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Glen Stephens
Monthly "Stamp News" Market Tipster Column

September  2013





Kangaroo CTO cancels are HOT!


As I have typed 1000 times over 30 years of writing columns here -  “Knowledge Is Power”.

If you do not HAVE the knowledge you cannot possibly hope to profit from things that look totally ordinary - to those without it!

The 3d Kangaroo illustrated nearby was just invoiced at the Phoenix Auction on July 20, for $A1,864.


Sold for $1864 – due to cancel


That is around the price a £1 1913 Kangaroo sells for used.  But we all KNOW that is a $1,850 stamp!

WHY the huge price? Well anyone who has spent $100 and ordered new ACSC “Kangaroos” Catalogue will know.

It does not have a flaw, scarce die, inverted watermark, scarce shade or the like.  The stamp itself is perfectly ordinary.

It is simply the Brisbane CTO cancel that created the big price – over double the auction pre-sale estimate.

Would YOU have known this was an $A1,864 cancel

“Knowledge Is Power”.  One cancel like this on a circuit book page or dealer stockbook will pay for the new book 18 times over!

Retail with a non CTO cancel is $15 retail on Richard Juzwin’s price list and all dealers will charge that kind of figure.

I just bought a second watermark 5/- Kangaroo with a CTO cancel of the thin fine design type used on the 1913 issues.  

A pretty normal looking used stamp, with usual somewhat “fluffy” perfs, and a part “Melbourne” cancel.

That cost me at a large public auction a tiny fraction of the $4,000 ACSC value - ACSC 43w. It has a “Deformed Spencer’s Gulf” plate flaw, so is actually catalogued 50% higher.

“Knowledge Is Power”. 

Arthur Gray brought me over his superb Kangaroo and KGV CTO collection to scan and list on stampboards


A $3,500 cancel essentially!


Apart from Arthur, the Australia Post Chapman collection has 1 example.  Other than that, I assumed none existed.  NEVER assume anything. 

At least THREE examples of this 5/- CTO cancel are now recorded, one of which resides forever in the Australia Post Collection, and Arthur is not selling his CTO's any-time soon.

The ACSC has just $4,000 on this, especially when one notes what a CA Monogram single is rated at - $35,000.

Three of those are 3 known, PLUS a plethora of blocks, pairs, and strips as well - the future of the really scarce CTO's looks very solid at today’s low levels.

It sold for $A3,500 within one day of being added to my Rarity page, CTO’s are HOT!

New discoveries possible.


Many things exist that are not yet listed in the ACSC, even the new edition.

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

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

I was recently sold a 5/- 1913 Kangaroo with the glossy black Melbourne CTO cancel. It was fresh, and had full gum.

No big deal about that, except this one was perforated large “OS”. Not recorded as existing in ACSC, so many would assume it was fake.


5/- Roo CTO perf “OS”


A fresh 5/- First Watermark CTO is readily saleable for $300, so why fake something from it that “does not exist” is the weak part of that thought process!

However the stampboards discussion on CTO’s saw 3 different collectors confirm they have 3 different values of the 1913 set with CTO cancels and perf large OS.

In all cases no premium whatever had been paid, and in one case that stamp was bought decades back.

So it appears clear that at least one set of 1913 “OS” perfins had the fine glossy CTO cancels applied – possibly a presentation set to a visiting big shot?  

That is the kind of reason offered for the Second Watermark issues existing with this CTO cancel.

The last word in philately is NEVER written.  We need to have open minds and look at facts, and not use guesswork.


American Centering Madness


As a current example of the price stupidity still prevailing in the American market, these 2 stamps shown nearby were consecutive lots in the same USA auction on July 16.

Please excuse the curious “woolly” looking scans, but they were the best possible off Auction website.

This 5c Jamestown stamp is Scott 330, Cat $US125 hinged, and $US310 unhinged mint. A fairly readily obtainable stamp, being worth about the same as a 1/- Kangaroo.


One stamp is 32 times pricier


Near all dealers anywhere on the globe would price a $300 type catalogue stamp that looked like these, at about the same price each, if gum was good on both.

They were consecutive lots. Both had Certificates confirming they were MUH, original gum.

One was invoiced for $US345 - the other $US10,925 ($A12,000) - near 32 times higher priced.

