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November 2015




  Australia Post loses the plot



Australia Post have just ONE core purpose in life - TO DELIVER MAIL.

As speedily and cost efficiently as possible. Very simple mission statement. They have recorded a massive FAIL score in the past year or two on both accounts.

As a business that sends and receives a heap of mail, I am here to advise that Australia Post has totally lost the plot - in recent months in particular. Every mailing is now some kind of weird lottery. It gets very depressing, and it is getting WORSE.

Letters and parcels are taking SIX weeks to arrive domestically. Things I mail even to the next suburb from me are going to WA and QLD, and the PO of course is not accountable. They just yawn, and crank up the rates even more, and hand out bigger than ever obscene bonuses.

No compensation is paid to users for these self-inflicted PO messes, and the HOURS of wasted time businesses now need each week to expend - emailing and speaking to understandably annoyed buyers, is also not compensated.

We are getting Zimbabwe Level speed and efficiency of service, but are being charged Scandinavian level fees to get it.  Things must change, and the mail users are the ones who can do that. The system is broken.



“One First Class stamp please”



A normal letter is set to increase to $1.50 if their carpetbagger front man Mr Fahour manages to hoodwink the ACCC, as he did to then Minister for Communications Mr Turnbull, that stamps are “only” increasing to $1. They REALLY are going up to $1.50.


Things have NEVER been worse.


I am a large sender and receiver of letters and parcels domestically, and have been for my 35 years as a dealer. I am speaking below from long experience. Things have NEVER been as bad as they are now in Australia Post.

We do not see this on the TV News, or in the daily papers, as the average person is unaware of what a mess they are now in.  Please forward a link to this article to anyone in the media you can think of - - it is NOT too late to nip this in the bud.

Ten or 20 years ago, I’d happily mail or order a carton with no tracking, and be 99.99% sure it would be there next day, to/from anywhere in a 100km radius. And only a day or so later to/from Melbourne or Brisbane or Adelaide etc.

They all arrived. Maybe one parcel a decade might go AWOL. An amazing record, and AP should be proud they ONCE did a good job. Yes it is pretty hard to lose a CARTON I agree, and so it always was. They all arrived. Mostly within a week. 

In recent years all that has charged. Sadly. A bunch of fat cats at AP, paid wages in the Bill Gates league, have dragged the service standard back to levels never seen before. And yet doubled the cost to users - and think and pray we will not notice.

Australia Post keeps hiking up parcel and International rates 2 or 3 times EACH year, I kid you not.  WAY in advance of the CPI and Inflation rate. If a private company doled out price rises on this consistent scale, the ACCC would be fining them!


Chullora Mail Centre Bottleneck



Why?  As AP do NOT need any Government approval for parcel and overseas mail price hikes, and hence charge whatever juicy figure comes into their head, when they need some more money for machines that do not work, or Top Brass who do not work either.  


Flying cheaper than parcel post.


A large parcel by slowwww road to Darwin or WA very often costs well over $100 now, and can take a month. You can sometimes FLY there, and check the box as baggage, for less than the cost of mailing your snail mail road parcel.

I mailed a set of the Stanley Gibbons “Stamps Of The World” catalogues to New Zealand this week, and the very CHEAPEST shipping method was near $A200. Insane. You CAN fly there for less. I use superb VFU stamps on cartons, so senders do not overly care, but most senders use a worthless white label for parcels.

All these price hikes are bad enough, but some geniuses in there, drawing mega million salaries, have also now decided that humans handling parcels are not really necessary, in this Brave New Fantasy World they live in.

They found MACHINES that allegedly do it just as well, and with almost no “staff costs”. Well no wages paid, but these shiny new machines cost $A500 MILLION it is reported. They seem to have overlooked that. That is a lot of wage hours of once very efficient sorters.


Machines demand no holiday pay.


Do these monsters work?  NO. I often have Registered parcels across Sydney taking up to 2 or 3 weeks. I am not kidding. They get to the massive Chullora Mail Centre, and then sit there for a week, or two weeks at times. How do I know this?  As I send nearly everything tracked mail.

