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January 2019


After 30 years, new Tasmania cancel book.


“Tasmanian Postal History - The Post Office and their Datestamps" edited by John Hardinge, a well known collector there, has recently been published by the Tasmania Philatelic Society.  

A superb, and YEARS overdue new opus work.  Hard cover, 282 quality archive grade paper A4 sized pages, and THIRTY years of combined research in here, from a wide range of the Tassie experts.

Each book is calligraphy hand numbered, author hand signed, hard case-bound with double folded dust jacket, and will NOT be reprinted, I was assured by all concerned. John Hardinge tells me he is VERY happy with the end result.


250 copies produced for the World.


Such a small run will cover about HALF the global demand when word spreads.  The Hugh Freeman NSW Numeral Cancels book had the same tiny print number problem when issued - prices soared to $500 a copy very fast. "Supply Meets Demand."

Most of the 250 copies printed were pre-sold to active Tasmania Philatelic Society Members etc, some months ago, at a pre-publication price offer.  Almost no copies above that number fully pre-paid were printed, as the Society did not want to get caught holding unsold books. 

Those extras then totally sold out fast on the TPS site at $160 plus post, as you can see on this link - ttps:// - and as always in these ventures, vast numbers of Tasmania collectors globally had no idea these books were being produced, and now need to source it from the trade.


We NEED superb works like this.


I ordered and pre-paid for several cartons up front, months back, and have near sold out of those already.  I am a huge believer in philatelic publishing, and try to financially support those who produce fine and long overdue works like this one. "Knowledge Is Power".


Each hand signed and calligraphy numbered.


There are probably some 50 dealers and Auction houses in UK and Europe and USA alone, who NEED this superb work, and as yet, do not even know it is printed!  Cost is no real matter to them - they all simply buy one when they hear it is published, as all things Tasmania are HOT!

Finding just ONE better postmark in an old album, or junk lot, just once in your lifetime, might pay for this book MANY times over. Find the cancel shown nearby, on a very 10
¢ common stamp, and you'll repay it TWENTY times over!

This 282 page book lists every known hand-held datestamp from 1823 to 2000, with rarity ratings, early/late dates, datestamp type, every post office opening and closing plus extensive related information.  This means all "postmarks" excepting those made by machine, seen in Tasmania from earliest times, to end of the 20th century. 

It also includes Postmaster's manuscript endorsements.  All Datestamp types from 1861 are illustrated with real examples.  Many images of Tasmanian Post Offices from the 19th and 20th Century, and many postmarks.  Extensive notes, including number of examples recorded for very rare postmarks. Illustrated in full colour. 

“GRAVELLY BEACH” cds is rated RRRRR.


John Hardinge has been researching information from many sources for at least the last 30 years. These sources include the Tasmanian Post Office archives, the early postal historians such as Purves, Campbell and Avery, and his own very extensive collection, and consulting with many collectors and contemporary specialists.


Never been on public record before.


The author has distilled all known information on his subject into one volume, and as such this book must be considered the last word on the history of Tasmania’s hand-held datestamps.  Much of the material in the book has never been placed on the public record before.  A must-have.

The rarity ratings have been verified by a group of experienced collectors over the last few years.  While the rarity ratings will be the main interest for some collectors, chapters explaining the history of datestamp issues, datestamp types (extensively illustrated) and information on the development of the Post Office in Tasmania will appeal to those interested in the wider picture.

Published in hard cover on bright archive grade gloss paper, with stitched binding, heavy grade turned top and base double thickness dust cover, and best of all, each individually calligraphy hand numbered, and each personally signed by the Author, John Hardinge. 


TEEPOOKANA cancel sells for $A3,620!


LOTS of circular postmarks on the common Tasmania 1899 "Pictorial" series are worth several $100’s each - indeed quite a few are WAY into the 4 figure region.  Demand is global, and supply near non-existent of the scarcer ones - hence the eye-watering prices.

