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August 2016




Norfolk Island is now “Australia.” 



Many readers will not be aware of this, but from July 1, 2016 stamps inscribed “Norfolk Island” were no longer valid for use, even on Norfolk Island.  For postal purposes, from that date Norfolk Island was part of Australia.

 Nearby is the write up in the last ever “Philatelic Bulletin” from Norfolk Island. It contains official confirmation that Norfolk Island stamps produced before the takeover were no longer valid for postage on the islands from 1 July, 2016.

 Apparently Norfolk residents will lose their income tax exempt status etc, but will gain access to many Australian and State Government services that are not currently available there, such as Defence, free health and education and pensions and benefits etc.


Official advice from Norfolk


There was minimal advice of these postal changes, and many interesting postal history items will have been created by quick thinking collectors.  Covers cancelled June 30 as “Last DAY of Validity”, and FAR smarter, covers mailed Registered July 1, using current Australian stamps on the first day valid.

Well that is not technically true, as in fact Australian stamps were the only stamps used on Norfolk Island until the “Ball Bay” definitives were issued in 1947.  Indeed Tasmania stamps were valid there when it was utilised as a harsh penal colony in the 1850s, and usage from there is of course scarce                                                       

As I often type in this column - "Knowledge Is Power".  The very ugly looking 3 margin cut-to-shape Tasmania (“Van Diemans Land”) 1854 4d orange "Courier" shown nearby is worth about $10 normally in this shape. This one appears to have a very large tear or crease through it - neither were mentioned in the lot description.




 $10 stamp becomes $1,864!


As most collectors know, this stamp (along with the GB 1854 "Embossed" series) is near valueless if the corners are removed or "cut-to-shape" as this one is.  Nonetheless, and despite being cut into at side, it was auctioned in the past by Prestige Philately in Melbourne for way above estimate - at $A1,864, when the "buyer fees" and taxes were added.

"Why does a $10 stamp become $1,850 more valuable" you might well be asking?  And so you should.  The postmark is the key here, as it has a clear strike of the Tasmanian barred numeral "72". Not that this is so easy to see, when the stamp is turned the "correct" way up.


Ugly stamp sells for $1,864!


This is where the "Knowledge" comes into play.  Tasmania numeral "72" was allocated to Norfolk Island, when the very harsh penal colony was set up there, and it was administered initially from Hobart, Tasmania.

The "72" canceller finally arrived on Norfolk Island in July 1854. The Government brig carrying it - the "Lady Franklin" initially sailed December 16, 1853, but was forced to turn back owing to a mutiny of the convicts on board. This cancel had only a short working life on Norfolk Island.

In May 1855 the last convicts were removed, and Norfolk was presumably uninhabited until the descendants of the mutineers from the "Bounty" arrived April 8 1856 from Pitcairn Island. Norfolk Island was removed from Tasmanian postal administration in October 1856, and reverted to New South Wales control.

How does one know all this?  Well there are 2 excellent large handbooks on the "Postal History and Postal Markings of Tasmania", authored by Bill Purves et al. To my mind these are absolutely essential books to own if you have any interest in Tasmania postmarks or markings.

Many circular postmarks on the common 1899 "Pictorial" series are worth several $100s each - many indeed are way into the 4 figure region.  The Tasmanian Philatelic Society recently issued an updated handbook on the Pictorial Stamp Rarity ratings, that I reviewed in a past column.


A $A3,620 circular cancel


The one shown nearby sold for $3,620 at auction.  Most readers of this article would not have given it a second glance it if were on a circuit book page marked at $1 - the underlying stamp is retail 10¢.  “TEEPOOKANA” is one of the scarce cancels. That is more than a superb Mint £1 Brown and Blue Kangaroo stamp costs!


Wavy lines & squiggles POSTAL use.


Likewise, often very valuable, are the many manuscript cancels of wavy lines, squiggles, wiggles, cross-hatching, signature scrawls and graffiti tags on imperfs, which many folks assume are near worthless fiscal cancels. They are POSTAL and are valuable - I bought a Hagner full of imperfs this week, I’ll sell as a job lot for $250.

