‘gaps’ in a printed album) and seek greater individuality within their collecting horizons. The varied manner in which one’s favourite stamps could be used, particularly on cover or other postal article, provides a logical and diversified expansion for a collection which otherwise might consist of the bare basics only. ‘Usage’ has become the popular term for the study of the myriad possible uses for the humble postage stamp. After all, stamps were intended to facilitate provision of a postal service, rather than to lodge in a stockbook or album as many in Philately have fallaciously come to accept!

I readily warmed to Ted’s philosophy, and from as early as 1974 introduced ‘Postal History’ sections to my auction catalogues. The response was less than overwhelming and I decided to focus the development of my fledgling auction business more in the direction of specialised Australia and Colonies. Colonials were then decidedly unpopular, and few collectors, even of Australia, bothered to include such esoterica as Essays, Proofs and Postal History. As a consequence, the best value for money in which a then fearless young auctioneer could indulge lay in the more esoteric elements of Philately. Much of course has changed in the 30 years since Ted Proud dispensed such wisdom, and intelligent Philatelists now more than ever seek out unusual, esoteric and other generally best-of-kind material to distinguish their collections from all others. The ‘ordinary’ has never looked more passé.

Fastforward to the late ’eighties, when worldwide economic conditions were conducive to a major recovery from the 1981 speculative bust in Philately, I sought to invest in an area of the Industry which I considered least likely to suffer from any future fallout. Ted Proud’s introduction to Postal History a decade and a half earlier encouraged me to gravitate in that direction. This provided an aspect in Philately which satisfied my prime criterion – which always has been, always will be value for money. In fact, notably for 20th Century material, for too long a ‘Cinderella’ in comparison with 19th Century, I couldn’t believe the value for money. I still can’t, particularly compared with many much more highly priced, yet far more readily available ‘high-flying’ items. Aggressively, like a Philatelic vortex, I set about accumulating as much cover material as I could find within Australia. How else would one satisfy the hunger to learn more about a newly chosen speciality? It didn’t take long for me to deduce that here was the last great frontier in Philately, literally strewn with unrecognised scarce to rare usages for even the most common of stamps. I have endeavoured to share some of my ‘finds’ with readers, and continue that tradition forthwith! This month’s selection comprises a pot pourri of ‘usages’ typical of the almost limitless number of such items just waiting to be recognised and savoured by enlightened Philatelists.

Fig-1 May 06.jpg
Figure 1. Fiji KGVI £1 on commercial cover. Worth blowing your bugle about.

In the March 2005 issue of the column I mentioned that I had not seen the 10/- or £1 of the attractive Fijian KGVI pictorial series on a commercial postal article of any type, and posed the question “Has any reader?”. Typically I received no response, but have since located two covers bearing the 10/-, and finally have found the £1 – in a smaller Sydney auction. Figure 1 is this item, a solo franking for airmail between Thomas Cook offices in Suva and Sydney, departing 18 Feb 1954. The airmail rate was 1/- per ½oz indicating this article originally weighed 9½-10ozs. For my taste this is a ‘cracker’ item; aside from the rarity factor the quality is agreeable (particularly for a larger, heavier article), enhanced by scarce use of a Canadian Pacific Airlines air mail etiquette, and even the bold handwriting appeals. I must say I could never be convinced that such an item has anything but the brightest future. What’s it worth? The public record will show at the auction it realised $240 (plus buyer’s premium). I flew to Sydney especially to buy this item (amongst other material from the same correspondence) and let’s just say that I wasn’t coming home without it. The stamp off cover is probably worth around $40 (to some, not me) and fortunately had not been removed from the cover, which was the sad fate suffered by many other high denomination frankings on offer from this correspondence. Often I’m asked “How is it that a stamp can be worth so much more on intact postal article?”. Well, obviously it is the ‘efficiency’ of past generations of stamp collectors in removing stamps from entire articles that has rendered them the ‘endangered species’ in Philately. Stamps on commercial entire article will always be infinitely more desirable to Philatelists, at least to the enlightened – if nothing else the ‘entire’ tells a story that the off-cover stamp can seldom do, and Supply and Demand sees to the rest in determining the premium attached. Incidentally, I have no hesitation in predicting that the ‘gap’ between used on or off cover will continue to broaden, exponentially in many instances.

