Stamp News April 2004
Woodchip-free ZoneThe Best of their KindThe 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.
The Best of their Kind
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'. 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). 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). 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).