The “TEEPOOKANA” shown nearby sold for $3,620 at auction - most readers of this 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
¢.  Indeed there were THREE different cds of “TEEPOOKANA” - each type is rated “RRRRR”!  The first cancels had 3 words – TEE POO KANA.

And not just tiny remote PO’s have rare cancels. There are masses of HOBART and LAUNCESTON cancels in here rated “RRRRR” - if you do not have this book youi would simply dismiss them as common strikes from big city General Post Offices.  Wrong - lots of great data in here.

All books are mailed carefully wrapped in bubble wrap to protect them, and each is hand numbered on outer bubble wrap, by the same hand as the inner calligraphy.  A nice touch!   A very professional effort by all involved at the Tasmania Philatelic Society - top marks.


500 Million to one KGV find.


Shown nearby is the Australia KGV 2d Orange INVERTED Watermark stamp, along with normal watermark.  Near 500 MILLION of these oranges were printed, and only a very few inverts ever surfaced.  

Both stamps as you can see, have IDENTICAL date handstamps from “Burracoppin Western Australia, April 5, 1922.”  This is a TINY little one-horse town, right in the remote WA Nullarbor Desert.


The unique 2d Orange Pigeon Pair.


A reader of my column some years back read that someone had stiffed me on the sale of another copy of this stamp error shown nearby - also cancelled “Burracoppin,” which had cost me my $1,000 profit margin.  He backed off a firm price deal, and chose “Auction Roulette.”

This genius literally lost himself $3,000 cold in the process, as he stupidly went down the uncertain path of auctioning it, and got $3,000 less in his pocket than what I’d agreed to pay – cash, same day!  Weird - full detail here -

An 85 year old WA reader of that column collected postmarks, not stamps, so he went to his WA cancels, as he recalled having a couple of nice “'Burracoppin” cds, also on 2d Orange KGV's.  He'd hinged them onto album pages about 50 years earlier, and had not even looked at watermarks - back then, interest in those was negligible. 


Largest stamp find he ever made!


The two used copies he possessed, had the same date "Burracoppin" cancel - but one was inverted watermark, and one was not!  Amazing.  After receiving them, and checking the error was genuine, I sent him a very large cheque same day as promised, and he was absolutely delighted.  The biggest find he ever made in his very long stamp lifetime. 

Clearly April 1922 saw the last of the invert sheet used up, (the other copy recorded, shown nearby has a March date) and the first stamp of a new sheet was used - with normal watermark.  Lovely pigeon pair - clean and fresh - perfectly upright cds on the error stamp.  Cleaner cut looking perfs than the other copies recorded exhibit.

As postage back then in the 1920s was 1d for a domestic letter, and 3d was the Registered fee, it is more than likely this pair was off a Registered cover - shame they ever got soaked off.  Last stamp of one sheet, and first stamp off a new sheet etc.  Shade is slightly different as can be seen.

The recent mainstream auction catalogue of this pair speculated: "Could the error be the result of a wmk bit that was inverted on the dandy roll, rather than the sheet being inverted prior to printing!?"  I kid you not.  Real ‘ebay Dreamer’ stuff!


Seller got $3,000 less for this one!


A wonderful pair - no other major Australian used rarity exists with a same day town cancel with error and normal.  The highest recorded price paid for one of these is $18,640 obtained at auction by Prestige Philately in 2004. That stamp was way off centre, with a heavy Moonta (SA) cds. 

SG catalogue today is #62W cat £5,500, and ACSC is 95a at $8,500.  Still a desirable inverted watermark, and after near a century, only a few are recorded.  BEWARE - this 2d Orange stamp perforated “OS” with inverted watermark, is relatively plentiful.  

I sold the matched cancel pair very quickly to a client, and dealer colleague Kevin Morgan in Melbourne mentioned to me today that he had now bought it, and had found this story when he was researching the error. 

Again, I’d have cheerfully paid $1,500 more in cash than foolish vendor eventually gets for these - and if anyone wants to be their next custodian, Kevin has the pair in stock at $A5,000.  A totally unique pair for some astute reader!


WW2 UK Food Parcel Labels.


