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Stamp News    August  2009 

                              Woodchip-free Zone 

KGV Heads usage: Part II

For convenience, this month I'll complete the KGV Heads usage overview, commenced last issue. Previously, we focused on denominations up to and including the basic letter rate, which peaked at 2d in the 1930s. Now it's the turn of the above letter rate denominations, those from 3d to 1/4d.

Figure 1. 1931, when more things were Australian-made

3d Blue (S.M. wmk, Die II): Solo frankings of the 3d are reasonably available, primarily for the Foreign letter rate; these predominantly to the U.S. Figure 1 is no exception, a quite attractive advertising cover used 8 Jul 1931 from Brisbane to Illinois. Value : $60 (off cover $6).

                                 Figure 2. Multiple markings = maximum interest

4d Orange: On trees, 4d orange usage items do not grow. Despite ACSC "on cover" price of a relatively modest $100/150, for the more usual shades ($150 punctured "OS"), attractive items are not easy to find. One would be unlikely to go broke buying all such attractive items which appeared on the market over, say, a 12 months period. However, for mint stamps at $40/60 (mounted) and $80/125 (unmounted), I for one wouldn't be brave enough to attempt that same challenge. Figure 2 is an attractive punctured "OS" cover of 17 Aug 1917, registered at Perth, to Kalgoorlie, where it was unclaimed, and sent to the Perth Dead Letter Office. It paid the 1d Letter rate + 3d registration fee. We have the release of the W.A. Land Titles Office hoard to thank for this item, and so many other treasured covers reposing in countless collections nationally and abroad. The informative markings increase character and desirability. Value : $200 (off cover $10).

                                        Figure 3. Expensive postcard

4d Violet: This is a scarce stamp on cover. Broadly, there are two possibilities for solo frankings; (i) 2nd weight step Letter rate Australia and Empire, (ii) Foreign letter rate. I've noted only two examples of (i), and probably less than a dozen of (ii), which was introduced on 1 Jan 1922. The 4d blue appeared less than three months later, providing but a brief usage period for the violet for that usage purpose. Figure 3 is a variant for foreign use, a 10 Apr 1922 postcard Sydney to Sweden. Postcards could be sent at 2d, knowledge of which apparently escaped the sender, delivering to us an unusual usage item. Value : $500 (off cover $25).

                            Figure 4. Window envelopes not everyone's favourite, but . . .

4d Blue: Solo frankings of this stamp are not difficult to find. They usually turn up paying the Foreign letter rate to U.S., and nice examples can usually be had for around $75. That's for the Cooke printing; if you can obtain a Harrison printing for that sum, you have a snip. Figure 4 is a Harrison, exhibiting the "fuzzy" printing characteristics, not present in the more finely printed Cooke issue. The readily available inverted wmk. variety in this stamp, common mint (very scarce used), is helpful as a determinant between the work of the respective printers. Perhaps the optimal Harrison stamp, however, will show an ACSC- listed Harrison printing variety, but I've seen only one on cover. We'll have to make do with this window envelope, the reverse of which confirms it as stationery of a Trade Mark Attorney, specializing in International disciplines. That suggests it was most likely to an overseas destination, at 4d Foreign letter rate, sent 11th Sep 1923, within a month of the first appearance of the Harrison printing. Value : $500 (off cover $50).

                              Figure 5. Equally at home in a Kangaroo or KGV collection

4d Olive (S.M. wmk, perf 14): Some usage purists prefer not to include in their collections items carried on flight covers. Under certain circumstances, I'm not one of those, but I need to establish the bona fides. Figure 5 satisfies my philatelic sixth sense that, although carried on the second experimental Australia-England flight (AAMC #203), this item is an instance of commercial expediency, rather than a contrived philatelic confection. Sent 15 May 1931, the day of the return flight to England, apparently using stamps held in stock by its mail office, this was the speediest possible manner for an outpost in the Antipodes to correspond with Head Office in the U.K. The pair of Kangaroo 9d (also S.M. wmk) and 4d olive x2, from the scarcer perf. 14 printing, an aggregate 2/2d, paid 1/11d oz. airmail rate + 3d registration fee. A desirable item, both for Kangaroo and KGV usage specialists. Value : $450 (stamps off cover $160)

