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Glen Stephens
Monthly "Stamp News" Market Tipster Column

May 2015





  New Book on Tasmania cancels



Many circular postmarks on the common Tasmania 1899 "Pictorial" series are worth several $100s each - indeed some are WAY into the 4 figure region.

The one shown nearby sold for $3,620 at auction …. most readers of this article would not have given it a second glance it if were on a circuit book page marked at $1 - the underlying stamp is retail 10c.



A $A3,620 circular cancel.



“TEEPOOKANA” is one of the scarce cancels, and the one illustrated here sold for $A3,620 at auction. That is more than a superb Mint £1 Brown and Blue Kangaroo stamp costs!

Collecting Tasmanian postmarks is a great passion for many, and many a time I have plucked a cancel worth $100s from childhood albums or junk lots. Generally on very common letter rate stamps otherwise valued at literally pennies each.

It takes a little practice and study to remember the scarce ones, but having books like this new Tasmanian Philatelic Society handbook makes it quick and easy to check against.

Edited by John Hardinge, with lots of backup from the TPS members, it is a great reference, and for $A30 posted, is the buy of the year!  Order from


Brand new and a must have.



Luckily I have always had a retentive memory for postmarks of that state, as they have always fascinated me. I visited Tasmania again last week, driving 100s Kms though some of these tiny hamlets where the cancels hailed from.

The only serious stamp collection I was ever tempted to form was a complete showing of all the Tasmania circular date-stamps, and instructional markings of this period.


Offer I couldn’t refuse!


I made some decent headway, and then sold it when made an "offer I could NOT refuse"!  My sideline collection of $100 banknotes did however swell considerably from this transaction.

I once visited a very glamorous stamp shop in Copenhagen, Denmark. Leather lounges, and coffee machine, and very genteel and up-market surroundings and fittings.

Virtually the only thing Australasian in the store (indeed the city!) was a large stockbook or two of 1000's of Tassie pictorials all neatly arranged into little lines sorted per value.


Who could resist these at 20c each!?!


All were priced at about full catalogue, which I think was about 20c each as basic used stamps at that time. No bargains in THAT store. Well so they thought.

I nonchalantly selected about 30 pictorials with nice strikes. I guessed wrong on a few of them of course, but about 15-20 of those postmarks paid for my round trip airfare from Australia. And a few nice hotel nights as well!

I remember there being a nice examples of classics like "Erriba", "New River" and "Honeywood" among them. Clearly I was the only person in 100 years to glance through these stamps, who had any clue about Tasmania postmark Rarity.

If you ever see unremarkable sounding circular Tasmanian datestamp names like "Ridgeway" or "Bronte" or "North Franklin" or "Scottsdale West" etc on the low value Tasmanian Pictorials in a junk lot or dealer bulk stock - some would be worth many $100s if not $1000s to you, for nice clear strikes.


Like finding a used £2 Kangaroo.


It would be just like finding a fine used £2 Kangaroo for 10c or 20c in a junk box, or circuit book, or in a cigar tin of unsorted stamps etc.

TPS Committee member and specialist Peter Allen told me: “It is probably important to note, that the high prices are a function of both rarity AND strike quality, as was the case with Teepookana”.

“There are a few equally as rare towns, but no “A” grade strikes. “Scottsdale West” and “Orrville” being cases in point – both exist in poor strikes in all cases. I have a terrible strike of “Orrville” and ‘only’ paid $1,600 for it” he concluded.


“SPRINGS” cost $3,200 in 2007.


There is a big premium for complete, clear strikes, regardless of rarity of the cancel. Allen paid $A3,200 for the “SPRINGS” cancel illustrated nearby.

Here is a list of the very top dozen rarity-rated CDS - termed “RRRRR” in the new publication. ALL 12 can be assumed to be very solid 4 figures $A value retail.

RRRRR: Glaziers Bay Type 2, Gravelly Beach Type 3, Legana Type R1a, Orrville, Peppermint Bay, Scottsdale West, Osterley South, Queenstown Type 1(iii), Springs, Teepookana, Warrentinna - plus “Windmill Hill” known, but not yet seen on a Pictorial.

Note, the “Queenstown” has never been listed in any previous rarity rating, and is unknown to the vast majority of collectors. If people buy the book they will then have the knowledge.

A $5,000 cancel on Pictorial?


There are still new finds to be made. The “Windmill Hill” cds is known on PO receipts and Telegram forms from this period, and even on other design stamps, but not YET on Pictorial stamps.


Cancel Hit for SIX!


Speaking of $5000 cancels, here is another! To be honest I’d have not looked twice at it in an old album etc.

This cancel just sold for a tad over $A5,000.  Why? Because it is worded “Cricket Ground Brighton”.


