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Glen Stephens
Monthly "Stamp News" Market Tipster Column

May 2014





 “Concession Post Stamps”


In a very clever political move, Australia Post just got its letter rate increased by 17% from 60¢ to 70¢ by a cunning sleight of hand tactic.

It told the ACCC, who approves or rejects the price increases, that “5.7 Million Australians” would still be eligible to buy and use stamps for the current 60¢ rate.


 “Concession Post”



Australia Post CEO Mr Ahmed Fahour was quoted in the national media as saying -

“Concession stamps will be available through the MyPost Concession Account, which entitles 5.7m eligible Australians to access the 60¢ concession stamps for the next three years.”

This is all total Statistics Voodoo (more like outright lies!) of course, as nowhere near a QUARTER of our entire 22½ million population are indeed eligible for Commonwealth Concession pension type benefits.

And if they are, no wonder the country is in such a financial mess! 


1 in 3 on Fed benefits?


For starters, fully 20% of our population is under 15 years old, so that means about 1 in 3 of the rest of us are on Commonwealth Benefits. Nonsense.

As always the devil is in the DETAIL!  First, to get the 50 stamps a year maximum, that you are allowed to buy at 60¢ each, you must initiate a special Australia Post account.

This involves furnishing proof of your Commonwealth Benefit status at a Post Office and registering for the “MyPost Concession Account” program.

Nothing is ever simple - as getting your card from the PO takes about 2 weeks from when you apply! is the PO link on how to get registered, for that alleged 25% nonsense number of the population that Fahour claims are eligible!


Save a huge $5 a year.


All this to save a MAXIMUM $5 a year, if indeed you mail 50 letters - which of course these days, most people do not.

Christmas Greetings cards have always been allowed at a discount rate anyway, and for most members of the public mailing greeting cards is their greatest annual mail use!

However the subterfuge worked, the ACCC approved the large price hike on local letters. All OTHER services quietly got a price hike at the same time.  These need NO approval.





The “Concession Post” stamps were technically issued on 24 March 2014, and were un-denominated, and in 2 different designs.

The wording on the booklet of 5 stamps says: "Concession stamps only for use on letters within Australia" however stampboards members have already shown overseas covers using them.

Stampboards member “nightwatchman” managed to mail me a cover superbly dated March 24, (the actual FDI) that I received on March 26, and posted an image of it up on stampboards.


Possibly unique posted FDC


I had the presence to ask that it be back-stamped on arrival, and it may well be the only postally used FDC on that official PO blank cover, that was serviced.

The cover had the usual pink mail centre sorting bars along the base (on both sides) as you can hopefully see on the illustration nearby.

There will have been only a few genuine FDC’s of this issue created nationally. Noel did only one cover of this type, using the PO official generic bank envelope.

Everyone with a very friendly PO can of course buy the stamps now, and have them back-stamped March, but those have never been postally used, and will fool no purist. 


Outrageous ebay FAKE.



Like anything in scarcer stamps or FDC, very sadly, fakes of them soon appeared on the market.

A seller on ebay called “asv-cat” created a laughable fake “FDC” by making a rubber stamp “cancel” with no Post Office name or postcode.


Laughably fake “FDC”.


This is a person who should know better, and has written a book on Australia Post specialised issues, and once wrote columns on those in “Stamp News”

For $A17.55 posted he was offering a single stamp on his totally forged “First Day Cover” inscribed “FDC” and a pane of 5 stamps has more discussion on the FDC of this issue on

If asvcat affixed a 1913 1d Kangaroo stamp on an old envelope and applied an equally fake “January 2 1913 - First Day Of Issue” cancel he made, would it be a $10,000 “FDC”, or a fake? Answer is of course the latter. 

He played silly games changing the ebay wording around, after reading stampboards comments, but losing your credibility for $17.55 is no bargain I’d suggest.

In practice nobody should have been able to buy these on March 24, as no PO Concession cards had been issued to anyone, and that takes about 2 weeks.


Refused sale even at 70¢!


My Postmaster politely refused to sell me any, even at 70¢, even after March 31, even though his stock arrived about a week before the April 24 issue date.

I just wanted to use them on normal mail sendings to clients for a few weeks, to create a bunch of early genuine postal usage. I still have not bought one!

He showed me that by scanning the sheet barcode, the computer then asked he add in the Concession Card number, and unless that was entered, the $3 sale could not progress.


“Sold Out” at AP.

  The new 70¢ letter rate did not take effect nationally until Monday March 31st, but the official FDI of these was March 24th  

Our first “Forever” stamps.


They are our first “Forever” type stamps, although they are technically only good until 2017.