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Figure 2. Solo frankings of 7½d Coronation not ‘freguently’ seen

Figure 2 is a late solo use of the 1953 7½d Coronation, paying the Foreign letter rate. Used from Melbourne 24 Oct 1955, to the curiously named ‘International Freguency [sic] Registration Board’ in Switzerland, I would normally rate this use as too far outside of ‘period of issue’ for a commemorative stamp issued in May, 1953. However, this use is by a Government Dept. where stamps often remained in stock for years, particularly those for which there was limited demand such as a 7½d, and I have no problem accepting this item in a ‘usage’ collection. I have seen very few of any 1950s 7½d commems used solo for this rate; understandable perhaps for most external mails at the time were to the British Empire where the rate was 3½d only. Value : $75 (off cover 75c).

Fig-3 May 06.jpg
Figure 3. N.Z.’s 7/6d ‘Arms’ not easy to find on cover. Degree of Difficulty
on a ‘crash’ cover doubtless rather high.

I will feature New Zealand 20th Century usage in this column in the near future. Perhaps even more than for Australia this country is a ‘goldmine’ of potential for usage aficionados. I don’t know anyone who indulges in N.Z. usage (other than myself) and would be pleased to correspond via email with any reader/s who do. I like the ‘Arms’ series on commercial items and the 7/6d solo usage in Figure 3 is the only one I have noted. Sent from Wellington to U.K. by airmail on 11 Mar 1954 it had the dubious distinction of having been loaded on board the ill-fated BOAC Constellation RMA ‘Belfast’ which crashed at Singapore two days later. Tragically, 33 lives were lost. Ironically, the mail on board fared better and 91,000 items were salvaged, Figure 3 amongst them. It appears trivial under these circumstances to note that 7/6d was for the 2½-3oz airmail rate (1/3d per ½oz x 6). Value : $500 (off cover $40).

Fig-4 May 06.jpg
Figure 4. 1962. Expensive cost of keeping up with the news in Solomons.

Papua New Guinea is a great country for which to commence a usage collection. Once home to many expats (and what Philatelic spenders they were in the ’seventies!) PNG has progressively since independence in 1975 become more akin to a foreign country on our immediate doorstep. Just that much more mysterious and exotic. I like the often vibrant designs and colours particularly for modern issues (on commercial cover only, of course). I’ll feature some in a future column, but for this month it’s an £SD issue in the form of Figure 4. A solo use of the 1962 3/- Policeman, a difficult stamp on cover (or wrapper as in this instance), from Port Moresby to Government House, Honiara, Solomon (then ‘British’) Islands on 2 Nov 1962, it paid the 2½-3oz Printed matter (or ‘2nd Class’) rate for airmail (6d per ½oz x 6). This rather high cost no doubt would have been a small price to pay to be kept up to speed for the news afforded by the latest edition of Newsweek. The only solo franking I’ve noted for this stamp. Value : $100 (off cover $1.25).

Fig-5 May 06.jpg
Figure 5. QEII Booklet pane cover tenderly repaired by HRHs’ own Royal Mail.

Booklet panes are, unsurprisingly, quite scarce intact on commercial mail articles. Booklets were usually the domain of domestic users of the mail system, and the individual stamps were usually denominated at the letter rate, thereby affording little opportunity to necessitate the use of the entire pane. I have however on rare occasions seen an intact Booklet pane used as a component in the make-up of an internal registered item, or for an overweight article. Figure 5 sees the 1957 QEII 4d Booklet pane used 25 Apr 1958 from Whitemark (Tas) to U.K., conveniently paying the 2/- airmail rate. The article appears to have originally contained a card (which would have rendered it eligible for the 1/- Greetings card rate) and did not fare well in the postal system, necessitating the liberal affixing of the U.K. ‘Found open or damaged/and officially secured’ tape. Value : $125 (pane off cover $15).

Fig-6 May 06.jpg
Figure 6. 10/- Robes ‘Thin’ paper. Seek and ye shall find.

