Click To Go Back To The Main Stamps Homepage

Welcome! You are visitor  free counter to


Glen Stephens
Monthly "Stamp News" Market Tipster Column

September 2014






USED Roos worth considering.



Over 35 years I have quietly built what is without doubt the largest dealer stock in the world of used KGV heads and Kangaroos. Both normal and in both 'OS' perfin sizes.  

I still have it tucked away in the bank, and am glad I have been too lazy to run ads for it in recent decades. It covers Australia to 1980 really in scope.  

It may finance my retirement! I used to run full page ads every month 30 years back offering the key pre-war Australia issues each in FIVE used grades, from "Spacefiller" to "Superb Used".  

With “Average Used”, “Good Used”, and “Fine Used” grades in between those top and bottom grades. For every stamp, in every Kangaroo watermark, up to £2.

A rough condition 1913 5d Brown Roo with heavy cancel, and off centre with a crease was a few dollars, and a truly SUPERB one was priced about 10 times more. Folks bought exactly what suited their needs, and their budgets.

Some folks enjoy filling up “Seven Seas” albums for a kid or grandchild, and really only need “roughies” for that purpose and happily pay accordingly. Others want only the very finest. Both sell equally well oddly.


Ebay version of “used”!



Everyone grades differently. Stampboards has an “ebay dreamer” thread where totally clueless nutters list up stuff like the 1935 2d red stamp shown nearby, time and time again. I kid you not! is something to spend an hour reading, and shaking your head at, over the absolute stupidity and deception skills of many 100s of ebay sellers. Until you read it you literally have NO idea!

Parts of cheap stamps totally missing, or obliterated by truly ugly postmarks. Or totally and hopelessly mis-described or priced, and they ignore all well-meaning advice relayed to them. The term “Bunny” is being generous in many cases!

My “Used” grading was and is very rigorous, but at that time the fanaticism for “MUH” pervaded this market, and used stamps of all eras were generally overlooked for some reason. 

And they still often are, however the extensive regumming of “MUH” stamps I’ve warned about for decades, is changing that rapidly as folks finally wake up to the silliness of that.  

As Rod Perry posted on, when he came into the trade 40 years ago, the number of “MUH” £2 Roos one saw was hardly any each year, and strangely today you can buy as many as your Visa card can afford!


Mint £2 Roos 20 times used.


A £2 Kangaroo cheapest Watermark used is about $600 in decent used, and a MUH example is TWENTY times that at $12,000. So used is the only realistic collecting option for most.

Some present day dealers like Richard Juzwin started to illustrate Kangaroo used stamps in 4 grades on his widely distributed price list, that I have not seen for a few years now.  

I have typed a dozen columns over several decades warning folks that paying a 300%-400% premium for 'MUH' early Commonwealth was mostly just lining the pockets of the re-gummers and their MANY local shonk agents, but I was near a lone voice in the wilderness. 

I still hold that view. I have seen skilled German re-gumming that 95% of dealers could not pick, much less any collector. Only a fool has paid these silly 300%-400% premiums.

Ebay is awash with them, and the Bunnies still buy them with gusto.  When it comes time to sell, and a REAL dealer or REAL auction looks at your folly, the tears will come.


Try finding this grade used.



A superbly struck, crisp readable cancel on a clean and attractive well centred Kangaroo, is a joy to behold. And near impossible to forge. And even today will cost you only 10% of what you pay for a HINGED 5/- CofA Kangaroo. 

One thing is for sure - no German regummer is going about applying nice steel cancels to mint 5/- Roos!  Or virtually any mint Roo for that matter. 

And most importantly and often overlooked - used stamps do NOT tone or 'rust' anywhere near as fast as mint stamps do along the Australian eastern seaboard.  True.

Well struck crisp steel cancels on pre-war Australian stamps can be a delight to the eye.  Most especially on values higher than 6d.  And on some values are truly “one stamp in a 1000” type occurrences.

The three single Kangaroos I illustrate nearby, are the kind of thing I personally love to handle and sell.  A 1913 First Watermark 1/- was used on parcels, so this is a lovely example.  

As used copies 1/- are 10 times cheaper than even hinged mint, I'd much rather have a row of 10 of these than a single mint copy. History will show I was right.


Give me this over CTO any day!



