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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:




The QEII 2d 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.



         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 only. Value : $35.


The 6d Anteater 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.




The 3/- Waratah 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.




The 11d Bandicoot 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.




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.




The 1/2d Tiger 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+.




The 2/3d Wattle 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.



One of the greatest challenges of the series on commercial cover is the 5/- Cattleman 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 .


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.