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April 2017


“Melbourne 2017” is upon us!



The large Melbourne FIAP show will be starting very soon after you read this.  Starting at 10am on Thursday March 30, to 4pm on Sunday April 2, I am sure many readers will be there in person - please call by and say “Hi” if you are attending!  Excellent Show website is here -


Hope we see a great attendance.


Held at the famous Caulfield Race Course - home of the iconic Caulfield Cup race each year, it is a short and easy commute from Melbourne City.  It has the space needed for these large shows, that require a huge amount of ground footprint, to display the world class material entered into these big shows.

The more formal Exhibition Centres in the CBD cost many times this venue, and had that been selected the entry cost to the show would have been prohibitive, as the security costs alone, guarding all dealer stock and the 100s frames of valuable Exhibits in such venues for multi day shows, would blow your mind.

The Committee have kindly offered a large area to upstairs right adjacent to these exhibits.  As per Melbourne 2013 and other shows, it will be a busy area for collectors to mingle and chat and learn how these online boards work.  And partake of our non-stop supply of high calorie chocolate goodies, and nibbles!

“Stamp News” has a table immediately adjoining our area, so yet another great reason to find us upstairs, and also say “Hello” to Editor Kevin Morgan, and grab a free copy of “Stamp News” whilst there!  The large 2 metre high vertical stampboards banner shown nearby will be where to find us!


Mairin and Kevin Morgan from “Stamp News” with columnists Glen and Margo


Stampboards turns 10 Years old exactly, on the Saturday of the show, so anyone who is in town is welcome to attend our Saturday dinner.  There will be an hour gathering in Meeting Room #1, right next to the stampboards area, at noon on Saturday, where we will have a personalised cake etc.  More details here -

The mind bogging lists of Global exhibits may be found here - HUNDREDS of them - - so do wander through them. You might never see so much top end material in one place at one time!  Allow plenty of time to take it all in - the material is phenomenal contained among them.


Roo Quartet donated by Australia Post.


The Organising Committee sought donations of philatelic items from collectors and others to be sold at a Phoenix Auctions sale on Wednesday 29 March. The money raised will be used to offset some of the costs associated with the exhibition.  Many generous collectors came to the party, and are listed on the website.

The centrepiece of these gifted lots was very kindly donated by Australia Post.  It comprises four Kangaroo and Map stamps from the CofA watermark series, being the 5/-, 10/-, £1 and £2 mint single stamps.  Each stamp is genuine unmounted mint from the Archive Sheets, and were chosen for freshness and appearance.

Phoenix Melbourne are the Official Auctioneers of the show, and advise me the 4 stamps will be offered separately, and that the estimates are a tad higher than $10,000 the 4, but if they go for anywhere near the estimates, still represent superb buying. 

The show website says “in total representing around $10,000 in value” and sadly they will never become stamp dealers!  Being genuine MUH with brilliant provenance like that, they will be invoiced at about twice that is my strong belief.  Regummed high value Kangaroo plague the hobby, and venues like ebay seem to offer little else.



All *MUH* - donated by Australia Post.


So don’t be an ebay “Bunny”, and get stuck with paying a silly premium for regummed stamps on ebay - round up your pennies and secure them from the ORIGINAL source .... and financially support a great Exhibition’s funding at the same time. The four donated Kangaroo high value stamps are shown nearby.

There are “Patron” ($A250) and “Supporting Members” ($A100) packages available, which offer a ton of valuable and Limited Edition goodies - generally worth their cost alone -  The collecting fraternity really should get behind these packages - both are near sold out as I type this, and they financially back these shows.  I always buy a Patron package.


Stampboards hits TEN years!


Some 12 years ago, I registered the domain name as I recognised there very oddly was no global Stamp Bulletin Board of any real size.  Saw no reason why such a board could not be started, even nominally from Australia, and be globally successful. I then forgot the idea for 2 years!

