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December 2020


  New finds always possible!



As I have typed 100 times over 40+ years, “The Last word In Philately Is NEVER Written”.  New and exciting things turn up all the time.  Often very important discoveries.  Some are very immediately obvious, like a sideways watermark on stamps not recorded with them before etc.  

A good example of that was the 1914 1d Red KGV head stamp from Australia - a century after it was issued, one turned up in a junk collection - from Scotland as I recall, with watermark sideways.  Hard to believe that such a find could be uncovered more than a century after first being issued, but it did.


This is a £50,000 stamp!


The 1d Red KGV is generally regarded as the most studied stamp issue on earth.  About 100 different shades of ”Red” are listed and priced in the ACSC specialised catalogue, and there are also various different Dies and different WWI emergency papers it was printed on etc. 

From Australia, that is a $50,000+ piece, and such an item was indeed discovered in recent years.  It is shown nearby - it was creased, torn, thinned and stained, but still sold for a mega sum at Phoenix Auction in Melbourne.  SG 21cz, £50,000.  ACSC 71aa, $A85,000.  After the publicity following its discovery, another example was reported soon afterwards.

The same occurred with the 1913 ½d Kangaroo - SG #1.  Simon Dunkerely discovered the first sideways watermarked example of that one 30 years ago in a junk lot.  He submitted it the the RPSV for a Certificate.  Ray Chapman it is believed stated: “I do not own one, and have never seen one, therefore it MUST be fake” and the RPSV gave it a Certificate as “treated and faked”.  That howlingly wrong Certificate is shown nearby.


“Treated and Faked”.  Sold for $A56,250.


How on earth can anyone fake a sideways watemark, on an oblong perforated stamp?  Disheartened, Simon sold it to Rodney Perry for a pittance.  Rod simply mailed it to the BPA in London, who had none of Chapman’s prejudice, and within months it had a clear BPA Certificate, and ended up in Arthur Gray’s $A7.15 milion Kangaroo collection, getting $A56,250.  FOUR more copies later were discovered.  Two of them perforated large “OS” were found recently.


World’s most inept Certificate?


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 it was submitted by Simon Dunkerley, who knew more about Roos that the entire Committee bundled together, and later on went to issue his own Photo Certificates - doubtless inspired by this travesty. After all the global publicity two more examples of this sideways watermark were then quickly discovered - the watermarks pointing in the OTHER direction to Simon’s example, proving at least 2 master sheets of 480 existed.  Then, 16 years later, 2 more turned up, both perforated Large “OS” this time, just to be different!


Ugly as sin, but sold for $A31,200


Mossgreen Auctions auctioned those two “OS” examples in February 2017, that had turned up in an unchecked old lot.  One was rather faulty.  For the record, the very ugly off centred copy with ripped out perfs and toning shown nearby, estimated at $A7,500, was invoiced for $A31,200 - over 4 times estimate.  Value about $1 otherwise.  So do check your ½d Roos - many more must still exist in old albums.

Other finds are not so easy to spot, or as clearly, and that is where an eagle eye comes in.  I was sorting some loose Tasmania stamps this week I bought from The Townsville Hoard.  Eight huge removalist cartons we few back with from Townsville, which had a 3 generation collection in there, and some very serious material among it.  Many photos of that adventure here -

The owners of the collection just wanted a fair and honest offer for the lot, as they were leery of the high auction fees, GST taxes on al fees, huge shipping costs and insurance, and of the stamp auctions that had gone into liquidation etc.  They had bought off me in the past, so I was invited up, and advised to bring my cheque book.


Haul it all away please.


An interesting trip - we had a lovely dinner up there with a bunch of local stampboards members.  It was 3 hours of flying to get up there, and Townsville is 1,700 km as the crow flies, or over 2,000 km to drive it - 23 hours non-stop!   Very pretty part of the world, and indeed Margo’s parents first met up there, whilst serving during WW2. 


One corner of just ONE room!


We had rented the largest 4WD Avis had, and schlepped it all back to our Hotel “Suite” to sort them out roughly.  We only had a day or so before the flight home, and it was school holidays as I recall, so could not get another flight out for days.  We had removal boxes stacked in the lounge room, bedroom, and the hallways! 

