Click To Go Back To The Main Stamps Homepage

Welcome! -  You are visitor number   To -


September 2017


NZ ceases "Health" Stamps.


New Zealand post have just announced that the very familiar NZ “Health” stamps, which have been issued annually in New Zealand since 1929, will now cease - ending an 88 year tradition for this popular series.

In 1929 New Zealand Post worked with Children’s Health Camps - now called Stand Children’s Services (“STAND”) - to create an annual stamp issue, to help New Zealand’s most at risk children with the funds raised, via the surcharge visible on each stamp.

The members of the public and collectors who purchased the stamps, in effect donated the surcharge to the “Health” cause.  The iconic New Zealand “Smiling Boys” stamp pair issue from 1931 shown nearby, as can be seen, raised 2d to the cause (1d each stamp) and were only valid for 3d of postage value.  Near half was donated.



All time Classic NZ Health set.


Each issue had a different theme, with the aim to educate New Zealand children and their families about good health.  The donation from the sale of each stamp provided important funding for the Children’s Health Camps across New Zealand.  In later years sets of stamps AND Miniature Sheets were issued, for each year since 1957 - so 60 years of Mini Sheets exist. 


“Not financially viable.”


In recent times, NZ letter mail volumes have been in decline, and this has of course been reflected in the number of Children’s “Health” stamps sold.  Unfortunately, this has led to it no longer being financially viable for New Zealand Post to administer this stamp issue each year, they advised this month.

Not sure why - the “Health” surcharge was only 10¢ on the current $2 health stamp as can be seen nearby, versus near HALF of the purchase cost of the 1931 set shown above, so the monies raised one imagines were not breaking NZ Post - or the public who bought them??

So these Health issues survived each year right through the Great Depression, and even right through World War 2 they did not miss a beat, and a set was issued every year.  Sad to see them go, and at least a “complete” collection can now be formed with some certainty.  Try getting them all on FDC - THAT is a tough ask!


Very last Health issue off sale soon.


As a result, this annual stamp issue will be no longer.  However New Zealand Post claims they will continue to support the great work that STAND does, by other means.  I hope so.  September 7, 2016 was the date of issue for the 2016 set, and that issue is still on sale in NZ until 6 September 2017.  I imagine many “Last Day Covers” will be done?


The NZ 1996 “Teddy Bear” Healths.


The most notorious issue of these NZ Health stamps was in 1996.  The 40¢ value was about to go on sale when the Road Safety “powers that be” noticed the baby in the back seat was facing forward.  Shown clearly, as the Teddy Bear toy had a belt across the left shoulder, proving both it and the baby were facing forward. 

In this PC world, that is not OK it appears, and I gather the NZ law even back in 1996 stated babies in these pods or capsules must face backwards in the car, so they do not get flung forward in an accident.  The stamp issue depicting “Road Safety” was not doing a great job here!  So all hell broke loose in PO Headquarters.


NZ 40¢ “Teddy Bear” normal and coil.


The offending design was amended at the last moment, and the original large printing supposedly destroyed. The final issued design having no Teddy Bear, and no seat belt, it was not apparent if the restrained child was facing in the "illegal" direction.  Kept everyone happy.

The amended design stamps were issued on June 5, 1996.  It soon became apparent, due to an alert stamp collector, that at least some of the original "Teddy Bear" stamps had not been destroyed.  A few commercial covers were sighted, one of which was a FDC.  The hunt was on!

Further investigations showed that a financial institution, The Auckland Savings Bank, had purchased most of the error stamps, and used them on normal business mail.  A part sheet was sold broken down somewhat, and the $60,000 proceeds donated by the Bank to charity.  A daily newspaper clipping of the time is nearby, re that auction.


Made the main NZ newspapers.


The error stamps were sold from only two NZ Post Offices that did not bother to read their “DO NOT SELL THESE STAMPS”  Memos - Royal Oak PO in Auckland, and Te Ngae PO of all places - near Rotorua.  The only stamps sold, and only in a few 100 total, were 40¢ sheet and coil stamps - never the Miniature Sheets for some reason.


Rapid Global publicity.


I wrote extensively about these “Teddy Bear” issues at the time, and several of my stories were on page 1 of the mass selling “Linn’s Stamp News” in the USA.  This link shows some of my 20 year old reports -   A Linn’s reader in the USA read one, and bid for 2 singles, paying $A2,640 and $A2,210 in the sale below. 