Normal members of the public could not, and cannot, buy these stamps for 60¢ at a Post Office counter, without holding the PO issued Concession card.

A client in Tasmania could not be bothered with all the tedious paperwork, and made up a little red sticker saying “Posted By A Pensioner” and affixed that to a cover with 60¢ of valid franking.


“Posted By A Pensioner”


He IS a retired person, and does get Federal Concession benefits, and it is shown nearby - it got a normal Hobart machine cancel, on the first day of official increase - March 31. 

Is he breaking the law by using older issues to frank the cover at 60¢?  Well I am no Magistrate, but if he were ever challenged, TV Current Affairs shows would have a ball!


PO sells 60¢ stamps for 70¢.


Australia Post Philatelic issued a collector pack with the little sheetlets/booklets of 5 stamps (3 and 2 of each design) and sold them for 70¢ each (50¢ above franking value) and cheekily added 45¢ for the packaging!

I am not aware of Australia Post ever before selling stamps for more than their franking value, in a regular PO pack. 

Buying 5 stamps for $3.95 was your only option unless a Concession card holder = 79¢ apiece, for stamps of 60¢ franking value!

Using one of these that you paid 79¢ for, to pay for 70¢ postage would be illegal as far as I know, i.e. 3 on a 250g envelope ($2.10) as they are each technically valid for only 60¢ franking.

No Standing Order accounts were sent these packs or FDC, which is rather curious as the sales loss must have been massive due to that. 

Of course spaces for both stamp designs will appear in stamp albums and catalogues all over the globe, and all collectors of Australia WILL need them.


NONE mailed to Standing Orders.


Neither the special pack or any FDC were ever mailed to any “Standing Order” client – for dealers or collector, according to the Australia Post “Bulletin”.

See the note along base of page of the current Bulletin - “this pack will not be issued to standing order customers”.


Only 10,000 made.



It was limited to just 10,000 packs globally, and was sold out from the AP website nearly as fast as it was loaded up, at maximum 5 packs a person.

First ever non-denominated stamps, first ever limited quantity regular pack, and absolutely NONE mailed to any “Standing Order” client, is a recipe for a strong price in future.

The $3.95 cost price packs will be changing hands for $20-$30 or so, I have little doubt - and very soon. 


Secure a PO pack ASAP.


These will be the scarcest Australia Post mainstream stamp pack issue for decades. Even the most simplified collection needs these.

The only practical way for dealers globally to get stamps for new issue supply to clients is to buy and break these packs up.

Of the 10,000 packs sold, a very large % will need to be torn open, just to allow stock to fill hingeless albums for collectors globally.

An interesting new issue. Clearly rushed out, and not terribly well thought through by all the internal Departments. Which usually is a recipe for good things to come!

Stampboards had a detailed discussion on the sheets/pane in the pack, and the one sold to concession holders, and the one mailed free to new account holders.

For the very technically mind the different widths are - 

PO Pack Issued 24th March 124.2mm
60c Card Issued 31st March 124.8mm
Issued Free with ‘MyCard’ - 123.4mm - has more details on these and far more discussion and facts and commentary on these new “Concession Post Stamps”.

They are the “First” of something new, and in my 35 years in stamp dealing, I have learnt that the first of anything is usually good, as they are widely overlooked. 


Irish New Issue sells $A1,000


ONLY on eBay would a string of trusting Bunnies bid over $A1,000 for a stamp they have absolutely NO idea exists.

From a seller with ZERO feedback, and with zero other stamp lots for sale, now or in the past.


Trusting ebay bidders



SEVEN trusting eBay souls were in bidding war at over 400 Euros alone for this stamp as you can see -

As I reported last month, this 60¢ Irish new issue was withdrawn from sale on the morning it was to be issued.

“An Post” believed the man on the stamp was of Captain Jack White, a former British army officer, who volunteered for the Irish Citizen’s Army in 1913.

The PO panicked when it learned at last moment the WRONG photo had been used on the stamp. The caption lied!

They urgently recalled all stock, with strict instructions that none were to be retained or sold, and were to be fully accounted for. 

This recall order went out before Post Offices opened January 23, and was almost universally complied with, across the country it appears.


Not all stamps were withdrawn.


But of course some reached the market. Including this one offered recently on eBay.

A dealer in Cork, “Ravenstamps” is shown nearby with a complete sheet he bought of this issue.


Full sheet sold to dealer



If buyer paid by PayPal, and a week later got an Registered Envelope with a white piece of blank paper folded up inside, they would likely get ZERO refund from PayPal.

PayPal will advise them that they can see from tracking website that a Registered Delivery of the purchase DID take place.