I'll let you guess which stamp is which.

Is one centered 32 times better than the other, to your eyes?

Would anyone else like me, prefer to have 32 of one, for the price of the other?  In 10 years’ time that will be proven MOST wise.

For way LESS than that same $A12,000, I or other dealers can sell you a quite superbly centred, faultless 1913 £2 MVLH Kangaroo.

Even the very BEST of the 1913 £2 SG16s in the Hardy sale did not bring that figure.


These stamps go UP each year.


The MVLH £2 Kangaroo illustrated nearby sold at auction for exactly half that $6,000, at Prestige in 2010, plus fees.

That buyer got a great deal, as it has the “Gulf Of Carpentaria Coast” flaw, ACSC 56(D)v which is catalogued in ACSC at $3,000 more than a normal stamp.

Of course this basic Kangaroo stamp has been going UP in value every year for many decades.

Numerally graded USA stamps will continue to decrease in value from these silly figures, is my view and observation. 

One is actually scarce and globally sought after and recognised, and the other is NOT actually very scarce, and is hyped up by a tiny handful of players with far more money than sense.

In 20 years’ time will you be better off financially with two nice MVLH 1913 £2 Roos, or a stamp with a full Scott catalogue of $US310!

The "cheapie" stamp that was invoiced at $US345 was described thus -

5c Jamestown (330). Mint N.H., rich color and proof-like impression, far better centring than normally seen, Very Fine and choice, with 2007 P.F. certificate (VF-XF 85)

We are told one of these 5c Jamestown stamps has actually been GRADED HIGHER than this $US10,925 “GEM” - gasp.  Stop The Presses.

Maybe that is a million dollar stamp to the jackasses?  Who knows?

They will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER get their money back. Repeat - NEVER, EVER, EVER.

But that is just a dumb old Sydney stamp Hillbilly dealer's view, who unlike some, has done this for a full time business for 35 years.

I'd sell either stamp for a few $100.  And move on to the next item.  EVERY time.

In my view, these numerical grades are a silly American fad - like hula hoops and yo-yos and baseball cards.

No criticism here of the auctioneers Siegel’s - they simply list these things and the “more money than sense” bidders do the rest!


Hawaii early covers hot.


Bidders at Siegel’s were thankfully out in June, buying things that WILL stay valuable!

Collectors generally seem to know what individual STAMPS are multi-million dollar pieces, but often covers are overlooked.

On June 25 an 1852 cover from Hawaii sold for $US1,950,000, PLUS 15% "fee" = $US2,242,500 invoice.


 A $A2½ million old envelope!


As I type this, that converted to near exactly $A2½ million.

You can buy a pretty decent MANSION for that in most cities in the world.

“The Dawson Cover” was offered by Siegel Auction Galleries in New York, and was part of the Steven C Walske Collection of Hawaiian Postal History.

"The Dawson Cover" is the rarest and most important cover in Hawaiian postal history

The envelope is the only known cover bearing the Hawaiian 2c value "Missionary" stamp.

Indeed it is the only cover to boast two different denominations from the "Missionary" stamp series.

It is addressed in the hand of William C Dawson, to "Miss Eliza A Dawson, Care Jacob H Dawson, 273 Cherry Street, New York".


Survived the Incinerator!


We are lucky it survived at all, considering the cover was bundled into a factory furnace along with other correspondence in 1870.

Fortunately, the package was wrapped so tightly that the fire went out, and the cover remained unharmed - aside from a small scorch mark at left side.

It was only discovered 35 years later, long after the factory had been abandoned. A cleaner preparing the space for reuse found it among the ashes.

Some find - a $A2½ million cover - and other choice covers were found in the same ashes.


“eBay Dreamers”


eBay does not seek any minimum IQ level for sellers.  All you need is a valid credit card to pay all the fees.

Anyone with a vivid imagination, and a piece of junk can list it up, and pay the smorgasbord of eBay charges and extras, that make them rich!


Rush this gem at $12,000!


Stampboards has a very popular thread titled: “eBay and Other On-Line Dreamers - A Photo Lot Compendium” - is the link to it – take a good look if you are having a bad day, and want to chuckle at the stupidity virus that is raging globally in the stamp world!