Stanley Gibbons Auctions in Australia offered three lots of these stamps in their Sydney auction on February 25, 1997.  These lots were a corner block of 6, and two single stamps.  The corner block of 6 sold to a telephone bidder in Japan for $A10,450.  No Miniature Sheets were ever sold by NZ Post, to anyone, at any time. 

The Linn’s reader had no idea these errors even existed until that article he told Linn’s staff, so it does prove that stamp magazines articles DO sometimes get read!  The self-adhesive 40¢ single is known to be many times scarcer than the regular gum version, so him paying 20% more for it was a good buy, but I think he bought right at the top of the market.

The New Zealand Post Office was NOT amused when Dutch dealers and individuals started offering the “Teddy Bear” Miniature sheets to dealers here - mainly because the sheet had never ever been on sale in NZ!  I refused to handle them, as it appeared they were stolen property, and NZ Post was breathing fire and brimstone that legal action would ensue, if anyone offered them.


 Handle these with Extreme Care!

  I am most surprised to see that the Auckland City Stamp Catalogue offers these sheets in their latest 2017 catalogue.  None were sold by the Post Office, and their legal status would be “very dark grey” at best I’d suggest, even today.  Stanley Gibbons quite correctly does not list or price these Dutch printed unissued sheets.  From what I have been offered over 2 decades, MANY exist.

The Error 40¢, and the Miniature Sheets were printed in the Netherlands by Enschedé in Haarlem.  The Miniature Sheets exist both normal, and with “CAPEX 96” wording on them.  It seems clear that staffers at Enschedé got their hands on these sheets despite NZPO never “issuing” them.  I do know the brass at NZPO were furious with this breach, and as far as I know Enschedé has never printed another stamp issue for NZ.

Unusual Tibet for auction.

  Many readers have very tightly focused collecting areas, and find even they are perfectly challenging enough.  Imagine taking on something like early TIBET stamps?  Especially when you do not read any of the languages involved!   Now THAT is a serious challenge.

Swedish collector Bo Olsson from Goteborg, did just that.  Bo started to collect Tibet stamps and postal history in 1956, over 60 years ago.  He was a schoolboy back then, and had been fascinated by his teacher’s stories at school about the mysterious and mountainous country of Tibet.

A Gibbons “Simplified” catalogue was a Christmas gift to Bo in 1956.  He contacted Stanley Gibbons to send him a selection of approvals. Their stock of Tibet was very limited, and he was sent just a few stamps. Needless to say, he bought them all, and that was his start of a lifelong relationship with Tibet stamps.

1925 Silk Scarf from Dalai Lama.


The XIIIth Dalai Lama sent ornate covers to high ranking dignitaries each New Year.  Enclosed in this 1925 one was a large white handmade silk scarf with woven lucky signs, and also a small envelope filled with gold dust.  This cover or satchel is stamped with a pair of ⅓ TR Blue stamps.  Not sure if the gold dust is still part of the lot!

Bo's major interest was to study the different early Tibet printings and colour shades, to learn all he could about them. His checklist completed Arnold Waterfall’s Handbook list.  Only a few "impossible" printings are missing in his collection, such as the super-rare Pastel-Pink (Bluish Pink) printings of 1TR of 1912, and 8TR of 1914.


The benchmark TIBET Auction.


This world leading collection is for sale at David Feldman Switzerland in early December. The catalogue will essentially be a handbook on classic Tibetan philately. has many more details on the gem material being offered then - well worth having a look.  Start a “new” country perhaps?

Tibet does always seem shrouded in mystery.  I started looking at ways to visit it next year.  I can get flights to Bangkok, Beijing, then Chengdu where Lhasa flights are from.  Never heard of Chengdu? - neither had I.  Population is a mere 15 Million!  Tibet visas are a hassle, but will be an interesting trip I think.  We liked Mongolia last year, and the Gobi Desert. 


Postmark at 17,000 feet!


One Tibet related “issue” I’ve always really liked, is not a postage stamp at all, but the 1924 Mt. Everest “Cinderella” that one sees on postcards, and less so on letters.  Getting up near 100 years old, they are generally not expensive for single use copies.  A number of different cancels were used.  One at the “17,000 feet Base Camp” as you can see nearby.


1924 Mount Everest Expedition. has numerous examples of this “stamp” shown and discussed - many on cover, and some fascinating background to the entire 1924 Mount Everest Expedition.  A great sideline collection for someone to get into!  Not madly expensive really for an issue near 100 years old.

