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Stamp News    April  2010 

                              Woodchip-free Zone 

More newsworthy usage realisations at auction.

A modestly proportioned column this month, although hopefully interesting to those who are stimulated by the concept of usage in their Philately. Next month I plan to feature a single Australian stamp issue, and how one might approach the study of usage of that subject issue. The model to be presented can be applied to most stamp issues, of most countries of the world.

For this month, figures 1, 2 and 4 are from the February 2010 Prestige sale, scans per kind favour of that Auction House, and figures 3 and 5 are from eBay.

      
                Figure 1. Se-tenant pairs of the early 'fifties commems proving elusive

The block of six, shown as Figure 1, comprising three se-tenant pairs of the 1951 Federation 3d, paid the 1/6d ½oz. airmail rate to U.S. This is a rare usage, and an unlikely composition for this rate, the first I've noted. It realised $360 (this and the other "Prestige" lots exclude Buyer's premium), confirming that specialists appreciate just how desirable is such a usage item.

     
  Figure 2. Realisations such as this a pipe dream when I commenced this column in 2003

The 1948 1/3d Hereford Bull is a very scarce stamp as a solo franking, and there are a few possibilities for such usage. One of the rarest is the "Other Asian Countries" 1/3d ½oz. airmail rate. This was introduced on 1 August 1952, and given that the 1/3d stamp was effectively withdrawn by 31 July 1953, that stamp utilised for this very low volume rate was destined to be rare from the outset. Figure 2 is the second such solo usage I've recorded, and at Prestige it realised a very respectable $575+. I suggested in an earlier column that such usage might fetch $400 at auction, so the market has moved quickly for this rarity.

                   
                                          Figure 3. 11d Bandicoot little gem

Solo frankings of the 1961 11d Bandicoot are generally scarce; Figure 3 is rare. This is the first example I've noted for the 3rd weight step British Empire surface mail (5d 1st oz., 3d per additional oz. x2). This neat little gem snuck through the cracks on eBay, and unlike Figures 1 and 2, was overlooked by specialists, selling for a give away US$0.99! I've mentioned this realisation to give hope to those who otherwise might be feeling they've missed the boat on usage (they haven't, it still is in it's infancy). More creatively marketed, this item would fetch $150/200+.

       
                   Figure 4. 1972 Christmas 35c elusive on cover, rare as a multiple

Figure 4 is the first pair of the 1972 Christmas 35c I've noted, and the realisation of $340+ confirms it's desirability. Multiple usage of a given stamp will be addressed in next months column.

     
Figure 5. PNG 1962 2/3d Perth Games naturally much scarcer than Australia's equivalent issue

Figure 5 is the second eBay item, and unlike the 11d bandicoot above, was "spotted" by at least two usage aficionados. It's only the third commercial usage of this stamp I've noted, and deserved the US$218.50 realisation it enjoyed.

Rod Perry has been a philatelic trader since 1962. 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.