The Victorian numeral “249” in that trio has great “eye appeal”.  As the basic 2d 1913 stamp is only $10 retail, I'd sell such a copy for 2 or 3 times that, which is of course only a $20 premium for visual perfection!  The cost of a medium Pizza.


Tip Of The Month


The 1915 Second Watermark 2/- (SG 29) is a hard stamp to find in top condition used - mint are actually relatively plentiful. This stamp rather incredibly sells (now) for around five times more mint, than it does used. 

That is absolutely absurd, and does not reflect relative scarcity whatever. My old 1971 ACSC says that mint was worth 3 times used.  Today it is ACSC $350 used, $1,500 hinged. (And a silly $8,500 “MUH” - 5½ times.)

Three times is about the correct ratio, not today's 5 multiple. So from here, if used prices double and mint hinged stays the same, ratios are about correct - again!  

If you want my tip of this month, go and buy all the NICE used copies you can find. Light cancels on this 2/- that have no other faults, are truly hard to find. 

The crisp little 'thimble' cancel “Registered Kalgoorlie JY 25 15” illustrated is a beauty, most especially being entirely placed on the stamp - rare on any Roo. An older scan, so excuse lack of clarity!

Ten years ago I'd have added a 50% premium on that stamp over a more usual cancel.  Today I'd add even more. It was priced $200 or so when I last sold it. 

Knowledgeable collectors looking for this grade, realise that you see a stamp like that once a decade, and thus price paid is not a major issue. $200 THEN was absolute top end price.


Top end copy trebles its cost.


A client liked it, bought it, and sold his Roos recently at Phoenix, and it was invoiced for near $600. So it trebled in value over what he paid me - and THAT was top dollar then. Buying quality always pays off.  

The 2/- rate covered parcel and telegram use (the latter used up most copies), so used with a Registered cancel clearly denotes genuine postal duty.  

The Second Watermark (emergency war-time use on KGV watermark paper) was only on sale for a short time during WW1 before the 3rd watermark 2/- brown was issued. Only one printing of 960,000 was made.

And most importantly, there are only 2 x genuine CTO 2/- copies known in the collector market - unlike the 1913 First Watermark 2/-, where literally 6,000 x CTO exist, for folks seeking an “attractive used” copy for the album.  

Hence nice used copies of SG 29 are very scarce, and examples used on parcel piece/fragment or cover were unrecorded, according to the last 2007 ACSC. 


Unique and multi-coloured offering.



That changed when I discovered in an estate, a lovely parcel tag with this stamp affixed.  I sold it to a good client a few years back, and he recently changed collecting direction, and I aggressively bought it back.

It is shown nearby – a unique trio on parcel piece use:  2d, 1/- and 2/- used on portion of bright red PO "WESTERN AUSTRALIA/INTERSTATE PARCEL POST" label.

The 3 stamps of the Second Watermark are all tied by crisp "Post Restante - Perth 13 Oct 15 - Western Australia" cds cancels. I always really liked this colourful piece, and was delighted to buy it back.  


The “Discovery Piece”


A most attractive 5 colour exhibition piece as you can see. Neither the 1/- or the 2/- Second Watermark was recorded or catalogued on label or tag or cover, in the previous ACSC.

This is the “discovery piece” that allowed the new listings and pricing in the latest ACSC edition.  Even the 2d is cat $400 on parcel label - this copy has a portion of the interpanneau gutter piece. 

The 1/- is now Cat $2,000 on parcel fragment, and the 2/- is ACSC cat $6,000 on parcel piece, as it certainly should be.  

The market for high value Roos used on parcel fragments or parcel tags has been exploding in recent times. Since the ACSC has catalogued that usage, instead of just "on cover" which for most Roo higher values, are simply not recorded.  

A strikingly attractive and unique Kangaroo classic near a century old, and priced at a very sensible $2,500 I think - under one THIRD the price of a MUH 2/- value of the same stamp - crazy!

As I told my client a few years back who bought the Registered Kalgoorlie “thimble” cancel 2/- nearby - “grab this now, and it will never go down in value” and was proven correct.  It sold for 3 times what he paid.

My gold plated tip of the month is to buy up this 2/- stamp in nice USED condition. Check your dealer's stock - I bet his few copies there all look pretty dreadful, and you'll then appreciate just how hard truly nice examples are to locate.