Shown nearby is a rather eye-catching genuine early cover, sent from the Base Camp of the 1924 Mount Everest Expedition, to Major Bailey in Gyantse Tibet, via Phari. Sent with a runner to British PO in Pharijong.  British postage postmarked in Pharijong.  Arrival postmark from Gyantse, Tibet. 


Unique Mt. Everest multiple on cover.


This block 6 on cover is unique, from the Bo Olsson collection.  Even the TIBET cancel on this cover, is the rarest of those found.  Olsson is the main person to expertise this Tibet area, and it carries his Certificate that a block 6 is the unique largest franking on any cover or piece. 

Estimates on much of this material will be tough to arrive at.  What price does one put on a handmade silk scarf gift from a Dalai Lama nearly a century back, in the large ornate envelope it was contained in?  So prices might be rather modest, or “go through the roof” - welcome to the world of real auctions.


New SG “Concise” Catalogue.


The new Gibbons 2017 “Concise” catalogue of Great Britain postage stamps has just been released in the UK, and all main dealers globally will have stock.  If you collect or stock GB stamps, you MUST get a copy, or you will be way behind the market on current stamp prices and listings.

Hugh Jefferies and his co-editors of this huge full colour opus, on low glare BriteWhite paper should be very proud, as it is now nearly 550 pages thick, and weighs in at a very impressive 1.1 Kilos.  It really is becoming a “one stop” volume for all UK stamp related areas, falling little short of other very specialised material. 

This catalogue features a semi-specialised listing of all GB postage stamps, giving more detailed information than the “Collect British Stamps” but less than the rather infrequent Great Britain Specialised catalogues - and 99% of collectors will be quite happy with it for that coverage.



“Concise” near 550 pages thick.


Includes all definitives, commemoratives, regionals, Postage Dues, officials, postal fiscals, post office label sheets (Smilers), First Day Covers, Booklets, PO packs, PHQ cards etc.  Prices are given for both hinged and unmounted mint from 1887- 1935, and on cover prices up to 1910.  The LATTER should certainly be expanded to 1953 at least.

For the more advanced collector, there are details of cylinder varieties, errors (missing colours, missing embossing, imperforates, phosphor omitted varieties etc), all known inverted and sideways watermarks, “Specimen” overprints, popular plate varieties and re-entries, Telegraph stamps, layout of decimal booklets etc.

Australian RRP is very similar to the UK retail of £38, so the local price of $A85 is most attractive, being near same as in England - most especially as they are heavy to ship here being well over 1 kilo packed up.  I’ve pre-sold many so far locally on a $10 flat freight globally deal. 


Perfect size to work from.


The new David Bowie cover “Concise” will stay open on your desk, without the need to balance something on one side. This makes it much easier to use, and the spine is likely to stay intact for a great deal longer.  I always find it a perfect physical size for looking things up adjacent to an album.

This new 2017 “Concise” catalogue of course lists and prices all FDCs and PO packs, and PHQ cards, and all watermark and missing colour variations where recorded, and that is a huge plus for collectors and dealers.  I was looking up some modern GB FDC’s which were up nicely over last edition - not bad, as I was working with a box of them!

Much of the increased Market activity in the past 12 months seems to have been around more recent issues, with prices for security Machins, booklet commemoratives and “Post & Go” stamps continuing to rise.  There are even substantial increases to be found among the ‘Post Office Label Sheets’ (“Smilers”) some of which are clearly very scarce.


Modern GB stamps on the move.


The ongoing global interest in Machin heads stamp issues is also creating demand for the earlier ‘X’ and ‘Y’ series, and while most of these are still quite plentiful, some are becoming surprisingly hard to find, and prices in the “Concise” are continually moving up to reflect this reality.

Increases are not only found among stamps of the present Queen Elizabeth reign of course. The Queen Victoria “Penny Reds” are clearly very popular at the moment, with increases among both the 1841 imperforate stamps, and the ever popular 1864-1879 Plate numbers.


New additions in GB “Concise”.


Previously unknown items added this Edition include the 3½p UPU stamp of 1974 with the bright mauve ‘Southampton Packet Letter’, postmark completely omitted, the imperforate 2003 “Wildings” miniature sheet, of which only a single example has been reported, and the fully imperforate 6d pre-decimal Machin.

