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February 2020


Sophia saving Koalas!


The recent Bushfire catastrophe in all states of Australia has had very few Good News aspects or sidebars to it, as we all know.  When one emerges, it is well worth highlighting, and this I am doing here.  Let us celebrate the few positive things that come from it, when so many, have lost so much nationally. has an ongoing fundraiser that I started when overseas in Nepal during January, sickened by the daily lead reports on CNN and BBC World on Hotel TVs each day.  We all felt so helpless I suppose, wherever we were located, and all wanted to do something to assist those impacted, and to those brave and selfless firefighters.


We all felt so totally helpless.


As I type this, the appeal has raised about $10,000 so far from collectors, that has been transferred directly to the Salvation Army as it is donated, as they have 165 front line relief vans on the ground.  How to donate is here -  Members have donated GB 1d Blacks, 5/- Bridges, MUH 1892 Tasmania 10/- Blocks, 1d Red KGV Harrison Imprints, scarce pre-war FDC etc, etc.

Money donations have arrived from more than 15 overseas countries, and the Philatelic Traders Society London (PTS) kindly circularised their members about it.  One anonymous UK dealer is mailing across another GB 1840 1d Black to offer at Auction – it, with all the other donated material is loaded up at with a wide array of material, 100% donated.


Get stamps - and donate money!


“Stamp News” kindly donated 10 x annual subscriptions, Brusden-White donated $1,300 of the superb ACSC Specialist catalogues etc, and all bids on all these items saw every cent go direct to the Salvation Army.  Buy some scarcer stamps you need, and see all the monies go to a good cause - hard to beat that deal.

We all realise the traditional “Bushfire Season” has really only just started across the country, so very sadly there will be continued need for ongoing support in coming months.  So please do what you can NOW to assist all the hard working volunteer agencies who ARE there on the spot, unlike Federal Government “support” over Xmas/New Year when they were basically closed down for a month on vacations.


Sophia donated her life savings.


One donation was made by 11 year old Sophia Fallon from Canada.  She gave her dad all her life savings, and asked him to donate it all, so as to help save some of the gum tree habitat of her favourite animal - the Koala Bear.  They say the future of the world is in the hands of this generation, and I really wish more Sophia’s were in power in our current Government! 

Sophia has a desire to be a zoologist, and wants to move to Australia her Dad says, and keeps bugging him to make Oz their next holiday.  Anyway, she donated $A60 via Dad’s PayPal account, and father Brad added Sophia’s photo (nearby) holding one of her Koala books, and I really found the whole thing very touching.


“She is heartbroken.”


Her Father, Brad Fallon from Mississauga Toronto, posted - “she is heartbroken over the fires in Australia, and is donating all of the money she has.  We have sent it via PayPal.  Sophia thanks you for your generosity and time in doing this for Australia (and the Koalas)!”

I mailed her off some Australia Koala stamp mini sheets, and an artist signed one, as a little ‘Thank You’ for her wonderful gesture, and used a bunch of Australia animal, bird, frog, and butterfly stamps etc, that were laying around my desk on her outward cover as shown nearby.  (Parents have OK’d her name and address and photo being shown here - my mis-spelling for SOPHIA.)


YOU can add to Sophia’s collection!


Many collectors love the idea of fostering Junior collectors, and here is your chance - mail some spare bird or animal or insect stamps etc from anywhere, across to Sophia to the address on the cover, and they will add to her collection.  She’ll probably be the coolest kid in the school with a bunch of pretty stamped envelopes from 10 or 15 different countries etc!

Stampboards has lots of Canadian members - many are senior board Moderators, so I contacted ”Canadian Stamp News” with the story.  They loved the local connection to there and ran a long piece on front cover of their magazine being printed and mailed latter January.  All the updated detail on this is found here -  


“eBay Dreamers”


eBay does not seek any minimum IQ level check for sellers (or buyers!)  All you need is a valid credit card to pay all the fees.  Anyone with a vivid imagination, and a piece of junk can list it up, describe it however they wish, and pay the smorgasbord of eBay charges and extras, that make them rich!

Stampboards has a very popular thread titled: “eBay and Other On-Line Dreamers - A Photo Lot Compendium” and  is the link to it.  Take a good look, if you are having a bad day at the office , and want to chuckle at the stupidity virus that is always raging globally in the stamp world!

That discussion has over 5,000 messages on it, and over 400,000 page views, so plenty of folks find it entertaining.  There is a never-ending stream of totally worthless landfill, that the clueless dreamers cheerfully list up for $1,000 - or $10,0000 or often $100,000!  And some of it sells.