A $5000 Cricket Cancel!


Amazing .. about $A5,000 for an off centre stamp, with gum soaked lower perfs, and a corner crease, otherwise worth ten bucks on a VERY good day!

It appears ALL these CRICKET GROUND cancel stamps were all in fact stolen property from the Post Office, being from the GB Telegraphic Offices CDS's used at Cricket Grounds.

These stamps were affixed to telegram forms and, as we know, none should have escaped Royal Mail shredders at that time etc.

Most seen are on high value stamps, and perhaps the postal clerks thought it was a chance to obtain some high value stamps, and onsell quietly to the nearest stamp dealer?


 Holy Grail for Cricket Collectors.


Noel Almeidia sent me scans of his block 4, of “HALIFAX CRICKET GROUND” cancels shown nearby on reverse scan on a 1/- QV block he purchased a few years back!  It has a clear RPSL Certificate.


£500 offered for Cricket FDC


Cricket covers and cancels that look pretty ordinary can get BIG money as you can see above! The 1973 FDC shown nearby from the Yorkshire Cricket Federation is one such beast.

This was issued at the time Geoff Boycott was Yorkshire Cricket Team Captain, the most legendary figure to hold that role, and an internationally known name even today, in the cricket world.


If I saw this in the box of assorted UK covers, I'd barely give it a second glance, and it would have gone into one of my "Junk Cartons" - but a keen cricket collector might have different thoughts!

If you find one of these, it is worth around $A1,000 to a client that I can vouch for, and his money is certainly good.


$A1,000 offered for one of these.


Melbourne Cricket collector Noel Almeidia exhibits this area - here and in the USA, and needs a nice example of this cover, to improve his Exhibit marks from the Judges. is his offer on to pay £500 (around $A1,000) for an unaddressed cover of this FDC shown nearby, in good condition with the set of 3 stamps as shown, and clear cds.

This is a bigger than usual size envelope than is generally encountered for First Day Covers - more like the old legal size for trust deeds and titles, and is sized 236mm x 103mm.

He has one already, but it is not in great shape, and others he has seen are in worse condition still, as storage in boxes invariably leads to folds, tears, and dog eared corners etc.

Noel has been offering to buy this for ever increasing amounts, and finally upped it to £500 in recent times - full detail are here -

Halsham is a small village situated four miles from the town of Withernsea in Yorkshire. No idea why it is so hard to locate, but presumably not a large number done, and being longer than most covers, will have been knocked about.


 New Weight Watchers Candidate?


The 1973 GB stamps were designed by Edward Ripley, of the Berkshire College of Art in Reading, England.

The UK stamp designs are from a series of a 100 drawings of the legendary British cricketer Dr.W.G.Grace by Punch artist, Harry Furniss, and first published in 1900.

The tiny sized cricket bat Grace and others used in this era looks like a toothpick, compared to the huge and heavy “tree stumps” used by modern day cricketers!

I suspect if he played today, Dr Grace would have the coach enrol him in a Weight Watchers Program, as a matter of some urgency!


                Want $300 for a $1 FDC?


Noel Almeida also needs this cancel on FDC shown nearby, and will pay $A300 for a clean example.


$300 offered for this $1 cover!



This is a common 1972 Overland Telegraph 7c stamp Post Office FDC, and literally 100,000s were sold nationally. Most dealer “Dollar Boxes” have this cover in there.

Noel needs one from this large PO. Not Sydney, not Adelaide, but Coolangatta. He does not care if the cancel ink is violet or black - as long as is from this PO.

He has been looking for ages via stampboards - - and keeps upping his offer price, and I am rather surprised that one has not turned up.

Hopefully readers can make his month, and fill that long empty gap for this keen Melbourne collector!


CTO Kangaroos still hopping.


The strength of the official CTO cancels on Kangaroo stamps rolls on stronger than ever.

The 1913 1/- Green shown nearby had no gum, and was not a brilliant looker - with ropey perfs and centering, but was invoiced for $2,500 at a recent Phoenix auction in Melbourne - way above estimate.

This has part of the elusive “JY 17 : 13” cancel.  The stamp world is still learning about CTOs, but the long stampboards thread has made good inroads on this “JY 17” date.

The theory has been persuasively put forward, that about 20 sets of CTO 1913 Roos were needed in July - to present to the 20 or so newbie MPs inducted in the 1913 Federal Election.


A $2,500 Auction piece.


EXISTING Federal members had all got a set of CTO to £2 earlier, with “Dec 5 1913” CTO sets. Themselves very scarce today, even though 120 or so sets clearly were distributed.


New intake of Federal MPs.