The Post Office’s own tracking data shows me that my box often arrives at Chullora on October 1, and does not emerge for a week or two. It is like a bad Monty Python script, but is happening more and more. A parcel post “Black Hole”.


3 weeks to a nearby suburb.



The Fats Cats appear to have decided all capital cities will “centralise” parcel mail - a disaster in practice of course, but a genius move on the whiteboard in the Boardroom. Time to have another cigar and Port and celebrate “Genius Mail Management 2015”.

The online parcel tracking shown nearby, sent to a stamp dealer only a few miles away from me in Sydney, is a typical example as you can clearly see, and it is very common these days - very sadly. Almost normal. 

I mailed a small box on September 19 to a stampboards member here in Sydney.  He is in French's Forest ... just a few kms away, basically a nearby suburb.  A 5 minute drive. The address and postcode was VERY clearly written - he emailed me a photo of it. 


                                     Vanished into “Parcel Black Hole”.


He did not get it after a week or so.  Only $65 of albums, so not sent registered, hence zero compensation payable to either of us, had it vanished entirely. Annoying, but it WAS to a street address which are riskier and riskier to use.

I assumed it had been stolen from his street address, when he was not home.  We both wasted much time on email over this. You are helpless, as these pieces just vanish into a huge faceless AP Black Hole.


 8,000 kms - to go next door.



TEN days later it shows up via the free on-line parcel tracking as now being in Welshpool, Perth, Western Australia.  A WEEK after that, it ends up with my client in French’s Forest.  Road mail across the continent both ways, for NO reason.

So what used to be delivered next working day, is often now taking 3 weeks, and wasting a TON of his time, and my time.  And raised blood pressure all round.  I need to be apologising for these clowns at AP endless times EVERY week.

Box turns up THREE weeks later after a journey to Perth ….. 8,000 Kms, or 80 HOURS of road transport, for a carton clearly addressed to a nearby suburb to me, at HUGE real cost to them and the environment.

Had I PAID for WA shipping for a box this size the cost would be $40 each way = $80.  Money AP have cost themselves of course due to incompetence.  I highlighted one case recently that crossed the Nullabor 5 times.  The item got smashed, and PO refused compensation.


Like a Monty Python Script!


And these geniuses at Australia Post wonder WHY they lose money?  So to cover their own shortcomings, they crank up rates to customers to cover THEIR defective sorting machinery AND give themselves millions in bonuses as well.  It is like a bad movie script.

Last week I mailed a box to a client in Wollongong .. a short drive south of Sydney. Posted on Wednesday am and client drove to his PO in heavy traffic Friday afternoon to collect it before the long weekend.  Looked at the tracking, and THAT box was in Queensland. Insane.

Sometimes things just vanish for 6 weeks with nothing to show buyer or seller what is going on. They are the worst ones. Totally vanished from sight.  Pay $4 for Registered Fee and get near zero service.


Posted Aug 27. Vanished for 3 weeks.



I mailed a standard size business envelope on August 27 to a PO Box in Kingston, Hobart. The letter was cancelled front and back at Castlecrag on August 27.  It was clearly marked “Registered” and SHOULD have been scanned all along the trip. Address was neat and clear and correct. 

Backflap and sides were taped down with wide cellotape, as I generally do with Registered letters, and red Pentel pen signed over the tape, and ask they be back-stamped too when staff are not busy.  So as secure as a $550 order can be. 


Nauru Seahorses go missing.


Weeks later, client had not received it.  It contained $550 of a set of Nauru “Seahorse” stamps he purchased, and he understandably was getting anxious. I gave him my usual advice - “The PO folks are pretty hopeless lately, but it WILL turn up. Relax!”

He had opted NOT to insure it, so had the item not turned up, his MAXIMUM pay out would be the PO figure of $100 which has literally been unchanged for FIFTY years - from before decimal currency even, despite the “Registered Fee” increasing near 20 fold in that time from 20¢ to $3.70.