On eBay it seems near essential these Froot-Loop dreamers give themselves total gibberish user names.  This current GB 1d Machin GEM illustrated nearby, is offered in the most recent posting there, by the catchily named ebay seller par_1j0qvq3  from South Australia.  I kid you not.  He has been an esteemed ebayer for 6 years.


On Ebay - yours for just $1,000!


Mister Gibberish name par_1j0qvq3 offers you this rare and superb stamp - that he carefully describes as "Stamp - Queen Elizabeth II Stamp 1p used collectable" for the real bargain “Buy It Now” price of $A1,000.  He of course does not mention the ripped off corner - on ebay, obvious condition faults are seldom mentioned of course.

Readers will know this stamp in GOOD condition costs only pennies per 100 used, as it is exceedingly common, but hey on Ebay such realities are cheerfully ignored.  To his credit ebayer par_1j0qvq3 advises that for $A1,000 it is POST FREE, and that you CAN make offers.  You just can’t make this stuff up!  Gotta love eBay.


All that Glitters is NOT Gold.


These above are the dreamers there on ebay offering absurd junk at wacksville prices, that few sane folks will be tempted on. Then there are the more cunning spivs who offer all kinds of shady nonsense that DOES sell, to the army of dopes who are determined “Baaahgeen Huntas” on there.

The very fuzzy ink-jet printed or photocopied £1 Brown and Blue Kangaroo shown nearby would fool no-one right?   Wrong.  Take a good look at it - buyers had these, and even closer-up scans to work off, before bidding away madly like demented lemmings on this absolutely totally worthless garbage.

In typical unhelpful fashion, the brilliant eBay description said just this -
This is kangaroo 1 pound stamp. Probably 1916 year. Colour is blue(ultramarine , or dull blue) and brown. In my opinion no defect and stamp is ok.  I try to describe stamp as good as possible


Bunnies bid $500 for a photocopy.



There were 21 bids on this nonsense - seller was low feedback stanjoe54 - and of COURSE it was a “Private Auction” - a Shill Seller heaven smoke screen.  The ebay Bunnies bid this up to about $A500.  You just really cannot make this sort of stuff up.  It is like some bad “D” grade movie.

No £1 stamp from WWI era can have a machine cancel as savvier collectors know.  Those were for letters and postcards only.  Has no watermark of course, which a blind nun can see, and fake perfs added with a hatpin - but it was a BAHRRGEEN right?  I’ll sell these dopey geniuses a FU and GENUINE £2 Roo for $A500.  Scary.


Then there are these ebay sellers -


Then there are Ebay sellers who know DARN well they are offering something that is not what it is apparently is, and pray for the Bunny Parade to fall dutifully in line, hoping for the BEEIG BAAHHRGIN, and often they are not disappointed.  Darwin’s theory.

The GB 1d Red nearby was offered recently with the lot heading saying exactly this - “Plate 77!!  1858 Penny Red Plate. More than likely NOT Genuine”  So basic common sense would tell you no-one would bid correct?  Wrong.  This is eBay - the land of the Perpetual Dreamers and Hopers!

The stamp had lower corner letters AB.  A Genuine Plate 77 is in the Royal Collection, and is also luckily corner lettered AB, and that image is readily available to check - stampboards alone has used it dozens of times.  The corner letter placements do NOT match on these 2 stamps, so clearly this offered stamp can NEVER be a Plate 77, and someone experienced, like seller bygonesofbridlington must know that. 

It is clear someone put a red dot of ink each either side of a very common plate 177.  Something anyone could achieve in minutes.  So what would someone spend for such an obvious fake - 5 quid as a spacefller maybe?  Many printed albums have a space for Plate 77 (worth around $A1 million!) so some folks like to fill that hole with something cheap.


$700 for a 5 minute fake.


A few quid?  Wrong - try £156 - or about $A300 at the time.  A crazy price correct, for a hand painted fake?  But WAIT - the story gets wackier.  The ebay seller, bygonesofbridlington offered it again soon afterwards.  Either the $300 buyer had seen a pyschiatrist, and then cancelled the sale, OR, the seller got greedy and wanted more for it.  It is Ebay - who really knows?


Lets get REALLY greedy.


And so it transpired.  Second time around it sold for for £366.00 - or well over $A700.  I kid you not, and it attracted 42 bids.  Now you can buy a GENUINE 1840 1d Black AND 2d Blue imperf for that kind of serious money.  But no, let’s spend it on a painted in forgery, worth a few $$s in the REAL world outside Ebay. 