Something many readers may not have ever seen, are the “A Gift Parcel From Australia” official Postal Stationary items, that are more commonly known here to collectors and the trade, as “WW2 Food Parcel Labels”.

The end of World War II in 1945 saw Britain leave many food items rationed.  Indeed rationing persisted in Britain until the mid-1950s.  Friends and relatives in “the bread basket” of Australia literally sent very many 100,000s of heavy gift food parcels to the UK, to help them get back on their feet. 


Only 2 mint copies recorded, 3/7d Myer Label.


This BBC link outlines the Food Rationing in the UK well after WW2, indeed the system did not end until 1954, which might surprise many! has more details - Meat, bacon, sugar, and butter were all rationed nationally, right up to the QE2 Coronation year in 1953. 


Basic goods rationed until QE2 Coronation.


In the late 1940s (indeed until 1954) Britons were subject to rationing.  Even as late as 1950, goods such as these were still rationed in the UK - canned and dried fruit, chocolate biscuits, treacle, syrup, jellies, soap, sugar - and of course much fresh produce like milk, butter and meat, and of course petrol.

Australia was the bread basket for the "Motherland" for much of this produce, which was freely available in Australian stores, and inexpensive.  Rationed goods in England, that transported well - such as canned and dried fruit, chocolate biscuits, treacle, syrup, jellies, soap, sugar were cheap to buy here, and of course greatly sought after in Britain.


Early versions used postage stamps.


At that time near all Australians had a "British Connection" with relatives and immediate family in the “old country”.  Indeed at this time, the Australian population was almost entirely of British Isles descent.   The large influx of Greeks, Italians, Yugolavs etc did not occur until the late 1940s.  So this extensive "Food For Britain" campaign was mounted in the post-war years.

The Australian Post Office co-operated, and introduced VERY cheap “Food For Britain” rates to allow this to occur.  Three heavily discounted weights of parcel were possible  - up to 3lbs at 1/11d, up to 7lbs at 3/7d, and up to 11lbs (about 5 kilos) at 5/10d.  The latter was by far the most heavily used.

As the lightest weight
½ ounce airmail letter to the UK cost 2/-, and a light USA letter cost 4/- back at this time, just a little more than that in cost, to send a heavy 11 pound weight carton to the UK, was clearly very exceptional value, and was heavily used.


The unique Hordern Food Parcel label

  Before these special Stationery impressions, Customs labels were required, declaring and itemising the items as foodstuffs sent at no cost, and each postage rate required at least three stamps being used - see nearby image.  Commercial food suppliers, acting as agents, found this procedure laborious and expensive.  

Myer Emporium lead the charge.


Retailers - mainly The Myer Emporium of Melbourne, negotiated in 1946 to have the dies of 3/7d KGVI in maroon, and 5/10d KGVI in deep blue used, for embossing their labels.  With such clearly pre-determined Food Parcel contents, the previous fiddly customs labels were not required.

The Myer Emporium monolith store approached the Australia Post Office to emboss gummed Food Parcel use labels for them, that had these impressed stamp on them, so as to rapidly identify sendings that qualified for this new low postage rate. 

The Post Office agreed to this request, and as you can see, the 5/10d blue KGVI head stamp impression, was in line with that standard design die type used on pre-stamped envelopes, and Registered envelopes of the time.

Britain waived customs fees on these parcels, so they were a huge success, and some 273,722 of the 5/10d labels were produced. They are more often seen than the 3/7d, of which 107,539 labels were sold, so near 400,000 parcels emanated using these labels alone. 


Myer Stores also used Food Parcel meters.

  Myer stores interstate used a special meter label - one is shown nearby from Myer Emporium Adelaide for the 3/7d.  The special meter slogan, as can be seen, said “SEND A MYER PACKED GIFT PARCEL TO FRIENDS IN ENGLAND” dated February 1947.  Grace Brothers in Sydney also did similar Meter labels, but few Brits bothered retaining either.  

Anthony Hordern labels remarkably scarce.

