A Queensland used stamp pair
found in a child's collection
was auctioned October 21 in
The pre-sale auction estimate
was $50,000. It sold
for $44,270 with commissions
added. The buyer was an English
dealer. Had an Australian
purchased it, 10% GST was extra
on the hammer price.
The 1902 6d green Queen Victoria
pair has the "6" value shown in
the lower corners only.
The unique multiple
The regular issued stamp has
the "6" figure of the 6 pence value in all 4
corners. That stamp is common and is valued at only
a dollar or less in normal used condition,
Stanley Gibbons Melbourne office discovered this
pair in an old "Strand" album consigned for
auction. The vendor had no idea this stamp pair was
Only multiple recorded
This is the only multiple ever recorded. About 16
singles are known according to the latest
"Australian Commonwealth Specialist's Catalogue."
The stamp is Stanley Gibbons 230, cat £30,000
(=$A75,000) as 2 singles. Scott lists this as #111a
at $US50,000 for 2 singles.
This is by far the most valuable Queensland stamp -
priced by Scott at more than 10 times the value of a
used 1860 2d blue imperforate.
It has a "Brisbane Parcels Branch" cancel - as do
most known examples. The cancel is lighter on both
stamps than most known examples.
General Manager of Stanley Gibbons Australia is Tony
Corbisiero told me today: "we believe this is
a new world sales record for any Queensland stamp
item. The vendor is delighted - one of our
describers noted the pair in an otherwise
commonplace Strand album".
In my opinion this is the most valuable 20th century
stamp item existing from any of the Australian
This Queensland error stamp is ACSC cat Q42A and
is catalogued at $70,000 as 2 singles.
As this 1902 stamp was issued after Federation in
January 1901 it is now correctly regarded as an
"Australian" issue. The latest "Australian
Commonwealth Specialist's Catalogue" now lists
and prices all such "State" issues released after
For postal arrangements, the
amalgamation of the six different state Post and
Telegraph services was required. This occurred on
March 1, 1901.
That date can be regarded as the date after which
any stamps issued, were done so by the
Australian CommonwealthPostmaster-General's Department.
Only 47,840 ever issued
Strong price rises have taken place since that
catalogue's release, especially among high face
value stamps. The Western Australia £1 Orange, and
Victoria £1 and £2 King Edward VII issues were all
issued comfortably after March 1901.
Printing numbers are very low on all three,
especially compared to the 1913 Kangaroo high values
issued soon after, which sell for about ten times
Only two KEVII issues
Queen Victoria died in
January 1901. King Edward
VII's Coronation was 9th
August 1902. This top
value Victoria stamp shown
nearby was first issued on
June 2, 1902. Other than
these £1 and £2 high values,
KEVII wasnot depicted
other State's postage
stamps, which is most
Only 47,840 of this £2 stamp
shown nearby were issued. I
listed this on my
recently with a matched CTO
£1 (55,760 issued) for a few
$100 the pair. That price
will seem like a joke in 5
An identical Melbourne CTO
cancelled £1 and £2 1913 roo
pair I offered at the same
time for 10 times that
price. However there were
240,000 each of the 1913 £1
and £2 roos printed.
I love the design and colour
of this £2 KEVII stamp. It
is my favourite
"States" issue visually.
Many with long memories
might recall it was blown up
to A4 size as stippled
background to my very
expensive letterhead back in
1980 when I started business
as a dealer.
I think that letterhead cost
me more than my first
month's gross takings! Bold
raised print in 2 colours,
on linen bond
watermarked paper, also in
2 colours - the works!
These post 1901
"States" high values will
NEVER be cheaper than they
are today. Mark my words.
Another most impressive auction result was
obtained by Millennium Philatelic Auctions
in Sydney on October 11.
The Ken Barelli collection of "Classic
Victoria" set many new price records.
An unused vertical strip of 4 of the
Victoria 1850 3d bright blue "Half
Length" was sold for $94,875 with
Two of the stamps had creases, and
the strip had no gum as is common
for this era, but bidding forced the
price well over the $75,000
This stamp is Stanley Gibbons 4, and
Scott 4. Scott catalogue value for
4 unused singles is only $US3,000.
This is the equal largest unused
multiple of this stamp recorded, and
is most attractive having the lower
It is a wonderful crisp early
impression of the plate, and a real
eye catching piece - no doubt about
Bargain of the sale
They say there is a bargain in every
Auction. A few days after the sale
I sighted an item I would most
certainly have bid upon at well
above the sale price - had I noticed
it. It was the very final lot.