 A joy to behold.   



Anything really nice I'd think you can readily pay $350 or so for, and put it aside with a smile.  The superb used “ARALUEN (NSW)” copy shown nearby is as good as you will see anywhere.

A tiny NSW Southern Highlands town of just 200 now, with a gold-rush history. Cost - what a few current “Year Books” are, from your local PO!  Madness. What will THEY be worth in 10 years?

The reason Grange Hermitage wine sells for $500 a bottle, and rough reds are always $5 a bottle, is the same as VFU stamps - some savvy folks recognise real quality - and will gladly pay for it!

Note - unlike the 5/- second watermark Roo, perfs on this 2/- stamp are ALWAYS clean and neatly punched, and centering is very good too. Light cancels and freshness, and freedom from faults are what you are buying.  


Machin Muddle.


As all collectors know, the UK Machin head stamps come in an endless range of variants and speciality items.

The "Machin" head series has been issued for 47 years now, the first tranche being released in 1967 - the Queen’s head design being approved in 1966.

As a testament to the remarkable vanity of our Monarch, Lizzy has magically not aged a single year since then, nor added a wrinkle - the exact same portrait is being used now as in 1967.

I'd hate to think how many denominations and colours they can be found in, and how many billions have been sold. Certainly they exist from ½d to £5 - and masses of values in between.


New Machin “M13L” Issue.



Then you can add endless specialised variations - with various phosphor bands, shades, papers, printers, elliptical perfs and the like, to that list as well.

In recent years they have been adding various layers of “all-over” print to really test the eyes – and wallets!

The “ROYAL MAIL” overprint is in a semi-visible layer, more obvious when the stamp is slanted against the light - as with phosphor bands.

The semi-visible layer is an “all-over” print, with the words ROYAL MAIL “reversed out” of the part which is over the dark background (i.e. in ‘negative’.)

However on the Queen's head, the words are smaller, and are “positive”, i.e. there is an area over the head which has a clear background, with the words printed in it.

Sometimes the wording subtly changes, and when it does, often there its little or no advance notice to collectors. recently reported a new red “1st” (First Class) Machin with background lettering not seen before reading “M13L” - you can see those letters top left. That denotes it is a Walsall printing.


Near $100 for Kiloware snipping



The stamp showing nearby was bid frantically up to £51 (near $A100 with post cost) on ebay recently, as Machin collectors are a dedicated lot. Yes, that postmark IS genuine – it does look odd I agree.

These were a special production for bulk direct mail houses, and the only way Royal Mail sells these kind of things to the trade - if at all – usually is in rolls of 10,000, costing £6,200.

Royal Mail surprised dealers and collectors by recently offered them in singles at face value, and the $A100 used market for them collapsed overnight. Talk about inconsistency from Royal Mail.  


Victoria stamp gets $26,795


I wrote the following here after the Sydney auction of the “Ken Barelli Victoria” collection in latter 2006 –

“They say there is a bargain in every Auction.  A few days after the sale I sighted an item I would most certainly have bid upon at well above the sale price - had I noticed it.  It was the very final lot.

The stamp was Victoria 1863 2d grey-lilac error of watermark - numeral  '6', SG 101ab, Scott 100a.  Lightly and most attractively cancelled with a Melbourne duplex dated "OC 26 63".

Only three examples are recorded. One is in the Royal Collection. The other was discovered and reported in 1897 but has not been seen by modern day collectors.   This copy illustrated nearby is ex Purves and Perry.  It sold for just $13,400 including all premiums, on a $15,000 estimate.

For what is almost certainly a unique stamp in private hands, it should be worth SEVERAL times that sum in today's strong market.” 


Doubled in value



I have no idea what occurred then, as it appeared to sell under estimate, but the same stamp was offered again by Prestige this year - also from the “Ken Barelli Collection”!

Anyway this one seems to have been invoiced for $A26,795 on a $10,000 estimate.

Double what it appears to have sold for when I last wrote, so my comments were prophetic!  Great looking stamp I thought then, and I think now.


Davo Self-Adhesive mounts.


There is not much innovative new product released in the stamp accessories world, but that all changed this year.

Dutch company DAVO has introduced self-adhesive “EASY” stamp mounts in a wide range of strip sizes, from 20mm to 100mm high, in both black and clear mounts.


