Stamp News June 2009
Up for a new collecting challenge? How about KGV usage.
It's not often that I commence a new collection by default. In fact, the only instance of that apparent dysfunction I can recall in my philatelic pursuits is my collection of KGV Heads usage. I took that on some years ago, largely out of frustration that no one else appeared to be serious about it.
There are thousands who collect KGV Heads, some obsessively, mint and/or used off cover, yet it appeared whenever I engaged an aficionado, and enquired was usage included in their passion, the response was invariably a blank expression. Which I took to be a "no". The antidote? I would take up the challenge, naturally.
Now, it's no secret that I have way too many usage collections, in various stages of development. This month I've decided to feature a selection of items from my KGV Heads usage collection, in the hope that I may be able to persuade one or more readers to take on this most highly worthy of challenges. In the event that my quest whets a philatelic appetite, of gargantuan proportions, I will be happy to pass the baton. There's probably not enough room for two of us.
For the exercise, I've selected a range of issues from ½d to 2d, the denominations which were intended for various rates up to and including the basic letter rate.
Figure 1. WWI-era Patriotic slogan a nice bonus
½d Green (L.M. wmk): Solo frankings of the ½d green are uncommon, and those from Large Multiple wmk. printings are very scarce. ½d was for the Printed matter rate, and this wmk. was available for less than ten months for that purpose. Figure 1 is a 18 Oct 1918 use Sydney to Amaroo, ten days before the rate increased to 1d (which included additional ½d War Tax). The "INVEST IN/SEVENTH WAR LOAN" patriotic slogan cancel captures the essence of the era. Value : $150 (off cover $4).
Figure 2. Is damaged, is good
½d Orange (S.M. wmk perf 13½ x 12½): Figure 2 is one of those paradoxical items we know and love in Philately; a damaged item which is desirable. A 14 May 1930 use North Dandalup (WA) to U.K., this had the misfortune of having been carried by SS Comorin, which caught fire at Colombo. The fire was extinguished by flooding the hold, badly damaging the mail on board. Surviving postal articles from this incident seldom retain the stamp frankings. This originally had another ½d; only an orange tinge remains to confirm its former presence. The stamp trio appropriately met the 1½d British Empire rate. Value : $300 (stamps off cover $6).
Figure 3. For Penny Red aficionados, or Postage Due buffs?
1d Red (Single wmk): The sender of Figure 3 endorsed the cover "Urgent", and was apparently in such a hurry to post on 4 May 1915 they omitted to affix a 1d stamp for postage. Sent from Port Adelaide to Roseworthy, the small destination Post Office apparently had no suitable stock of Postage Due stamps to affix to account for the 2d double deficiency tax levied. The Postal clerk at Roseworthy remedied the situation by affixing a pair of regular 1d red's, thereby delivering an uncommon use of those stamps for postage due purposes. An item equally at home in a specialized Penny Red or Deficient Postage collection. Value : $250 (stamps off cover $4).
Figure 4. 1d violet x2 for Foreign postcard rate
1d Violet: The Foreign postcard rate from 1 Jan 1922 to 1 Oct 1923 was 2d, and material is not easy to find. Figure 4 shows a pair of 1d violet to make that rate, sent from Auburn (Vic) to the unusual destination of Hungary. A scarce usage item for these stamps. Value : $100 (stamps off "cover" $6).
Figure 5. Humble 1d CofA usage seldom so appealing
1d Green (CofA wmk): For common Letter rate items, it's always refreshing to locate something out of the ordinary. Few would argue that Figure 5 is not an excellent example of usage of the otherwise unremarkable 1d CofA wmk. This 23 July 1932 item from Grafton to Sydney was paid for Printed matter rate. Value : $150 (off cover, well . . .).
Figure 6. Record franking for Official overprint?
1d Green optd "OS": Another spectacular use of the 1d CofA, this time the Official overprint, Figure 6 contains no less than nine examples of the stamp, paying 3d Letter rate + 6d registration fee. Sent from Hornsby to Strathfield South, this item is remarkable for two reasons. Firstly, I don't recall seeing this many of the stamp on a single article, and secondly, the year of use is 1951! The Education Dept., from which this item emanates, is well known for use of uprated KGV-era Postal stationery well in to the reign of QEII, but I hadn't encountered "OS" overprint stamps used so late. Value : $250 (stamps off cover $27).