PayPal/eBay would advise the Bargain Hunting Bunny to take civil court legal action to get their $1000+ back from “murrayheadhelen” if you suspected Fraud was at play here.

Good luck with that!  There goes another $5,000 in legal fees to follow the original $1,000 loss, and 50 wasted hours.

Seller may well have moved the $1,000 into their bank account, and long gone on a vacation. Some stamp bargain!

If seller is cunning and "second chances" the under-bidders claiming to have bought a block of 4 originally, and will generously sell to the other 3 at their top bid, she pockets another few easy $1000s.

Greedy "Buyers" do this mad stuff all the time, as I pointed out in this recent “Stamp News” column -


eBay stamp “Bargains” illusionary?!

A super experienced eBayer for 15 years nearly lost his shirt, also chasing a supposed £900 "bargain" - buying stamps that simply did not exist, as you can see.

Myself or any real dealer would gladly pay TEN times that for a genuine mint 1913 Roo set.

Excuse the horrible photo - that is all the seller listed on eBay. Another reason alarm bells should have been ringing SUPER loudly.

I do not think they were even real Roos - just the fuzzy colour photocopy fakes on white office paper, that you can buy all day long on ebay for $15 a set.


Mint Roo set - just £900.


Facially those look pretty good, but of course have no watermarks, and are allegedly stamped “REPLICA” on the reverse.

eBayer “de66” jumped in and bought the Roos - David Elsmore, experienced Exhibitor, 15 year eBay member, and fellow “Stamp News” columnist.

Astute readers are ahead of me here I think.  Yep.  Elsmore paid up, and the stamps never arrived.

Seller took his money and ran chuckling into the distance, causing Dave to waste hours wrestling with PayPal etc for a refund.


“A £900 sting - BEWARE”


A full month after the sale closed, “de66” left eBay feedback saying: “A £900 sting - BEWARE”. Gave same feedback re the non-existent NZ stamps he “bought”.

Elsmore confirmed on stampboards that he managed weeks later to get his money refunded for these, and the New Zealand stamp “bargains” from same seller.

He was very LUCKY that PayPal refunded.  No-one likes to see anyone dudded out of £1000.

Had the UK seller mailed him a Registered envelope filled with a few sheets of white paper, there would NOT be a £1,000+ PayPal refund I am thinking. Food for thought.

The Ireland 60p seller “murrayheadhelen” in this case does seem legit, as good feedback was eventually left.  But what a RISK to take with $1,000+.

eBay now hides/disguises the buyer ID handles of the genius top bidder, as fair play and transparency is not in eBay’s interest, in any way.


Ebay far less transparent.


That makes them less money, as their fee is based on FINAL price, and the old system allowed the armies of Shill Bidders to be more readily identified.

For years eBay has allowed rampant shill bidding to occur with impunity, even when they are clearly advised it is occurring, and the Shill accounts identified to them.

Shill bidding – i.e. having several of your own fake accounts push up the price paid by the genuine bidders, creates far more revenue for eBay, and that is the company motto.

In days of more transparency, the naive or over-trusting high bidder could be pre-warned by others, to open their Registered Letter in full view of their Postmaster etc, in case it contained a sheet of blank white paper, as occurs more and more these days.

eBay today do not care one iota if stamp collectors are ripped off with stamp fakes, forgeries, regums, and non-received goods etc.

They have pocketed their high fees from the seller's proceeds, and that seems to be their sole mission in life these days. has 100s of messages posted a month re specific stamp seller rip-offs occurring on ebay. Not every bidder reads them, sadly.

eBay is a great place to chase up $5 topical sets and so on, and stray values from sets etc you are missing, or obscure items or covers etc.


Be cautious with pricey material.


But for 4 figure stamp pieces, eBay is in general NOT the place to be buying - especially not off newbie sellers, with zero feedback.


$4,500 ebay “bargain”.



This 1919 Ross Smith Vignette sheet shown nearby was offered on eBay in March for $A4,500 by an aptly named Adelaide seller “imoo-vabull”

A screaming bargain right?  After all, I sold a superb MUH example to a client last year for $A15,000.

Well surprise, surprise - this Ross Smith Vignette offered on eBay was EXACTLY the same one as sold to my client.

I’d been talking to my NSW client only the day before, and no mention of any recent stamp Burglaries from him!


Stole my scan off internet.


This con-man eBay seller “imoo-vabull” simply stole my photo shown nearby off the internet, and listed it up as if he owned it, hoping to suck in a Bargain Hunting Bunny. is where stampboards members exposed him, and reading his pathetic attempts to deny it, and ham-fisted attempts to swap over photos etc, is a scary lesson to all.