The Federal Election on May 30 1913 saw about 20 new Members and Senators elected, and it seems logical the “freebie” set of Kangaroo stamps dated “JY 17:13” was extended as a gift only to those new members - only 20 in number, hence the great scarcity of this CTO cancel.

I have carefully looked through the massive $A7¼ million “Arthur Gray” Kangaroos, and mega million “Stuart Hardy” Kangaroo Catalogues, which had heaps of 1913 CTOs right up to £2, and cannot see a single stamp there that even looks like it may be “JY 17” date - can anyone else see one?

Why this date is not priced in ACSC, when the “BRISBANE” are (purpose of distribution totally unknown) is a total mystery to me. 128 copies of the “BRISBANE” cancels seem to have been distributed, and even so they fetch high prices


CTO cancel fetches $A1,864.


As followers of these CTOs realise, copies of even the common Die 1 3d Kangaroo 1913 with the “BRISBANE” cds have obtained $A1,864 at Phoenix, and a block 4 of the 2/- got $A7,000!

Stampboards has had detailed discussion on these CTO’s - many 1000s of posts, and some of that info is transcribed here -


NEW ACSC "King George VI" out.


The Brusden White ACSC “KGVI” Australian Specialist catalogue was released latter April. Price is $A100 posted in Australia, and I sold a surprising number.

Thicker, and with much more detail than the ancient NINE year old Edition, it is an essential book for both collectors and dealers to own, local or overseas. Many absolutely huge price increases. New ‘Bright White’ paper stock.

Edited by Dr. Geoffrey Kellow, this "King George VI" includes proofs, and incorporates much new research, and now lists and prices all the stolen from the Note Printing Branch material.



Now a whopping 280 pages.



The badly centred Tête-Bêche 2½d pair (a terrible muddy scan!) on the front cover is of course one such piece, and instead of being arrested for owning it, today it has an ACSC value of $10,000. Pretty ridiculous for stolen material, of which about 10 pairs are recorded.

A few decades ago, the Federal Police actively raided dealers or collectors possessing this material and seized it all, but the mists of time have made that unlikely today, it seems pretty clear.  

Additional plate varieties and enhanced illustrations are added in some cases, with UPU Specimen and cancelled-to-order stamps listed.


CTO’s not carefully priced.


The pricing of the Post Office issued CTO material all throughout is very sloppy, and not thought through at all, just like the KGV volume. Expect massive upticks when it is ever looked at carefully.

This new Edition also includes a detailed listing of all 1946 BCOF Japan issues, and the myriad and flaws and proofs etc for this ever popular collecting field.

Third edition, now a whopping 280 pages, has a ton of upward priced movements. Some stamps have increased TEN times in value on some of the 1946 BCOF items, adding $100s of extra value in just one edition to one medium stamp.


10/- certainly exists ‘Thin Paper’.


Some pieces have doubled or more, from already very high prices, like the 1/- Lyrebird “Green Mist Retouch” moving from $2,000 to $5,000 etc.

The 10/- Arms inverted watermark goes from $A5,000 to $A10,000.  And expensive “Thin” papers are now listed for some of the “Arms” values and other Definitives of this era.  Often many $1000+ apiece, so just one new find will readily pay for this catalogue 10 times over. 

I sold a set 3 Arms "Specimen" a few weeks back on stampboards, with a THIN paper 10/- in it. As the then current ACSC did not list thin paper for any value, assumed I was dreaming, despite it being markedly different. The other 2 are now listed for $A1,000 hinged each!


“Thin Papers” expanded greatly. has the lucky buyer post, who got a so far un-recorded stamp, worth about $1000, for $100. "Knowledge Is Power" and had I listed up this set a few weeks later, that nice windfall would have been mine - timing is everything in life!

Some of the popular errors like the 1942 6d Kookaburra “Top Hat Variety” go up near 10 fold, from $250 to $2,000 mint hinged - and to $3,250 used. I sold one for $100 last year, so someone will be delighted!

The new prices do seem pretty silly, but since SG has listed this error in recent years, global demand has been high. An old collector told me a common metal staple adhering to the plate for a short while caused this error.


 “Top Hat” Error up near 10 fold.


Imprint blocks seem up all across the KGVI reign, often trebling in value. And coil pairs and other plate varieties see huge increases in many areas.

This new catalogue annoyingly uses some ACSC numbers in this edition, that in last one were something else entirely. That, combined with some sloppy editing of footnote numbers at times, makes it not always simple to follow in parts.

There seems no good reason for this, other than the create mass confusion, so not having the current book will give you headaches at times, and make auctions and some dealer lists a tangled mess to decipher.


Monkey Business on Ebay.


