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March 2017


Unissued Royal Visit stamp Auctioned.

  In 1949 a proposed Royal Tour to Australia and New Zealand was cancelled, owing to the poor health of King George VI.  The Royal Party was to travel on Battleship “HMS Vanguard”, as they had previously done in 1947 on their tour to South Africa.  

 Ship Ahoy! Auction March 9.


I understand that the “Vanguard” was the last ever Battleship built for the Royal Navy.  WW2 was over as she was rolled out, and indeed I’ve seen it reported that she was the last ever Battleship built worldwide, which sounds strange, as I assumed they were still being made?

A set of 4 commemorative stamps were printed for the New Zealand Post Office by Waterlow & Sons of London. In a total run of 39 million stamps of 2d, 3d, 5d and 6d values.  When news that the tour was cancelled was received, the stamps were ordered to be destroyed. 

Allegedly about 7 stamps were caught in the door of the destruction furnace, and were salvaged by a naughty workman: the rest being consigned to the flames.  All are creased and damaged, some far more than others, indeed 2 of them have missing pieces.


What a way to do a Royal Tour!


I am not so sure about that old ”furnace” story.  The “Vanguard” stamp was apparently totally unknown until about 1979.  The first was sold in NZ for $NZ14,000 in 1979, and I believe that is the one I have seen an image of, with a LARGE piece of the stamp missing at top left.  Now we have SEVEN it seems.

Stamp 2 to appear was offered by Harmer’s Of Sydney, on June 21, 1979, on front cover of their 1979 “McNess” sale catalogue of superb Australia. That is the very SAME stamp now being offered by Mowbrays on March 2017.  Harmers mention the initial example sale in NZ that year.  See their lot text nearby. 

I attended that Harmers sale, and was a major buyer - I still have a wad of mint KGV head blocks still in Harmers lot cards, near 40 years on!  I doubt the “Vanguard” on front cover of that sale was ex McNess - I do not think he even collected NZ.  However, whomever owned it, saw it go unsold at $A14,000.   

This aborted 3d “HMS Vanguard” stamp issue is mentioned in a footnote by Stanley Gibbons in catalogues after SG 697.  The better looking stamp shown nearby will be included in Mowbray Collectables March 11 public stamp auction in NZ, with an estimate of NZ$25,000. 


Unsold Harmer Sydney, in June 1979.


The Mowbrays website is truly of appalling 1990s super clunky standard, no search option, and no photos of anything when I looked today, but the “Vanguard” listing is indeed buried in there SOMEWHERE I am told by David Smitham, despite 10 minutes of searching, and not locating it!

A really badly abused example of the stamp allegedly sold in quite recent times, for about $NZ30,000 (amazingly) which was scrubbed, bleached, stained, badly creased, no gum, and crudely pressed, to vainly try and disguise the heavy creasing and marks and perf faults etc.


Roughie allegedly sells $30,000


It was a truly ugly dog as you can see. The artificially brightened scan shown nearby was a feeble attempt to visually minimise most of the creasing and stains and scrubbing etc.  Whatever Bunny paid $30,000 I hope keeps an eye on what this FAR superior example with gum, fetches at Mowbrays in a couple of weeks!

I do recall another example was offered at the Stanley Gibbons Australia Auction in March 1999, at the massive “Australia 99” Stamp Expo International. It has an estimate of just $A10,000, but I do not have a record of what it sold for, if indeed it sold - someone may be able to advise me for my records?


Doctored and fiddled beyond belief.


Another example, this one mint with gum, and a full gum OFFSET, was offered by Paul Fraser Auctions of London with a £15,000 estimate a couple of years back - there appears to be no reports of it selling.  A chunk of the base was missing.  But with a strong gum OFFSET, I am smelling “printer’s waste” origin with all the 7 known copies being of that reject grade appearance. 

In a November 2009 Mowbray’s sale in New Zealand, a mint 3d
“HMS Vanguard” was invoiced for $NZ31,455 to a Hong Kong buyer, on an estimate of $NZ25,000. That stamp was in inferior condition to the one offered now, but far better than the scrubbed one, AND the 2 examples with pieces missing!

In that same 2009 Mowbrays sale, I bought some superb and unique Waterlow gummed plate proofs of the unissued Royal Visit stamps for New Zealand. That was 8 years ago, and now and again I see the stockcard appear, and it vanishes in to the rubble again here, but I must dig them out one day! 