In this case the vigilant eyes of stampboarders nabbed the scam before it took place, but sometimes it is too late to do that.

Google the EXACT eBay seller name as well as check the feedback. Often they have been mentioned negatively in dispatches on global bulletin boards. 

Do not get me wrong, there are plenty of legit stamp sellers on eBay, and checking feedback of sellers is essential for all bidders.

Indeed I make large sums each year as a de-facto middle man or wholesaler to many such sellers, as I do not have the time or inclination to break down large lots and collections etc.

The KOSHER sellers hate the near non-enforced eBay “rules” on Shill Bidding, fake material and non-existent material, as it hurts confidence in them.


New SG “Western Pacific”


One catalogue I got in the mail recently is well worth a mention, as most readers of this magazine collect and/or stock these areas.

This new “Western Pacific” Edition is in a new far more sensible format – now like the SG GB “Concise” or SG Australia etc. The previous large quarto size was silly.


Over 300 pages – essential.



This catalogue provides a comprehensive priced listing of the stamps issued by the countries of the Western Pacific.

Local retail is $A65, in line with the UK shipped price, and for over 300 pages in full colour, it is a bargain. I've sold quite a few.

Countries covered include - Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The listings up to 1970 are generally extracted from the 2014 Commonwealth and British Empire Stamps catalogue. 

Later issues have been updated and priced for this edition, and are found nowhere else in the SG listings.

Inverted watermarks, shades, plate flaws, missing colours and major errors have often had large price increases over the last Edition many years back.

Listings are from the earliest issues, up to recent, with the level of detail familiar to users of the SG "Part 1" British Commonwealth listings. 


Many changes to Fiji.


Fiji has some considerable changes, with new errors on early issues added, and NZ stamps used in Fanning and Washington Islands are now listed and priced.

The complex modern surcharged 2006-2013 Fiji Definitives have been totally over-hauled and re-vamped.

Listings on these are exhaustive, and MANY are valued £100+, so owning this book is worth it for those alone, as I see them all the time, and never knew what was what.  Some are $1, and others $200.


High priced PNG issues.



Things like recent PNG has pages of new issues cat £15 or so apiece, mint or used - would YOU have known that?

The catalogue contains:

• Fiji
• Gilbert and Ellice Is.
• Kiribati
• Nauru
• New Guinea (German New Guinea, Australian Occupation)
• Papua (British New Guinea)
• Papua New Guinea
• Solomon Islands
• Tonga (and Niuafo’ou)
• Tuvalu 
• New Hebrides
• Vanuatu

If you need to check a QE2 inverted watermark - often £100s apiece, missing colour, or stamp booklet etc, you MUST own this volume.


“One Pound Jimmy” Pool


I suspect no home on earth has had a swimming pool modelled upon a postage stamp design?

Dealer Rodney Perry did just that, and had an architect design his massive new home around a swimming pool, based on an Australian stamp he admires.


“Jimmy” Swimming Pool



The pool as you can see in nearby photo, was made into the outline of the famous Aborigine “One Pound Jimmy” stamp silhouette.

The home was Rod and Madel’s first new build, and the national Fairfax newspaper chain ran a story on it earlier this year headed - “The House That Stamps Built” -

The Perry’s have the home for sale, and as Rod says in that article, they plan to travel the world when the sale is completed.


Perry’s House For Sale.


I will not get tacky and touch on the asking price, but unless you have a lazy 8 figures or so at your disposal, it may not be quite in your league!

“Alkira” looks quite spectacular as I need not mention, and Rod says it is sited on about 75 acres of Daintree Rainforest in far North Queensland.

The selling agent states the asking price is around what it cost the Perry’s for the land, and then building the massive home.


 “Floats” on man-made lake.


  The house is located in the only place on the planet covered by two World Heritage listings – one for the Great Barrier Reef, and one for the Wet Tropics Heritage area.

Rod said obtaining permits alone took a year, with the design necessitating water to be pumped from a nearby creek to a man-made lake the house seemingly “floats” on. is the stampboards thread Rod started on the unique property. With a ton of room inside, and a private beach nearby, sounds like quite a getaway from the madding crowds! 

Exactly as I typed this column Tropical Cyclone Ita was about to bear down on far North Queensland, so fingers crossed it stays well out of the area of “Alkira” - and all other readers.  Sounds like a huge one.


Nice place to work out of!



Rod Perry has always had interesting choices in accommodation, over many decades.

For much of the 1980s, his auction catalogues had a vignette of his location/home on the covers and folders and bidding sheets - the “Ravenswood” Mansion in Melbourne inner-city Ivanhoe.