The stamp was Victoria 1863 2d
grey-lilac error of watermark
- numeral '6', SG 101ab, Scott
100a. Lightly and most
attractively cancelled with
a Melbourne duplex dated "OC 26
Only three examples are
recorded. One is in the Royal
Collection. The other was
discovered and reported in 1897
but has not been seen by modern
day collectors. This copy
illustrated nearby is ex Purves
and Perry. It sold for just
$13,400 including all premiums,
on a $15,000 estimate.
For what is almost certainly a
unique stamp in private hands,
it should be worth SEVERAL times
that sum in today's strong
market. If the
USA1868 1˘ "Z Grill" can
be rated at $A4 million - also
unique in private hands - that
is a very apt comparison.
Neither stamp are facially
evident as being unusual in any
way, and both are common
looking low value definitives.
See my January 2006 column on
my website for more details on
the amazing "Z" grill swap.
Even compared to the $44,270 for
the Queensland 6d green
pair above - of which at least
18 copies are known, this
Victoria stamp was a screaming
bargain for someone in my view.
Very few British Commonwealth
Queen Victoria reign stamps are
unique in private hands, and
this is one.
Both Scott and Gibbons have
ridiculously outdated catalogue
values on this stamp - $US5,750
and £4,750 respectively, and
both will hopefully change
radically after this sale.
Alongside the folks who
"bravely" bought Roo monograms
and inverted watermarks 5 or
10 years back at double
prevailing catalogue levels -
only to see them now at 5 times
that figure, the buyer of this
item was equally savvy.
I have absolutely no idea who
bought it, but they certainly
have an astute eye for a
bargain, and own a delightful
If I offered it on my Rarity
page for around double the
October auction price right now
it would likely sell.
Apologies for reporting the
result of these items well AFTER
the auction sale dates. Most
large auctions have no concept
or comprehension of the long
lead up time involved in monthly
magazine copy deadlines.
I keep begging them for supply
of information and
illustrations a couple of months
in advance, and ONE day the
penny may drop!
All of them of course have key
material in their hands several
months before the sale date -
they just seldom tell anyone
about it who can make good use
of that info.
I have been writing monthly
market columns for about
25 years now, and sadly, nothing
much has changed over that time
after a stream of owners and
managers of the leading
Auctions. It really is like
painfully extracting teeth at
Advance notice and wide
exposure is good for their
vendors due to the consequent
stronger prices they generally
obtain as a result. And better
still, the publicity costs them
In my view the Queensland pair
above would have EASILY obtained
10% - 20% more for the
vendor with good advance
publicity, especially to
American collectors, who
simply love such "one
known" rarity pieces.
Mistakes are costly!
I love working in this business. It
is about the only hobby on earth
where a defective item sells for
MUCH more than a perfectly produced
A missing colour, missing perfs, or
other printing defect vastly
increases value. And so it is with
this amazing pair I recently added
to stock. (Shameless plug!)
This 1932 1d green OS "Official
Service" KGV mint pair is so
woefully off centre it is an
I bought it off an experienced
leading dealer (for quite a
tidy sum) who described it as the
most off centred KGV item he had
ever sighted. I agreed with him - I
could not resist buying it and
sharing with readers. I have NEVER
seen a more striking example.
As you can see it is not only
horridly centred, but the "OS"
overprint was for some reason also
applied FAR too much to the left for
some inexplicable reason. Making
this error even more
visually striking - if that were
The story of HOW this happened is a
good read. The Australian
Commonwealth Stamp Printer at this
time was John Ash. Ash was Scottish
born, and his Scottish frugality was
legendary. This, along with the
Great Depression raging at this time
in the early 1930s, and consequent
belt-tightening globally, combined
to create this error.
John Ash was the classic "waste
not - want not" man. As head
stamp printer he insisted NOTHING
was thrown away. Stamps poorly
printed, damaged or otherwise not up
to scratch visually would NORMALLY
have been destroyed. Not when Ash
the Scot was in charge.
The Repair King
Ash insisted his staff earmark all such defective
sheets - too poorly produced to be sold to the pubic
- be used for OFFICIAL stamps. It is said his
justification was that the government paid nothing
for their stamps, so they could be given anything
within reason that he chose, if it cut costs and
And so it was. Off centred, poorly printed, poorly
perforated - it was largely salvaged and placed
aside for official use.
His staff patched and repaired all manner of sheets
that in earlier days would have been destroyed. In
the process they created in this early 1930s era
most especially, many of the MAJOR rarities of
The ½d orange KGV, and both 2d Red KGV heads, and
the 1932 6d Roo all exist with INVERTED "OS"
Why? Because Ash's staff patched new stamps into
damaged sheets and THEN later overprinted them.