Australia’s most under-rated stamp?


This 5/- is probably Australia’s most over-looked stamp issue.  Released with ZERO advice or fanfare, and sent to WA and NSW ONLY - all other states used only the original “5” Monocolour, and this 5/- “Stroke” was replaced in less than a year by the 5/- Bi-Colour in 1909.


Very scarce, but a pittance!


The 20/- in this same “with stroke” series is SG Cat £50,000 used, and the 10/- “with stroke” middle value is also very rare.  This 5/- SHOULD really be $1,000++.  SG are just WRONG on this stamp.  I see one each TEN years.  And then, they are usually in rough shape.

Clean and superb used, with crisp “POSTE RESTANTE PERTH - 7 AUG 09 - WESTERN AUSTRALIA” cds - the month before the 5/- bi-colour Due was issued.  Show me another at ANY price, in ANY condition for sale, anywhere - they are really are not plentiful, despite the modest catalogue value.

As I reported last month, the earlier 1902 green monocolour issue of exact same general design, had the figure of value up HUGE in centre of each stamp, so that the Pence and Shilling values could be very easily mixed up by PO staff, as you can see nearby.  

The 2d Postage Due value was of course very heavily used, being double the 1d deficient rate, so any letter or postcard without a stamp was rated 2d Postage Dues owing.  Licking on a 2/- and charging 2d to the recipient was a very costly mess. 

They PO foolishly issued a 1d and 1/-, a 5d and 5/-, a 2d and 2/-, and 10d and 10/- etc in the set, that all looked pretty much identical to each other on a glance. As can readily be seen from the photo nearby, with the 2d and 2/- values placed alongside each other.

Ten PENCE and Ten SHILLINGS was a vast difference in revenue, if mixed up at a Post Office counter.  Near a week’s wages for a working man, and must have been a nightmare to square away the books, if used in error, as I am sure many were.  


VERY similar design types.


Remember we are talking 1902 here. There was generally no widespread electric light in all cities here until about WWI, so the small dark post offices were generally poorly lit, and try sorting these stamps apart when in a hurry in late afternoon half light - it would have been very easy to mix them up, as you can imagine.

We must also remember that the Definitive stamps of the era all were in totally different designs, and all in different colours, and were a cinch to sort apart by clerks. But a set of a dozen different Dues, all in the exact same green, and with the same big single numeral values in the centre, were a nightmare to sort.


Very readily confused.


All just had a large “2” and “10” in centre etc, and nothing else except tiny letters saying PENCE or SHILLINGS underneath.  So in 1908/1909 they needed to re-issue the 1/- to 20/- values "With Diagonal Stroke" to save confusion, and the obvious revenue loss. 

That early Australia 1902 original green design in turn was of course using the same plates of the NSW 1891 Postage Due series.  And what is little known is, that NSW totally stole that design from the USA Postage Dues of the same era, as you can see on the photo nearby of a USA stamp. 

So from 1891 to the 1909 Bi-Colours, all these Postage Dues we sold, were stolen slavishly from the USA claret design for those 18 years. Very few realise that - the Statute of Limitation for Design Theft have now expired I hope.   


Design stolen from USA!


The set was quietly issued with no announcement.  The ACSC “Postage Dues” volume outlines that this late 1909 issue had just “a few months” limited use before the 1909 Bi-Colours were released latter year, when all the monocolour values were withdrawn, the ACSC also confirms.

So the auction this month of the third known 20/- will be occurring as you read this, and doubtless will be invoiced at $30,000 or so.  For those with less deep pockets, do not overlook the humble 5/- of this exact series.  Don’t ask me for any – the one above sold in hours, but it is a VERY worthwhile stamp to chase down. FU or clean mint.


Ahmed Fahour MUST go.


The CEO of Australia Post was all over the national Media mid-February, when his frantic attempts to hide his obscene salary, and those of his mega-paid henchmen, were rejected by our Parliament - who after all, PAY him. They directed that all the salaries be made public.  Well done.

Even the Prime Minister, Malcom Turnbull - believed by some to head a near Billionaire level dynasty himself, was on national TV News agreeing this clown’s salary is “Too High” and said he had asked the Board to trim his package back.  Australia Post is majority owned by The Federal Government - i.e. TAXPAYERS.

