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May 2021


  Victoria cancel on aged stamp gets $A8,685.



At the Abacus Auctions in Melbourne on 25 March 2021, this numeral “253” cancel of Framlingham shown nearby, on a pretty common 4d pink Beaded Oval Victoria stamp, with age spotting and staining, was invoiced for $A8,685 after the usual Buyer Fees were added. This was against a starting auction estimate of just $A250.

Gary Watson from Abacus said he thought it was a World Record hammer price for a single Victorian Barred Numeral.  He and others in the room could not think of an example reaching this price level before.  It was sold to a very determined room bidder.  The lot looked like stalling at around the $1,000 mark with a pause in the action, and then it kept going - and going!


Higher than a mint 1913 £2 Kangaroo!



A VERY happy vendor I am sure, as the stamp was found sitting un-noticed in one of his stockbooks of duplicates!  You can buy a VERY nice mint 1913 £2 kangaroo for $8,650, so a lot of money to pay for numeral cancel.  MANY reading this of course own rare cancels from this area, but have no idea they own them - as was the case with this vendor, until it was pointed out by those more expert.

So how do you KNOW what scarce cancel you have?  That of course is the obvious question - whether your cancel is worth 8 cents, $8, or $800 or $8,000 like this one sold for you do need to have guidance.  Luckily there are superb handbooks on cancels from the Australia States or Colonies 

The Victoria numeral cancels were all updated heavily by Hugh Freeman’s near 500 page A4 size hard cover with dust jacket,
“Numeral Cancellations Of Victoria” superb tome.  Detailed review of it and Hardinge Tasmania cancels book is here -  


“Knowledge Is Power”


I have typed 1000 times here, and on stampboards, that “Knowledge Is Power” and the examples just on this page alone, proves that truism beyond all doubt.  Owning or having access to the relevant literature and catalogues is essential.

The total cost of these books is paid immediately with locating just one very MODEST scarcity item in a junk box, or mixed lot, or club sheet or approval lot, just ONCE in your lifetime.  The owner of the
$A8,685 cancel had no idea it was even scarce!


An Essential handbook for these.


I have always been a strong advocate of catalogues, and well researched handbooks like these Freeman giant tomes.  No dealer makes much profit selling philatelic literature, due to the tiny margins, so few now bother sadly, so I do the best I can. 

However a good library remains essential in my view, and those who have one, benefit enormously from owning one.  Both in Knowledge, and in finds like these.  A lot of things can be looked up on the internet but these cancels cannot be researched like that.

I have just ordered another carton of these Freeman
Victoria books, as interest has been piqued since the recent high price auction sales, and it, and the equally large size and detailed Hugh Freeman hard cover with dust jacket - “The Numeral Cancels Of New South Wales are finding keen new buyers.


Freeman NSW cancels also a superb book.


Most folks buy these two essential handbooks as a matched pair, as the mail cost for one book is basically the same as BOTH within Australia, so a very large saving.  Hugh has sadly passed away in recent times, so there will be no updates.  Mega detailed review here on the NSW -

Scarer numeral cancels from Victoria have regularly secured 4 figure sums, and often for cancels that most reading this would toss into the re-cycle bin. The super heavy “1547” cancel of Hazeldean shown nearby, on a common Victoria 2d violet is one good example! 


Cancel sold for $4,500 at Auction.


The roman numeral system “MD47 cancel is so heavy and ugly you truly cannot see the stamp underneath as you can readily agree!  Despite that reality, Phoenix Public Auctions invoiced this one for $4,500 on a modest $400 estimate.  That result amazed me.

Why?  As it is rated “RRRRR” in the superb Freeman Victoria book, and if you know that, you know you have a “keeper”.  However I am sure most agree if you saw this stamp for 10c, on a club circuit book page, or even as a duplicate in your stockbook, or stock, if you are a dealer, you’d not have given it a second glance.  I certainly would not have.  However it is actually worth more than a superb mint 1913 £1 Kangaroo!


Worth LESS than a Victoria/WA postmark??!


I added the superb 1913 Brown and Blue £1 Kangaroo stamp shown nearby into stock this week for way less than the very heavy “MD47” postmark sold for at Public Auction.  Probably the finest SG 15 you will ever see, so we are in a strange hobby at times.  In 10 or 20 years times would I rather own the 1913 Brown and Blue £1 Kangaroo, or the heavy MD47 postmark, I ask myself?!   Hmmm. 