These wacky things are near impossible to believe, but they occur daily. It seems many bidders on such things have NO idea of the area they are playing with.  The stampboards discussion that raised this is here - and it was pointed out via leading GB plating experts it was an outright fake, well before the initial auction concluded. 

“A fool and his money are soon parted.”  And on Ebay that occurs on a very regular basis, as some of these examples here clearly show.  In an area you know little about, do NOT gamble that you will fluke a wonder deal, on a fuzzily photocopied, no watermark £1 Brown and Blue Kangaroo for a measly $A500.  Just another Bangkok ‘Solid Gold Rolex’.


New 5/- SIDEWAYS Kangaroo surfaces.


“The last word in Philately is NEVER Written” is my lifelong motto.  And to prove that once again, stampboards recently had a discussion on a newly discovered example of the 1915 5/- Kangaroo with SIDEWAYS watermark.  This is a very big deal, as for the past century only ONE copy was known, reported initially in 1919.  Both are Illustrated nearby.

The previous copy was really terrible looking, as you can see, and it was once in FAR worse shape that what you see here - it was cleaned up markedly, soon after being offered in the early 1992 by Ray Kelly at Auction for less than $A3,000.  Arthur Gray bought it, and it sold in his Shreves New York sale that I attended in 2007, for $A118,000.  A FORTY times gain in 15 years.  Who said there was no money in watermark errors!


Newly discovered 5/- Sideways Wmk.


The new discovery has a very different colour, and far cleaner cut perfs, so clearly more than one sheet was printed.  Both have totally different Queensland cds too.  This was discovered in Europe in 2019 and now has a repaired Telegraph Puncture.  Whether that was repaired at time of discovery, or since then, is not known.  Anyway, it was done neatly, and facially it is a decent looking stamp, as you can see.


Lazy Auction = no sale.


Sadly the Sydney Auction house was lazy, and did not publicise this new discovery, and it very predictably did not sell.  A Press Release etc on such important pieces well before the sale, gets some FREE global excitement into the bidding.  The result of that is clear to see, and it is unsold at about $50,000, when all the Buyer Fees and taxes are added on.

New catalogue value levels are a conundrum, when a second example is reported of something once thought to be unique.  At present they are ACSC 44d cat $125,000, and SG 42ba, cat £85,000 = A$160,000.  A second copy generally halves those, and a copy with a repaired chunk is generally worth a fraction of a sound copy, to make the math even tougher.



Sideways Watermark Roo part imprint block.


Only a few Kangaroos exist with SIDEWAYS watermarks, and all except the 1/- Green are pretty pricey.  I offered this 1/- part Mullett imprint MUH block of 4 on my Rarity page recently for less than $A1000, and it sold fast.  I illustrate it here, as the sideways watermark crown tops can be seen clearly on the gutter margin.  

Stampboards has a long detailed discussion on this recent 5/- discovery, and the other Kangaroo sideways watermarks which is here -  some interesting material in there.  Mossgreen/abacus auctioned two x ½d green Roos (another new discovery) with large ‘OS’ perfins in the last few years.  SG Editor wants details on which direction the watermarks faced, if anyone can pass that on to me.


Ugly Stamps DO Sell!


If you thought the Arthur Gray 5/- sideways Roo was ugly, take a look at the South Australia “MRG” pair shown nearby!  MAIN ROADS GAMBIERTON  Departmental stamps, with Black 'MRG' overprint without Stops, on a 2d brown-orange 'dwarf-jumbo' strange looking pair.

This was auctioned by abacus in December and did not sell.  I flew down for AEROPEX in Adelaide mid-December, and bumped into well-known SA collector Tony Presgrave, who was arranging the purchase of it from Gary Watson, for about $9,000 after buyer fees etc.


$9,000 of pure ‘MRG’ Beauty!


This rather ugly (to me!) pair was from the Ric Slade-Slade collection, and despite having an internal repair, had a 2019 RPSV Certificate (who consulted Tony before issuing it)  and some strange ‘hanging chad’ top edge perfs that Tony lustily promises HE will not be tearing or snipping off!

These official “Departmental” stamps were generally printed on ugly and damaged and badly misperforated stamp sheets that the printer put aside for the “Free Government Use” and lots of them look pretty terrible, like this pair does. That is the charm to many.  Presgrave posted this message below -


“Don’t even think of it …”


“The pair is now suitably mounted with the rest of the "MRG" in the collection, and by the way, the ragged separation at the top of the pair will NOT be trimmed off, that is all part of the character of these stamps.  As I have said on many occasions when talking about the Departmentals stamps - if you are looking for perfectly centred, nicely cancelled, perfect separation, then don't even think of collecting these stamps”

$9,000 seems like a lot of money, but these Departmentals can bring nosebleed prices.  A single example of the 'M.R.G.' with full stops after each letter, another variant, also on a 2d orange QV, sold by same auction in June 2019 for $A11,650.