From the same source, was the used strip of 4 of the Tasmania 4d Blue imperforate Chalon shown nearby.  MANY dealers and collectors globally, would assume the pen cancel on it denotes revenue use, and would place minimal value on it.  WRONG. 

The first allocation of numerical cancellers did not reach all Tasmania offices quickly, and TORQUAY used pen manuscript to postally cancel all imperfs until it got a numeral in 1861. This was a sound used strip 4 of the 4d Blue, with complete manuscript: “Registered Torquay 16/8/56”.  I sold it last month for very many $100s, hours after listing it on my Rarity page.   


Fiscally cancelled? No Way!


Tasmania fiscal use of stamps was not started until Oct 1863, so ALL Large Star watermark Chalon stamps pen cancelled are postal used.  A little known fact - "Knowledge Is Power".  Much more detail on these here -  Singles with “Torquay” M/S are seen, but not a full Registered cancel like this.


Long Norfolk connection to Oz.


Back to Norfolk Islands, their stamps have had interesting postal ties to the Tasmania, New South Wales and Australian postal administrations in the past 150 years.  When the “Ball Bay” series was issued in 1947, Australian stamps were no longer possible to use in Norfolk - until this month.

Likewise Norfolk stamps from 1947 onwards were not legally able to be used in Australia.  Like all rules, things were not always adhered to. The 1960 commercial cover shown nearby to a local newspaper office shows a 5d Norfolk stamp accepted untaxed, as correct Australian 5d domestic postage.


Illegal, but untaxed usage.


All this means that interest in Norfolk Island stamps will greatly increase in future years locally. Many folks collect just “Australia” and to them that strictly means Australia, Australia Antarctic Territory (AAT), Christmas Island and Cocos Islands - only. 

The later 2 jurisdictions are like Norfolk - some earlier issues were valid for use in Australia and many were not. However ALL issues of both latter countries are now collected here from SG#1, as both entities are regarded broadly as “Australia”.

To that list many will now add Norfolk Island.  “Standing Order” clients with Australia Post will doubtless soon start getting stamps inscribed “Norfolk Island Australia” in their new issue standing orders, and will gradually seek all the issues pre 2016.

Large local album maker Seven Seas Stamps have of course always made attractive Hingeless Albums for Norfolk Island, and I am sure they’ll sell far more sets in the next 12 months, than they have in the past decade!


Demand for Norfolk increases now.


I have noticed an uptick in demand for the Norfolk older stamp issues, and several other dealers have commented they have seen similar interest. is a set of Seven Seas albums and MUH stamps I listed recently, and getting stamp content that goes past the 1980s is very difficult.   

One member announced he had decided to collect all the past Norfolk stamp issues on postally used envelopes or parcel pieces. is the discussion, and if you can assist, he’d appreciate hearing.  A HUGE challenge!  But NOW is the time to start.

I understand the newest volume of the ACSC being worked on is “Papua New Guinea” and who knows, adding in Norfolk right now might be a perfect fit with this news.  Assigning ‘on cover’ use prices for either will be tough, and those who buy NOW, will be the winners for sure!


Always look in tins of junk!


I was VERY pleased to stumble across this tatty parcel piece shown nearby.  Not excited?  Well I do not blame you!  Please indulge my little story.  I love my job, as EVERY single day is different, and new things turn up unexpectedly.

This stamp is a Norfolk Island 1961 10/- Red Tailed Tropic Bird, SG 36, cat £35 used.  A scarcer top value in used, but nothing to normally get excited about, as many “used” exist, being soaked off from FDC's and "CTO" copies, both done by Norfolk PO or dealers.


Butterscotch Biscuit Tin Find.


A lady bought over stamps her deceased mother left, and part of it was this Butterscotch Biscuit tin shown nearby, full of used stamps from 1960s era mostly. On and off paper. Most she had soaked off, as was the fashion at the time, as Rod Perry laments so often. Had she done that with these, it would be a $10 find, not a $100s one.

Rodney Perry has written he has not in 45 years seen this stamp postally used - even a soaked off one -  True, this is barely a parcel fragment, and not a full parcel label, and is in rough shape, but it is better than whatever else has been recorded to date globally - ZERO!