The ‘Thin’ paper (ACSC more appropriately uses the term ‘Unsurfaced’ paper – rather than ‘Chalk-surfaced’ as for the ‘Thick’ paper) printings of the 1938-49 Coronation Robes I have found very scarce on commercial postal articles. In fact, until recently I had seen only the 5/- in this form (and even then only four items); hence my omitting prices for the 10/- and £1 in the ‘on cover’ column in the latest (2006) ACSC King George VI. The scarcity is understandable as the ‘Thin’ 5/-, 10/- and £1 were on sale for only 15, 11 and 7 months, respectively, before being replaced by the Coat-of-Arms series. The ‘Thin’ £1 on commercial article is going to be a rarity (if in fact any exist!), but just before penning this column a 10/- was discovered, on a 1950 ‘tag’ from Perth to Harvey (W.A.). The total rate is 19/6½d (nearly enough to facilitate a £1!) which appears to be for a very large multiple of the Printed matter (2d up to 4oz, 1½d each additional 4oz), Merchandise, Patterns and Samples rate, or Commercial papers rate (last two rates were 2d up to 2oz, 1½d each additional 2oz). More logically, one would expect this franking to be for a particular Parcel rate, but such rates do not include fractional (ie ½d) increments. An important ‘find’ and one which demonstrates that the search for elusive ‘usage’ items is yet in its infancy. Value : $1000 (stamps off cover $45).

Fig-7 May 06.jpg
Figure 7. Modern ‘rarity’, modest price.

Occasionally readers of this column ask “If it’s so rare why then is it so affordable?”. My answer invariably includes one particular word. That word is ‘opportunity’. If you can’t recognise opportunity when it greets you it’s probably time to do a crash course on the subject of ‘usage’ (reading the entire series of my past Stamp News columns on www.rap.com.au - under ‘Rod’s Columns’ - would be a useful start), or otherwise accept that entering the next ‘thing’ before the thundering herd may not be your Philatelic vocation. Figure 7 is a good example of ‘rare’ yet ‘affordable’. Norfolk Island commercial mail is surprisingly difficult to accumulate, particularly pre-’eighties. This 8 Nov 1974 commercial cover by airmail to U.S. includes the QEII 5c coil – the first example I’ve seen on a commercial cover! The rate should have been 30c (increased from 25c from 1 Oct 1974) but was tolerated (or simply overlooked) without taxing. Items such as this are essential in a collection of N.I., that is unless one is content enough to own a mint/used/FDC collection which is a clone of a thousand other such collections. N.I. stamps largely were intended for the collector market; comparatively few ever saw genuine postal use. Value : $75 (stamps off cover, well, nice packet material).

The awesome weight of capital comes to bear in Sydney.

FIG-8M~4.JPG
Figure 8. ‘Void’ corner, ‘Void’ in my Super.

The 15 March sales held by my former Auction firm, now Millennium Philatelic Auctions in Sydney, were probably the most extraordinary of over 200 auctions I’ve called. Rarely has capital so willingly and liberally been exchanged for Philately in my experience. Simon Dunkerley will provide more details in his column next issue, but I can’t resist commenting here on a specific section auctioned that memorable day. This comprised a small selection of ‘Half-lengths’, formerly part of my Victoria collection. I had auctioned these in 1995 when they realised $87,450 (this and other realisations include buyer’s premium). On 15 March that same selection realised a staggering $581,267! Calling the auction it’s fair to say was, well, surreal. Figure 8 from the auction is the 2d ‘Void corner’ variety, for which I received $2,750 in 1995, estimated at $10,000 on 15 March. It realised $57,500! Ouch. A Trade friend, perhaps sensing I might need consoling, remarked to me after the auction “Well, Rod, you’ve long contended this stuff would come good. Look on the bright side, your stocks as a Philatelic visionary soared today”.



A final note on the subject of my former Victoria collection. A couple of market-savvy Philatelic friends in recent times have suggested that in the present market the collection must be worth north of $20 million. I’ve previously countered with “you’re dreamin’”. Considering the results of the 15 March auction however I’m going to find it more difficult in future to argue against them.



For those who are interested, a reasonably complete set of scans of my former Victoria Collection are now on the website (www.rap.com.au - go to “Victoria” in menu at left on Home page). Sorry they are typically 1980s black and white photocopies.
It does pay if you are humble and kind.
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