Collectors are funny with “All Risk” Insurance.  $10 would have fully covered this for the full $550 if lost, and buyer would not have fussed. AFTER something goes wrong, it is always MY problem oddly!  Despite me clearly setting this out on my order page -

Only YOU know if your street address is secure - a large packet covered in pretty stamps left outside, just might tempt passers-by? Only YOU know that, I do not. Mail contractors these days are often lazy, and leave packets on top of mailboxes etc in view of public, and out in wet weather etc. PO Boxes are FAR safer.

"All Risk" Insurance is always possible if required as well, at $A2 per $100 covered - again it must be specified on order form. It is like Travel Insurance - decline that when booking your ticket, and THEN tell Qantas you really meant to take it 3 weeks back, and you now need to cancel your ticket for no penalty, and see how you go with THAT one!

After 5 weeks and some aggro from buyer, I phoned AP call centre about it – “no, we have no record, apart from being lodged”.  I phoned the Kingston (Hobart) LPO about it (getting a real phone number for a PO took me a half hour) “No, we have just checked, and it is not sitting here Sir.”


Returned to me SIX weeks later.


Letter oddly turned up BACK in my PO Box a few days after my calls.  SIX WEEKS LATER, with no transit postmarks, or tracking events other than the one upon lodging it in August.  As you can see on the close up nearby, the stamp has a (Leightonfield Mail Centre) “SWLF AUG 27” ink jet cancel.

The reverse had the orange sorting spray jet bars, top and base. My hunch is some idiot and/or machine in AP has decided the sticker sender address on reverse is the RECIPIENT, and after 6 weeks, sent it back to NSW, 2068.  WHY that took 6 weeks, who knows?


We don’t know - OR care.


WHERE the envelope was between August 27 and October 8 - SIX weeks - I will probably never know.  The PO cannot tell me, there is no apology, no explanation, and no compensation.  Pay these guys $3.70 + 70¢ for Registered, and the piece often enters the Twilight Zone.  And comes back to you.

I asked the client if he wanted me to re-send stamps again, and he said they “appeared jinxed” and could I please refund him the $550.  So end result - a most annoyed client, loss of HOURS of my time chasing it all up and emailing, a loss of a $550 sale to me, all directly caused by a PO who does not CARE.     


Stolen in Mail?  Value $2,200


Registered letters seem to be getting more and more affected. I mailed another client a similar small standard envelope October 1, containing $2,500 in 2 sets of stamps he had bought. The pair shown above cost him $2,200 -  if anyone sees them offered for sale, let me know!

As this is typed October 18, zero sign of the envelope on PO tracking website since my lodging it.  Nothing, NADA.  Just totally vanished, like the one to Kingston Tasmania. To a Melbourne suburb ONCE, this would have taken 2 days, in 99% of cases, to arrive. 


The Marie Celeste Envelope.


The Registered number is 499734702012 if readers want to play my usual waiting game, and check the AP on-line tracking.  As you can see in image below, it has been in a PO Black Hole “somewhere” for 2½ weeks so far.


Let’s All Play “Where’s Wally??”


PO mail van drivers that collect parcels at my Castlecrag PO take them to the massive St. Leonards Mail Centre. ONCE, when things were efficiently run, they’d sort them there, into huge parcel bins for applicable regions, and next day they’d arrive in most instances.

I arranged a stamp dealer official guided visit there one evening, by the Duty Manager, and it was a hive of activity.  HUNDREDS of staff, forklifts and huge bins zipping about, and giant machines, and a hub of efficiency, and staff working all night.  

NOW the red vans all arrive at St Leonards Mail Centre from a host of POs in early evening, and the contents of their vans are then loaded (and not too rapidly) into big steel cages, and trucked in large Semis way across town to Chullora - often to vanish for a week. The Bermuda Triangle.


2015 definition of “Progress”.


This is called “Progress” I think, when top staff are paid millions a year to engineer such wonderful “steps forward” from the comfort of the Boardroom. Delivering mail fast and efficiently is far too uncool in 2015 to all these MBA’s. 