Tatty 10/- … but unique.



LUCKILY whomever got the parcel partly tore, and part peeled, these stamps off, thinning the 5/-, but importantly saving the underlying note on parcel - still showing to us (mirror image) as "17/2" scrawled on the reverse.  A great deal of franking back then.

Penned by the clerk in Norfolk, that was indicating 17/2d was the assessed postage rate, and indeed we have 17/2d of stamps here, showing this was the complete franking used on the parcel, over 50 years ago.  The 10/- were overprinted “$1” in 1966 when Decimal Currency arrived. 

Exact cds date is not possible to read - pretty normal from Norfolk where postal articles got roughly cancelled as noted in Rod's article above, but it is clearly a Norfolk Island cds. On large cover, or a larger parcel piece with address etc, value 4 figures easily I'd guess.


Has anyone, anywhere, seen another?


I passed it onto a keen collector for a modest 3 figure sum, but a fun find all the same! Please let me know if you have seen any other genuine COMMERCIAL use of this 1961 10/- value - some QE2 material is surprisingly scarce thus, indeed this one appears unique.

This kind of piece is increasingly sought after by Australian collectors - from all eras. The excellent set of  9 x “Brusden White” ACSC Volumes list and price usage on cover or parcel piece for EVERY stamp from SG#1, and such usage brings many times the price of the same stamps that are soaked off.

A good example of that is the parcel label fragment nearby, I added to stock this month. At first glance to anyone without an ACSC, it probably has minimal collector appeal.  Rather carelessly affixed stamps, and a rather unattractive parcel roller cancel.


NEVER “soak” such pieces!


It bears the 1929 5/- Small Multiple Watermark Kangaroo, plus a few other stamps, on a unique 1930 parcel label to Austria. To the small village there of Voeslau - population even today is only 11,000 persons. 

Also with the 6d and 2/- small multiple watermarks (also scarce on parcel piece) and a 1930 3d Sturt. And the scarce on label 1927 2d brown KGV Small Multi perf 14, SG 89 - £45 used. (ACSC Cat $350 on parcel piece alone.) Franking 7/11d.

As can be seen, it contained fabric samples from Monckton’s Sydney, to the Voeslauer Worsted Fabric Company. The 5/- alone (SG 111) is ACSC cat $A1,200 on parcel piece.  Usual Sydney parcel cancel - piece is on stout card, and a trifle wrinkled as typical on such 10,000 mile, 3 month, sea parcel usages. 

Luckily the 5/- value is in sound used condition. Retail value of these 5 stamps if they were foolishly soaked off by someone, would be about $A75, as they would be just 5 x roughish looking used stamps. However being left on piece, means it went into my stock at $A475, and I have no doubt will sell fast. 


Hawaii early covers hot.


One place many do not think of re valuable stamped covers is Hawaii.  Hawaii did not gain statehood to the USA until 1959. Oddly many of the key pieces from there have fetched higher prices than anything from the USA itself!

Collectors generally seem to know that individual STAMPS issued globally in the early classic period are multi-million dollar pieces, but often the key covers are overlooked from such areas. Big mistake.

I attended the massive World Stamp Expo in New York in June, and reported on many of the highlights last month in my column.  A great success, and many price records were broken, and the top world stamp rarities were on display.

One result I did not have room to mention last month was the auction by Siegels of New York of the Bill Gross collection of Nineteenth Century Hawaii.  Financial servies Billionaire, Bill Gross has formed many superb collections from all kinds of areas. GB, Switzerland, USA and Hawaii etc.

As with all seven previous auctions of Gross’s worldwide stamp collections and the recent private-treaty sale of his Swiss collection, the proceeds all went to charity. In this case, the Hawaii Foodbank, and the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, among others.


Hawaii stamp eye candy!


Highlight of the sale was the pretty 1857 cover shown nearby bearing five examples of a provisional “5” manuscript surcharge on the 13¢ King Kamehameha III issue, along with four USA 10¢ stamps of 1855, and a 12¢ USA stamp of 1851.

The attractive mixed franking paid the quintuple weight rate for postage from the Hawaii islands to California, and thence to Massachusetts, plus a 2¢ ship captain’s fee. After spirited bidding, it sold for $US253,000 (about $A340,000) with all the ‘add ons’.