I have always recognised the power of the internet - a decade before most small dealers, and my own website has millions of hits a year, as google indexes it very highly, as it is constantly added to and updated -  Many small dealers and auctions have near “static” sites with no inward links, and google really hates that.


Look for our banner in Exhibit area!


The largest existing Board then was a strange thing in the USA called “The Virtual Stamp Club” that was based on a totally non-intuitive, and incredibly clunky 1990s Delphi Board software format. 

As you’d expect, that was VERY heavy “USA CENTRIC”.  At that time it had virtually no images, and I felt that as stamps are a totally VISUAL hobby, there must be a FAR better way to host it.

A couple of super high tech type Stamp Bulletin Boards have come and gone over that decade. All glitzy and shiny, and with a million “Hot Dawg” complex features and functions, run by tech savvy folks, 50 times savvier than their target users!

The REALITY is, most stamp collectors are retirement age plus, and have VERY basic computer skills at best, and the action packed style of board that younger music fans, or gamers, or Hollywood gossips etc are happy with, leaves them cold.


“KEEP IT SIMPLE” policy.


So my vision was to “KEEP IT SIMPLE”.  Stampboards went “LIVE” on April 1, 2007, and this month sees the Tenth Anniversary of that global launch.  My client email data base is massive by any philatelic standards, and we quickly attracted a lot of members VERY fast, and things just went from strength to strength.

Every word posted during the decade is still there to read and research. So many specialist websites and blogs simply vanish, as someone chooses not to pay the $20 domain renewal fee. Or passes away etc. Often containing priceless stamp research and info and photos, and that is an appalling loss.  I’ve seen 100s of them disappear, and was determined to stem the flow.

Often new discussions are cobbled together from these existing boards, and the info and images are then preserved there forever. New input then appears from all over the place, and the result is a far stronger data resource than any of the smaller ones, that have likely now vanished anyway.


Near 5 MILLION messages.


We have about 17,000 members from over 150 countries now, who have made near 5 MILLION different messages, on over 70,000 discussions. There are near 300 seperate members who have posted 1,000 messages or more, and 64 of those have made more than 10,000 messages each. 

Trust me these are massive user figures.  Getting to 100 is hard enough for most - and 1,175 collectors have reached that mark. Far more important, for every signed up member, there are 20 to 50 “lurkers” who read the boards, without joining.

There are members from rank beginners asking about Grandpa’s inherited stamps, to the world’s leading collectors and Large Gold Medal winners, and FIP Judges. The Managing Editor of “Linns Stamp News” and Scotts Catalogs is a long time member - as are Stanley Gibbons UK. There are discussions for every collector, on EVERY level.

Past Presidents of the APF locally, and the American Philatelic Society (APS) in the USA, and the RPSL in the UK are all members.  And very large dealers and auction houses globally.  Past Presidents of ASDA/APTA are active members.  Everyone is equal on the boards!  Ask any stamp question, on any level, and you will get an informed answer.

As the board grew, the smooth and efficient and secure hosting of a massive board that has near 5 MILLION individual messages, became a major issue.  I have for 20 years used Future Reality Solutions in Tulsa Oklahoma USA, for all my web hosting, and the CEO there likes the board, and the concept, so we are in luck.  Efficient and very reliable and nimble.  And SUPER secure. 


Government Department server stability!


We now have the mass of stampboards data hosted on load sharing arrangements via several large USA webserver “farms” - a backup level greater and more secure than many larger Corporations, even Government Departments can boast!  Meaning the speed and stability and security of the board and all data is First Class.    

IF you want FREE advice from world leading experts on your possibly dubious Heligoland stamps, Samoa Express, Japan Kobans and Cherry Blossom stamps, Tibet earlies, or Great Britain 1840 1d Black and 1d red imperf plates, you can add up a scan of your stamps, and get an accurate answer in hours. FREE.


“Pantaloon Flaw” Cat $1,250!


