Click To Go Back To The Main Stamps Homepage

Welcome! You are visitor to
FastCounter by LinkExchange

Click smiley to make your default homepage when you open computer!
Remember, there is always a few $1000 prize being offered - it could just be your lucky day!

Glen Stephens The Biggest Stamp Dealer in the Southern Hemisphere




 March 11, 2002 (Front page feature story)


Aussie golds in Winter games bring more instant stamps

By Glen Stephens

Australia Post rush-released two stamps in February to commemorate Australia's first two gold medals in a Winter Olympics. The so-called instant stamps picture Steven Bradbury for his gold in speed skating and Alisa Camplin for hers in freestyle aerials. The 45˘ Bradbury stamp is pictured here. A pane of the Bradbury stamp is pictured below, as is the Camplin stamp.

Australian 45˘ stamp honoring speed-skating gold medalist Steven Bradbury.

Australia is a sunny dry country of mostly desert, with only a tiny pinpoint region of rather ordinary snowfields accessible for a few months of each year. Before this year, the country had never won a gold medal at a Winter Olympics, despite its usually strong success in the Summer Olympics.

The two 45˘ Winter Olympics Gold Medalists domestic-letter-rate stamps were on sale nationally within days of the two wins, both of which were unexpected. The stamps were issued Feb. 20 (Bradbury) and Feb. 22 (Camplin).

The stamps show the medal winners wearing their golds. Both stamps were released in the now-standard pane of 10, each with an Olympic decorative border. No first-day covers for the stamps were offered by Australia Post.

The first medal winner was one of the most unexpected results of the Salt Lake City Olympics. Steven Bradbury won the 1,000 meters short-track speed-skating event Feb. 16. Television audiences were shocked when the United States favorite Apolo Anton Ohno crashed with the Chinese skater, and these two, in turn, brought down the South Korean and Canadian skaters.

The only skater left standing in the event was Bradbury, badly trailing his opponents near the finish line, but who cruised across the line with the four favorites sprawled on the ice 20 yards behind. It was tortoise-and-hare tactics from the veteran Olympian. Ironically, the identical tactics in the semifinals saw him reach the final.

Australia Post issued this pane of 10 stamps honoring speed-skating gold medalist Steven Bradbury Feb. 20, two days after his win. This was Australia's first Winter Games gold. Click to enlarge

Bradbury said later of his gold-medal win: "I just saw a lot of skaters close together, I don't exactly know what happened. I just saw them all on the ice and said, hang on, this can't be right . . . I think I won. In the semifinals, I was riding on back hoping for collisions and they all went down . . . it was the same deal in the final."

The spectacular manner of the win exemplified the true Olympic ideal of competing for the sheer enjoyment of a sport. Bradbury had competed in four consecutive Winter Olympics and recovered from two life-threatening accidents, but he had only a bronze medal to show for 16 years of Olympic participation.

The American media pounced on the bizarre win, and the bleach-tipped, spiky-haired Bradbury did a range of media appearances, including the NBC Today show. He was such a hit with the audience and staff that he was invited back the next day.

On Feb. 18, two days after Bradbury's win, Alisa Camplin won the gold medal in the women's freestyle aerials event. Camplin had been a promising gymnast before switching to skis, but the 27-year-old later said, "I've never won anything in my life before, and now I've won an Olympic medal."

Camplin had only ever seen snow once before she learned to ski at age 19 and was not rated even as an outside chance for a gold medal by most observers of the sport. After her win, Camplin also did the NBC Today show, and later flew to do The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, among other major media appearances.

Australia Post was the first country in the world to issue instant stamps -- debuting them with the record-number 16 Australian gold-medal-winner stamps during the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. The instant stamps were available for sale nationally by midday on the day after the medal was awarded.

This innovation was a front-page story in the Aug. 21, 2000, Linn's with follow-up articles in the Oct. 2 and Oct. 23, 2000, issues of Linn's.

Australia's second gold medalist at the Winter Games, Alisa Camplin, appeared on this 45˘ Australian stamp issued Feb. 22. She won the gold Feb. 18 in women's freestyle aerials.

Sales were enormous for this innovative concept. The Sydney Morning Herald of Oct. 3, 2000, in an article highlighting the success of the Gold Medalist stamps, claimed that Australia Post made a profit of A$135 million (approximately U.S. $70 million) from these stamps. Nearly all were purchased by the public as souvenirs.

