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Glen Stephens
Monthly "Stamp News" Market Tipster Column

May  2013





“Australia 2013” upon us !


The huge International in Melbourne will be taking place only days from when you read this - on May 10-15.

I urge all reading this to attend - the material on display from dealers and Exhibits is mouth-watering!

It may well be the last time we see one held here - cost is well into the multi MILLIONS I am reliably told, to stage this event.

The Committee for this show have put in an enormous amount of work over recent years, and have the savviest folks from both the dealer and collector groups among their number.

About 85 dealers and trade stands are booked, and anyone local NOT booked is missing the best opportunity in the past 30 years to expose their business and products. 


Royal Exhibition Building Venue



Venue will be the magnificent Royal Exhibition Building, illustrated nearby, in Nicholson Street Carlton, on the edge of the CBD. is the well laid out website, covering everything you need to know about the show. The times, the dealers, the layout, the exhibits, the meetings etc.


Opened by King George V


The venue is a World Heritage listed site since 2004, and hosted the First Australian Parliament opening on May 9, 1901 - officiated by Prince George, Duke Of Cornwall and York.

Who of course later became King George V – the famous stamp collecting Monarch. 

This opening was depicted on the Australia 1951 5½d stamp, VERY loosely based on the iconic Tom Roberts mega-painting.

The massive (over 5 x 3 metres) painting of that opening of Parliament is one of this country's most famous, and most visited works of art, and hangs in Parliament House, Canberra. 

Stamp collectors of course know this work well, as it was depicted on the 5½d indigo 'Federation' issue. 

However the issued stamp image is heavily cropped to show The Duke as the centrepiece, and only a small section of the crowd. 

Check your album or catalogue and see - the issued stamp shows only 2 persons standing behind the Duke!

Roberts painted all 269 dignitaries in the portrait exactly true to life, and all are identified by him by name on archive material. 

He was paid about 2,000 Guineas for “The Big Picture” as he nick-named it. 

It has been claimed that some of those depicted paid Roberts extra money to place their portraits in a more prominent spot in the painting, than the position they were standing on the day. 

A comparison of the “Big Picture” with photographs of the event lends support to this claim.


Good value for 2000 Guineas!


The dome of the Building in Melbourne was modelled on the Cathedral in Florence Italy.  A “fisheye lens” image is shown nearby of a recent trade show there. 

There are some superb goodies and souvenirs for the show produced already - all outlined on the website.

“Patron” packages are still available for $A500 for those in a position to financially support the show, and for that you get some really exclusive goodies and benefits.

I signed up for 2 right from day #1, for myself and for, and there are a lot of prominent names I am surprised to NOT see on the “Patron” list - so let’s get into it folks, and YOU know who you are!

There is also a “Supporters Club” package at $A100 that is also great value for collectors attending, offering many benefits including show entry.  

Lists of the members of both groups are on the website.


View 55,000 album pages!



This is THE biggest global exhibition frame-wise since Washington 2006, which had 3,600 frames.

“Australia 2013” found extra space to increase the number of frames being accepted, to 3,400 frames.

“London 2010” had 2,400 frames, “Indonesia 2012” had 2200, and “Philanippon 2011” had 2,500.

3,400 frames is near a world record for stamps on display globally - ever.  With the Championship class etc, we are talking some 55,000 album pages!

Collectors making the visit to Melbourne in May will be handsomely rewarded with all kinds of top end exhibits on show, and leading global dealers in attendance.


Modelled on Florence Cathedral Dome


An extensive range of stamps from the superb collection of Her Majesty The Queen will be on show - many for the first time.

APTA and the APF have worked hard for years to get it this large, and credit to all concerned for their hard and effective work.

The organisers have kindly arranged a table for right by the “Court Of Honour”, and an official meeting at 2pm Sunday, and we hope to have a lot of folks there. contains more info on those matters, for anyone interested, and for the stampboards dinner on Sunday evening.  Pop by and say “hello” to fellow collectors.

There will be a huge sale by Phoenix Auctions of the Stuart Hardy Kangaroo Collection, on the day before the show opens, on Thursday May 9.

I was given an advance copy of the Phoenix sale catalogue, and the material contained therein is simply mind boggling.

This will include the unique MUH block 24 of the Small Multiple watermark Kangaroo, which should fetch a phenomenal sum.  