Light WA cancel auctions for $A4,775.


Often postmarks that you can barely read, can get very good money.  The 1905 postcard shown nearby was invoiced for $A4,775 in March 2021 at a Perth WA Public Auction.  Again, a LOT more in cost than a really superb mint 1913 £1 Kangaroo stamp.  Please excuse the very fuzzy ‘’C grade’’ scan - it was the very best one they offered on website.

The monocolour photo view card is franked with a common 1d red Swan, with usual “B” in bars Bunbury Duplex cancel of January 31, 1905.  Auction stated the faint oval cancel over the address reads "Post & Telegraph Office - 1 FE : 05 - Balbarrup W.A."   I cannot read either the date, or the town, from the poor scan, but the pen address is to Blackwood via Balbarrup, so it makes sense.


Can you read central postmark?


It was stated that this oval cancel had not been recorded before.  Anyway, clearly it created a good deal of interest in late March - described as only being in “fair” condition, estimate was $100, but it ended up being invoiced for $A4,775.  On WA stamps off cover, these violet oval WA cancels are often assumed to be fiscal, as they certainly have the appearance of them - so do keep your eyes open!


Tasmania cancels also red hot.


And other states like Tasmania also have an active and passionate following for numeral and town cancels, and have good rarity rating handbooks of course.  And that has been the case for many decades.  I have reported here before of the scarcer Tasmania town cancels fetching MANY $1000s, on the pictorial stamps, that otherwise are worth only pennies apiece.

I recently put into stock a pretty cds on a common 2d violet Pictorial stamp on small piece reading: “COMSTOCK - FE 21 - 02 - TASMANIA”  Comstock was a tiny remote speck of a Mining post office on the map, near Western Coast Zeehan Tasmania, that mined Silver and Lead mainly. 

The PO was opened 23 September 1901, and closed March 1903, so clearly few strikes were made, much less survived 120 years.  It has a high rated RRRRscarcity grading.  I have only put a few $100 on it, but complete cds cancels are highly sought.  Looks awful cheap compared to WA and Victoria!


Try and source complete cds strikes.


Cancel collectors of course are pretty fussy with the quality of the strikes.  For some rarer offices only 1 or 2 or 3 examples are known, so a part strike will have to do.  Sometimes, that is all that exists.  But keen collector are always upgrading the strikes on those they have, and clear FULL cancels are what the Gold Standard is for them.  Be discerning.  You will not regret it. 


Cat £52 - just invoiced for $4,775!


As I have typed many times before, postally used BLOCKS from his region are well worth securing when you see them offered - which is FAR less than you might imagine.  Demand is growing all the time, and prices often reach surprising levels when attractive blocks come onto the market.

The Melbourne Phoenix Public Action of April 15, 2021 had one block that caught my eye, as it had frantic bidding for it, and it is shown nearby.  The 2d brown-lilac roulette, 1858, SG 69, cat £13 a stamp used.  Rather attractive, with a central barred numeral 54 of Kilmore - not a cancel of any real scarcity.


Used Blocks are getting BIG bucks.


The auction estimate was $A200 - a figure most dealers on the planet would have happily retailed it for I am sure, for a block cat only £52 = $A100.  After some intensive bidding, it was finally invoiced for $A4,775.  Or nearly 50 times the full Stanley Gibbons catalogue value.

The demand is there, and the supply is limited.  As the old saying goes - “Show Me Another”.  Maybe someone had an exhibit of this issue and needed a nice-looking piece to spruce up the pages - who knows?  But there were multiple bidders, and that is all it takes to get wacko prices.


Australia Blockbusters


One of these days, POSTALLY USED BLOCKS of Australian stamps will be listed in the ACSC, alongside the current columns of mint, used, and on cover - exactly as they are right now, in many European catalogues. 

When that occurs, prices will go quite insane, as quite simply - no dealer stock of these things exist. They often have enormous facial eye-appeal, as you can see in some of the photos in this article.  Each block is essentially unique.

One of my long term campaigns has been to convince readers - dealers and collectors, to put aside EVERY postally used block of Australia you ever see.  Right NOW most do not command much, if any, premium over 4 singles.  Grab them from ANY era - from 1913 to 2021.

I sold used blocks of 5/- mid 1930s 5/- Roos last month for $450 each to numerous enquiries, yet I just added to stock a Hagner of pre-decimal used blocks with a mid-60s 5/- postally used blocks for $A50!  There are still opportunities out there.