In News Limited papers February 11, PM Turnbull stated Fahour was paid “way too much” and “he should volunteer for a pay cut.”  Turnbull called such packages “the cult of excessive executive CEO remuneration” so let us watch and see what develops. My guess is this type of carpetbagger will not offer even one CENT back to taxpayers and PO users.

Fahour’s wages and bonus last year, that he desperately tried to have declared confidential, was $A5.4 MILLION. This is TEN times what our Prime Minister gets paid - indeed it is FIFTEEN times what the Postmaster General of the USA gets paid.

The previous year he oversaw the first LOSS in PO history, and the tiny on paper “profit” from last year was apparently from very secretly spinning off the valuable leases of all GPOs around the country.  Selling off the farm to ensure his bonus - some brilliant Band-Aid “management” style.

The national Fairfax media reported it thus on February 9 –

“Given Australia Post is a government-owned entity, maybe we should compare it with the US Postal Service, which generated revenue of more than $US70.4 billion ($A92.3 billion) last year, and has 493,381 employees.

The USPS boss, Megan Brennan - the first woman in history to hold the job - gets a base salary of $US276,840 ($A363,103)”

It would be like the CEO of Coca Cola Australia, getting 15 times what the CEO of Coca Cola Atlanta HQ is paid.  That is NEVER going to occur in the real business world, outside of the loopy Australian Government.  There is a message there for Canberra.  Get RID of him.

Many are asking how this Lebanese born carpetbagger ever got the top job.  ZERO experience in any Postal Administration - it seems his main talent is extracting obscene contracts for himself, and hypnotising someone into signing them!  Since Fahour took the helm, the service of AP has fallen to Zimbabwe levels, but prices have soared to Norway levels.  


For ONCE, I agree with her!


Even Pauline Hanson, our Wacksville politician here, that like Donald Trump somehow got elected, has the same view - the first time ever I can recall agreeing with her general thoughts!  That is a worry. But this man seems to have the cool knack of getting everyone in this country disliking him!

“I'm absolutely seething over this, to think that the head of Australia Post - the CEO - is getting paid $5.6 million. Last year, he donated $2.6 million of his wages to an Islamic museum.”  Hanson said she also agreed with Malcolm Turnbull, after the Prime Minister said he believed the salary was “too high”.


AP - to Hell in a Handbasket.


I send and receive often a HUNDRED or more tracked mail pieces a week.  And have done for decades. The service from Australia Post used to be excellent - next day delivery for most things, even parcels, and often parcels to next state got there in a day or two.

I know that folks who mail seven Xmas cards a year at 65c, which all arrive OK, often think AP is just brilliant, but those of us in the REAL world of postal commerce, can tell them the system is STUFFED, and Fahour has stuffed it, due to his idiotic new ideas, that meddle with perfectly good and time proven existing systems.

I do not really care if he is Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist or Communist or Agnostic, Fahour has been an obscenely overpaid destructive WRECKING BALL during his tenure at AP.  Messing with systems that worked perfectly well before. 


$10,000 contents : took 10 weeks.


Can readers please take a careful look at this standard size, standard weight, Sydney-Melbourne cover shown nearby, and tell me how THEY would feel if they were sender or recipient???  It took TEN weeks to go nowhere, and to this day, PO has no idea where it is.

It contained stamps the buyer had paid me $10,000 for, and was sent Registered Mail.  It was neatly addressed - with carefully written correct Ivanhoe postcode “3079” placed in the correct position lower right as all can see, and franked with the correct $1 domestic postage.

It was mailed expensive Registered Mail, NOVEMBER 23, SYD-MEL, a simple route that for 150 years was 1 or 2 days in transit.  Even in the horse and buggy days.  It has the “SWLF” (Sydney LeightonField sorting centre) inkjet cancel on face of 9.11am next day after I mailed it, November 24. Agree?

As all can see from tracking, it first arrived in Melbourne THREE weeks later - December 13.  That in itself is APPALLING. Even 100 years back, trains got mail between these two cities same day - literally.  And for one penny!

In Melbourne, at Ivanhoe Post Office, it gets marked as “R.T.S.” - Return to Sender  for some reason.  My sender address on back flap is a crystal clear rubber stamp - the “2068” postcode is crisp and unmistakable.  It SHOULD have reached me back December 15.  It did not, and a phone enquiry was lodged with Australia Post, as can be seen, on December 15.