Davo “EASY” Mounts launched.



Until now, collectors needed to lick the back of the traditional plastic mounts to affix them, as they were pre-gummed.

This was never precise, especially for larger mounts. Lick incompletely and the corners never affixed, or the mount “bubbled” and created air pockets and page buckling, all of which looks terrible.


Lick - and repent later!


Lick mounts with stamps inside, and you are near GUARANTEED to get moisture reaching some perf tips, making your valuable MUH stamps gum tip glazed on 1 or 2 sides, dropping value a LOT.

Dealers see this often - too vigorously licking the backs of mounts causes $100s, even $1000s of stamp damage. Trust me.

These “EASY” have the adhesive paper right across the back of the mount strip, so the adhesion is quick and easy and smooth, not “bumpy” like licking can create.

I tried them out and the glue is not tenacious at all, indeed it is less ‘tacky’ than I imagined, and I found I could move them around quite easily, and not tear holes in pages as occurs with normal mounts.  

And lastly, many collectors are just not comfortable licking the backs of 100s of mounts not knowing WHERE they have been in the past, and who has touched them, and when.

The same way people like using peel and stick stamps when given a choice, I think stamp collectors will take the same view with self-adhesive Davo “EASY” stamp mounts.

Stanley Gibbons are their agents in the UK, and are promoting them heavily and using them in their SG “Windsor” albums, so I am assuming they have been road tested by them, and got the tick of approval.       

Australia DAVO agent is Bexley Stamps in Sydney, who reports on that interest in the new product is huge, and getting enough stock from Holland is his only problem!


”30% off” to Readers.



Owner Mike Hill tells me he has a “30% off” introductory price that brings the price of these well in line with his normal mounts, so collectors can “road test” them for themselves.

His special price is $A99 for 10 packs of your choice, in black or clear mounts if readers mention this “30% off” offer. has more discussion, user comments, and detail on sizes etc.

Good to see something NEW hit the market, and it seems a very positive new innovation.  Price is near the same as normal mounts, so well worth looking into.  


$1 Million coin theft Sydney Library


Police are hunting for a thief who stole about $1 million worth of rare coins, during a brazen robbery at the State Library of NSW in August. This made all TV News programs here.

My experience is that a large % of stamp collectors also have an interest in notes and coins, so hopefully this info and background is of some interest, and noting it here just MAY assist Police, with info - who knows?

Dr Alex Byrne, the State Librarian, and Chief Executive, said the thief broke into a coin case about 3.40pm on Wednesday August 6, and escaped with 12 coins, including examples of Australia's earliest currency.


Keep an eye out for this.



The theft was captured on the Sydney Library's CCTV system and footage has been handed to police, staff advise.

The coins are part of the Library’s much larger collection of rare collectable coins, photographs, and postage stamps worth over $2 Billion according to the Murdoch press. This includes the superb “White” stamp collection.

Dr Byrne said 15 coins, part of the library's collection, were on exhibition in (an alleged) "secure locked case" in a gallery at the Library's Mitchell wing. (Photo of Library nearby, from News Ltd.)

"Late on Wednesday, somebody came in and, after hanging around for about an hour, broke into the case. It was really very difficult to break into. Eventually he, I presume it was a he, did get in, and made off with 12 of the 15 coins on show," Dr Byrne said.


Stolen in Library working hours.



Byrne said the thief used some sort of tool or implement to break into the case before stealing the coins, the most notable of which was a "Holey Dollar", an example of one of the first coins struck in Australia.

He said the library was open to the public at the time of the theft. The Library is understood to be “reviewing security” in the wake of the theft.


Dump those Dollars!


When the colony of New South Wales was founded in Australia in 1788, it almost immediately ran into the problem of a lack of internal and trading coinage.

Foreign coins - including British, Dutch, Spanish Indian and Portuguese - were common in the early years, but much of this coin left the colony by way of trade with visiting merchant ships.

The currency for the first 20 years was mostly Rum. Governor William Bligh tried to outlaw that, and the Military staged the "Rum Rebellion", arrested Bligh, and effectively set up Martial Law. More detail here -

To overcome this shortage of coins and fiscal mess, newly arrived Governor Lachlan Macquarie took the initiative of adapting £10,000 in Spanish dollars ordered from the British Government, to produce special coins.