I sold about 8 or 10 removalist cartons online to stampboards members whilst up there.  One chap also bought over 100 KILOS of coins and banknotes sight unseen, collected by an Army mate, which had stacks of silver and gold bullion coinage, and banknotes going back to £10 KGV etc.  Half a room full.  Best buy of his life I’d suggest!  But quite impossible for us to get home.

Virgin only allowed 4 cartons each to be checked though, 8 in all, so all the rest needed to be sold at silly low prices by the carton on stampboards, based on a few hurried pix, or given away to the stamp club there etc.  We piled up the rental 4WD and headed to the little Belgian Gardens Post Office there, with a dozen large cartons of stuff to mail to the lucky buyers.

The hoard had masses of mint blocks and sheets, so we pre-plastered the sides of these cartons with mint stamps.  Luckily, I mail an awful lot of parcels, so have a good ‘’feel’’ as to what sort of cost that runs to.  Heavy parcel rates to or from North Queensland are terrifying of course, so these boxes cost buyers $60 or $70 in postage - lucky nice stamps were used!


About 25% of the “Townsville Hoard”!


The bemused staffer at Belgian Gardens PO, I do not think had ever seen massive boxes plastered with full sheets of stamps down the sides, on her counter.  When I asked her to cancel them nicely, she looked mortified and handed the date-stamper to me, and said if I did it, she could not be blamed for blurry strikes!  She later added up all the franking, and luckily my guesswork was good, and she was impressed - all were a little overpaid.  

It was an amazing hoard, and formed around issue time of the stamps, going back the Queensland State issues, and with lots of 1913 Mint Roos blocks and even sheets of lower values etc.  I am very slowly working through it, and list up a few more interesting pieces that catch my eye, whenever I get 10 minutes spare, here and there!  Will take me 20 years to wade through it all. 

For me, a once in a lifetime Aladdin’s Cave, and I grab a few now and again from one of the 100s of stockbooks, and scan them up and add them for sale to my Rarity Page.  None of these stamps has EVER been on the stamp market before, in the past Century or so.  So buyers get to be the FIRST collector to own it since, which is pretty cool at times.


A Postage Stamp Detective Story.


One piece that caught my eye this week from “The Hoard”, were 2 snippings off mail from Tasmania, in an old envelope along with other near worthless mail clippings.  To many readers, of little interest am sure, with a pen cancelled 6d Violet, and 2 x non full marginned later imperfs.  But something about the pen cancel 6d made me look twice at it.  Soaked off the piece, 99% of those reading this would assume it was fiscal use, as the vast bulk of these 6d Queens were indeed used thus.


Can YOU read the top line of this?


But some nagging dealer instinct told me it was worth looking into closer.  Clearly both letters were in same handwriting, and obviously to the same person.  I could not read the wording on top line of 6d.  Margo looked, and had no idea.  Handwriting from 150 years back is not easy to read, and the first word was not leaping out at me.  The letters were TINY!  After a bit of guessing at words, I came up with OYSTER.  Typed that into google and voila, up came OYSTER COVE as a tiny remote location.

So what we have here, and not seen by anyone for over 150 years most likely, is a neat manuscript cancel "Oyster Cove - 25 March 1869".  Alongside there is a clear red “Tombstone” transit cancel of nearby Hobart - "PRE-PAID - 27 MR - 1869".  So that one was clearly struck 2 days after the manuscript marking was inscribed at Oyster Cove.


Probably unseen for 150 years.


Got out my John Hardinge superb and recent, hard-bound “Tasmania Postmarks” handbook, and even in the index, there is not a single reference to OYSTER COVE.  Odd.  So more research entailed, as I was getting very interested in this now.  I sent out an “SOS” to stampboard members, and more info came flowing is - a great read - for more background on these.  It was like a giant philatelic jigsaw puzzle!


Only 12 Aboriginals remained.