The stamps on this cover are further evidence that the postal clerks cut the stamps apart before they were sold, as they are all singles, and are from different positions on the main sheet. (i.e. it is NOT a tête-bêche pair at left!)

A great price of course, and fantastic to see wealthy collectors like Gross donating the proceeds of all his stamp collection sales to worthy charities. This is however, by no means a record price for any Hawaii cover.


A hard record to top!


On June 25, 2013, an 1852 cover from Hawaii sold for $US1,950,000, PLUS 15% "fee" = $US2,242,500 invoice - near on $A3 million on today’s rate.  You can buy a very decent MANSION for that in most cities in the world!


A $A3 million old envelope!


“The Dawson Cover” was offered by Siegel Auction Galleries in New York, and was part of the Steven Walske Collection of Hawaiian Postal History. "The Dawson Cover" is the rarest and most important cover in Hawaiian postal history

The envelope is the only known cover bearing the Hawaiian 2¢ value "Missionary" stamp. Indeed it is the only cover to boast two different denominations from the "Missionary" stamp series. It is addressed in the hand of William Dawson, to "Miss Eliza A Dawson, Care Jacob H Dawson, 273 Cherry Street, New York".

We are lucky it survived at all, considering the cover was bundled into a factory furnace along with other correspondence in 1870.  Fortunately, the package was wrapped so tightly that the fire went out, and the cover remained unharmed - aside from a small scorch mark at left side.

It was only discovered 35 years later, long after the factory had been abandoned. A cleaner preparing the space for reuse found it among the ashes.  Some find - a $A3 million cover - and other choice covers were found in the same ashes.


Butterflies still Flying High.


The Australian issues at the same New York Expo 2016 have continued to do well. The really beautiful “Butterfly” set of different mini sheets was a surprise hit, and demand and prices have soared globally since the show.  Butterflies is a hot global topical of course.

Australia Post had a large stand, and I had a chat to the 3 staffers lucky to have been rostered onto this once in a decade show.  Senior staffers Rowan and Cheryl showed me the Butterfly related issues created solely for the show, and never sold in Australia.                

AP offered each day, some of these foil numbered, from 1 to 250, with a letterpress Stamp Expo show overprint on the centres. They were issued each day of the show, and Day #1 soon sold out, as did Day #5.  You could NOT buy Day 6 until Day 6 etc. 



The rare Day #8 Butterfly Sheet.


News of that soon spread, so many folks I spoke to did not have much interest in part sets, and did not chase them, as they were not cheap. There were 6 totally different Butterly Mini Sheet designs, and many assumed there would be 6 different numbered sheets on sale. Me included. Wrong.

I never bought any sets 8, or the scarce final day sheet #8 in NYC, but needed to track down them down later very expensively, from dealers and collectors I knew from talking to them, had bought some at the show.  Needle in a haystack stuff, it really was. Some had 3 days, some had 3 others etc, and so it went on.  I only ever once found one full set 8, in one place.


None sold anywhere in Australia.


No Bureau “Standing Order” clients ever got them, and none were sold in Australia - you needed to be at the show in person to purchase these at near double face, and they were strictly limited, and issued on correct days.  And in $US cash only, no ozzie dollar notes, cheques, or credit cards of any kind accepted - which I found VERY odd. 

Expo Day #8 was “Pack-Up Day” and many dealers and Postal Administrations did not attend at all, or packed up, and left in morning to go home, as it was Saturday.  “Official” show closing time was 6pm on all other days, but Day #8 close was 3pm, and by lunchtime, was in full shut-down mode.

A client popped by the Australia Post stand on Day 8 to buy something else, and to his surprise saw the Day #8 special sheet on display. He like me, assumed only 6 overprints had been done.  A maroon metallic foil overprint was on those, as can be seen nearby - the scan does not catch the metallic too well.  

AP staff were then in the process of packing up when he got there, and he almost missed them.  He bought some of these #8s, and would have bought more except they demanded $US folding cash $US8 apiece, no credit cards, and he only had $US50 or so in $US.