The base coins, 40,000 Spanish Silver Dollars, arrived in Sydney on 26 November 1812 on "HMS Samarang" from Madras, via the East India Company.


The actual stolen coins



Governor Macquarie had a convicted forger named William Henshall punch the centres out of the Spanish coins, and "counter-stamp" them both, so they were very distinctive.

The central plug (known as a "Dump") was re-valued at 15 pence (i.e.1/3d), and was restruck with a new design, a crown on the obverse, the denomination on the reverse, and milling around the edges.

The remaining doughnut shaped "Holey Dollar" received an overstamp punch around the hole - "New South Wales 1813" on the obverse, and "Five Shillings" on the reverse.

This distinguished the coins as belonging to the colony of New South Wales, creating the first official currency produced specifically for circulation in NSW - indeed Australia.

The combined nominal value in NSW of the "Holey Dollar" and the "Dump" was 6/3d, or 25% more than the value of a Spanish dollar, which made it totally unprofitable to export the coins from the new colony, which was illegal anyway.


Export penalty: 7 years in Coal Mine!


The new currency was proclaimed in the “Sydney Gazette” of 10 July 1813, stating - ”offences of forgery, utterance or exportation of the new currency being punishable by seven years in the Newcastle coal mines”.

The project to convert the 40,000 Spanish coins took over a year to complete. 39,910 holey dollars and 39,910 dumps were made. The converted coins went into practical circulation in 1814 - 200 years back.

From 1822 the Government began to recall the coins and replace them with sterling coinage. By the time the "Holey Dollar" was finally demonetised in 1829, most of the 39,910 coins in circulation had been exchanged for legal tender and melted down into bullion.



 A $A495,000 “Holey Dollar”.


Experts estimate that only around 200 "Holey Dollars" and 800 "Dumps" remain, and quite a few of those are locked away in Institutional collections.

The combinations of many Spanish Mints and varying Monarchs of the original Spanish Silver Dollars means "Holey Dollars" have different degrees of scarcity. So whilst all "Holey Dollars" are rare, some are far rarer than others.

There are also, of course, very different degrees of quality. The extensive usage of the Spanish Silver Dollar as an international trading coin means that most "Holey Dollars" are found very well worn.

The record price recorded for a "Holey Dollar" is $A495,000 paid by a Perth collector in 2013, for a coin from the Lima Peru Mint. Just topping the previous record of $A485,000. It is shown nearby.


New Gibbons “New Zealand”



The Stanley Gibbons “New Zealand” + Region Sectional Stamp Catalogue has recently been released.

Been many years since this catalogue was issued, and the previous edition is long out of print. So I suggest you buy this now, as it may be some years until another is issued.


New SG NZ Cat at last.



Indeed the last few SG "Australia" sectionals have sold out very fast globally - the most recent one included, within months of issue, despite them printing far more of each Edition. They are NOT reprinted.

EVERY dealer must own this, and all serious collectors too. Find just ONE medium value watermark variety etc, just once in the period you own it, and it has paid for itself readily.

New and invaluable, this is over 150 pages in full colour, and accurately priced all through, and adds all the material past 1970 where the SG “Part 1” ceases.

This catalogue provides a comprehensive priced listing of all New Zealand stamps from the early colonial Chalon stamps of 1855, to early 2014 issues.

It includes Antarctic Expeditions, Tokelau and Ross Dependency, as well as other related islands and dependencies.

In summary, the new catalogue covers –

• Watermark varieties, shades, plate flaws, major errors, booklets, express delivery stamps, postage dues, Life Insurance Department stamps and postal fiscals are all included.

• As well as New Zealand itself, the catalogue lists the stamps of the Antarctic Expeditions, the dependencies of Tokelau and Ross and the pre-independence issues of former dependencies; Cook Islands, Aitutaki, Penrhyn, Niue and Western Samoa.

• Colour illustrations throughout, and on good quality High Brite paper.

• The listings for issues up to 1970 have been extracted from the 2014 edition of the Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth and British Empire Stamps 1840-1970. Later issues have been revised and updated especially for this volume.

• A comprehensive introduction gives a full guide to the catalogue and provides helpful information to collectors at every level.

• An easy-to-use ‘on-cover’ multiplier table allows the value of stamps on cover up to 1945 to be assessed.