PPA tells us Oyster Cove was a "Receiving House" from 6/4/1857 to 8/9/1873.  No cancel was ever issued for this tiny speck.  Why?  As it seems the population there was largely the tiny remainder of the Tasmanian Aboriginals.  These included the last one to survive, Truganini - who of course was depicted on the striking 10c stamp from 1975, shown nearby. 

The University report in the link nearby shows only 12 aboriginals still remained alive there in 1869, when this Oyster Cove manuscript cancel letter was mailed.  The rest had died.  Truganini herself died a few year later, and is accepted as being the last Tasmania Aboriginal person. 

Indeed she may well be one of the women in this really ancient photograph, as only a few females were alive in 1858, when it was taken by Bishop of Tasmania, Dr. Nixon.  An INCREDIBLY early photo from Tasmania, on any subject matter.  I researched it - real photos from the 1850s are most unusual.


Aboriginal women at Oyster Cove.


So a tiny little piece of Australian and Aboriginal history, all intertwined into these tiny pieces in The Hoard.  I asked Tasmania postmark guru John Hardinge what he guessed the poorly struck barred numeral cancel might be on the 2d and 4d imperfs, and he very tentatively guessed at “66”.

That numeral has long rumoured to have been allocated to Oyster Cove, but no strike of it has ever been seen or recorded.  It might be an inverted strike of that numeral cancel - what do YOU think?  Certainly the last number seems to be an inverted “6” if you look carefully, and there are no other obvious other numbers. is the ongoing stampboards discussion on it.  As they cost me essentially nothing, I mentioned on there I’d priced them at $A100 the pair on pieces, if anyone collected this area.  One clever member then came up with public auction realisations, for lesser examples, of the Oyster Cove cancel manuscript that has been invoiced for over $A1,000.   Dumb ole Glen!


Truganini - the last Tasmanian Aboriginal.


And there were several other mega $100 realisations added there for this rare cancel - all clearly in the same florid pen handwriting as used on this new discovery, and clearly from the same person.  The first to pounce on them was well known dealer/collector/FIP Judge David Benson, and best of British luck to him with them. 

I am sure he will make many $100s on the quick purchase.  Several keen Tasmanian postmark collectors contacted me privately about it, and hopefully it can be noted in the Tasmania Philatelic Society journal, to add to the data base on this scarce manuscript marking.


“Can’t go broke making a profit”


I auction nothing, as I prefer fast turnover, and a CERTAIN result, so price things at a little more than I paid.  Pretty simple really!   My stamp mentor, Ken Baker, (who lived to age 104!) the most successful dealer ever in this country, stressed time and time again, to always remember his sage advice - "Son, you CAN’T go broke making a quick profit". 

Ken Baker did not have a Harvard MBA, and neither do I, but oddly, simple and time proven business principles, often work better than fanciful theory, and greedy mark-ups - that often sees dealer stock sit around for decades!  Ken handled every rarity this country has even seen, from the MUH pane 60 of the £2 Roo, the 2d KGV
Tête-bêche pair, 3d Kooka Imperf Mini Sheet etc.  Some several times. 

There was no “Stamp Duty Act” until October 1863 so pen cancels on ALL Tasmania stamps used before then MUST be postally used, as usage of postage stamps to pay any kind of duty or tax was not yet authorised.  The postal pen cancels took all sorts of forms - cross hatched grids, wavy lines, roughly hand written numerals, wavy squiggles, signatures, dates, and mixes of all the above!


All these are postally used stamps.


Early Tasmania stamps in particular one needs to be careful with, as stacks of the later imperfs had non-postal (or “fiscal”) pen cancels.  However until October 1863, any pen cancel on early imperforate Tasmania (and there were many) must be POSTAL and not fiscal - confused?  "Knowledge Is Power!”  Another good reason to buy off real dealers who know their stuff, and not clueless ebay sellers. 

All four of the 4d Blue Star Watermark Tasmanian imperf stamps shown nearby MUST be postal cancelled, as the dated cancels are before 1863.  (If you can read them!)  and the other 4 are handwritten numerals.  Many collectors and dealers would in isolation, regard them as pen cancelled fiscal used stamps, as the later numeral watermark imperfs of the same colours mostly were.


Steer clear of ScamBay.