However those stamps mentioned were carelessly
patched in upside down! These are $10,000+ type
items. Indeed, the 6d roo is cat $40,000 used for a
well off centred stamp. (A local dealer colleague
found that stamp un-noticed in a Specimen pack.)
The same reason is I believe behind the 5d KGV "OS"
existing on Small Multiple Wmk paper. There is no
doubt whatever in my mind the quite recent discovery
of this stamp was due to this wrong watermark 5d
being patched into a normal CofA watermarked sheet
Exactly similar to how the inverted overprints were
created. It is the rarest KGV head stamp by far and
is easily worth $50,000+ in my view. I reported
this discovery on the front page of "Linn's
Stamp News" in March 1999 and in local
ACSC Editor Dr. Geoff Kellow agrees that 5d stamps
of this Small Multiple watermark were on hand at the
time in the printers, and made a very detailed
written case explaining how the error might have
These substituted stamps all were "patched"
using thin strips of selvedge paper a few mm
wide, and about 1 cm long, as repair tape.
These typically were used diagonally in each
corner to substitute a sound stamp into a sheet
that had an ink blob, or a tear or some
other obvious defect.
The 1932 CofA watermark 6d Kangaroo
overprint invert that I was shown by the dealer
that discovered it had these small repair pieces
on all corners of the gum side. The
illustration of this stamp in the ACSC shows
On my rarity page I illustrate a MUH pair of the
same stamp with a nice row of double perfs that
has a strip of this repair tape right along the
top margin as you can clearly see on the
This 1d KGV "OS" pair I had planned to split into 2
singles. However I noticed there is a solid blob of
black colour after the left hand "O", and this
inking error in pair with normal makes for a nice
exhibit piece, and may assist in plating the inking
I have emailed this detail and scan to the editor of
the ACSC for info. Hopefully it will be catalogued
as a gross misperf in the next edition, as are
stamps from all eras in ACSC when they are
Malcolm Groom on TV
I was interested to watch the national ABC "Collectors" program in
late October to see a quite lengthy piece on Malcolm Groom's stamp
Malcolm is well known in organised philately, and was in the
very unenviable position of being President of the ill-fated
"Pacific Explorer" mega show in 2005.
The high rating evening TV program highlights a different
collectibles area in depth each week, and that show focused on
I thought it came over very well, and full credit to Malcolm for
fielding the usually uninformed and dopey questions TV talking heads
generally toss at guests.
I have done several TV interviews along these lines over the years,
and as I am sure Malcolm can confirm, it all takes hours of messing
Re-doing pieces, adding interviewer "noddies" etc. The lighting
crew all seem to fluff around making nuisances of themselves, and
adding 30 minutes to re-do the most innocuous of things, that get
edited down to one second anyway.
And the entire exercise generally gets edited down (badly) to 30 or
60 seconds on-air!
A great plug for stamp collecting in this country, and something we
all should try to engineer a little more of if we are able. General
media visibility is where philately is sadly lacking, and we can all
do a little part if we try.
I certainly received quite a few calls after the show with general
stamp queries. I wondered why, until one chap told me when you
google "Malcolm Groom" my website comes up as first match!
One chap phoned to sell me something, and ended up spending $3,000.
STOP PRESS -
I believe I am the first stamp dealer in the
world, outside of New Zealand to offer this
The un-issued 45˘ "Poi" Maori dancer
self-adhesive booklet stamp. I have ten
(10) copies of this stamp - and that is it.
This is around 10% of the copies that exist
worldwide. FAST ordering is recommended as
when they are gone, they can't be replaced.
Price is $A2,275
a single self-adhesive neatly cut
from the block, or
a horizontal pair, which as you can
see looks superb, or
a block of 4 - if a block is still
intact of course when you order! (A
block of 4
is a booklet pane - each
booklet has 2 panes of 4, and a pair.)
Or the complete booklet of 10 for
These figures are in line with (or lower
than) NZ retail which is getting higher
each month as supply rapidly shrinks,
and news of their existence slowly
spreads overseas. And the NZ dollar has
strengthened a lot
against $A in recent months.
(I also have several full sets of 5
for sale MUH at $A13,500 a set.)
If you buy them off me as an Australian
resident, you avoid a certain 10% GST
impost upon arrival as a highly insured
the nasty new 3-4% "currency surcharge"
+ bad exchange rate your credit card
bank will certainly levy.
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