Figure 5. 18c Rehabilitation off to more typical Zone 5 destination
Figure 5 shows a 3 Sep 1973 use of 18c Rehabilitation stamp from Killara (NSW) to London. Four weeks later the airmail postcard rate to Zone 5 countries reduced to 15c. Value : $45 (off "cover" 50c).
Figure 6. Message brevity again, Deutsch-style
The Zone 5 airmail postcard rate see-sawed between 15c and 18c during the period of research, as mentioned above. During the second 15c regime, from 1 Oct 1973, it became possible to use the 1972 "Pioneers" 15c as a solo franking for this rate, for the first time. Such use would be for a duration of twelve months only, for the rate increased to 18c again, on 1 Oct 1974! Figure 6 is a 27 Jan 1974 use from Melbourne to West Germany. More are bound to turn up, but yet again this is another instance of just the one example having thus far come to my attention. Value : $35 (off "cover" 15c). Conservative valuation as I expect for this stamp more will "turn up".
Figure 7. A trip to The Barossa in 1975. Lovely.
The two 11c stamps issued in 1974-75, from the Education and Scientific series', are difficult stamps to find on commercial postal articles, particularly as solo frankings. Amongst the few possibilities for solo use was the airmail postcard rate to N.Z., from 1 Oct 1974, when the rate increased from 7c to 11c. Figure 7 is one of barely a handful of the 11c Education I've seen used for this purpose, a 10 Mar 1975 use from Adelaide to Auckland. The fortunate sender had recently visited the Barossa Valley. Value : $40 (off "cover" 25c).
Figure 8. Scientific 11c solo revisits the column
Figure 8 is the other of the 11c stamps, a 24 Jun 1975 use of the Scientific issue, from Townsville to Queenstown. I featured this item in the July 2007 column, when I mentioned it was the first such usage I'd seen in 18 years of record keeping. I've now seen one other. I valued Figure 8 at $100 in 2007, but believe it would realise somewhat more at auction now. Let's be conservative, however. Value : $125 (off "cover" 25c).
Figure 9. Another revisit
Interest is Usage collecting has gained in momentum considerably in recent years. Those wanting more from their Philately have come to recognise that "Usage" has much more to offer than stamps mint/used off cover alone can ever provide. There is every reason to accept the trend in the popularity of usage will continue to ascend. Indeed, realisations at auction are already confirming the developing popularity for scarcer usage items is more than anecdotal. The following two subjects provide an insight. Figure 9, a rare solo usage of the 1966 QEII 3c for Defence Forces concessional air letter rate, was featured in the February 2008 column. I then wrote "Some readers may be surprised when I say I know of a number of specialists to whom $150/200 would not be too much to pay for this item.". Apparently buoyed by my enthusiasm, the owner of this item entered it in the Mowbray's Australia auction of 18 October 2008 (Lot Nş 1017), with an estimate of $200. It went on to realise $763.75 (including premium)!
Figure 10. Handsome solo use of 75c Cook
Prestige Philately, in the 29 November 2008 sale, had as Lot Nş 423 the item shown as Figure 10. A 1972 solo use of the 75c Cook from Brisbane to U.K., the stamp paid the combined airmail (35c) plus express delivery fee (40c). This is a very scarce usage, and an advertising cover added to it's allure. I was interested in this lot, and the mention of "flap fault" did not deter me. The cancellation I would have preferred to have been placed lower, so as to more fully reveal its details, however at the estimate of $100 I would be a starter. It went on to sell to another bidder for a very respectable $310.50 (including premium). I've not noted a higher realisation for a usage item bearing this stamp (the same can be said for the preceding subject!). Usage is indeed becoming more broadly recognised for its importance in Philately.
For those who find Australian Decimal stamps boring (and I can't disagree that mint and used off-cover can be mundane), I highly recommend that consideration be given to a study of usage of these stamps. It's a mighty challenge, worthy of the most adventurous and ambitious of Philatelists.