Collecting early Australia States is an absolute minefield, and for the novice, places like eBay are to be avoided at all costs.  Ink jet printed scans of imperforate Tasmania are being offered on ScamBay on a daily basis, and the brain dead eBay Bunnies are hoovering them up, paying many $100s for stupid fakes the ink is not yet dry on.  A fake cancel, on an old bit of paper and the idiots paid $A450 for this nonsense nearby, alleged to be SG #1.


Bunnies paid $450 for photocopy!


The Bunnies may as well print out the scan direct off ebay - they get the same thing - just worthless paper, and a fake cancel made days back.  Saving themselves $450.  When they show them to a real dealer down the track, they will get offered ZERO for either.  Not such a brilliant Ebay “BAAHHRRGEEN” then.  is the stampboards discussion where 100s of these laughable fakes are documented.  As the originals were crudely locally printed, imperforate, and did not have watermarks - a faker’s paradise.  ScamBay of course do nothing, as they make 13% profit on each one sold, and do not give one hoot whether those are fakes or genuines, despite their alleged rules. 

The 1853 4d Tasmania shown nearby he has sold dozens of this year all offered as ‘’genuine’’ of course, and getting over $250 each at times for a photocopy.  He dips the paper into CocaCola or something to make it appear old and brown, and adds an old hinge.  Would most readers here be able to pick these as a fake - sadly NOT. 


A $250 Super Bargain. Maybe.


Stampboards has had SCORES of accounts from this Sydney forger closed down eventually - ebay stupidly allow the same guy to open new accounts - some of the current names being used are: antiques unlimited - antiquesunlimited111_1 - La_Lune_Collectables - StarCollectables - stamp_37 - clonstamps - stampcentre - biblica99 -  strampsdownunder -  stamps_lovers101


Forged South Australia Departmentals.


Another profitable line is faking 100s of South Australia “Departmental” stamps.  This amateur faker does hopelessly crude overprints, and loads up only low rez fuzzy scans.  Again anyone with even a half brain would be alerted to that.  But no - the “E.B.” shown nearby sold for $A528 - the normal common 6d stamp he bought to overprint it on, is shown next to it here.  Many fakes sell for $500+.

Any sane eBay bidder FIRST googles the name of the seller, before placing bids on expensive pieces into 3 figures, unless they are well known PTS/ASDA/IFSDA dealers etc, or very high feedback reliable ebayers.  Scammers ARE mentioned on Bulletin Boards, and forgery websites, and Uncle Google will lead you right there IF you check first.


Another rare “gem” from FakeBay.


Do not bother to contact the seller’s fake accounts in any way - total waste of time - direct your complaint direct to eBay.  Now and again some bored eBay drone in Karachi and Bangalore or Manila gets interested, reads the actual eBay rules re selling forged stamps, and not marking them thus, and wipes some accounts, which is very handy.  Several complaints gets the attention of Multi-Drones. 

He also has a trick to scan a Hagner of totally genuine, but very common States material worth a few dollars, and then “salts” in a totally forged photocopied Tasmania 1853 Imperf etc, and other fakes, and does not mention them, hoping the legions of drooling Bunnies will see it, and go nuts outbidding each other for this “rare hoard”.  They mostly do, sadly.


Salted with fake “Bunny Bait.”


The page shown nearby is one example with a FAKE 4d Orange highlighted by a stampboards member.  You can also see a really crude Victoria £2 KEVII fake at base, and even a SA Departmental the scarce “GF”, a fake Victoria 1850 3d Half Length, and even a Fake OS 1/- Lyre.  Incredibly fuzzy scan on purpose, so no-one can see any detail, but bidding went insane from the eBay dreamers, and sold for many $100s, for $10 of real stamps.   


“PRIVATE AUCTIONS” = Shill Bid Heaven


Note this faker always uses the “PRIVATE AUCTION” feature that ebay stupidly allows spivs to choose.  You cannot then see who the other bidders are (allegedly) against you, and most likely many of his duplicate accounts are madly “Shill Bidding” you upwards.  Only a cretin ever bids on eBay until 4 seconds from the close, to avoid this, so that means 99% of bidders do just that, childishly bidding early, playing right into the hands of these cons.