The Geniuses spent $500 million on machines from Holland, bolted on 5 different after-market software systems that were not all compatible, and proceeded to decimate the once working efficiently Australian Parcel Post system.

If I mail a parcel at Castlecrag PO to Kevin Duffy, also living in Castlecrag, it goes to St Leonards Mail Centre, THEN right across the Sydney metro area to Chullora. Then it all comes back here sometime in the next week or two.  Maybe.

On the AP website there is a video of parcel mail zipping around a huge centre, in huge clear Perspex type tubes with conveyor belts in them. All with laser beam type scanners shooting beams onto all sides, searching for the tracking labels, and the postcode. Not a human in sight.

Once that scanning is secured, the parcels allegedly are all sorted and sent on their way. And a box addressed to “2068” will go to ANY other 4 numeral destination the laser beams might ‘see’ first on a box. My sender PO Box 4007 address sticker might get read as to Hamilton QLD, even if real address was 5047 Adelaide.  


Paid $395 – all ruined by AP.



Humans are smarter than machines. So a parcel marked “Dandenong Vic 3175” does not get sent to Western Australia by humans. Not even once usually, and certainly not repeatedly. Machines do not care. They do not have a BRAIN.


20% of parcels messed up.


“ABC News” reported that fully 20% of the nation’s parcels are being screwed up by these brilliant new White Elephant machines - - that is about 40,000 parcels a day being messed up they claim.

“The machines, which Australia Post has described as "state-of-the-art", cannot read some barcodes and sometimes confuse a parcel's "to" and "from" addresses. Australia Post declined to be interviewed” ABC News website reported.

“Staff and casuals are doing so much overtime (to fix the mess) they are referring to the new sorting systems as "mortgage machines" because they use the extra income to pay off their debts.

Ms Doyle said the machines were manufactured in the Netherlands and constructed in Australia, but rely on five different add-on IT systems, which do not function well together” ABC concluded.


Sir Donald would be furious.


This kind of madness is now occurring regularly sadly. I reported this case earlier and it bears repeating. Witness the beautiful old sepia photos nearby of Sir Donald Bradman, signed at left of batting pad knee roll. In the frame, and out of the frame.

It was purchased earlier this year by Melbourne cricket collector Noel Almeida for $A395. If the signature was expert verified, it would be worth more like $1,500 Noel advises me, which does not surprise me one bit, the way top end cricket stuff sells. 

The signed and framed photo was securely packed and mailed correctly from WA to Sunshine Vic, by Registered Post.  Delivery times in days of old, when CEOs were not paid $A4½ million a year, and when humans sorted parcel mail, was generally a few days later.  

The parcel went back and forth the 3,400 Kms across this vast country FIVE times. 175 HOURS of highway driving. It finally arrived with Noel - nearly one MONTH later. Actual COST to AP - some $100s probably.

No fault of the sender or Almeida - just these alleged “high tech” $500 Million sorting machines, deciding themselves on arrival at each end, it needed to go back right across the country once again. FIVE times. They confused sender postcode with addressee, when they laser beam the parcels.

This is about 17,000 Kms of travel - near all of it totally needlessly. That is Sydney to New York distance.  And you guessed it - all this stupid yo-yoing not only wasted time and resources, and annoyed the buyer, it ensured the glass in the frame broke, and the sharp shards sliced and destroyed the signed photo.


Sent *FIVE* Times across nation.



The heartbreak a true Cricket devotee collector like Noel clearly had, upon seeing this mess after waiting a month for it to finally arrive, you cannot begin to place a monetary value upon. It is incompetence on a Grand scale, and AP do NOT care.

So in such a case you’d imagine the PO would apologise, and stump up the $395 cost price of the item they ruined - possibly the $1,500 retail value of it - right?  The parcel was Registered of course. Their own tracking shows the month delay, and bizarre national transit yo-yo.

