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 February 23, 2004.



 £1 Kangaroo monogram stamps fetches record price $US68,242

                                                                        By Glen Stephens

An Australian stamp recently bought a world record price for a single non-error item from that country.

The stamp, a 1913 £1 brown and blue Kangaroo (Scott 14), with attached selvage with a "CA" monogram, sold for A$87,730 (approximately US$68,242) at the Prestige Philately Auction January 24 in Melbourne Australia. This price includes the buyer premium and GST tax.

World record price for a single Australian stamp - $A87,730. (=$US68,242)
The stamp was purchased in May 2000 by a United States collector Greg Pope from dealer Michael Eastick of Melbourne, Australia for $US17,200. (Linn's page 1, June 5, 2000).
The auction price is very nearly 4 times this figure - which also set an Australian record price at that time.

According to the auctioneer, Gary Watson, only five such £1 monogram stamps have been recorded as existing and one of these is in the archival collection of Australia Post. All copies have the "CA" monogram cut into as shown in nearby illustration.

Watson told me today: "The rarity and quality of this stamp almost guaranteed that a world record price would result. We gave a pre-sale estimate of $50,000 but always expected that it could go for a much higher price."

The A$87,730 price is easily a record for a single non-error stamp from the Australian Commonwealth.

However, the highest-priced single Australasian stamp remains the 1854 Western Australia 4-penny blue swan with inverted frame (Scott 3a) that has sold for up to A$140,000. ($US108,801) It is listed in the Scott 2004 Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue at $75,000 with the value italicised meaning it is subject to market forces.

The record price paid for any Australian Commonwealth stamp item was $US130,028 at a Spink auction in London against a pre-sale estimate of £20,000 - £25,000. This was a Tete-Beche pair of the 1920 2d red King George V head pair. (Scott 71) See Linn's page 1, May 5, 2003.

Never-hinged examples of the 1913 £1 Kangaroo stamp with the same centring usually sell in Australia for about A$5,000 (US$3,886). The Scott catalog lists the never-hinged stamp (Scott 14) at $US2,750.

The reason this example sold for nearly eighteen times the usual figure is the printer's monogram on the stamp selvage. The circled "CA" is an abbreviation for "Commonwealth of Australia."

Each post office sheet of 120 of this 1913 Kangaroo issue bore a "CA" marginal monogram along the lower selvage on the left pane of 60 and a similar "JBC" monogram on the right pane.

The editor of the Australian Commonwealth Specialists' Catalogue recently conducted archival research and proved that 240,000 £1 stamps were printed. This means that there were 2,000 examples of the "CA" monogram and 2,000 of the "JBC" printed on the outer selvage.

Few collectors in the World War I era bothered to keep these selvage monograms.

Even on the lowest values of the set, they command substantial premiums. For instance, a monogram single of the common 1-penny carmine Kangaroo stamp (Scott 2) sells for about 20 times that of a normal single, yet 8,773,000 sheets were sold bearing 17,546,000 marginal monograms.

The monograms traditionally are collected in a lower-corner strip of three, and prices for such items are typically two or three times the price of a single monogram stamp.

This £1 Kangaroo exists in a corner block 6 all overprinted Specimen with the "JBC" monogram at base. This strip might easily fetch A$150,000 (US$116,469) if sold today. It was last auctioned in 1984 for A$5,750.

Few dealers or collectors outside Australia realize the high prices these monogram pieces command in the home country.

Melbourne dealer Michael Eastick recently sold a used 5/- Kangaroo (Scott 44) with monogram at the same auction house for $A28,300. ($US22,014) He paid $A200 for it - which is the buying price for a normal used stamp. The selvage was turned back under on album page, and not initially evident to the dealer.

The 1996 edition of the Australian Commonwealth Specialists' Catalogue had this £1 monogram stamp valued at A$7,000. This new price is over 12 times that value.

The current year 2000 edition catalogue, issued after the new record-setting example had been auctioned in the United Kingdom, listed its value at A$15,000, based on the A$13,000 purchase price.

Rodney A. Perry, a Melbourne dealer and auctioneer, had purchased this same stamp at a Phillips London public auction conducted Nov. 25, 1999, for £4,300 or just over A$13,000 at that time. Perry is past-president of the Australian stamp dealer body, the Australasian Philatelic Traders Association.

Perry told me today: "I sold the previous copy offered of this monogram stamp in 1984 at my large Ausipex 1984 show auction and, despite being better centered, that stamp realized only A$2,640 including buyer commission. A better than 32-fold increase in the ensuing years is quite an impressive performance."

Greg Pope, based in Austin Texas was the vendor at Auction. He is an APS accredited judge and his newest collecting interest is the USA 1901 Pan American issue.

Pope has published 3 monographs on Australian Kangaroo stamps. A fourth in the series, over 400 pages in colour will be entirely on the 1913 1d red Kangaroo issue, and printed shortly. Australian agent for the books is -

Buyer of the stamp was understood to be industrialist Hugh Morgan, just retired CEO of Australian conglomerate Western Mining Company, and a keen exhibitor of Australian stamps. with Morgan's high visibility in the business world, this purchase was a news story in the "Australian Financial Review" - equivalent to the USA "Wall Street Journal."

Pope's Kangaroos set many other price records. A world record price for any Australia "Specimen" overprint stamp was shattered when the 1913 £2 Kangaroo (Scott 15) was invoiced out at $A38,488. ($US29,856) on estimate $A25,000. It may well be a world record for any "Specimen" overprint stamp from any country.

World record price for a "Specimen" stamp from any country? $A38,488. (=$US29,856)

This £2 stamp was very poorly centred with a missing perforation at left. It has a "CA" marginal monogram. This price is nearly 4 times the Stanley Gibbons Sydney auction realisation of only a few years ago.

As I have highlighted in a number of Linn's articles in recent years - Australian stamp selvage paper is surely the most valuable in the world.

The rises in prices of top end Australian material has outstripped those of any other country in the past 5 years.

Vendors like Pope by selling in Australia are taking advantage of the massive gains the Australian dollar has made against the $US in the past 2 years. Since February 2002 the $A has appreciated some 50% against the $US.

An American vendor selling a stamp for $A10,000 now receives about 50% more $US than selling for $A10,000 2 years ago. As the $A prices are also rising strongly the attraction is further increased.

               Glen Stephens is a philatelic journalist and stamp dealer based in Sydney, Australia

This is an edited version of a Linn's article that appeared in the February 23, 2004, issue of Linn's Stamp News. For the complete story, subscribe to Linn's Stamp News.

                        All content Copyright 2000 Linn's Stamp News, of Sidney, Ohio, USA and by the author Glen Stephens.


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