Few M/S sold on final day.


He told me very few of the box of 250 appeared to have been sold to that point, as he saw what was left.  If not for that very lucky source, a lot less sets of 8 numbered sheets would be possible globally! 

The actual numbers sold we will never know I suspect, and I was advised by staff any unsold numbered sheets were destroyed. Staffers “shuffled” the sheets each day for some reason, so that consecutive run buys were not possible.  Strange, as I wanted some consecutive pairs of one day.

So the sheet “43” shown illustrated above, might have been sold adjacent to number “111” and then number “4” etc.  They were never on sale via the Bureau in Australia, or the PO website. $US cash folding money only, at the Booth. 


Do not confuse with these.


The number of complete sets 8 possible is clearly limited to how many they sold of Day #8, that some feel was only 60 or so units. Buyers of Day #8 mostly did not get Day #1, and vice versa, so piecing together numbered sets 8 globally, is clearly near impossible, hence the 4 figure price tag already. 

Singles of these Day #8 sheets have already reached $500 on ebay, and several full sets of 8 different numbered sheets have sold there for $1,000+.  A dealer I know got $1,500 for the 1 set of 8 he bought at the show.  I wish I’d bought more of them ALL!

Be mindful that always at the NY stand, and AP Melbourne also openly sold at face value for a short while, sets of 6 Different inscribed “Day 1” to “Day 6” at lower left - photo nearby, but these were NOT numbered, and many confuse those, with the scarce foil NUMBERED set 8.  A pretty ~$75 set retail YES, and I sold many, but not a $A1,000+ set!     


Western Australia Surprises.


Another example of the strength of early postal history is the Western Australia pre-stamp cover shown nearby.  It was auctioned in the UK a few weeks back, and I ran a poll on asking for readers to vote on its likely value.

The poll is here - - and makes for interesting reading. From 66 votes, many from folks like Rod Perry and David Benson etc who already knew the Auction result, about half the votes estimated the value of it to be $A2,500 or less.  About a QUARTER voted its value as about $A250.


Guess the value of this oldie!


It was an 1830 letter, from an early WA settler of no real note (then or later!) to his Uncle, also of no real note.  Chatty family letter about his land and his view etc. Small faults, and nothing unusual in the postal markings of Mauritius, and via India and UK on reverse. Manuscript "1/4d" on face or 16d, again normal rate.

The cover was purchased by the vendor for just £20 ($A40) from a dealer in 1965.  Auctioned by Cavendish Auctions in the UK on June 15, with a pretty bullish looking £10,000 estimate,  it was invoiced after fees for about £50,000 - then near exactly $A100,000.

Not a bad result - bought for 20 quid from a dealer, and it sells at auction for £50,000.  Who said there was no money in stamps!  All the details re the markings on cover etc are on the web link above. Proving once again buying truly scarce material at market prices, almost never fails to see a good return in the end.


                     Wide catalogue CPS listing.


And it is not just 150 year old material that gets high prices. The “Adelaide 2016” issue from earlier this year has seen sets of 6 of these stamps settle at about $A2,000 real retail, for a set with a face value of just $1.50!  Indeed a single stamp used on kiloware snipping fetched over $A2,000 at Auction.  Prices as high as $A7,500 a set are asked today -

All the Australian stamp catalogues have announced they are listing these stamps in next editions, some of which are published soon. Renniks Australia, also the Seven Seas Stamps “ASC”, and Brusden White ACSC etc.

Far more immediate is the news from the July “Gibbons Stamp Monthly” article on these from the Magazine Editor, outlining the reasons Gibbons decided to fully list these in the SG “Australia” catalogue to be issued later year.

The image nearly shows how the listing of these will appear in Gibbons, and they have been assigned full catalogue numbers - SG #4492/4497.  Many folks collect entirely by Gibbons listings, and many/most of those to this point have no idea this set of stamps was even issued.


Gibbons fully list Adelaide 30¢.


They have received global publicity with a front page article in “Linns Stamp News” in the USA, and a feature article in the June “BRIEF MARKEN SPIEGEL”  the leading German collector magazine etc.  Even the last “Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club” specialist journal had a very long and detailed article on them from Martin Walker.