 Largest £2 Roo block buyable


It was originally a pane of 60 owned by T.E. Field, and then bought by Ken Baker in the 1960s who onsold the bottom 36 to Hardy for £1,080. 

A vertical block of 12 was subsequently (nervously he says!) torn off by an Adelaide dealer on Hardy’s kitchen table, and sold off in pieces, leaving this unique block of 24.

I spoke to that dealer in Adelaide recently and he did not recall whether the block 12 was horizontal or vertical, but as can be seen, it was the two right hand vertical rows he ripped off.

In the brand new ACSC “Kangaroos” catalogue a single MUH single is catalogued at $17,500 each.  So seeing 24 in one piece is quite something!


“Kangaroos” ACSC now out.


I have typed this before, but it is true.  Australia has THE best and most detailed stamp catalogues of any country on earth in my view.  No-one else comes close.

The “Australian Commonwealth Specialists' Catalogue” (ACSC) edited by Dr. Geoff Kellow leads the world. Germany, the UK and the USA produce nothing even remotely close. 

That would surprise many readers I am sure, but it is very true.                                 


$A95 VERY well spent!


The “Stanley Gibbons GB Specialised” multi volume set is a very sick joke in comparison. 

They lack any kind of notes whatever as to numbers extant of errors and varieties, or numbers sold or produced of the basic stamp in most cases. 

Much other essential detail and constant varieties are also totally lacking, and that is a terrible shame.

Even worse is the Scott “Specialised” USA which is a quite pathetic single volume that purports to cover all USA issues from 1847 in specialised form. 

Like the SG Great Britain “Specialised” virtually no detail whatever is given by Scott as to numbers known of key pieces, and details about them.

And even the Michel German “Specialised” is nowhere remotely near as detailed as the ACSC.  And what detailed info there is written in technical German. 

I once asked fellow Sydney dealer Manfred Junge to translate a footnote in Michel for me.  Manfred was born and raised in Germany until an adult, and obviously speaks fluent German.

Manfred simply did not have a clue what much of it said, as it was using technical language and terminology that he simply could not translate. 

So for the rest of us non German speakers, reading Michel Specialised is a non-starter.


Long overdue


“Kangaroos” as a stand-alone volume seemed to make excellent sense - the earlier listings of Australian Colonies made it far too unwieldy, and it fell apart. 

I offered clients an advance order discounted deal on this in April for $A100 Registered air within Australia, and $120 Registered Foreign, using the Superb $20 “Uluru” roc

The response really surprised me, and I sold over 100 units in 2 weeks - BEFORE most dealers even knew it was published!   

See to order -

I hope lots of collectors and dealers support this superb undertaking, and secure a copy from their favourite dealer today. Buy this new edition, as the old one is ancient history now.

The Brusden White published “Kangaroos” includes super specialised listings of this now 100 year old series.  Also listed and priced are many essays and proofs and the like. 

The Kangaroo section is completely revised, with new details of numbers printed, LOTS of new shades and varieties, and dramatic upward price adjustments, based on recent market realisations.


New shades, new varieties


This catalogue has been coming “any day soon” for several years. RRP is $A95 plus postage.

The last edition was in 2004 – NINE long years back. The $A7¼ million Arthur Gray “Kangaroo” sale took place after that, and re-wrote all the price books.

The value is there - finding just ONE half decent stamp – a scarcer type Specimen overprint, the newly listed CTO issues, watermark variations, printing errors or monogram pieces etc will readily repay that outlay many times. 


All dealers have stock


All leading dealers should have stock of this new catalogue as you read this.  Go and peruse one - you’ll be glad you did

This actually is the FIFTH separate Edition of the “Kangaroos” catalogue since 1993.

If you have an earlier edition of the “Kangaroos” Catalogue  - just toss it away - the often massive price rises and new information in here makes the old ones totally redundant.

The new update will create a boom market for this era, and most of this new info included here has never been available in catalogues before.


A $100 stamp these days.


A great deal of work has been done in this volume listing the MANY different “CTO” cancels found on early Kangaroo stamps.

Did you know the very CHEAPEST 1d red Kangaroo CTO stamp listed is $A80? Well you do now!