  The large Anthony Hordern department store in Sydney also ordered these labels.  Shown nearby is the ONLY Anthony Hordern Food Parcel Label known to exist.  Not just in used, but no mint copies are recorded as surviving, and it is not known if they too did 3/7d values. 

My hunch is that a large store like that would have requested both values especially as the far smaller Tasmania retailer Fitzgeralds ordered the same numbers of both values. The ACSC latest Edition has it listed at just $7,500.  VERY strange cat figure, based on the previous Public Auction result.

This label clearly has a few faults, and looks like the silverfish have had a good chew at it in places.  However I note it was invoiced for $10,350 at Prestige Auctions in 2008 - estimate $5,000, so keen bidding at that time.  It sold last month for $7,280, as it was poorly promoted, and the earlier sale figure was foolishly not mentioned. 

The large Fitzgerald Department Stores in Hobart Tasmania, also ordered similar large printed gummed Food Parcel labels, with the embossed 3/7d and 5/10d KGVI impressions, being supplied in same pink and blue colours as used for Myer. 

ACSC research shows us that Fitzgerald’s ordered 1000 of each value, but only the lower value is recorded as existing, via 2 used examples, ACSC PL3b, Cat $7,500 each.  A 5/10d Fitzgeralds would be a tremendous find by someone!  Anything is possible.


5/10d Department Agriculture label under-rated.


The Victoria Department of Agriculture or also ordered the 5/10d Blue KGVI labels.  One certainly sees mint examples offered now and again, but I have seldom seen used copies ever offered, even at large Auctions.  I can’t recall seeing any used examples offered in recent years, and have never owned one.

The current ACSC values of $1,000 mint, and $1,500 used for those seem well out of skew with the other types, to me at least.  The USED should be 2 or 3 times as high as the current ACSC level in my view, as mint are seen around in the market.  Even at $3,000 used they’d appear on the low side, to me anyway.


Rationing eased slightly in late 1940s.


By late 1949, with rationing in UK beginning to ease, the reduced demand for these parcels no longer justified the embossing, and The Myer Emporium Melbourne reverted to using adhesive stamps, or a more usual meter machine for the postage - see image nearby.

The large Myer label illustrated nearby of same x as the embossed version, from January 1948 has a 5/10d Meter impression, presumably applied in-store.  In THEORY it should be worth far more than the 5/10d blue embossed, as these are RARE. 


Myer later used meter franked versions.


These parcel labels are of additional interest to those who use the Seven Seas brand albums, as there are spaces for these label “cut-outs” on many sets of their pages, and even these small cut outs from top right corner sell very well when offered. 

The very thin, very fragile, and very large gummed labels were licked onto parcels, sent by sea, and 2 or 3 months latter arrived in Britain, where the grateful recipients tore the parcels open in excitement, and tossed away the outer brown paper wrapper with the address section. 


Tossed away when Food Parcels arrived.


The label looked like a common retailer address label, and not a stamp in the usual way - just a meter imprint.  The flimsy label was very often damaged in the long sea transit, and even if some kid tried to peel it off the parcel for their collection, they always tore or thinned it etc, due to the very large size, and strong gum.

Near all used copies I have ever seen offered, have had small transit faults/creases/tears or thinning.  These special labels only lasted in use for 3 years (until 1949) hence their great scarcity today in complete form, even when damaged. has a great deal of discussion on them, and shows many of the other different types and styles and forms and labels generally unrecorded so far, for sending Food Parcel to Britain, and are seldom seen.  Others may exist.  A great new collecting field to look into!


THIS gem just sold for $A712!


Just as I was filing this column December 2, noticed a weird figure obtained for a tatty looking NSW Duty stamp.  An 1873 NINE PENCE overprint on 1d green QV.  Start price was 99c and the ebay Bunny Brigade drove it up to $712.56 for some reason.

Me, I’d have left it in a stockbook probably, so someone must have recognised it was pretty scarce.  Huge thin on reverse, and of course being eBay, the seller did not mention the heavily toned/foxed perfs - who needs to mention such minor detail.  Gotta love Bunnies! 