These 30¢ and $1 2016 “CPS” sets 6 were never sold outside of Adelaide, and the Emergency issue 30¢ were sold out to postal users within a few days.  Philatelic Sales in Melbourne never accepted dealer or collector orders, and never had stock of either. The CPS machine was ordered sent back to Melbourne on July 1 for storage, and Adelaide will produce no more. 


Album page provision in 2017.


The SG and other catalogue listings will ensure many “2016” album pages sold globally next year from many makers, will have provision for sets of 6 of these stamps.  As the real retail price is already in the $A2,000 region, it will be interesting to see where they end up in a year’s time.

Just 20 or 30 folks globally seeking a set to be “complete”, will likely see prices rise markedly, as there are simply not 10 sets for sale on the market globally - at any price. The small number of mint sets existing are already owned by collectors, who I feel sure are not sellers now.   

Most Australian dealers have never laid eyes on a set!  I suspect if you asked Tony Shields, Richard Juzwin, Max Stern, Michael Eastick and Kevin Morgan etc, they have not sold a single set between them.  There never was dealer stock, and every set offered gets keenly fought over.

Limited issues of some British Commonwealth QE2 sets do get very high prices. The Anguilla 1967 set is listed in Stanley Gibbons at  £24,000 mint, and £4,000 used.  Scott lists them at similar prices - $US26,935 mint and $US4,285 used.

The Postmaster there distributed these sets to a selected few, the SG note indicates, yet the prices stay high, and the set remains pricey and popular, wherever they appear, despite no domestic Anguilla collector market to speak of.



Part of the $1 Set of 6.


The “Gibbons Stamp Monthly” magazine piece highlights the not as scarce “ADELAIDE 2016 $1 set of 6, suggesting they will be a logical fall back set choice for many collectors faced with filling blank album page spots next year.


 $A2,000 a set 6 already.


No more of those are being made or sold either, and they might also have a very solid future. I bought a stock of these sets when they were still available, as I think they were totally overlooked by most in the hobby, for some strange reason. 

Indeed as they were never on sale via Melbourne, or via credit card from ADL, I doubt few, if any, dealers chased them down, as many have ordered them off me this month.  Wholesale price now is only about $A50 a set 6, which is more palatable than $A2,000, to most buyers!  Ebay price is as high as $A275 a set 6 -

Both the 30¢ and the $1 sets had some sets sold with the “Inverted Albino Ghost” error on the inscription section. This very curious freak is explained more fully here - - and the 30¢ set 6 with this error is offered here for $A7,700 - and past sales at similar massive figures have taken place for “Albino” sets.

The error was essentially caused by the carbon ribbon used to make the CPS stamps black lettering, being inserted upside down, after already having been used once. That means that the “$1.00 ADELAIDE 2016” wording in parts did not print completely, and was also inverted.  See photos nearby to see it visually. Only a few sets of either value set were ever reported.  FAR less of the $1 than 30¢ actually!


”Inverted Ghost Albino” Error!


I have 2 Mint joined strips 6 of the $1 value all with this variety, for $A500 a strip, or less than $100 per stamp error.  I have scanned detail of a single stamp nearby, and as you can clearly see the “2016” is a reversed and inverted “GHOST” print over the $1.00 at right etc. Humorously the photo SG used in the new Cat is of a “Ghost” print 30¢ single, used in error!

These are very striking errors, and very easy to see at stamp size.  Some might scoff at such things, but those folks also scoff at inverted watermarks and gum offsets that cannot even been seen on the face of the stamps, yet those are often selling for $50,000 apiece!


Visit STAMPEX Adelaide, October!


Sadly the withdrawal on July 1 of the only CPS machine in Australia messed up the fundraising for the Adelaide “Stampex 2016” Committee. They ordinarily arranged a special CPS issue to be produced for each annual show. Not sure what they replaced it with, but please support it.  I have.

This year’s “STAMPEX” show is October 7-9 in downtown Adelaide at Torrens Parade Ground, King William Road -  I’ll fly down to add my support, as they have a well-run show, and hope to see a few readers there, and we’ll hopefully set up a collector dinner there one evening.    








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