No such chance. The Post Office response was that the glass cracked, as it was not packed correctly, and ZERO compensation was forthcoming from them!  I am a fastidious packer as clients know, and use fibreglass filament tape, and the best packing material I can source.

But no-one packs for 175 hours of road transit over 17,000 Kms, via a dozen mail centres. No domestic sender takes that much care - as in the real world of mail order, you should not have to!  All detail here on above -


Parcel travels 17,000 Kilometres


Sadly $100 maximum is all the PO usually stump up, for a lost or damaged Registered item. IF they agree it was in fact lost or damaged by them, and that takes some proving often, as we can see from their response to the Bradman smashed frame.   

AFTER you compete long forms, and wait a while for the claim to grind through their often slow system. Which in this case is quite absurd. For overseas mail that can take very many months.

A Registered label today cost $3.70, and a first class letter stamp costs 70¢, (to be hiked up to $1.50 soon it seems) so a Registered first class letter will then be $3.70 plus $1.50 = $5.20 - maybe more, if the Registered Fee increases too, as it has several times a year under Mr Fahour’s AP Regime. 


Australia Letters to be $1.50


The Federal Government approved in principle earlier this year a price increase soon for standard letters to $1 from the current 70c, and a faster "First Class" service (i.e. exactly same speed as present it seems) for $1.50.

It was another official Abbott Government hasty decision, made with no consultation whatever with those it will most impact, it seems very clear, and hopefully it can be overturned like their last 50 bad decisions were.

For those who suspect this will not bother them: "I have lots of old stamps or Concession stamps I can use up" you of course are not thinking too laterally, or very deeply, as I will show here.

The headline cost of a 70c letter going to $1 for “Second Class” delivery service (2 days slower than now) is only the tip of the iceberg, as $1.50 will be the chosen option for many - more than DOUBLING.

What the clever AP Press Releases omit to tell us is, that heaps of other mail prices AUTOMATICALLY increase to very major amounts, when the “standard” letter rate goes up.

"Large Letters" are the slippery slope here - things not regarded as parcels, but are "large letters” - i.e. not standard size small letter items. Items like your A4 type stamp club journals, and magazines, and mailed brochures, and so on, that we ALL receive all year. 


EVERYONE will incur increases.


I get regular newsletters from the ACCC, Perfin Society, FDC Association etc, etc, all of which are large A4 format journals, and these are charged at exactly 2 or 3 and 5 times the prevailing LETTER rate. And that has been the formula for 10 years or so.

Their current cost of these letters and journals is $1.40, $2.10 or $3.50 - hence the rather pretty Definitive stamps issued at all times to cover these heavily used rates.

These stamps shown here are on sale at EVERY Post Office in this country, and get used heavily each day for “Large Letter” use, depending on the weight.


The $3.50 becomes $7.50 soon.



With this new approved Government plan, these 4 attractive stamps will be replaced by $1.50, $3.00, $4.50 and $7.50 values it seems very likely, in whatever new stamp design is chosen.

So a stamp going up a disingenuous “just 30c” is the bare tip of the iceberg - a 260 gram “Stamp News” type mailing would go up by $4 - Mr Turnbull and Mr Fahour never mentioned that sneaky little gem.

When you get a Philas Auction catalogue, or a Phoenix, or Status, or Mossgreen catalogue etc, they will pay these new higher rates.  More cost to them = more cost to YOU in some way.

Many collectors subscribe to “Stamp News” magazine and similar publications. Postage is borne by YOU as part of any subscription. When you renew, it will go up in full or in large part, if this new increase occurs.

If it now costs $3.50 to mail a 260 gram magazine or bundle of papers each month (5 times the letter rate) that will increase to $7.50 in one hit, unless the Senate and/or ACCC demands that “Large Letter” rates are not touched.

That would be $4 extra a copy, to mail each of the 12 issues of “Stamp News”, or $A48 MORE than it does now, if they all were 260 grams and that is just a 90 page magazine etc, not large.

Magazine Subscriptions to rise.


I notice Minister Turnbull was not saying: “Many of your subscription magazines will cost you around $48 more each, due to my sooper dooper very clever idea today.”