As usual the Drones on there simply say - “It is now on its way back to Sender Sir, you have a nice day”.  The barely functioning PO tracking site has for the past 8 weeks told me each day “It’s coming today” as you can see.  You could go input the number yourself 499778687016 - but the PO naughtily scrolls them off after 3 months.  Always take screen captures as I did.  These folks are SNEAKY.

“IT’S COMING TODAY” - forever.

  The white elephant Post Office tracking site STILL says as this is typed mid-February “It’s coming today” despite the letter being unceremoniously dumped in my street letter box, on Friday January 27.  No signature sought here, on a $10,000 envelope that these idiots had lost for TEN weeks. No tracking events anywhere showing WHERE it has been, since December 13 in Ivanhoe.

NADA.  Where does a REGISTERED standard size PO approved envelope just VANISH to, for 6 weeks?  Why no transit tracking in either Melbourne and Sydney since then, and why no signature here in Sydney being sought and obtained upon delivery to me, really infuriates.  Lucky I am honest.

Does this letter appear REGISTERED to others??  It could not be more clearly marked. How on EARTH could it go zipping about, in those vast humanless Mail Centres ran by non-functioning machines, without being scanned and tracked and accounted for, between Dec 13 and end of January??

Lost in AP Black Hole 3 months.


My $10,000 Buyer has been most patient.  Bless you George!  And had he not been, he’d have just disputed the charge on his credit card, thus tying the seller up in a paperwork mess for hours.  He paid me $10,000 in NOVEMBER.  I mailed it in NOVEMBER.  As I type this mid-FEBRUARY, the re-sent Registered letter to him is ALSO lost in the PO mess.

The re-sent $10,000 stamp back to George was lodged in January, and as I type this mid-February, not a trace of it - just the Castlecrag lodgement tracking is showing.  MAYBE it will arrive this month - meaning he gets it THREE MONTHS after it was first mailed, and paid for.  Let’s play his waiting game - look it up on the White Elephant PO “Tracking” disaster -

Tell me how YOU would be feeling if your REGISTERED letter with $10,000 of goods had simply vanished off the face of the earth for THREE MONTHS, for what should be a next day journey?  This has wasted endless hours of my time, and the buyer’s time.  And still has me worried we are $10,000 in the hole, due to this Monty Python barely functioning Post Office still not delivering it.

I frankly assumed it had been stolen or lost. Inexcusably the quite hopeless and farcical Post Office Registration label fee compensation has been UNCHANGED for over half a century, literally at $100 Maximum.  Despite the Registered Mail fee being literally hiked TWENTY fold during that time.  Much more on that here -
As I have typed before - that compensation limit needs to be immediately raised to $1,000 maximum, as part of the ever increasing $3.90 Registered label cost - to go to $4 next rise.  One still needs to prove the content cost price, and prove the item was lost or damaged, and one can’t fake that, as PO tracking will not support that.


Registered Compo MUST increase to $1000.


In New Zealand you can mail THREE Kilos anywhere in the country for $NZ5.90 ($A5½) with full tracking, and compensation to $250. To do that from here to Darwin by ROAD costs about $40, and takes 2 weeks, but I digress.  Our $100 cover for domestic Registered is appalling, and to get the PO to pay even one cent, no matter how at fault they have been, is an hour paperwork battle.

Overseas Registered is archaic. The only way to mail anything Registered is via the pre-paid red/white/blue envelopes. They come in a large ($A24.60) and small size, and the small size shown nearby costs about $A16 - and of course both have the same paltry $100 MAXIMUM compensation. The PO in their wisdom changed the designs totally early 2017, and the new style has silly little boxes to write in, on LH side.


ZERO tracking on these things.


These overseas Registereds are a joke.  Lodge one at your PO and there is ZERO tracking that you can see at any time. The seller can’t see the item was even lodged, or when, on the archaic PO tracking site. “No Events Found”.  So if you mail something February 1 and buyer overseas has not got it March 1, you can only say: “I mailed it Registered a month back - TRUST ME”.

