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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 
                                      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)

                           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 handstampDAMAGED 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 

                                                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

                                  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 accompanied 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

                                                  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

                                         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.

     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.