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Stamp News November 2002

Woodchip-free Zone    


In the World of  Covers big can be beautiful

This issue features the use of a few King George VI stamps other than those selected last issue.  For the first time I have included the usage of high denomination stamps.

      Generally, denominations of 5/- and above were intended for higher telegram, parcel, bulk postage and airmail charges.  The first three categories do not often produce examples of use which are philatelically convenient; parcel wrappings for example can be cumbersome.  Exceptions are stamps affixed to a parcel label (often attached to fragment of parcel-wrapping) or parcel-tag. Parcel labels can be those issued by the Post Office, a philatelic collectable in their own right, or privately produced, the latter often with associated advertising of the sender.

      Higher airmail charges usually involve postal articles which are larger than what philatelists have traditionally been accustomed to including in their collections in the past.  However, exhibitors in particular are becoming aware that to exclude larger than 'standard' size covers in their exhibit is usually to exclude some of the highest rate items available, which can often be spectacular.  At the recent Stampshow Melbourne 02 an increasing number of exhibitors displayed large covers conveniently presented on double format pages.

      Even the largest of covers do not preclude philately from being considered a compact hobby, particularly in comparison with other collectables such as art and antiques, not to mention classic cars!  And as shall be seen from some of the cover subjects which follow big can indeed be beautiful.
Coat-of-Arms series 1949-50




        The 10/-, 1 and 2 are rather scarce on cover; the top value more accurately being classed as rare (I have seen only two).  The items illustrated are multiples of the 2/- per oz. airmail rate to U.K./U.S., the 10/- (plus 2/- Royal Visit x 2) being seven times, 1 ten times and 2 (plus 10/- Arms) twenty-five times the basic 2/- rate.  Remarkably two of these larger than 'standard' articles were salvaged from the BOAC "Belfast" which crashed at Singapore on 13 March 1954 with the loss of 33 lives.  How could a serious philatelist preclude such items from a collection on the basis of cover size? Values: 10/- $125, 1 $200, 2 $750.

Coronation Robes series 1938



       1941 cover to U.S. with 10/-, 5/- and 9d Platypus for an aggregate 15/9d on the Clipper service out of N.Z.  The rate was 4/- per oz. suggesting that this was a 1-2oz. article (therefore quadruple rate) which was underpaid by 3d.  Value: $250 .

     1948 tag from a parcel to a bank in Melbourne at a rate of 2 10 1d (I will pass on attempting a calculation; we don't know if it was airmail or surface) made up by 1 x 2, 10/- and Queen Mother 1d. A convenient item at the other extreme of the size scale.  Value: $150 .

1952 KGVI 4d red


      A departure from the high denominations and a favourite of mine.  This little stamp has probably helped the cause of collecting Australian stamps on cover more than any other stamp, and largely by accident! In the mid nineties when I was researching the relative scarcity of the various KGVI stamps on cover to enable me to price the 'used on cover' column in the ACSC, a philatelic columnist asked me for a 'tip' for his column. I volunteered the 4d red as a surprisingly difficult stamp to find on commercial cover (not to be confused with a FDC which is comparatively common), and added that I had yet to see a solo franking usage.

      This journalist obviously had a wide following as his article promptly unearthed (in Austria!) a solo franking correctly used on postcard.  Another example, to U.S., appeared soon after at auction with an estimate of $1000!  Unsurprisingly, it was unsold, but a third example did sell later at auction for $725.  During the past seven years the census has increased to six single frankings, which still rates the item as very scarce, although values have settled to a more sustainable $300 or so.

      The example illustrated is unusual.  The stamp was used on envelope (rather than postcard) at Cairns 29 Sep 1952 to U.S. which should have been at 7d  foreign letter rate.  The item is endorsed at left by the Commanding Officer of H.M.A.S. "Bataan", who was returning to Sydney for R & R after seven months active service in Korean War.  In the 1950s there was a Forces concessional air letter rate of 4d to Malaya, but it would appear that this item (possibly influenced by the impressive endorsement) was allowed to travel underpaid at the 4d foreign postcard rate without penalty.

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.