Stampboards has had detailed discussion on these, and some of that info is transcribed here -

The exceptional 1d example shown nearby, with full gum I sold to a very experienced collector, and he was absolutely delighted to pay $A100 for it.

Ten years ago, I’d have got $5 maximum for such a stamp as “fine used” are a dollar retail, tops.

It has no error, or variety or scarce die or shade - just a nice looking CTO example of the “commonest” type.

That $A100 is the cost of getting this book mailed Registered to your door, so do NOT overlook updating!  This kind of stamp turns up in club books at $5 to this day.   


Kudos to publishers


Dr. Geoff Kellow is an editor without par for this series of catalogues.  Meticulous and scholarly original research is evident in all volumes. 

The resultant 9 volume ACSC set is something all parties involved should be enormously proud of. 

NO other country can boast such a complete set of catalogues.  Or indeed anything even close to them.


Now a $6,000+ piece.


I sold a client a 2/- Second Watermark on a nice parcel piece fragment a few years back for a pittance. The new ACSC prices it for the first time at $A6,000.

He phoned me today to order the new book and was delighted to hear his curio piece was now worth $1000s! 

Even the 1/- was previously un-recorded - that now is $A500, and pricing is given to ALL Kangaroos on cover or parcel piece. These 3 soaked off piece - value $A125 or so.

Collectors and dealers should support these ventures by purchasing a set of them - or at least the volumes you use most

'Knowledge is Power” - I have typed that 100s of times in my 30 years of writing stamp columns, and a set of ACSC gives you both knowledge AND power ... trust me!


Want a new challenge?


Many collectors tell me they are “bored' with their mainstream collections.  

There comes a time when most folks reach the point where the 10 or 20 stamps they still need all cost $1,000+ each, and the “divorce court potential” is not worth pursuing them!

Or, a lot of folks are sick of buying the endless and expensive new issues, and want another philatelic challenge to keep them interested and enthusiastic. 

They yearn for something defined and clear cut, and not "open ended" like new issues are.


4,600 stamps issued in 1962


I outlined in a past column about how client Peter Dolan from Adelaide collects a cover bearing world stamps from each day of 1962 - the year he was born.

I am sure others have this as a collecting sideline ..... it is just one I had never heard of! 

Peter tells me that his research shows that there were about 4,580 stamps issued worldwide in that year, and 171 mini sheets - from 180 different issuing entities.

And this figure is not counting obscure emissions like the imperforates from Albania etc!

Peter started a very long photo discussion of this passion on stampboards - - and as you can see, he finally completed the task!


Every 1964 JFK FDC


Another old client, Brad Baker in Melbourne decided on an equally obscure collecting sideline.

John F. Kennedy was assassinated 50 years ago, in 1963 - I was surprised it was that long back.

Brad chose to try and collect the USA May 1964 5¢ John Kennedy Memorial stamp from every American post office that offered a cancel on that stamp.

On major interest stamp issues such as JFK, it was released simultaneously in every US Post Office across the USA.


As there were 34,084 USA Post Offices in business at the time, it is theoretically possible that there could be a FDC from them all.

So far about 4,500 different towns and cities are recorded.


Has over 1000 different cancels.


As it stands now, Brad has about a quarter of these, and is always on the look-out for more. NOT easy from Australia.

So if any reader has ANY FDC from a city he does not yet have, Brad will be delighted to negotiate a sale of it! 

The 5¢ Kennedy was issued in vast numbers, and was hugely popular with the public, so a normal FDC has minimal value.

These things are normally consigned to dealer 10¢ boxes at shows etc, so please try and give Brad a hand sourcing some new ones!

Brad does not care what cachet maker it is, or whether addressed or unaddressed.


Check dealer 10c boxes!


As long as it is cancelled from a city he does not yet have, Brad will be keen to add it to his huge and growing collection.  

QUITE a task, and he is a quarter way there. Many 100s of the FDC he does own are here -  organised state by state -

Take a look - quite a mammoth task scanning up many hundreds of covers and captions and potted history of those USA towns.

That stampboards thread was voted “Discussion Thread Of The Month” for February – and many really wonderful items are illustrated, as you can see. 

Brad has approved for me to add his contact details here -

Or snail mail if you have something laying around you can pass on to him – B. Baker, PO Box 2763, Cheltenham Victoria, 3192.






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