Who do you think is going to pay for that - YOU ARE!  Same with stamp societies - renewal rates will go up, and ditto stamp auction house subscription rates, and all other Hobby/Church/Social groups who mail you journals. None of those outfits get special discount rates, as their volume is far too small.

These costs will of course be passed on direct to YOU, and for many readers, this will be a few $100 EXTRA a year.  All of which can be stopped, if you take a half hour to contact your Senators and ACCC.

Many reading of this get ebay sendings. Typically sellers charge around $1 local post for a sending that costs them 70c plus envelope. That will hence go up to more like $2 a sending.  Extra cost to YOU.

Buy just 2 lots a week from a dealer or ebay sellers locally etc, and you are $100 p.a. worse off.  On top of 20 other mail related cost areas that you have probably never thought of.

Indeed given the ebay fixation on speed, most sellers will opt for the $1.50 "First Class" letters, more than doubling their current cost, meaning the BUYER will be paying that more than 100% increase over their current shipping cost.  

So even a modest recipient of ebay lots, and a few magazines and journals and catalogues, will be many $100s a year worse off, before they even LOOK at what their extra outward costs will be.



67% the cost of magazine mailing.



The $5 stamp shown nearby was issued not too far back in time, and then covered the cost of a huge 20 KILO parcel, anywhere within 50 kms of the sending office.

Very soon it may only cover 67% of the cost of a 260 gram “Stamp News” type magazine being mailed locally, unless this “Malcolm’s Choice” brain snap idea is rejected or scaled back by the ACCC - the powerful Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Senate/ACCC can disallow this.


It is now being considered by the ACCC as this is typed as I understand it, as Minister Turnbull, (now PM) has approved it, and the ACCC might well ratify it of course, but the Senate CAN however move to disallow it.

The “Sydney Morning Herald” on March 3 stated: “The new regulations do not require changes to legislation, but can be disallowed by the Senate.”

Many stamp collectors are pensioners of some kind, and do you think for one moment you will get a few $100 a year pension rise to cover Australia Post’s inefficiencies flowing on to you??

Australia Post needs to do as we all do in business - be more cost savvy than they now are. Mr Fahour and his top layer of Execs are paid MANY times what they are worth - cut that back. Purge the deadwood and get back to DELIVERING MAIL.

$A4½ Million p.a. to top dog Fahour is just absurd, for a guy who has literally driven AP into the red, and alienated the entire national network of Licensed Post Offices at the same time.  And overseen $500 million of wacko mail sorting machines, that simply do not work.


Fahour: Overpaid by $4½ Million.



That figure is about TEN times what the Postmaster General of the USA gets paid. It is far higher than pay of CEO’s of very large public companies here, that DO make good profits. AP just reported a LOSS.

The crazy idea last year or so to offer to offer FREE national tracking on all domestic parcels was totally insane, and was only as ebay heavied them to bring it in I understand, to save THEM time and hassle in sorting lost items. 

That totally un-necessary brain snap costs AP literally $100s millions a year to provide and track, and they earn ZERO extra from it.  Superb business idea, and they wonder WHY they are now losing money???


Cancel Free Parcel Tracking.


Free Parcel Tracking chews up vast amounts of client time, in lining up to lodge items to be labelled and scanned, and receipts duly printed and given, and then offering full tracking on them all down the system - even if that means 5 times across the country!

And so it goes on, in all the downstream mail centres, and delivery drivers, posties, and destination Post Offices. To earn them ZERO revenue. No idea which million dollar fat cat dreamed it up, but they should go.

The PO worked well for 175 years CHARGING for Registered and Insured and Certified Mail services, and all other mail took its chances in the mailstream. Bring those basics back, and all other mail is transmitted at risk of sender, unless they pay for it.

A pre-paid Registered label costs $A3.70 and is incredibly profitable, as Compensation is only $A100 maximum. It was the same £50 ($100) FIFTY years back, when Registered Fee cost only 2/- or 20c.


Want tracking - pay for it!