If you want to know what the NSW 2d red 1937 Sesquicentenary “Pantaloon Flaw” and all its retouches really look like, (the ACSC images are fairly hopeless for these) or whether your 6d Blue Kangaroo is the rare and hard to pick Die 2A, or anything about USA or Canadian or New Zealand or GB stamps and errors etc, stampboards is the FIRST place to ask.

The “Pantaloon Flaw” is the tiny red Sporran thing on waist of the Soldier at left, that at stamp size you would never notice, but is cat $1,250 mint, and $200 used, on a common stamp worth near zero without it.  As Rod Perry posted on stampboards, it is a rather silly and tiny flaw in itself, and if it was not retouched later, would never have been listed most likely. 

Have a postmark from ANYWHERE that stumps you - add an image, and you’ll get it sorted in hours.  Have a letter or postcard written in Russian or Greek or Urdu or Slovenian or Burmese or Chinese or Arabic or Hindi or Norwegian or Afrikaans you’d love to know the wording of in English - you’ll get a fast answer - FREE and accurate.


Learn how to load and host photos.


Adding up photos is fast and easy and FREE - if you have a cellphone or a camera you are good to go, and there is an easy  tutorial there, to guide you through the first one.  Well worth a read, as being able to photograph and re-size images of your stamps is a very handy thing, for lots of other uses.

There are 100s of folks swapping postcards with each other to get superb and current foreign stamps on cards addressed to them - you can join in FREE.  Or swap stamps, or load up ‘want lists’ for stamps needed, you can’t source readily from dealers.  Very often, members give them away free if they have them spare.

You can even sell your surplus stamps to a truly Global market - totally free of any fees or charges or commissions to either buyer or seller. The only place on the planet to offer that option, and it is used by many.  No ebay scammers and regummers and stamp forgers are found selling there!

No annoying pop-up ads or intrusions or spam etc, as occurs on near EVERY other Bulletin Board of any size on any topic globally.  I wear all the costs of hosting and running it and administering it, and it gives me great pleasure to have seen it grow so large - and many thanks to all collectors who have added to it, and came along for the ride!

Stampboards has ensured that HUNDREDS of dodgy ebay stamp seller accounts have been closed down due to the extensive detective work from members. Exposing the army of frauds and cons that operate there in vast numbers.

Ebay and paypal does not care one iota about fake or doctored stamps being sold, as it makes them easy money, so it needs “people power” to have them removed, as their heads pop up again and again.


Constant stamp giveaways.


Stampboards always has tons of giveaways and competitions - right now you could win a GB 1840 1d Black AND 2d Blue imperf (retail VERY many $100s) plus a ton of other very valuable stamp goodies.  Often donated by members, as in this case by JoelK in Kuala Lumpur -  full details right here, and join in today - - zero skill needed.


Win these FREE on stampboards!


Stampboards is just like a large stamp club in cyberspace. Your local stamp Club might have 17 members at a meeting (often less!) - stampboards has 17 THOUSAND members reading the boards, globally, so you have potentially around a THOUSAND times more chances of your question or query, or missing stamp item being sourced. 

We even have a stampboards Facebook page, which updates each day or so with the latest Hot new stamp discussion - so please add a “like” there for us if you have a FB account - heading for 2,500 very shortly.  A level reached by VERY stamp sites globally -  We understand the internet, and make it work for us.

The world’s largest Stamp Auction house by a long way, Christoph Gaertner in Germany - has only 133 global “Likes” so stampboards is 17 times higher!  Why?  As there is zero recent updating of that Gaertner page as you can see - - and that is absolutely the secret, and Margo keeps it ticking along nicely.


Add a “like” via Facebook!


Over the decades I’ve seen hundreds of speciality boards vanish.  ANYONE can set up a chat board, discussion board, or Bulletin Board or Forum on their website.  And many do.  However they near all die fast from disuse and/or apathy/or boredom, and/or get flooded with the army of global spam bots who target such sites, to offer Viagra or Nikes etc. 


