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Stamp News February 2003
                                                      Woodchip-free Zone

An Xmas pot pourri under the whip.

This issue features a pot pourri of unrelated items which I hope nonetheless will prove interesting, the criterion for their selection being little more than expediency.  Printer’s end-of-year deadlines, Editor’s demands, and utterings of something or other to do with thumbscrews, have combined to see this column compiled in record time.

          Given that the column hopefully serves to broaden interest in and knowledge of the use of the humble postage stamp for the prime purpose for which it was originally intended (ie as prepayment for an article transmitted from one point to another via the postal system) it stands to reason that diversity of subjects featured should serve to assist those goals.  And so we commence to comment on the selection of items which follow.


            Figure 1 is in the tradition of the reason/s for the use of a particular stamp on cover (or in this instance on Postal Stationery) which has been the principal subject in past issues of the column.  On this occasion the 10/- Flinders is our stamp in question.  I have found this to be difficult to find used on any type of collectable postal article.  Here we have it and various contemporary stamp issues combining to uprate a 2/5d Registered Envelope to make for a total franking of 14/-.  This paid airmail to Canada for a 2½-3oz. article (12/-), where standard airmail was 2/- per ½oz., plus registration fee (2/-).  Value : $150.


                 In Figure 2  we see real Australiana.  Such handdrawn envelopes were a popular pastime amongst the more artistically inclined Servicemen during World War II.  Humorous depictions reminiscent of the local environment were a common theme and this is a good example of its kind. The cover was sent from the R.A.A.F. Post Office (‘Unit Nº 6’) as evidenced by the circular datestamp and this was located at Port Moresby in Papua.  These handdrawn covers are wonderfully collectable and this provides a fine example of why stamps usually should be kept on original cover.  Value : $80 (vs. 20c for the stamps should they have been taken off the cover!).


            Figure 3.  Always be on the lookout for covers bearing a combination of £SD stamps and their Decimal successors during the two year ‘phasing-out’ period for the superseded stamps (14 Feb 1966 to 14 Feb 1968).  The old currency remained valid for postal use during that period although such usage is rather difficult to find and is sought-after by Postal History enthusiasts.  This 10 Oct 1967 use of the QEII 3d x 4 (1/- equalling 10c) together with 15c Galah for 25c combined registration and surface postage is a good example of mixed currency use. Value : $40. 


            An example of how an even quite modern cover can be classed as a ‘rarity’ is shown at Figure 4.  Here we have a 31 Jul 1995 use of a Counter-printed stamp (CPS) denominated at $20 which was the fee for the joint Tax Office/Australia Post initiative ‘TAXPACKEXPRESS’, which provided a priority service for lodging Tax returns (presumably for optimists anticipating a refund rather than taxpayers anxious to make early payment!).  Although this item was lodged at the National Philatelic Centre (one of the few places to provide CPS facilities) it is a purely commercial use of the stamp and affixed to such a convenient article will be highly prized by specialists even now.  Value : $50.


            And now for something completely different.  Figure 5 shows the earliest Australian Philatelic Industry ‘cover’ I have recorded.  I have long been interested in the history of commercial philately in this part of the world, and this 1881 use of a parcel label for ‘Sydney Foreign Stamp Depot’ (Buckley, Blunsum & Co, 6 Bligh Street, Sydney) is a delight, and addressed to South America no less.  Note the label simulates an early format stamp album (of the type which was usually replete with goldleaf edging to pages).  Ah, they must have been the days for a philatelic enthusiast in Sydney Town.

            Best wishes to Stamp News readers for a safe, healthy and philatelically fruitful 2003.

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.