Modest Downtown Abode!


Perry later made a most astute purchase, of the four story Victorian Gothic “Old Tramways Building” building in 669-675 Bourke Street, right down by the Spencer Street Station.

Rod and family lived on the top floor, and I recall visiting Geoff Kellow’s wonderful research library man-cave, which occupied almost another entire floor, with masses of compactus filing systems.


“The Old Tramways Building”



There was also Rod’s stamp retail set-up on a lower floor.  He told me once what an electrician’s bill was to re-wire it all “to code” ran to, and it was the GDP of a small country!

Public records show that building last changed hands at about $8 million in latter 2008, after an earlier sale that year fell through.

It was on a very large 923 square metre block – the building went WAY back, and was indeed on a far larger land footprint than the suburban home block most readers live in!


The “One Pound Jimmy” story.


The “One Pound Jimmy” story is a tragic but interesting one. The 2/6d stamp with inverted watermark is one of Australia’s rarest post war issues. Cat in current SG is £5,500 in used.

I spent days researching the life of “One Pound Jimmy” - full text is here: - a truly interesting read, if I say so myself. 


A “Signed” Jimmy cover.



“Australian Geographic” magazine are looking at turning that into a longer story I was advised this month.  

It ranges from the account of a white vigilante posse who murdered his family in the outback, to a son who sold an Aboriginal art painting for $2.4 million.


Masterpiece on Cafeteria Wall.


That painting was bought by the Commonwealth Bank in 1977 for $6,000, and over the next 20 or so years it “got lost”.

It ended up on the wall in their staff training room cafeteria. In 1996 it appeared in an obscure art catalogue, with an estimated value of $A3,000 to $A5,000.


An iconic stamp image.



“Jimmy” was illiterate, and died penniless as far as we know, in April 1965 whilst on “walkabout”, in remote desert country outside Alice Springs.


Don’t toss out TINS!


Stamp dealers buy Estate lots all the time, where folks have stored spares and duplicates in old cigarette and tobacco tins, and cigar boxes etc.

I often get dozens of such boxes and tins in oldie lots, in some cases stored away 50, 75 or 100 years back.

They are the right size for stamps, near everyone smoked, and guys of that generation were the "waste not" thinkers, and threw NOTHING away!

I sold an old wooden box full of dozens of 100 year old Ogden's "Guinea Gold" and similar type and era, fancy metal tobacco tins.


 Valued by me at zero



They were stuffed full of mostly unopened bundles of 100 South Australia and States stamps mostly, from a century and more back.

I just do not have time these days to mess around squinting and peering at such lots for hours for cancels or watermarks etc!

The only one I opened had a few ½d green South Australian blocks 4 in there with nice central Squared Circle cancels, as you can see.

The sheet selvedge he had wrapped that in has a red "CA" monogram ... maybe of a 1d red KGV Australia 1913 - retail $100s had he left it on the stamp!

A member of stampboards bought them at a modest sum for the stamps, to check for postmarks etc, and he was happy with the contents, as they’d been unchecked for over a Century.


$120 for 4 old tins!


Someone in the UK later asked me for his contact details, so he could make an offer for the manky old tins, that I'd allowed absolutely zero for.

They did a deal this month I was advised, at $A120 for just 4 of the empty and tatty old tins, and both seemed most happy with that. 


Untouched for 100+ years



All except me, as I had no idea there was any value in tins in such cruddy, rusted out stuff.  “Knowledge Is Power” - and this time I lost out!

A good dealer friend collects all things to do with HMAS Sydney - mostly stamps and medals etc, but any other interesting items that catch his eye.

He saw the nearby little rusted out tobacco tin offered on ebay with a low start price, and thought he’d like it.

Start price was only $12 and seller guessed the tin was 1930s. (It was actually WW1 era.) It had the HMAS Sydney ship image on lid of box as you can see.

The box was in pretty appalling rusted condition, inside especially, but attracted 27 bids and went for $A2,264.98 for seller “decodetails”


$A2,265 for THIS scrap?!



Only on ebay. You can buy a £2 First Watermark Kangaroo stamp used for that kind of money - literally!

Auction was February 16, and lot number was 261394084443 for anyone interested. Ebay seller was “decodetails” who must have wondered what on earth went on!


Treasure among the Trash!


He was obviously clearing out an oldie’s house, and near all the other ancient tat was selling for a few dollars an item in most cases. is the direct ebay link – it sold for $A2,265. The rusted old tin received an amazing 27 bids.   

I started a stampboards poll on asking for folks to guess the value of the tin and of course most guessed at a few $$s as you can see!

Many more photos and comments on that discussion link - - take a look!






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