Eye-catching KGV USED Top Value.


It was only 25 years back, that Monogram and Imprint blocks of Kangaroos sold for typically just 5 or so times the single stamp price. i.e. just a 25% premium for the margin monogram or imprint.  If a single stamp was retail $10, it meant an imprint or Monogram block 4 was $50 or so, if one were in stock, and this was the dealer rule of thumb here.

Arthur Gray’s collection of largely such rare Roo pieces sold for $A7.15 million at auction in New York, and he was buying them when they were surprisingly cheap, and not too long back, at a time when they oddly were largely ignored by all the rest of the stamp world – collectors and dealers - globally.


$9,000 to $177,000 in 19 years.


A world record price was obtained in that sale for a single Australian postage stamp.  Lot 287 was a facially attractive 1913 £2 black and red Kangaroo with lower sheet selvedge. This selvedge bore the "JBC" margin monogram of the Commonwealth stamp printer, J. B. Cooke. 

Every post office sheet of 120 printed at that time contained two marginal monograms.  One at base of each pane of 60.  Despite that reality, the copy shown on the photo nearby is the only example recorded outside the Royal Stamp Collection and the Australia Post archives.


The $170,000 stamp selvedge.


This stamp was hinged, had a crease and a toned perforation, but sold after vigorous bidding for $US132,000 = then $A176,930, to the Australian dealer the late Simon Dunkerley - who was buying for a client here, so clearly he paid Simon more than that.  The estimate was "only" $US50 000-$75,000.

This stamp is SG 16, and was then catalogued in Gibbons at only £3,000 as mint hinged. The basic mint stamp within a few years was cat £6,500 - showing perfectly, that buying the tougher, and pricier, stamps from ANY country, as soon as you can, always pays off pretty fast!

This record price means the buyer effectively paid over $A170,000 for the tiny piece of selvedge paper!  The full ACSC catalogue price for this very same Monogram stamp in 1988 was just $9,000 (and $4,000 for NON monogram.)  So within 19 years it sold for TWENTY times that.  Current ACSC value is $200,000.

Without the marginal marking, the stamp would not have even realised anything like £3,000 then, due to the condition issues in my view.  No other country places such gigantic premiums on Monogram, or Imprint, or plate number markings.  But as I said earlier - 20 or 30 years back, oddly no-one was especially interested.

The auctioneer of the Arthur Gray Kangaroos collection Charles Shreve in New York, was VERY nervous when I was having this photo taken nearby, in case the $177,000 stamp fell into my coffee, and torpedoed his record sale price!


Follow Europe’s Lead.


Many major European basic catalogues as a matter of course, list stamps mint, used, FDC, on cover and in USED blocks of 4.  Look at a Swiss/Liechtenstein Zumstein, or leading Italian or Scandinavian catalogues etc, and you will see what I mean.

Even the Stanley Gibbons Specialised catalogues for GB list and price near all pre-war issues from 1840, in used blocks of 4.  So it can be done here, and it should be done here.  And hopefully with all the refinements and additions to ACSC, they will be listed soon.

Stamps worth peanuts as singles, are often worth a FORTUNE in a postally used block, in many European markets.  Swiss stamps issued in the Kangaroo era can catalogue 500 times as much in a used block, as for a used single.

The 1914 3Fr Jungfrau is in the basic Zumstein catalogue I have here is 3,250 SFr a used block, but only 8 SFr for a used single.  Many Kangaroos should rate high multiples like that in blocks.  But right now they sell for 5 or 10 times a single stamp!

The same rarity level applies in some Australian stamps of course.  But NOT the prices - YET.  The market leading Facit catalogue does the same for Sweden and Scandinavia area stamps, and has done for 100+ years. 


$10 a single, $8,600 in block 4!


In my office Facit catalogue, the common old cheapie Sweden 1858 12 öre blue Arms (Facit # 9) is priced at “x 500” for a block of four.  That stamp is 18 SEK for the cheapest shade for a used single, but 9,000 SEK for a used block of four of the cheapest shade. 


Not a pretty looking block of 4!


The block shown nearby from a past David Feldman Sweden auction demonstrates the market nicely, that stampboards member Scott Starling showed me.  It is a rather ugly block of the 3 öre brown Lion issue of 1863, Facit Catalogue # 14b (Scott # 13).  As a single, this had a value in my  Facit catalogue of SEK130 - then about $A20.