                                         Figure 6. 1920s airmail, destined abroad

4d Violet (S.M. wmk, perf 13 x 12): One of my particularly serious philatelic interests is the study of mails destined for Australasia, where the article has taken to the air at some stage of the journey. I know there are a number of similarly minded enthusiasts elsewhere in the world, interested in airborne items to their regions. Figure 6 would be of considerable interest to an enthusiast for Germany-destined material; very little such material emanated from Australia prior to 1931, when the first experimental airmail service, England-Australia, commenced. KGV usage specialists would like this as an unusual and scarce example of usage for the perf 13 x 12 issue of S.M. wmk, which in itself is scarce on cover. Covers often present multiple interest aspects, which is but another reason why the subject so enthuses me. Our subject is a 21 Nov 1929 cover from Prahran (Vic) to Germany, accelerated by air on the East-West domestic airmail service, introduced in May 1929. The 4d paid combined Letter rate (1d) + Airmail surcharge (3d), complemented by the 3d Airmail, required as weight must have exceeded oz. (air service was 3d per oz.). Value : $300 (stamps off cover $34).

                                                    Figure 7. This Rough no roughie

5d Brown (Single wmk, Rough paper): The W.A. Land Titles hoard (see under Figure 2) delivered us half a dozen or so covers bearing the 5d Rough paper (always punctured "OS"), prior to which event no covers were recorded bearing this stamp. Figure 7 may be the latest use of the stamp amongst those covers, 28 Jul 1921 from Perth to Lake Grace, where unclaimed. ACSC states "examples are found up to early 1921". 5d was for 2d Letter rate + 3d registration fee. I priced this stamp on cover at $1000 for the 2007 ACSC. It doesn't seem a lot now for an item of which perhaps half a dozen survive, does it? We'll stick with that valuation for this exercise, however. Value : $1000 (off cover $175).

                                      Figure 8. When only blocks of four on cover will do

5d on 4d Surcharge: The 1930 5d Surcharge is a rather tough stamp on cover, particularly used in that year. I'm not particularly keen on later usages; most are philatelic. Figure 8 is one of the more spectacular usage items bearing this stamp I've seen. An early use, just two days after issue, this 4 Aug 1930 airmailed cover from Perth to the famous Yalbalgo Station, Carnarvon, the block, together with d blocks x2, for an aggregate 2/-, paid 2d per oz. Letter rate x3 (6d) + 3d Airmail surcharge per oz. x6 (1/6d). Value : $350 (stamps off cover $72).

                             Figure 9. Scarcity and quality convergence, always a treat

5d overprinted "OS": This stamp, of course, is scarce on cover, as $750 price tag for that category in ACSC would suggest. Figure 9 is a particularly desirable example for, aside from its quality, the overprint is in a very distinct pale bluish ink. ACSC states "The bluish overprint formerly listed is now deleted. Most authorities now accept the whole printing was made in bluish black ink of varying intensity". I certainly agree with the second sentence, and would add that the same applies to the other overprinted "OS" denominations. There are, however, for most denominations, distinct variants within the lighter intensity overprints, and indeed these are catalogued for the 2d, 3d and 4d. I contend the listings should include the 1d, and the 5d ought to be reinstated. Sighting Figure 9 would support a strong argument for such action for the 5d. This 21 Aug 1934 registered Official cover, locally addressed at Perth, may also be a contender for latest use of the stamp on cover. ACSC states "Discontinued February 1933". Value : $1000 (off cover, as normal opt., $50).

                                       Figure 10. Destined to become a five-figure item?

1/4d Greenish blue (Single wmk): Solo frankings of the highest denomination of the series are rare, even for the CofA wmk., the least scarce on cover of the four catalogued issues for the 1/4d. Figure 10 is a particular bottler, and in the foreseeable future will become a very, very valuable item. This 6 Jun 1922 solo use of 1/4d Single wmk. is one of but two I've recorded. From Manly (NSW) to U.S., it paid septuple Foreign letter rate, being 4d 1st oz. and 2d each additional oz. x6. In valuing this item, my eye is inexorably drawn to the price tag of $12500 for inverted wmk. in ACSC, which states "At least eight [my emphasis] used examples with watermark inverted can be traced". The emerging new generation of enlightened specialists, many of whom have more enthusiastically embraced usage, than generally has that generation which preceded them, will determine future value for this item; for now I'll remain introspect. Value : $3000 (off cover $15).

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.