It has over 3,000 messages on it, and 165,000 pages views, so plenty of folks find it entertaining!

One genius “angrail” (from Queensland - where else!) has been trying to flog this faded or bleached (or both) 3d Queensland stamp for ages.

First at $A12,000, and then in a moment of inspiration, near HALVED the price to just $A6,600 as you can see. REAL world value more like 12 CENTS.

Sadly that did not attract a cashed-up Bunny, and it is back to $A12,000 as I type this.

On eBay having near gibberish lot headings seems mandatory, and here we have “(R2-22)1876 AuStates QLD3dChalon variety Half Green&Red”

Postage is only $4 however, and you CAN make offers.  Gotta love eBay.


Old banknote sells $A2.9 million



We all naturally focus on what occurs in the STAMP world, but the very closely connected note and coin word is stronger than ever.

A USA 1891 $1,000 Marcy Silver Certificate banknote sold on June 12, for a new world record price of $2.6 million – around $A2.9 million as I type this.


$US2.6 million oldie


Graded ‘Very Fine 25’ by PMG, the $1,000 note is one of two known to exist, with the other held in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.

This 1891 $1,000 Marcy Silver Certificate was purchased from a collector by Stack’s Bowers Galleries who wishes to remain anonymous, and was sold to an anonymous buyer.

The highest price paid for an Australian banknote was $A1,909,000 at Public Auction in recent years, for the 1913 10/- note.

The older notes are superbly engraved, and I really like them. They have more than a passing familiarity to stamp collectors.

The early notes have the same printer imprint along base as stamps of this era did -  “T. S. Harrison – Australian Note Printer”




Printed by T. S. Harrison.


Never in 35 years of dealing have I owned the first design £1 note of the WW1 era, illustrated nearby.

I bought that one this month in nice attractive grade, and at $2,750 it seems cheap to me when compared to the near $2 million for the 10/- of this era! 


Reached near $A2 million.

Lance Armstrong sued by USPS


Disgraced drug-cheat cyclist Lance Armstrong is being sued by the United States Postal Service.

I bet we do not see him on a USPS stamp!

Indeed a poll I ran on stampboards agreed that no “real” country has ever issued an Armstrong stamp.

He is depicted on the outer margin (but not stamp area) on this 2003 France mini sheet shown nearby.


No stamp for Lance.


In papers filed in the U.S District Court in Washington, the Justice Department alleges Armstrong duped a USPS Vice-President.

“Suggesting though his words and his conduct, that the USPS team was among the clean teams, that might lead by example”

The lawsuit claims Armstrong was “unjustly enriched by approx. $US40 million” USPS spent on sponsorship of his team.

Lance Armstrong of USPS


What you probably didn't know is that Lance Armstrong also delivers mail in California.

Same name, same employer, same sport, same health scare .... but different guys, reports the Associated Press.

The 27-year-old letter carrier says he doesn't mind being mistaken for the more famous Lance Armstrong. Both are both trim and lanky with short fair hair.

When Lance C. Armstrong - that's the letter carrier - competed in a race in Holland, well-wishers assumed he was the Tour de France champion.

A fundraiser in Austin Texas gave the two Lance Armstrong’s a chance to meet.


Lance meets Lance


"This was like a dream come true," said the letter-carrier.

He said his co-workers have been supportive of his cycling hobby.

"They razz you about the shaved legs, and the name," Lance C. Armstrong said.


Madagascar here I come!


As this magazine is published, I will (hopefully) be winging home!

I’ve been fortunate to have visited about 125 countries, most several times, so adding a new one is fun. 


”Welcome to Madagascar”


Day “one” was 40 hours of flights with no hotel … Sydney-Singapore-Bombay-Johannesburg-Mauritius.

Next morning the very expensive flight to Antananarivo, Madagascar - for a week of driving around the interior jungles in a jeep.

The huge Boabab trees are a tourist highlght there.

Then some time on the mainland, in an African Safari Lodge photographing animals and “relaxing”.

Flight Back to Johannesburg, connecting with a long 9½ hour flight to Mumbai to wander about for a day there – 22 hours in fact! 

Connecting to another 5 hour flight for a day (well 15 hours) in Bangkok to grab some bargains downtown, and back home to a mountain of work I am sure!





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