Profit to AP to cancel the free parcel tracking on 100 MILLIONS of parcels a year will drag them back into the black in a few months. Sell 100 million Registered labels, and you have $370 million more than you did last year. Their recent profit shortfall. Durrhh.

The Senate and/or the ACCC can disallow this increase, and precious little of this Government's badly thought through ideas have survived the hostile Senate this past year. THIS one affects all reading this.


Contact ACCC and your Senators.


If enough folks here email or write the ACCC and your Federal Senators, asking for this silly idea to be disallowed, it may well be. Please pass the word on this to whom you can -

Doubling the stamp price is NOT a vote winner.  Senator email addresses are oddly not on the Canberra official website, as being bothered by voters is apparently rather onerous, but they are HERE -

If you want to avoid $100 or so EXTRA a year of a normal mail recipient locally of large letters - even if you send nothing at all, these new rates WILL be costing you.


Gibbons “Part One” released.


For me the “event” of this month was the arrival of an air freight copy of the new 2016 Stanley Gibbons “Commonwealth & British Empire Stamps 1840-1970” catalogue. I get a tad jaded with many things, but NOT receiving this each year!  

This volume is universally known to old-timers and the trade as the “Gibbons Part One” - as once, the other Volumes were numbered, and were “Americas” and “Asia” etc. It is the absolute “Bible” globally for British Commonwealth stamps.


New 2016 Gibbons Catalogue.


The average collector buys a new major catalogue only once every few years, as they are expensive. For many dealers and collectors, being a few years out of date is no big deal. THIS is definitely the year to update, if you have not done so for a while!

Printed on a nice crisp fresh white paper stock. Cheery and "alive" compared to my already VERY yellowed early 2000’s SG pages, with sad grey illustrations. Colour illustrations right through, very many of them on each page.

A nice crisp clean sans serif font has been used for the last few editions, and makes it so much easier to read. This year the country headings are in RED - a very simple thing to do, and they really stand out. The small things are often overlooked for years!


Colourful and vibrant SG.


Lots of constant plate flaws, and booklets are now listed.  And lots of inverted watermarks - find just a really medium one from a country like Australia, and the entire book will be readily paid for MANY times!  Often stamps cat 10p each used are cat many £1,000s each with inverted watermark.  

Did you know the “Top Hat” flaw on the 6d Kookaburra is now cat £1,200 mint - up from £1000 last year, and just £550 the year before?  A very rare flaw, and very seldom offered.  Buy off someone foolishly using last year’s cat, or better still a 2014 one, and YOU win by £650!

Or the “Man with Tail” on 1937 2d NSW is now £700 mint and £140 used. I found 2 used copies recently in a kid's collection - those 2 alone will literally pay for this catalogue.  A very, very, popular variety, as it is VERY easy to spot with the naked eye - see photo nearby.

Were you aware a ½d Orange Kangaroo Coil Block of 4 is now Cat in SG at £950 mint? Or the “Green Mist Retouch” on the 1/- Lyrebird is up both mint and used to £4,000/£2,750 etc. “Knowledge Is Power” - as I have typed here 1000 times! 


”Top Hat” to £1,200 from £550.



 Did you know the 1941 1/- Lyrebird with inverted watermark is Cat £5,000 mint, and £4,000 used - but just 10p in normal used etc?  And the equally common 4d green Koala with inverted watermark is exactly the same figure.  Check your duplicates!   Many are still out there to be found.

GB is never quiet, and there are price rises spread across the listings in here starting at 1840, with 1d blacks on cover up. 1841 2d blue imperfs used increase, and indeed heaps of QV surface printed on cover increase this year.  Ditto for the British Commonwealth - had to adjust many 100s of stockcards for the new upward SG prices.


Australasian Prices UP


I studied the prices for the Australasian stamp listings for an hour or so today in this new catalogue. My general impression is that there were many increases right across the board, versus the 2015 Edition. Many new flaws have been added.