The John Barefoot Revenues Catalogue has it as NSW #48, cat
£10 quid used.  Badly thinned and badly foxed - 10% to 20% of that catalogue value in the REAL world, outside of WackoBay. No IQ test required to bid there - does the bidder own a Barefoot Cat - of COURSE not!

As a UK dealer commented when he saw it raised for comment on
-  “If I'd seen this in an album it would have failed even minimum standards for kiloware, so I'm fascinated what makes it so rare.”


                                      Season’s Greetings To All!


The stamp business for me has gone BALLISTIC this year.  The weak $A has seen a vast surge in orders from overseas, USA especially, and particularly for better pieces in the 3 and 4 figure plus range, that I mostly deal in.  Other dealer friends report the same kind of story and pattern this year.

Super low interest rates globally, and often nervous share markets, and even more nervous real estate markets in many countries, has seen a good deal of savvy money switching into better stamps.  Which often rise 5% or more a year - and that rise is mostly Tax Free for private collectors.

We spent last Christmas Day in Nicosia Cyprus, and were kindly invited by my stamp friend Akis Christou to lunch, for the full Greek extended family Christmas gathering - quite a wonderful experience!  Next day we crossed the fortified Green Line that divides Nicosia, and toured Turkish Cyprus.


Christmas Day in Nicosia.


Akis has a large Gold Medal winning collection of early Cyprus - most especially the CYPRUS overprints on GB stamps.  He has a HUGE basement in his large home filled with collections - amazing stuff and very interesting to look over.

One of his interests is the 1935 Silver Jubilee stamp issues of Australia. He has albums and albums of them.  Proofs, covers, errors, multiples, varieties - you name it.  He has never visited here, but just loves that issue!

He runs the largest bookstore in Cyprus - Soloneion, and has a pretty decent section there for stamp accessories, and albums etc.  Margo took this photo nearby of us standing in front of part of it all, with a lot of “Lighthouse” product.

We flew from there to Austria, to Denmark for while, then way down to Lisbon Portugal for New Year’s Eve, and up to Porto - very pretty place.  Then a flight across to Barcelona for a few days, and back to Frankfurt for the lonnng flight home.


Windhoek here we come!


We travelled an awful lot during this year, domestically and overseas, and this Christmas fly to Korea, then Ethiopia for a few days.  Then fly to Windhoek, capital of Namibia, once South West Africa, and rent a car, and wander about the game parks, and arid sand dunes etc. 

Then overland via the wildlife of Botswana, to Victoria Falls Zimbabwe for New Year’s Eve, then to Zambia. Fly back home via Addis Ababa Ethiopia, and then to frozen Beijing of all places, on the way home. 


Travel Tales From Tibet.

  We survived the dreaded altitude sickness during our visit to Tibet in May 2018.  Communication, and researching things is not simple.  Facebook, YouTube, google, IMGUR, gmail, ImageShack, leading foreign media and newspaper websites etc, are all totally banned, and 100% blocked there  


Stamp gum no good? - use a gluestick!

  Our original inward flight was aborted by pilot from landing at Lhasa due to bad weather, and we ended up back in Chengdu China, 5 hours after we boarded!  Total chaos for the next few hours, as seemingly no-one there spoke English.  So we finally arrived a day later than planned, and within an hour of arriving were climbing to top of the massive 1000 step Potala Palace, of the Dalai Lamas. 

Lhasa itself is over 2 MILES above sea level, and at my age and poor physical condition and decrepitude, I’d be totally stuffed doing that back home at sea level, in Sydney!  Most tourists arriving direct from low altitude by plane allow a day or 2 of doing nothing, to slowly acclimatise there.  We had an hour! 

Great place, and ate lots of Yak Meat, Yak dumplings, and Yak butter - it really is very widespread and cheap here. We even bought lots of Yak Milk confectionary for friends - pretty distinctive!  Mailed a few postcards from a PO and the girl there thought I was crazy for asking for neat postmarks.  Many stamps would not stick, so she whipped out a glue stick off her desk, as you can see at left! 