In this age of buyers - Americans especially, expecting mailings “yesterday, if not far sooner please” this is appalling. They dispute the charge with their credit card, and are of course refunded as seller CANNOT offer a shred of proof the item was ever mailed. If you are an ebay seller, PayPal will immediately refund the buyer for goods, AND the $16 Reg’d cost, even if the item duly arrives next week. 

Fahour has some Fat Cat buddy on a mere Million a year I am sure, heading up the Registered Mail Division of the Fahour Empire, and if he could please remove his head from his Facebook page, and bring their systems into the 21st Century, that would be mightily appreciated by the CLIENTS paying these salaries, and $24.60 per envelope.




The PO system is broken - and getting WORSE.  I had a parcel to NSW late 2016 to a client go Sydney-Darwin EIGHT times over 2 months.  Like a demented Yo-Yo.  32,000 Kms literally - Sydney to London and back distance nearly. The barely functioning PO laser parcel scanning systems just do not work much of the time.  Again they scroll off all the evidence after 3 months.  See my earlier article.

WHY?  As “Genius CEO” Fabour approved spending $A500 MILLION on parcel sorting machines that do NOT work, buying them as kit sets from Holland, then stupidly bolting on 5 different software system that were never designed for it, and they all became vast White Elephants that barely function - even today.

THIS is why parcel and overseas rates have gone through the roof since Fahour took the helm.  Several increases EACH year.  He needs no government approval for any of them.  The senders of a few Xmas cards at 65¢ simply have no idea.  Fahour has ZERO idea how a Post Office should work, as he had NEVER worked in one.  Fancy that.

Putting someone who was a good dentist, or airline executive, or Hotel Manager, or restaurant owner in charge of a national POST OFFICE does not necessarily work   As Fahour has proven in spades. Track record is everything in that field.

He is losing money, and is obscenely overpaid at $5½ Million a year, and clearly has no idea what he is doing, and should have been sacked a year or two back. NOT getting ever higher wages, and an Order Of Australia, for being consistently and monumentally incompetent.

Fahour keeps bleating like a stuck record that “normal letter volumes are declining”.  No KIDDING.  We need to pay someone $5½ million a year to be told that?   Fahour threats this as a newsflash. That is a global reality, and this clown has near trebled the first class letter from 60¢ to $1.50 as a result.

PARCELS are when all profits are, and Fahour also keeps cranking up rates beyond belief in many cases.  And offering less and less reliability and speed than ever before.  That is all hunky dory if you are a Monopoly.  Memo to Mr Fahour - you are NOT.

Anyone can offer parcels delivery, and Fahour is just SO lucky that for whatever reason, Officeworks seems to have placed their “MAILMAN” service on the backburner to some extent in the past year or so, or he would have lost half the parcel business.

“MAILMAN” offers low flat rate parcels WELL under AP most times. They were running heavy TV advertising campaigns a year or so back. You can drop them off generally up to 9pm, 7 days a week nationally, to a vast store network. Their delivery service appears reliable and far cheaper, and is advertised as a couple of days, versus the reality of AP of a couple of WEEKS many times.

These new entrants of course cherry-pick only the profitable Capitals, and large city routes, and leave AP with the incredibly unprofitable ones like Thursday Island to Karratha, or Longreach to Ceduna etc, which costs AP 10 times to deliver, than they are paid.  Brilliant Business model Mr Fahour - you are a genius.

My own experiences shows “Signed For” Mail articles often take three weeks to reach destinations in recent years since the new “ALDI Brand” sorting machine fiasco, that used to be next day. Often crossing the country several times before arriving at their destination.  Sometimes coming back to me with no markings, after 6 weeks of dispatch etc.


Near Universally Reviled.


Fahour seems near universally REVILED by all I speak to.  Post Offices, drivers, staffers, mail users etc.  People at dinner parties even. Have never heard a single positive or friendly thing said about him, and you CANNOT head any large Corporation, if those working in it despise you, and this gentleman seems to have achieved that distinction sadly.  

Fahour thinks he is: “AMAZZN”.  “The Australian Financial Review” reported our Post Supremo bought a brand new Maserati with part of his obscene wage, and I kid you not - adorned it with personalised number plates of

Almost impossible to believe, but it is true, and our Lebanese RevHead's new Maserati chariot in his Taxpayer funded Hawthorn Mansion garage also includes a Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Mercedes Gull Wing. Hooning about in them no doubt is more fun, than sorting out why my Registered letter SYD-MEL takes 10 weeks.