Known stamps which have been added this time include two of the most prominent varieties from the Queen Victoria “Jubilee” and Edward VII sets, the ‘Deformed Leaf’ on the 1½d, and the ‘Deformed Value Tablet’ on the Edward VII 2d, affecting both the De La Rue and Somerset House printings.

Among more modern issues, there is a missing phosphor variety on the 63p “Water and Coast” Millennium stamp of March 2000, depicting the Portsmouth Harbour Project, and the Wales 5½p from cylinder 2, with displaced emblem and value is now included in the “Concise” for the first time.

The ever popular 1840 Mulready envelopes and letter sheets are now listed sporting conventional catalogue numbers for the first time, and the opportunity has been taken to also add the “SPECIMEN” overprints found on them (each £7,000+), and the many examples of these with advertisements printed on the inside.


High flyers often up too.


Some already high priced earlier stamps go up again.  Mark my words - you will see this same pattern occur for several years to come in SG catalogues for better early GB.  The lesson?   Buy the stamps you need NOW in this better grade of material. The common $5 type items will likely still be $5 in 10 years’ time.  Maybe less.



These will NEVER get cheaper!


The $500 item might however become $1,000, and the $5,000 stamp might be $15,000.  Or far more, in some instances I can think of.  And the same money in the bank will likely to have gone up somewhat less than 10% or so in 5 years after tax, the way low interest rate are globally right now.

And if left in the stock-market, or traditional funds, it may well have DECREASED, as we can all see from some recent annual returns!  As an example of how easy the pricier material is to sell, I have set up a “Rarity” page offering choice single items and covers, priced mainly around the $A1,000 mark. No buyer fees - just fair NETT prices.

Shameless plug, but many items sell in a day or so of listing them - - and other dealers report the same experience with top shelf material. With the weak $A in recent times, most of what I list goes to the USA or Europe both of whom have strong currencies lately, and Europeans and Canadians and Kiwis dodge the 20% or so import tax too.

Hugh Jefferies and the team there do a wonderful job.  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.

Collectors and the trade are often very short sighted - catalogue sales help keep this hobby balanced.  If they do not sell well, publishers are minded to cease publishing them altogether.  They are businesses, not charities. When did YOU last buy one?!

The often clueless pair that were running Gibbons in recent years have gone out the door thank goodness.  After losing it countless MILLIONS on hare brained “Internet” total flop follies, that I predicted in writing some years back would founder horribly.  As well as absurd acquisitions that did not fit in any way, and wiser heads are back at the helm - thank goodness.


What to include - or not?


An Editor’s job is not as simple as many feel.  The following is part of the Preface of this new work.  The reworked £5 Queen illustrated nearby is quite superb, and agree it would be a folly not to have included it.  I wish dealers mailing me packets from UK would buy up and use these, and not the worthless £1, £3 and £5 small Machins.


Long Live The £5 Queen!


“For a start, there are decisions to be made. The recent 65th Anniversary of The Queens Reign stamp is a case in point. This certainly very attractive stamp is available only by mail order from the Philatelic Bureau at Tallents House, and from just 27 post offices in the entire United Kingdom.

“The criteria for listing state that a stamp “must be issued by a legitimate authority, valid for proper postal use, and be available at face value in reasonable quantities, without any artificial restrictions being imposed on its distribution.”

“A good case can be made that a stamp not available more widely that at 27 post offices has had an ‘artificial restriction imposed on its distribution’ and does not therefore, meet the listing criteria for the catalogue.

“We have some sympathy with this view, but where listing decisions are involved it is always necessary to consider precedent. The 1924 and 1925 Wembley Exhibition stamps were only available at post offices within the exhibition, or by mail order.

“The pre-decimal Machin multi-value coil was only available from a handful of machines, and the 1984 “Royal Mail Postage Labels” - Framas to us - were similarly restricted.  Slightly different, perhaps, but the 1948 Channel Islands Liberation pair could only be purchased at eight post offices in the UK. 

“On balance therefore, and bearing in mind that the vast majority of collectors would expect the new £5 to be listed, we found the decision an easy one.  The Editors.”







Get my regular market update emails FREE.REE.   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 Proud Member Of :

Full Time Stamp Dealer in Australia for over 35 years.

Life Member - American Stamp Dealers' Association.  (New York) 
Also Member of; Philatelic Traders' Society (London)   IFSDA (Switzerland) etc




Time and Temp in Sunny Sydney!





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

Just click here...


E-mail me at -