Another favourite, on top of all things overprinted, is to scissor off the perfs of NSW 6d and 8d and 1/- Diadems etc, and sell them as wide margin imperfs - see the before and after nearby.  Same with SA and Qld earlies.  Again if you are in the market for these, buy **ONLY** from someone reputable, who WILL be about in 5 years - these spivs close up after a few weeks at times, and your money is then gone forever.

When it comes time for you or your family to sell your $10,000s of eBay “BAAHRRGEEN” purchases, and show them to a real dealer, or a real auction house, is where the heartbreak hits.  I had a guy offer me a stockbook of States material this week he spent about $25,000 on via eBay, over the past 5 years. 

I offered him $500 for the lot, for the few things in there that were actually genuine.  He had neat little white tags on them.  ’Purchased eBay “jimmytheforger” October 2016, SG £900, for $A200.’   What a deal  - how could anyone pass that one up?  Way less than those nasty dealers asked!  More here -   

Near EVERYTHING was totally faked, others wildly misidentified, or repaired or defective etc.  He went off in fury to demand answers, and later reported back that ALL the selling accounts were now defunct.  A $25,000 life lesson.  He accepted my $500 and looked crushed.  A client collects fakes, so he will like them as a reference.  In life there is “no such thing as a free lunch”.  Do remember that.


Legal to mail children as parcels!


In the USA, it was once legal to send babies and children through the U.S. Postal Service, as it cost WAY less than buying a train or bus ticket.   No this is not an April Fool’s Day Joke - all of the following is true, and you can research more on the link below, on the Smithsonian, and Postal Museum websites etc.

Sending large parcels was considered a huge innovation at the beginning of the 20th Century.  The home delivery system was a great boon for Americans, particularly those living in rural areas. The new service excited the population to the point that they started to send anything they could through the Parcel Post - even their babies and children.


“I must deliver and report.”


On January 1, 1913, the U.S. Postal Service outlined its latest expansion of delivering large parcels or packages nationwide.  Rural families were keen to embrace the new service.  Before 1913, farmers had to bring their goods to the nearest town, that was large enough to support an express office, which added greatly to the price for transporting their goods or purchases.

However, because of the convenience of delivering their goods right from their door - the new postal system became a phenomenon, as Americans had better access to a wide variety of goods and services, very cheaply.  The parcel service became essential in the United States.  During its first six months of operations, there were about 300 million parcels delivered around the country.


One Third the train ticket cost!


To cater for the huge demand, USPS increased the allowable weight of packages from 11 to 20 pounds.  A little later on, the maximum weight rose again from 20 to 50 pounds - or about 23 kilograms.  As the Parcel Post service was brand new, the Rules and Regulations were being made up as they went along! 

A 50¢ heavy parcel was about a THIRD the cost of a $1.50 train ticket - which was about a day’s wages for a working man at this time.  And it was not until 1920 that sending children by Parcel Post was finally outlawed by USPS hierarchy, in a new Regulation.

The New York Times published a report in 1915 where a grandmother in Stratford, Oklahoma, sent a two-year-old child to his aunt in Wellington, Kansas:
“The boy wore a tag about his neck showing it had cost 18
¢ to send him through the mails. He was transported 25 miles by rural route before reaching the railroad. He rode with the mail clerks, shared his lunch with them, and arrived there in good condition.”



18c Parcel Post across to next State.


However, the most famous and most well documented story was of Charlotte May Pierstorff, a four year old girl.  Her parents realised that sending her by mail would be cheaper than buying her a train ticket, as she weighed only 48 pounds. 

They checked the Postal Regulations, and many things were specifically prohibited – explosives, corrosive chemicals, parcels over 50 pounds weight, and so on, but not children.  So in 1915 they purchased 53¢ in the new red Parcel Post stamps, and attached them to her coat.

May rode in the train’s mail compartment the 75 miles from Grangeville Idaho to Lewiston, Idaho. She was delivered to her grandmother’s home by Leonard Mochel, the mail clerk on duty.  When US Postmaster-General Albert Burleson heard about this incident, he prohibited postal workers accepting humans as mail.