Google indexing is the key.


Discussion Forums come as part and parcel with many “off the shelf” websites.  If a Philatelic Society has say 100 members, only a small % of them are web literate.  Of those 10 or 20 folks who are web savvy, only 2 or 3 will be interested in boards, so there is ZERO chance any board will get any real posting momentum, OR google interest. 

I have seen club boards or specialist groups with Forums where the last post was 2 or 3 months back.  A wasteland.  Boards only work if you get large critical mass and regular content somehow.  Until stampboards got to about 5,000 global members, things were often very slow. New posts need to be made each few minutes 24/7, to keep things fresh and new.

Google will not bother meaningfully indexing near moribund sites, and worse still, smaller boards get inundated and totally over-run with “bot” spammers listing up fake Nikes, Viagra, Rolexes, Forged ID documents etc.  stampboards has 20 or 30 Volunteer Moderators on 5 continents, across all time zones, who keep the board absolutely free of that junk.  

We have 4 software programs in place that block about 1000 attempts a day to join up by cross matching with spammer data bases. The bigger a board gets, the more these pests want to post their junk. They use auto “bots” mostly, and just target large traffic boards of all kinds.  We then MANUALLY screen every new application that survives that software.


Spammers overrun many sites.


ALL savvy webmasters of stamp societies globally, and stamp collector blogs etc, will greatly add to their site traffic and google indexing of it, by adding their detail here - please pass this link to your webmaster - - NOT all have done so yet.  Over 500,000 free page views for those who HAVE!

THEN google adds you to their priority indexing list.  Stampboards has google “robots” (or “bots”) permanently assigned to the board as does BING and Yahoo etc.  You can see this by clicking onto the “Members Online” tab at any time of any day.  If you search for ANY stamp term on google, it will give you stampboards as first match most times.

We have a special Forum for stamp Clubs and Societies to use Free. You can add your newsletters up there if you wish and save the high postage costs associated with mailing them out.  Tell your newsletter Editor!

The same with stamp images. There are way over 500,000 of them on stampboards, and google has indexed them all, attracting millions of site hits a month. Searching for obscure postmarks and plate flaws or instructional markings etc, if you use the powerful on-board search function at base of each stampboards page, you WILL find your query item.

Totally FREE to join, and totally FREE to use - zero cost to anyone, at any time - if you are not already a member, simply sign up on the link here, and you will wonder WHAT you were missing for the past DECADE of existence -


Gibbons “New Zealand” just out.


The Stanley Gibbons “New Zealand” + Region Sectional Stamp Catalogue has recently been released - mine arrived from SG Editor this week.  Been a few years since this catalogue was issued, and the previous edition is now out of print.  So I suggest you buy this now, as it may be some years until another is issued.  If ever.


New SG NZ Catalogue at last.


Indeed the last few SG "Australia" sectionals have sold out very fast globally - the most recent one included, within months of issue, despite them printing far more of each Edition. They are NOT reprinted.  They are SG’s best-selling sectional catalogues by far

EVERY dealer must own this new “New Zealand”, and all serious collectors too.  Find just ONE medium value watermark variety etc, just once in the period you own it, and it has paid for itself readily.  And inverted watermark varieties have often increased a HUGE amount over last Edition.

New and invaluable, this is over 200 pages in full colour on BriteWhite paper, and accurately priced all through, and adds all the material past 1970 where the SG “Part 1” ceases. This catalogue provides a comprehensive priced listing of all New Zealand stamps from the early colonial Chalon stamps of 1855, to very late 2016 issues.


NZ Antarctic areas covered.


This new “New Zealand” catalogue It includes stamps and errors of the New Zealand Antarctic Expeditions, Tokelau and Ross Dependency, as well as other “New Zealand” related islands and dependencies etc.  UK retail is only £25.95, and all dealers globally should have stock of these.