I took the photo nearby, of Tony holding the sale catalogue for the pair.  He tells me it is the Star of his Exhibit for London 2020 this year, and he is flying over for the big show.  Hopefully he will prevail there, as his Departmentals collection is probably the finest extant.


Headed for Gold at London 2020?


Tony was sitting next to his good friend Neil Copping from Penola in the South East, who said he was going to buy it if Tony wilted under the fiscal pressure!  I grew up in Mount Gambier (GAMBIERTON!) so this MRG sale has more than a passing interest for me.

Neil's fellow Mount Gambier Stamp Club member Lloyd Perry was the vendor, and it is believed he had owned it for the 40 years since the Slade-Slade sale back at Harmers of Sydney Auctions in 1979 which I attended actually.  Getting too old for this!  So I am sure Lloyd is pleased it stayed in South Australia.

The SG Catalogue Editor told me this week he is working on a rarity rating or pricing system, for these issues at LONG last, and when that occurs, hold on to your hat.  There are many 5 figure type pieces in the field.  Be 105% CERTAIN of the provenance and authenticity of them however, when buying. is the long running stampboards discussion on these issues, that has world experts like Tony Presgrave (“pres”)  help sort the good from the bad.  The Sydney eBay forger is of course peddling all kinds of appalling fakes of them these days - see many of them on that thread. 


Plastic Fantastics! has hosted a very interesting discussion for some time about the 1973 stamp issue of Bhutan, that were actually fully playable vinyl 33 rpm records.  I must confess I had never heard of, or seen these strange items before that discussion.  An American member was seeking information about these stamps, and it grew from there.


World’s first playable stamps


A NSW member Ken Pullen (who purchased Bexley Stamps in 2017) not only came up with a photo of the set of 7 different coloured vinyl record stamps, but he also showed the new issue press sheet that related to them!  Photos of both sides of that April 1973 new issue Bulletin are posted up on - see it here -


Sold for $1,000


It outlines that the issue price of the set of 7 was $US4.  First Day Covers were 25c extra!  They were stated to be the world’s first stamp set that played music.  I do not doubt it.  I found it fascinating.  Ken says he has played the records on a phonograph, and assures all readers that they certainly do work and play.  More on that later.


Set 7 is catalogued $US400/$A600


One stamp has the national anthem of Bhutan on it.  Others had national folk songs etc. Ken told me he purchased his set in 1990 for just $A25.  Here is the amazing thing - in the current 2020 Scott catalogue the set of 7 is valued at $US400 ($A600) mint or used - unchanged for a few years now. 10 years back I freely sold them for $A250 a set 7, as Bill Hornadge had sold them to me.  Bill put his final set in a Prestige auction and it got $850!

And if you think that is absurd, the stampboards website points out where a set recently sold on eBay for over $A1,000.  That is far more than a MUH 5/- Sydney Harbour Bridge stamp.  I learn something new about stamps every day.  Lots of collectors enjoy seeking out off-beat and quirky issues.  These kind of obscure things often sell for more than full cat as supply is tiny.

Sets of 7 “Mint”, or on FDC are selling now for around $A1,000 on ebay to an Australian buyer after taxes -  I saw a news piece that Bhutan issued the world’s first CD Rom stamps in 2008 - so maybe track down a few of these somewhere, and tuck them away, if you like a gamble.  I personally have never seen those, or seen them offered even.


Bhutan 1973 LP record Airmail pair


Clearing my desk before I flew out for Xmas, I found superb Mint examples of the 2 x huge Bhutan 1973 Airmail stamps, 3NU and 9NU.  These are the key to the set 7, and sell on ebay right now for $US220, plus the now compulsory 10% GST on imports, or $US242 = $A355, so I priced them $100 less, to pay for a Hotel room somewhere on our travels!

For anyone really interested there is a link on here  where someone has taped the content of all these 7 stamps off his record player.  Pretty interesting if you have time!  I was in Nepal and India this month, and was told the neighbouring neigh Bhutanese people have the happiest and most relaxed lifestyle of any nation.  They have resisted mass tourism - VERY smart.






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500 page ACSC New “Australia KGV Reign” catalogue in Full Colour - just  $A170 (Stock 382KX)

Stanley Gibbons superb "2020 British Commonwealth Cat" - 770 pages hardbound - $A180 (Stock 483HQ)

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