As I predicted here several months back, many of WA prices have skyrocketed based on the frantic bidding on the “Vestey” collection of WA by Spink. Even basic items like mint 1854 1d Black Swans are up.

Some huge rises in the 1854 4d blues, with some of the listed transfer varieties going up £13,000 used like SG 3f “Piece”.  The well known 4d “Inverted Frame” leaps up £50,000 from £90,000 for £140,000.  Who said there was no money in good stamps!?

The WA 1902 high value used go up, and so they should - the £1 Orange at £350 is still under-rated. Ditto the 10/- QV - a WILDLY under-rated stamp. A long term tip of mine, the 1879 6d Telegraph stamp is up again to £500 and £225.  Just try finding a DECENT grade copy. They fade readily.


High Value Roos Hop Along!


As I have been typing for years, the high value early Kangaroos are STILL good buying, and SG cranks up values yet again. The 1913 £1 Brown and Blue mint are now £3,000 apiece, and I sold 2 decent copies within days this week, when listed on my Rarity page. The USED 1913 £2 goes to £4,000 used and for a POSTALLY used, you’ll spend years trying to locate one, at ANY price.

The equally scarce 1915 £2 Third Watermark Kangaroo is also up both mint and used, and again the retail of these is strong, and gets stronger each year.  With the very weak $A in recent months, 70% of better Roos I sell leave the country, where they still look “cheap” if priced in $A.

The weaker dollar of course makes imported catalogues dearer than last year, and they are now over $A200 here RRP, but for 638 large pages is only 30c a page or so!  Local dealers have stock as you read this. Just one really medium item found unidentified by a local dealer etc, or on ebay etc for pennies, will pay the cost of the book back in one find.

For example, I found a Ceylon 1937 Rupee 2.70c stamp booklet in an Estate junk box here. Fair dreary looking thing, black on Khaki cover. I did not give it a second glance. On a hunch looked it up in the new cat, and see it is Cat £1,300!  Just listed it up on my Rarity page, and it will pay for a BOX of these catalogues! 


1937 2d “Man With Tail” variety.



Quite simply, an ESSENTIAL volume to sit on the desk of every collector, every auction, and every dealer who ever handles British Commonwealth stamps. You’ll do well to invest in one.

It was a good compromise idea taking the catalogue listings up to 1970. It can be price updated each year, and yet not greatly affect the overall book size. An 1840 to 2015 detailed set would easily run 4 or 5 volumes, and essentially no-one could afford to buy it.

Personally if I ever need to look up modern Guyana (and I never have!) I'll do that via the massive 6 volume SG "Stamps Of The World." Most serious collectors wil be happy with this coverage up to 1970 only.


Now 638 large pages.


 Seamail stock from England has just arrived in Australia as you read this, and all major dealers will stock it - I had very good pre-orders. Many collectors only buy a “Part 1” each 5 or 10 years, and the cost then amortised annually, runs into only what a Pizza will cost you!

Collectors are famously tight fisted with catalogues, but a strong and profitable SG catalogue division is ESSENTIAL for a strong and balanced world market. Many totally forget that, so do your bit, and add to their sales volume.

A great effort from editor Hugh Jefferies and his team - how they get the vast swag of SG Catalogues out beats me!  A never ending process, and juggling, logging, and tracking all the New Issues etc, must be a nightmare.


SG Editor is awarded an MBE



 Editor Hugh Jefferies was this year awarded with an MBE. The official wording in the June 12, 2015, Queen's Birthday Honours List was:

Member Of The British Empire (MBE) - Mr Anthony Hugh Mostyn Jefferies - Editor, Gibbons Stamp Monthly and Stamp Catalogues. For services to Philately. is a discussion on this award for those interested, with several anecdotes from those who have also worked and consulted with him. Hugh told me today he will be given the award on December 8 at Windsor Castle.  The Queen often still does that personally - I hope for his sake she is this year!

Having a very steady, savvy, and experienced hand at the tiller for such important resources, is a stabilising and secure outcome, and do not EVER underestimate the value of that, for an ordered stamp market. Globally. 










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