 Lots of plate flaws listed now.


In summary, the new catalogue covers –

• Watermark varieties, shades, plate flaws, major errors, booklets, express delivery stamps, postage dues, Life Insurance Department stamps and postal fiscals are all included.

• As well as New Zealand itself, the catalogue lists the stamps of the Antarctic Expeditions, the dependencies of Tokelau and Ross and the pre-independence issues of former dependencies; Cook Islands, Aitutaki, Penrhyn, Niue and Western Samoa.

• Colour illustrations throughout, and on good quality High Brite paper.

• The listings for issues up to 1970 have been extracted from the 2017 edition of the Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth and British Empire Stamps 1840-1970. Later issues have been revised and updated especially for this volume.

• A comprehensive introduction gives a full guide to the catalogue and provides helpful information to collectors at every level.

• An easy-to-use ‘on-cover’ multiplier table allows the value of stamps on cover up to 1945 to be assessed.

• A priced listing is provided for New Zealand stamps used on Pitcairn Island prior to the issue of its own stamps in 1940, and there is a full list of stamps known used at the New Zealand postal agencies on Fanning and Washington Islands 

I spent some time assessing the values in this new Edition compared to the last one a couple of years back. There are LOT of price increases all through - even the 1855 SG #1, 1d red Chalon is up by £1,000 in used, to £17,000 now - a rare stamp. Some new constant plate flaws are listed all through.

I noticed on the 1909 “1d Dominion” two new flaws are now illustrated and priced.  I forwarded SG the scan they used for the “N” Flaw - now listed in cheapest watermark at £140 mint or £100 used.  As this is a common stamp mint or used, owning this catalogue will pay for itself if you locate one.


SG Cat £2,000 - I kid you not!


I noticed prices for INVERTED watermarks seemed to harden and rise in nearly all reigns. The 1926 1d red KGV Field Marshall SG 468dw is up to £100 mint from £65.  The inverted watermarks very often are doubled or even higher increases.


NZ Inverted Watermarks up strongly.


The 1935 Airmail set INVERTS are all up strongly - the 1d red doubles from £95/£65 to £200/£110 in this new catalogue.  A stamp you might easily find in kid’s albums or circuit books etc for a few cents. 

Inverted watermarks on the 1935 Pictorials are also up strongly – the 1/- more than doubles from £120 to £250.  The 2/- Captain Cook inverted more than doubles from £350 to £850 - SG 589ew. The 3/- invert is up strongly too.

Some flaws like the popular 2/- CAPTAIN COQK” are now priced in used condition for the first time. Pretty lucky as I bought one of those, and the inverted watermark in a nice specialised collection of that stamp this week, with the rare plate numbers etc.  “Captain Cook” is a globally popular stamp topical.  Same stamp in 1936 set, SG 589ew goes from £350 to £850 used!

VERY common stamps with inverted watermark, even used have HUGE cat at times. The 6 stamps shown nearby are cat in this new SG at £2,000.  EVERY schoolboy album contains these 6 stamps and NO-ONE has even looked at the watermarks. The 1½d Queen used is cat £500 (and not recorded mint!) and the also common 8d QE used is £700 etc.

All superb reasons to buy this new NZ Catalogue.  The modest cost will be repaid several times when you uncover ONE modest level Inverted Watermark among your common duplicates.  From 1930s to 1970s HUNDREDS of them are listed it seems.  Thousands still await discovery – literally, so buy your book now!


Italian POW buying stamps!


I listed this POW Lettercard up for sale on stampboards this month, and it sold quickly, and thought it worth adding to the data base for posterity, and interest of readers, as we were lucky enough to source real photos of the Italian Officer writer in Camp, and his Victorian POW Internment Camp at Myrtleford etc.