Figure 7. Advertising envelope a plus for less colourful stamp issue
1½d Black-brown (Single wmk): Another KGV stamp which benefits from a more attractive envelope is the 1½d black-brown, not one of the more vibrant of the otherwise generally colourful KGV Head series. Figure 7 is a 25 Feb 1919 use of two singles from Adelaide to U.S., paying the 3d Foreign letter rate. Value : $60 (stamps off cover $6).
Figure 8. International touch, and other factors a nice bonus
1½d Purple-brown (L.M. wmk): The solo use 6 May 1919 from Melbourne to Sweden of the stamp shown in Figure 8 is enhanced by (a) presenting an underpayment of the 3d Foreign letter rate, hence the handstruck tax marking and Swedish postage due label, (b) late use of uncommon type "OPENED BY/CENSOR." tape, and (c) uncommon type Melbourne machine-cancel. Value : $100 (off cover $5).
Figure 9. Missives from AMEX seldom this welcome
1½d Bright Red-brown (Single wmk): Effectively a Colour change, so different was the 1922 issue 1½d from the earlier purple-brown/chocolate printings. The solo use of a bright red-brown in Figure 9, from Sydney 3 Apr 1922 to American Express in U.S. is an uncommon use for the Foreign printed matter rate. Way more welcome than the monthly covers I receive from AMEX. Value : $90 (off cover $15).
Figure 10. QANTAS memorabilia but one of the attractions
1½d Green: An attractive usage item for this stamp, Figure 10 bears four examples on an early QANTAS inscribed envelope, enhanced by presence of scarce company black and red on emerald By Air Mail etiquette. A 5 Apr 1924 use from Cloncurry to U.S., it's very unusual to find items this early to overseas accelerated by domestic airmail service. 6d represented 3d Foreign letter rate + 3d airmail surcharge. Value : $350 (stamps off cover $8).
Figure 11. A little dose of the exotic
1½d Red (Single wmk): A sideline collection of KGV Heads on covers bearing additional franking of overseas Postage Due stamps would be a treat indeed. Figure 11 would be a very welcome inclusion in such a collection. A window advertising envelope of 4 Aug 1924 from Sydney bearing solo stamp, which underpaid 3d Foreign letter rate, it received New Caledonian Postage Due 20c, 10c and 5c upon arrival at Noumea. Items such as this are very sought after by exhibitors. Value : $250 (stamps off cover, perhaps $5).
Figure 12. Wish it were that base rate covers were always so attractive
2d Orange: Another Letter rate item which benefits greatly from its marriage to a stunning advertising envelope (see also Figure 5). A 17 May 1921 use from Melbourne to Albury, Figure 12 is another target item (pun unintended) for exhibitors. Value : $100 (off cover $2).
Figure 13. Heavy contents wrapper survives against the odds
2d Red (Single wmk): One seldom finds much other than solo frankings of this stamp, paying Letter rate. Figure 13 is a bit out of the ordinary, a 10 Jan 1923 use of a pair on a wrapper Melbourne to Hawthorn, in surprisingly good order considering 4d was for quadruple the 1d Printed matter rate (ie weight would have been a beefy 6-8ozs.). Value : $50 (stamps off cover $2).
Figure 14. From the venerable Melbourne Club
2d Brown (Single wmk): This is an uncommon stamp on cover, particularly the Single and Small Multiple wmk. perf 14 (rare!) printings. Figure 14 is a very unusual late solo use of the Single wmk. for the 2d Letter rate, introduced 4 Aug 1930. Used 9 Sep 1930 from Melbourne to Lady White at Middle Creek (Vic), the envelope has embossed Melbourne Club insignia on reverse. The Club probably maintained a representative stock of stamps for members, and this 2d may have reposed in the Stamp Book for years, until the Letter rate increase from 1½d to 2d facilitated its ready use. Value : $200 (off cover $10).
This series of stamps generally presents well on cover, or other postal article, complemented by the wide variety of often vibrant colours in the series. I could have included some tricolour, even quadcolour frankings had space permitted. Such items can be very agreeable to the eyes. I seldom indulge blatant advertorials in this column, but on this occasion, as mentioned earlier, I'm prepared to part company with this collection. There are 128 pages (ie it's an eight-framer), for a serious Philatelist only. Please don't enquire after individual items, such as the likes of those featured. I haven't the patience I'm afraid.
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.