The IQ of many ebay stamp bidders is surely in the single digits, that has been proven several million times, but now and again it gets heavily reinforced!

Recently a bunch of frantic bargain hunting Bunnies bid this ridiculous rag shown nearby up to $A1,575. There were 41 bids.


“Year Of The BUNNY” stamp?


This stamp, the 1980 8f “Year Of the Monkey” is scarce - when genuine.  I ask and get $A2,000 each when REAL copies turn up in collections. A genuine example is shown nearby.

It is a deep red colour, and 95% of those offered on ebay are fake – this ebay seller “bmw202012” has sold dozens of fakes in recent times for a healthy 5 figure sum in total.  Mint, used and on cover!

This sad sun-faded and/or bleached rag shown nearby was peddled as a “rare white paper printing”, and described as being: in fine condition” despite a quite huge thin.


 A GENUINE China “Monkey” stamp.


The truly massive thin was of course illustrated, but even that did not deter the Bunny Bidders, and nor did they look at the dozens of others Fake “T46 Monkey Stamps” this con has sold before on ebay.

The bare minimum of research of past sales even when planning to spend $1,000s on ebay never EVER seems to occur to some of these dopes. is the detailed discussion on this saga, for those who enjoy watching Train Wrecks in progress - right before your eyes. 


Ebay buyers fleeced for $100,000+


Buying pricey stamps on ebay, from unknown low feedback sellers, is nearly always a disaster waiting to happen.  ESPECIALLY short 3 days sales and “Private” auctions where shill bidding runs rampant.

“Bargain Hunters” got ripped off for about $100,000 in recent weeks alone madly bidding on masses of totally non-existent stamps for sale – added up as scans from a Status paper auction catalogue,

Despite the “stamps” for sale showing obvious dot pixilation from being lifted from that source, the Bunnies by the 1000s fired off bids, and never saw any stamps of course, and may well have lost their money totally. 


Stolen scans from Auction Cat.


A quick google of the seller’s names will have led them to stampboards warnings that it is all a $100,000 scam. "auandr_pajgxdrkx" is the same person as "assa_jef" and "aujoh-4q99e7" but of course doing any kind of basic research is unknown to most ebay bidders. Link here -

The Kookaburra sheet shown nearby as can be seen is a paper auction catalogue scan - Lot 1212 at back of next page can be seen, and another lot number is underneath it. The 22 clueless bidders did not notice, and buyer has lost their money, as the seller never owned it, or the others. 


Sydney Stamp EXPO April 2015.


I am submitting this column on April 17th at the end of the first full day of the large Australia National for this year. 


Three Generations of Pitt Family.


Held in a new location for stamp shows at Hurstville - a middle distance suburb from the Sydney city, the show so far seemed pretty good in dealer’s eyes when I did my rounds today.

Sadly this column goes to press before the Medal Awards, and further updates are to hand. Allan Pitt, MD Of Renniks/Lighthouse said: “we have a huge Mega stand, and have done very well so far”.

Hurstville may not be a totally ideal choice, but for those aware of the realities of Sydney Exhibition space, there are basically no other realistic options given the budget of such shows.

Committee members spent 100s of unpaid hours on this. This venue cost about $16,000 for hire alone I think someone told me, and I assume security and insurance etc was extra, plus promotion and advertising etc. 


Danny Jurd, owner Velvet Auctions Sydney


The venue seemed very roomy to me, and Stuart Robbins APTA President, told me approx half the floor space was Exhibits, and 50% dealer stalls.

Randwick Racecourse since their recent update costs about $50,000 for 4 days I recall was the figure I heard. And other more central places are even higher cost.

This is not Hobart or Wagga Wagga etc, it is Sydney, and prime venues with the HUGE floor footprint that stamp shows need, where masses of Exhibits are booked, cost a fortune.


“Rent Out The Opera House”


I am sure if they rented out the Opera House for $75,000-$100,000 it would cost visitors $50-$100 a day to attend. Then the geniuses would be saying "why can't they pick a place like Hurstville, where it only cost a few bucks to enter?"

It must be remembered this was a NATIONAL. Not to be compared in any way with the number of collector exhibits, dealer stands and visitors, to the massive "Australia 2013" which was a full blown, once in 20 years, FIP INTERNATIONAL, which got SEVERAL MILLION $$s of AP support.


Spot the Brush Turkeys!


Much interesting material was on offer. Phoenix Auctions showed me a trial sheet of 5d Brush Turkey stamps they’d just been consigned, from the estate of a technician at the Note Printing Branch. 

Directors David Wood and Ken Pearson had other interesting Banknote/Money Order proof material from the same source, and we were able to impose on specialist banknote dealer Trevor Wilkin to explain it more fully. 









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