It is a common shade, and a single with this same centering and cancel would have sold for about $A10, Scott tells me.  Facit doesn't list a price for a used block of four, it just says that there are three known. The starting price was 2,000 Euro (not Swiss Francs) and sold for 5,000 Euros, when the nasty “Buyer Fee” was added. 

That was $A8,600 paid then, for a VERY rough looking block, of a stamp otherwise worth $10 a single.  Buy such things issued by Australia now.  It is certainly true that virtually EVERY Australia stamp from 1913 to the present date EXISTS in postally used blocks - even for the high values.


Most Used blocks exist.


Australia’s leading collector, the late Arthur Gray and I discussed this subject at length, and he agreed with me there are very few instances where no used blocks are recorded from 1913 to 2015 - and even then, we are only guessing they are not out there. 

The £1 Bi-Colour Kangaroo block 4 shown nearby was used in 1923, and first surfaced on the market in late 2008 - 85 years after being used. Until then it had been “assumed” no postally used blocks of this value existed.


Attractive Brisbane cancel Roo block.


For years I have been urging the editor of the ACSC to list used blocks of 4 of all Australian issues, and I feel sure one day they will relent, and create this new category.  Adding a large slab of brand new collectors, seeking these elusive pieces.

It will give added reason for folks to buy each new edition of each catalogue, and will not take any more space or pages than they do now, as they will simply add the universal cross hair “block” symbol to all current listings as they now do in Europe =


Dealers agree - used blocks rock!


I have discussed this with leading dealers, and all agree the demand for used blocks is increasing all the time.  Richard Juzwin told me he fully agrees the market vastly under-values such material at present, and that he is actively buying them whenever he sees them on offer, and hopes the ACSC lists them in future.

Juzwin told me he was the under-bidder on the used block of £1 Bi-Colour Kangaroos shown nearby, at Leski’s auction in Melbourne some years back now. Those stamps are 3rd watermark, and were invoiced to the buyer at just on $A20,000.  As 4 singles they would have sold for under a QUARTER of that sum.

Indeed both the block 4, or 4 singles, would sell for far more today … the market on £1 Kangaroo bi-colours is extremely strong in all forms and variations.  A popular stamp in all its possibilities, and is the Westpac Bank Share of the stamp market. 


Sold $20,000, many years back.


The auctioneer Charles Leski, told me the vendor bought the block in to show him, housed in a cheap $5 type “Chinese stockbook” of otherwise quite unremarkable stamp junk.  The vendor had no idea it was valuable, so the $20,000 price must have amazed him.

This block had been in the family for decades, and was never sold for 3 generations.  It had presumably been soaked off a parcel at the time of receipt, in 1923.  An equally nice looking 1913 £1 FIRST Watermark Roo, postally used block of 4 came up at a stamp auction in Wales UK, some years back.

Myself, Simon Dunkerley and Tony Shields and several others, all bid strongly on it, only to see Stanley Gibbons London outbid us all.  So these high value used Kangaroo blocks DO exist for sure, and are worth seeking out and grabbing when you see them.  You clearly may NOT see it offered again.


Near all Roos DO exist in used blocks.


Most if not all of the Kangaroo stamps in all watermark are known in used blocks, and the PO archive sales offered the First Watermark bi-colour high values up to £2 in used blocks, with Brisbane cancels.  Several of which to £1 I have handled and sold since - the 10/- is shown nearby.  A very pretty piece.  Wish I had not sold it!

The 1913 £2 with that same cancel was on the front cover of the last ACSC “Kangaroos” catalogue in a used block of 4.  There is also a used imprint block of 8 of the £2 Third Watermark “OS” in private hands, and other £2 used blocks etc. 


Even 5/- used blocks are scarce.


Even relatively late issue Roos get good prices in blocks.  I offered the 1932 CofA 5/- in used blocks on my Rarity Page for $425 each earlier this year.  As 4 singles - only a fraction of that retail.  One was postally used at CUE Western Australia in 1935, the other at Devonport Tasmania in 1936.

On both occasions I received several orders for both, within a day.  My system is to place a fixed asking price on items, and the first person to complete an order form, secures the lot.  Sometimes I wish there was an “Auction” type option there, but fair nett asking prices seem to work pretty well.

In these cases the fast response underscores the latent demand out there, and trust me, if you phoned EVERY stamp dealer on this planet and asked them to quote you on a USED 5/- Kangaroo block of 4 in ANY condition, you would find no-one could assist. They are truly scarce.