Has anyone seen ANY other mail from Italian POWs in Australia?  The only piece I have ever seen.  Censored POW lettersheet, from Captain Mariano Iacona in the Italian Army.  Captured in North Africa, and transported by ship to the Australian POW Interment camp in Myrtleford, rural Victoria - near the Victorian Alps.

Britain shipped them 10,000 miles to HERE as they were nervous the Germans would invade and free all POWs if interned in UK.  On the special POW Stationery, identical to ACSC POW#2 (sans indicia), and even has the same printer imprint as outlined in ACSC Note #1 – “a.w. 200m 10/43”.


To well-known Melbourne stamp dealer.


These are all scarce, and were NEVER available to the public or collectors, but only to POWs. No mint examples are recorded, according to ACSC.  Clean used to large Melbourne stamp dealer William Ackland, chasing up orders for the 1935 Silver Jubilee stamps - depicting the King Of England - weird!  POW was also chasing glassine envelopes and a magnifier.

The Good Captain also reminds dealer Ackland he has spent £120 on stamps with him so far, in the airletter. The Australian War Memorial site tells us the pay for POWs doing farm work was - "The pay rate was £1 ($2) per week, of which only 1/3d (15c) was allowed to the worker."

So in a year a POW earned only 780p pence = 65/- or £3/5/0. So Our Capitano had spent on stamps so far, 35 years of his POW pay so far. Captain Iacona had VAST independent means, it seems clear!  Even if officers got more than lower ranks it would not have been much more? 


Double censored POW mail.


From POW Captain Iacona.  Red and white "Opened By Censor" tape on reverse. Handstamped with the Diamond censor cachet in violet number "257" on both front and back.  "Approval for transmission by Camp Commandant" handstamp at left in violet.  Below that, "ENGLISH" in Red - denoting letter was not written in Italian language.

NEVER owned a letter from an Australian oz based POW before, and being mailed to a stamp dealer, in ENGLISH, a really superb WW2 POW philatelic collectible.  A lot of photos of letter’s internal content, of the sender in POW camp, and the inside of the camp here -


New SIDEWAYS watermark Roos surface.


"The last word in Philately is NEVER written" as I very often type.  Even over 100 years after issue, NEVER assume we know it all.  Closed minds are the curse of this hobby. Negativity and narrow mindedness at the very highest levels is often experienced.   

Sideways watermark 1913 ½d Roos had NEVER been sighted for many generations, when Simon Dunkerley found the first one in a junk lot in 1989.  The Royal Philatelic Society Victoria (RPSV) scandalously sent it back to him Certified as “treated and faked”!  Quite insane.  No way could an oblong perforated stamp pass even a Blind Nun’s muster as “faked”!



“Treated And Faked” - they were serious!


It is to my mind THE most inept “Certificate” I have ever seen issued, from any “Expert” (sic) Committee, from anywhere, at any time, for any stamp.  Most especially when being submitted by Simon Dunkerley, who knew more about Roos that the entire Committee bundled together.

Simon sold it to Rod Perry who sent it to BPA London, who did NOT have a narrow minded jealous collector on their Committee who did not own one, and they gave it a “good” cert.  Two more were then quickly discovered - the watermarks pointing in the OTHER direction, proving at least 2 master sheets 480 existed.  Now, 16 years later, 2 more turn up, both “OS” this time.

Mossgreen auctioned these two examples in Febuary, that had turned up in an unchecked old lot. One was rather faulty.  For the record this very ugly off centred copy with nibbled perfs shown nearby estimated at $7,500, was invoiced for $31,200 - over 4 times estimate.  Value $1 otherwise.


Estimated $7,500 – invoiced for $31,200.


The auction catalogue stated they had been both been sent off for RPSV Certificates.  No certificates were shown on the online sale catalogue, and I asked Gary Watson 3 seperate times after the sale if they did indeed receive them, and he ducked the questions.  So maybe Mister “Treated And Faked” still haunts the RPSV building!  Who knows?








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