Minister for Communication and Arts is Senator Mitch Fifield and - contact him.  If you are Victorian, he is YOUR Senator.  The recent pay headlines are one thing - appalling service is another - tell Fifield your own experiences.  Send them a direct link to this piece -

Seeing the Senate is now controlled by a rag-tag bunch of non-mainstream Senators like Derryn Hinch, Pauline Hanson, Cory Bernardi, Nick Xenophon and The Greens etc, also send emails to them suggesting this Fahour should be drop kicked back to where he came from, and a REAL CEO appointed with EXPERIENCE, which might just get some action.


Fahour the “AMAZZN” Maserati RevHead.


Fahour keeps bleating like a stuck record that “normal letter volumes are declining”.  No KIDDING.  We need to pay someone $5.6 million a year to be told that?  Fahour treats this bleeding obvious fact as a newsflash. That is a global reality, and this clown has near trebled the first class letter rate from 60¢ to $1.50, as a result.

are where all profits and volumes are, due to the on-line shopping revolution, and Fahour also keeps cranking up rates beyond belief in many cases.  And offering less and less reliability and speed than ever before.  That is all just Hunky Dory to do, if you are a Monopoly.  Memo to Mr Fahour - you are NOT.

Anyone can offer parcels delivery, and Fahour is just SO lucky that for whatever reason, Officeworks seems to have placed their “MAILMAN” service on the backburner to some extent in the past year or so, or he would have lost half the national parcel business to them and others.


Norfolk Aerogram sells for $5,600.


I meant to mention this in a past column but forgot!  Anyway, as a “scratch your head curio data point” this not very exciting looking Norfolk aerogram was invoiced for $5,600 at a large Public Auction in 2016.

Be honest - if you saw this rather ratty, cellotape stained 1954 Aerogram in a dealer’s $5 box, would you have even looked twice, much less BOUGHT it?  A common 10d definitive stamp worth probably a dollar or so, soaked off the piece.


Would YOU have paid $A5,600 for this?!


I am sure 99% of those reading being HONEST, would not bother looking twice at it.  It had an estimate of $1,000, and was invoiced for near 6 times that.  It was one of many mail pieces that survived the 1954 BOAC mail plane crash in Singapore.  I’ve sold nicely charred covers from here to Scotland for under $100.

However is this case, a Norfolk Island Aerogram collector was very keen to secure it, and fought off a clearly very keen under-bidder.  So as I often type - “Knowledge Is Power” - see anything unusual from NORFOLK Island - and take another very long hard look at it!  A bunch of serious well-heeled collectors, and little material.


Koala Stamp Surprise.

  There has recently been much global excitement with the China show "Jewel Beetle" sets of 5 Sheets selling for $A1,750 a set on ebay from the huge CHINA Expo in December 2016.  A pretty set, and little wonder global interest is high. 

See one of those illustrated nearby.  Link to that ebay sale here - - sold by a stampboarder member TO another stampboarder on ebay!  The set cost the buyer over $A1,750 at that time.  Lots of more photos of those Sheets, and the China show here -

Jewel Beetle Stamps sell for $A1750.


If you missed out on that set, Gary Brown, APF Judge, and Vice-President of “Melbourne 2017” in March, announced on he had managed to secure another full set.  He will be offering it at the Phoenix Auction in March, with the proceeds to support the show.  A wonderful gesture, and I trust it is strongly supported.

Along with the “Beetles”, the 2004 $1 Koala stamp design was resurrected from the Archives for the attractive Mini Sheet shown nearby. They sold well, as PO learnt long ago that 5 Yuan ($A1) is the PERFECT price point for Chinese show buyers, as there is a small denomination banknote for that exact value.

If you make the design of something topical, and quirky and cool to Chinese, and super Australian - like a Koala Bear, it is a fast impulse buy, and you sell HEAPS.  The Australia Post booth had long lines, and was MOBBED with collectors, with Security Guards on hand etc!  Stampboards members posted up images of this on link nearby.

So these $1 sheets sold well, and near all will never enter the Australian market, being bought one at a time by Chinese show visitors as cheap souvenirs.  I bought a parcel of these in December, as it was obvious to me they'd been overlooked, and basically no-one it seems, had noticed the "2004" Micro Print error.  