Contact 100 dealers and ask them to quote you on a 1932 5/- Sydney Harbour Bridge stamp, and most will respond - “mint or used sir, and how many do you require?”   So used blocks of 4 of 5/- Kangaroos etc for around the same money, are placed into sharp perspective!


Football, Meat Pies - and Holden Cars!

  General Motors Holden’s long history in Australian automotive history was honoured on a set of five postage stamps released by Australia Post in April 2021.  The five stamps depict a few iconic cars from Holden’s 73-year history as a manufacturer in Australia, from 1948-2020.  

A small selection of Holden Cars.

  The $1.10 stamps feature a small selection of models of ‘Australia’s Own Car’.  The debut 1948 Holden “FX”, the 1963 “EH” Premier, Australia’s version of the muscle car - the 1968 “HK” Monaro GTS 327 V8, then the 1971 “HQ” Kingswood Ute, and finally the 2006 “VE” Commodore SS V.

Like many Australians I’ve owned several of these, and the new stamp set bought back some fond memories.  My father bought an “FJ” Holden brand new, the year I was born, when it was released in 1953.  Gawd knows how, on his salary - I think it was on the time payment “never-never” for a decade or so! 

“Through our stamp releases, we are in a unique position to highlight and honour important Australian icons and this stamp issue recognises the incredible impact that Holden had on the Australian cultural fabric,” said Nicole Sheffield, Australia Post Executive General Manager Community and Consumer Division.

Marc Ebolo, Managing Director of GM Australia and New Zealand, said it was a privilege for the Holden brand to be honoured in this way: “These five stamps feature iconic vehicles which encapsulate the passion people have for the brand, whether they be past employees who helped develop these vehicles, or those who purchased them."


Remember the 1960s?

  “It is an absolute privilege to have this incredible heritage recognised in such a way by Australia Post.” Ebolo concluded.  Holden built around 7.6 million cars during its time on Australian soil. It is estimated some 1.6 million Holden vehicles are still on our roads today.

Sadly, the Australia car making industry is essentially dead now, and despite all kinds of government mega bail outs, the foreign makers have closed doors in recent years, and now make them in cheaper labour markets.  R.I.P.







"KNOWLEDGE IS POWER"  as I type incessantly -  I cannot over-stress the importance of having a solid stamp library.  Often the very FIRST thing you look up, often pays for that book forever!  A number of wonderful reference books have appeared in recent times.  In many cases within Australia under the new AP parcel rules, buying 2 or 3 or 4 books costs the EXACT same shipping as ONE does, so do give it some thought!   Within Australia, 3 or 4 books often costs about the same shipping as 1 book etc!  (Superb VFU, valuable franking used on ALL parcels as always.)  ALL in stock now - click on each link for FULL details on each book.  Hint for these as GIFTS!  Buy FIVE or more, and deduct 10% OFF THE LOT!  Glen

 ACSC "KANGAROOS" 228 pages, Full Colour for first time. ESSENTIAL!  $A125 (Stock 382KQ)

Stanley Gibbons *current* AUSTRALIA AND STATES & PACIFICS - Near 400 pages $A90 (Stock 736EQ)

Hugh Freeman huge  “Barred Numeral Cancellations Of Victoria”  Now Full COLOUR!  $A199 (Stock 274BN)

Hugh Freeman Numeral Cancellations of New South Wales" Huge hard cover $A185 (Stock 736LE)

Geoff Kellow the superb hardcover 'Stamps Of Victoria' Ret $165 : BIG DISCOUNT - $A120! (Stock 842FQ)

Stanley Gibbons “Stamps Of The World” - 6 MASSIVE books save $300! - $A399 (Stock 892JQ)

Superb ACSC  "Australia Postal Stationery"  Catalogue - huge 484 pages colour $A240 (Stock 782DV)

ACSC New full colour catalogues for KGVI and QE2 – the BOTH huge A4 books $240 (Stock 892JC)

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

500 page ACSC New “Australia KGV Reign” catalogue in Full Colour - just  $A170 (Stock 382KX)

Stanley Gibbons superb "2021 British Commonwealth Cat" - 780 pages hardbound - $A195 (Stock 893JX)



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Full Time Stamp Dealer in Australia for 45 years. Life Member - American Stamp Dealers' Association. (ASDA - New York)  Also Member - Philatelic Traders' Society (London) and IFSDA (Switzerland) and many other philatelic bodies

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