The two new Winter Olympic Gold Medalist stamps were a logistical nightmare to produce and distribute in a few days across Australia, not the least of the problems being the different time zones for obtaining photographs and approvals from the United States.

To put the scope of this logistics achievement into perspective, the land area of Australia is almost the same as that of the contiguous 48 United States. It would be akin to the U.S. Postal Service placing on national sale an Olympic medal-winner stamp within 72 hours of the event, from Seattle to Miami and all main population points in between.

Unlike the official policy in the United States and many other countries, Australia, since 1996, has permitted images of living people to appear on postage stamps. This policy has proved popular with consumers.

Modern digital technology and advanced computer data transmission make these instant stamps possible. Australia Post during the Summer Olympics issues perfected deadline compliance, national overnight distribution networks, and a quality product.

These two new 45˘ stamps, unlike the digitally produced Sydney 2000 issues, were both printed by normal high-speed offset stamp-printing methods by SNP Ausprint in Melbourne, and then express shipped nationally overnight to all major centers in Australia.

The first step in producing the Winter Olympics Gold Medalists instant stamps was to take a number of action images at the Olympic medal presentation event in Salt Lake City using sophisticated digital cameras. These cameras do not record the images on film -- they store them instead as encoded data on computer disc memory.

Staff working in the small hours of the morning in Australia some 10,000 miles away receive the images electronically, design the stamps and seek and receive all the necessary approvals for the final design before the presses can roll.

"Our athletes entered the games preparing to win, and Australia Post has adopted the same approach," David Maiden, group manager of the philatelic division of Australia Post, said Feb. 21. "Because of the latest electronic technology, we're now able to produce instant stamps after every Australian victory and have them on sale in a remarkably short time frame."

Australia Post managing director Graeme John presented Bradbury and Camplin with express-couriered panes of their own Gold Medalists stamps in Salt Lake City soon after the issue date.

I was in the United States for both wins, and noted that a number of newspapers such as USA Today mentioned that these instant stamp issues were in progress. Such wide publicity can only be positive for the stamp hobby.

For ordering information, contact the Australian Philatelic Bureau, Box 4000, Ferntree Gully, Victoria 3156, Australia, send an e-mail to or go to the web site

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 March 11, 2002, 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.


To order, click here. To read ordering instructions, click here.

Instant Currency Conversion
Universal Currency Converter
FREE! Just click here...

Order from Stevo on-line NOW!!   Click HERE




Life Member: ASDA, PTS, APS, ANDA. ALL Postage + Insurance is extra. Visa/BankCard/MasterCard/Diners/Amex all OK, even for "Lay-Bys"! All lots offered are subject to my usual Conditions of Sale, copy upon request or they are outlined in full on this Web site. Usually allow at least 14 days for order dispatch. If you want same day shipping please go elsewhere! I am Sydney's BIGGEST STAMP BUYER: Post me ANYTHING via Registered Mail for my same-day cheque. Avoid  NASTY auction "commissions" of GENERALLY 35% (12˝ + 15% + GST, etc.) AND their five-month delays! Read this for details. I stock Australia & Pacifics nearly 100% complete 1913-1980. Ask for my LOW quote!

"Lothlórien," No. 4 The Tor Walk, CASTLECRAG (Sydney), N.S.W. 2068
Phone: (02) 9958-1333 Fax: (02) 9958-1444 (Both 25 Hours, 7 Days!)
Web Sites:,, or

Back to Lists of Stamp Lots for Sale


Time and Temp in Sunny Sydney!


Sign up AUTOMATICALLY to my world renowned bi-weekly stamp gossip mailing list!

Click here for full library of my unusual world travels!

E-mail Me - Click HERE Right Now For Regular Specials, News, 
Updates, etc and Other Great  Stuff!

Click here to get back to many lists of lists of stamps for sale at low $A Nett prices!

Click here to find out all you need to know about SELLING your stamps for SPOT CASH

Click here for the current Monthly "Internet Only" special offers - CHEAP!

Click HERE to read my recent International stamp magazine articles.

Click to go back to the main Stamps Homepage


Stampboards where Philatelists Meet..

Instant Currency Conversion
Universal Currency Converter
FREE! Just click here...

E-mail me at -

Every credit card shown is accepted WITHOUT fee.
Earn Frequent Flier points while buying at bargain prices!
ALL prices are in weak Ozzie Dollars. I charge NO nasty, nasty
"Buyer's Commission" on stamps like nearly every "Auction" does.