Brighten up your letters and cards!

  The Post Office there has a pretty cool feature of a little table with about 20 different sized handstamps, and 10 red ink pads, that you can use on letters or postcards.  The wording is in Tibetan language, and some are pretty ornate designs and apparently have all kinds of “auspicious” messages on them.  All shown in the photo I took nearby.  

Tibet “Permit” a hassle.

  A very interesting country, and as yet not over-run by tourists by any means, indeed there are virtually no top end Hotels.   Getting the special “Tibet Permit” is a hassle, and seemingly everyone in the country wants to sight that, and or Passports, at least once!  The locals are very friendly, and very religious.  Near EVERY house flies the colourful montages of Buddhist prayer flags.

I’ve been lucky to have travelled extensively globally, and been to some super high altitude places - in Ecuador, Nepal, Peru and Bolivia etc, but nothing like this.

One day we walked up a nearby hill much higher than this marker shown here at 4,998 metres, or 16,398’ - way over 3 miles altitude. Higher than the summit of Mont Blanc, the highest point in Europe, being a trifling 4,808 metres!


Margo at THREE+ miles above sea level!


That extreme 5,000 metre altitude really leaves you totally gasping heavily for breath, even after a 10 metre flat walk!  Lots more photos here for anyone interested -    We both survived the dreaded altitude sickness I got for 3 days, after acting the fool at El Alto airport in La Paz Bolivia once, and that was just a “mere” 4,000+ metres high!

We book a private guide and driver for all these trips, as it gives you the flexibility to get to a lower altitude or different destination fast if needed.  As our time away from the stamp desk is always very limited, we always do that, and we fitted in Chengdu and 4 days in leafy Kunming as well.


Over 50 Giant Pandas in Chengdu, Western China.

  There is a quite fabulous Giant Panda facility in Chengdu with over 50 of these amazing animals, looking very content and surprisingly active, in a 100 acre heavily wooded set-up.  Not a city many foreign tourists get to, but well worth a visit for anyone planning a China vacation.  Six fat “teenagers” all playing together only metres away, was something I’ll never forget seeing!  
“Thank You”
to all readers globally, for the many phone calls and letters and emails with comments - for AND against what has been written here, over the past year!  It has been a most interesting one.  

“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year”,  to one and all, and your families.  Be safe, have a great time among your family and friends and STAMPS - and enjoy the break!  See you all in 2019





  as I type incessantly -  I cannot stress the importance of having a solid library.  Often the FIRST thing you look up, often pays for that book forever!  A number of wonderful new reference books have appeared recently.  In many cases buying 2 or 3 books costs around the same shipping as ONE, so do give it some thought!  Within NSW, 10 books costs the same shipping as 1 book etc!  ALL in stock now - click on each link for details.  Hint for these as GIFTS!  Glen

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

Stanley Gibbons current AUSTRALIA AND STATES & PACIFICS - Near 400 pages $A80 (Stock 736EQ

Hugh Freeman "Numeral Cancellations of New South Wales" Huge hard cover $A185 (Stock736LE)

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

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

ACSC New full colour catalogues for KGVI and QE2 – the BOTH huge A4 books $260 (Stock 892JC)

The Arthur Gray "KGV Reign" Collection, Superb hard bound leather Catalogue just $A65 (Stock 368WF)

"Plating Papua Lakatois" Book, 563 x A4 pages, RRP $110 - DISCOUNTED to just $A60! (Stock 432HA)

500 page ACSC New “Australia KGV Reign” catalogue in Full Colour - just  $A165 (Stock 382KX)

Stanley Gibbons superb "2019 British Commonwealth Cat" - 750 pages hardbound - $A175 (Stock 692KX)

Stanley Gibbons colour GB "CONCISE" Cat - 500 pages – NOW REDUCED $A20 to just $A65  (Stock 483KA)

HUGE  Seven Seas Stamps "Australasian Stamp Cat."   *NO* dealers have stock! $A99 (Stock 792TQ)

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





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