Lots of NZ plate flaws listed.

New for this Edition –


• New varieties include the major re-entry to the 1½d. ‘Contingent’ stamp of 1900-07, the ‘Dotted line’ on the 3d. Telegraph stamp of 1962 and the ‘Bloodstained Finger’ on the 1963 Health stamp.

• The “O.P.S.O.” handstamped official stamps of 1891-1906 have been rewritten and extended to include a number of new varieties

• The high value £10 “Arms” postal fiscals are listed and priced for the first time in this catalogue

• A priced listing is provided for New Zealand stamps used on Pitcairn Island prior to the issue of its own stamps in 1940, and there is a full list of stamps known used at the New Zealand postal agencies on Fanning and Washington Islands

I’ve sold a lot of these at $A55 Air Posted Free in Australia, or $A65 foreign airmail.  For such a modest sum, well worth grabbing one, before they sell out at SG again - as last one did!









Get my regular market update emails FREE.   Stamp gossip, price trends, record sale prices, and many one-time stamp specials, wholesale bargains,  and exciting offers and breaking philatelic news.  A mini stamp magazine in every email!   "KNOWLEDGE IS POWER".  The ONE stamp list you MUST be on,  to keep in touch with the rapidly changing world market.  One client made $65,000 profit in a few months after following my specific advice.  Sign up securely and quickly by clicking HERE  to access my automated data base.  And wiser still ADD your home AND work email, if I only have one right now.   Add a stamp friend's email address if you wish.  One short click and you are subscribed to probably the most read email list in the stamp world! 



If you would like to be notified of updates to this website, Click HERE. If have any questions,
or comments regarding my site, please email me at


Search this site

Search all my 300+ web pages! Simply type in what you are looking for. "Penny Black", "Latvia", "Imprints", "Morocco", "Fungi" "Year Books", etc! Using quotes ( " ) is more accurf used with no quotes. Search is NOT case sensitive. Tip - keep the search word singular - "Machin" yields  far more matches than "Machins" etc.



I am a Dealer Member in Good Standing Of:

Full Time Stamp Dealer in Australia for over 30+ years.

Life Member - American Stamp Dealers' Association.  (New York) 
Also Member of:  Philatelic Traders' Society.  (London)    







Full Time Stamp Dealer in Australia for 35 years.

Life Member - American Stamp Dealers' Association. (ASDA - New York) Also Member - Philatelic Traders' Society
 (PTS London) and many other philatelic bodies.

ALL Postage + Insurance is extra. Visa/BankCard/MasterCard/Amex all OK, at NO fee, even for "Lay-Bys"!  All lots offered are subject to my usual Conditions of Sale, copy upon request .

Sydney's BIGGEST STAMP BUYER: Post me ANYTHING via Registered Mail for my same-day cheque.  Avoid copping the Now normal 45% Auction "Commissions" (15% Buyer + 20% Seller + GST, etc) AND their five-month delays!

 Read HERE for details.

"Lothlórien", 4 The Tor Walk, CASTLECRAG (Sydney), N.S.W. 2068 Australia

Phone 7 Days: (02) 9958-1333

PO Box 4007, Castlecrag. NSW. 2068
E-Mail: The Number #1 Web Sites:  and



Sign up AUTOMATICALLY to my world renowned bi-weekly stamp gossip mailing list!

Click here to see MANY 1000s of stamp lots for sale at low $A Nett prices

Click here for all you need to know re SELLING your stamps for SPOT CASH

Click here for the current Monthly "Internet Only" special offers - CHEAP!

Click HERE to read all my recent International stamp magazine articles.

Click here to get back to the main Homepage

Click here to ORDER on-line ANY items from ANY of my dozens of lists

Click for all info on Conditions Of Sale, Payments, Shipping, Returns &c 

Click here for the complete library of my very unusual world travels!

How to PAY me.  I accept EVERYTHING - even blankets and axes and beads!

Australia Post Annual YEAR BOOKS - massive stock - '27% off' discount offer today!

Visit my new page on RARITIES - Roos & other expensive photo items.

Stampboards where Philatelists Meet..

Instant Currency Conversion
Universal Currency Converter
FREE! Just click here...

E-mail me at -

This line is 12 point
This line is 13 point
This line is 14 point