Still, the new regulations didn’t immediately stop people from sending their children by post.  In 1916 a woman mailed her six year old daughter from her home in Florida to her father’s house in Virginia.  it was the most extended postal trip of children by mail that has ever been identified, and which cost just 15c in postage stamps.

According to the United States Postal Service historian Jenny Lynch, babies and children delivered via mail were not packed into boxes or wrapped like gifts - they were handled with care.  Proof of Lynch’s statement is the story of Maud Smith, a 3 year old who was mailed by her grandmother 40 miles through Kentucky, to visit her sick mother on August 31, 1915.


Sitting on the mail sacks.


Maud was put on a train at Caney, Morgan County, and arrived at Jackson at 11am.  The mail clerk pinned a letter on her dress and stated that he doubted the mailing’s legality.  However, he said, “the child was on the mail train - therefore, she must be delivered.”  On the way to her mother’s house, Maud was seen sitting on a pile of mail sacks in the postman’s wagon.


No more children as parcels!


 “The child was seated on a pack full of mail sacks between the mail carrier’s knees, and was busily eating away at some candy she carried in a bag. In the other hand she carried a big red apple, and she smiled when the curious folks waved their hands and called to her.”

“The child was wearing a pink dress to which was sewed a shipping tag, covered on one side with 33¢ in stamps, and on the other side had the following words: To Mrs. Celina Smith, care Jim Haddix, Jackson Ky., from R.K. Maden, Caney, Ky.”

In the Los Angeles Times on June 14, 1920, and other newspapers, First Assistant Postmaster-General Koons finally ruled that the activity was unacceptable, as babies and children “did not come within the classification of harmless live animals.” 

An actual copy of that final ruling is shown nearby.  More detail on other cases of mailed children is found here -  Since then in the USA, babies and children have had to ride in cars, trains, buses, and planes - like everyone else!  







"KNOWLEDGE IS POWER"  as I type incessantly -  I cannot over-stress the importance of having a solid library.  Often the very FIRST thing you look up, often pays for that book forever!  A number of wonderful reference books have appeared in recent times.  In many cases within Australia under the new parcel rules, buying 2 or 3 books costs the EXACT same shipping as ONE does, so do give it some thought!   Within NSW, 10 books costs about the same shipping as 1 book etc!  (Superb VFU, valuable franking used on ALL parcels as always.)  ALL in stock now - click on each link for FULL details of each book.  Hint for these as GIFTS!  Buy FIVE or more, and deduct 10% OFF THE LOT!  Glen


ACSC "KANGAROOS" 228 pages, Full Colour for first time. ESSENTIAL!  $A125 (Stock 382KQ)

“Postmarks of SA and Northern Territory” - THREE massive Volumes for only $A199 (Stock 583HW)

HUGE James Bendon "UPU Specimen Stamps 1878-1961" 534 page Hardbound $A170 (Stock 892LR)

Stanley Gibbons current AUSTRALIA AND STATES & PACIFICS - Near 400 pages $A90 (Stock 736EQ)

Hugh Freeman huge  “Barred Numeral Cancellations Of Victoria”  Now Full COLOUR!  $A195 (Stock 274BN)

Hugh Freeman Numeral Cancellations of New South Wales" Huge hard cover $A185 (Stock 736LE)

Hugh Freeman’s debut “NSW NUMERAL CANCELS” epic work on CD ROM just $A40! (Stock code 637KT)

Geoff Kellow the superb hardcover 'Stamps Of Victoria' Ret $165:BIG DISCOUNT - $A120! (Stock 842FQ)

Superb 2018 ACSC  "Australia Postal Stationery"  Catalogue - huge 484 pages colour $A240 (Stock 782DV)

ACSC New full colour catalogues for KGVI and QE2 – the BOTH huge A4 books $240 (Stock 892JC)

The Arthur Gray "KGV Reign" Collection, Superb hard bound leather Catalogue just $A65 (Stock 368WF)
500 page ACSC New “Australia KGV Reign” catalogue in Full Colour - just  $A170 (Stock 382KX)





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