“2004” Micro Date on 2016 issue.


Australia Post had only a small number on sale for a couple of weeks after the show, and they sold fast, and are long gone.  As far as I am aware, collectors with PO standing orders will NOT get this sheet in their mailing this year, nor will it be in the Annual Albums. So demand will be strong when word gets out that it exists.

And here is one neat thing overlooked by near everyone until now. The PO issued it in December 2016, but with a “2004” issue date micro printed in error above the $1 sign as can be seen above.  Why?  As the original $1 stamp was issued back then, and possibly someone lazy in the PO Art Department did not digitally alter it to read "2016" as is normal strict policy at Australia Post.


Totally different Perforations.


Far more important, a collector told me mid-February he believed this $1 stamp was a totally DIFFERENT perforation to the original 2004 issued $1 of the exact same design.  So I went and got the original $1 Koala stamp from stock - SG 2399.  SG states that is perforated 14 x 14½.  I measured it with my SG "INSTANTA", and that is 100% correct and accurate.


$1 Koala perforation variety discovery.


I measured the new version, which is 14 x 13½ exactly. Perf 13½ is a very LARGE difference to 14½.  I’ll pass this surprising new discovery on to the Stanley Gibbons Catalogue Editor and others for their information, and suggest they consider listing these as SG 2399b - perf 14 x 13½. Pricing as always, is in their hands.

The main criterion SG have for listing anything new in their catalogues, is that it be sold at FACE VALUE, and that no artificial restrictions be placed on supply. The Australia Post “Bulletin” of November 2016 clearly announced this issue in advance - see screen shot of that nearby.  Anyone could have bought them in late 2016.

Most folks went GA-GA over the "Jewel Beetles" sheets which have sold for $1,750 a set on ebay, and overlooked this poor little Koala Miniature Sheet, as no-one had any idea it was a different perforation to the original, until I reported it on stampboards this week.

As can be seen, PO very clearly stated in advance of issue, they would be on sale Mint or CTO via mail order, via Post Offices nationally, and via the PO website.  And of course were freely on sale at the China show from December 2, at face value.


Freely on sale at $1 each for months.


These were certainly on sale for a time on the PO website at $1 each, as a client pointed them out to me in early December, who had ordered some. They have not been on the website for a month or two now, as large numbers are generally not printed for overseas shows, and they sell out fast.

Those who collect FDC could have had them serviced December 2 in the usual fashion.  Even neatly affixing a December 2 CTO mini sheet onto a blank cover becomes a FDC of course, as December 2 cancel is generally placed wholly on the sheet.



Clearly announced in November 2016.


The “Bulletin” of course did not mention the different perforation (I only found that out this week) nor the error with the “2004” micro date being left on the plate - indeed I am sure they had no idea of either, to be honest!

I took both $1 stamps, and scanned them from the back, as the perfs show clearly on back, and as can be seen, they start off matching perfectly at top and base, and then deviate sharply soon after, being totally different gauges. They line up again about half way down the stamp, and the teeth start falling out of kilter soon after, as you can see.

Lots of folks globally collect significant perforation variations.  The $1 Navigator stamp from Australia has a far smaller perforation variance, but remains keenly sought. SG 401 is cat £1.50, but SG 401c is cat £80.  One is perforated 14.3, and the scarcer perf variety is 14.8.  A TINY variation, and half as much variance as this one.

Where these will end up I have no idea.  I offered mine for a few dollars apiece as a bit of a curio, and at way less than a cup of coffee they might not be the worst stamp buy that folks will make in 2017.  Nothing I’ll get very rich from, but new and exciting things like this keeps interest high.

Many bought a few off me to use on local mail to stamp penfriends etc, and to mail small ebay sales out to good buyers, as they look very cool on a letter, as you can see nearby, and POSTALLY used like this at correct rate on cover, in period of issue, are worth many times the mint price of course!


Cool way to pay local postage!








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Full Time Stamp Dealer in Australia for 35+ years.

Life Member - American Stamp Dealers' Association. (ASDA - New York) Also Member - Philatelic Traders' Society
 (PTS London) and many other philatelic bodies.

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"Lothlórien", 4 The Tor Walk, CASTLECRAG (Sydney), N.S.W. 2068 Australia

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