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December 2019


CTO Roos getting 10 times Cat!


As followers of the Australia PO official CTO stamps realise, copies of even the common Die 1, 3d Kangaroo 1913, with the corner “BRISBANE” cds have obtained $A1,864 at Phoenix Auctions in the past, and indeed a block 4 of the 2/- brown got $A7,000!

Stampboards has had detailed discussion on these CTO’s - many 1000s of posts, and some of that info is transcribed here -  The strength of the official CTO cancels on Kangaroo stamp market rolls on stronger than ever.

The demand is unabated, and the recent auction results are gobsmacking really.  The very ugly, and humble 1913 ½d green Roo seen nearby, ACSC #1wd, was invoiced way above estimate at $2,675 in the Phoenix Melbourne, November 15, 2019 Auction.


Very rough looker gets $A2,675!


Sadly the ACSC allowed an ebay seller to price these things, and realisations TEN times full ACSC are routine for these cancels.  An equally humble 2d Grey, also with no date on the cds, was invoiced for $A2,900 in the same November 15 Phoenix sale.

These Brisbane CTO cancels are all scarce, as only a sheet or so of each were done, and not all of those were distributed.  All bear a quarter of the heavyish looking cds cancel of “BRISBANE - 12 NO: 13 - QUEENSLAND”.

I have the 5/- 1913 with the same cancel in stock, (a scarce stamp with ANY cancel) indeed mine shows the date, for a THIRD what the ½d above just sold for!   A 1913 £1 with non-dated BRISBANE part cancel was invoiced for $3,250 at the same Phoenix auction.

It is a challenging field, and supply is low, and demand is high. There are MANY different cancel types.  The ACSC “Kangaroos” catalogue is a handy guide, despite the Froot Loop prices given to all these BRISBANE cancels, well after strong Auction results had clearly indicated their scarcity, and the red-hot real world prices. 


Register your stamp mail!


We all know that using Registered or insured post is smart. These days it is essential for items of any value.  More and more domestic mail NOT addressed to PO boxes is getting stolen - sad but true.  Contractors are not PO staffers, and will leave boxes and parcels in unsafe places, or in the rain very often.

I regularly get sellers nervous about mailing me stamps to buy.  They often only run to $100s, or even a few $1000s, but they really are not at all happy doing it.  I will in future remind them of this true story about the safety of Registered Mail, and they might be a lot more comfortable about it all!


Insured for $US1 MILLION - in 1958!


Harry Winston, the leading American jeweller and gem dealer, mailed the legendary “Hope Diamond” in a package via Registered Post using a single red “REGISTERED” handstamp.  In November 1958, Winston donated the diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, intending it to be the foundation for a National Jewel Collection.

It is a large, 45.52 carat deep violet-blue diamond, and now housed in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC.  I like many others have looked at it there.  Value of the Hope Diamond is estimated today at about $US350 million if it were sold. 

With his years of experience in shipping jewellery all over the world, Harry Winston chose to have the near priceless diamond delivered by Registered Mail.  He told a reporter for the Washington Post that: “Registered Mail is the safest way to ship gems - I’ve sent gems all over the world that way.”

The massive diamond was placed in a box, wrapped in brown paper, and sent by Registered Mail, travelling down from New York in a Railway Post Office train car.  The addressee, Dr. Leonard Carmichael signed the receipt for the Registered package from the Post Office delivery person.


Value today about $US350 Million.


The price paid for shipping the gem, valued at $US1 million at the time, was $145.29, most of that being for the contents insurance!  As you can see on the scan of the packaging, the postage was $2.44.  It looks like $9 was the largest value USPS postage meter at the time in 1958, 61 years back, and 16 of those were used, with a $1.29 label to make up the balance. 

First reported about 400 years back, and reputedly discovered in India, the “Curse Of The Hope Diamond” is widely documented, with many previous owners and family members suffering strange and explained deaths and misadventures etc, etc. 

Far, far larger diamonds have been found of course (indeed this one started at near double this 45 carat size) but the stated faultless clarity of this one and the striking violet-blue colour, caused by boron atoms apparently, have set it apart from all others over the centuries. 


How to soak peel and stick stamps?


With many large countries like the USA, GB, Australia and NZ etc, now using mostly self-adhesive stamps, the question is often asked of me - HOW can these be soaked?  In the cases like the USA stamps, soaking in water is totally useless in most cases.  The simple answer of WHAT to use, seems to be a low tech and old-fashioned one - Lighter Fluid.


Ronsonol to the rescue!


This decades old method for checking watermarks on stamps, now seems to have a valuable extra use!  This fluid is available worldwide and is quite inexpensive. The Ronsonol can shown nearby, will be familiar to readers in most countries.  I am advised the “ZIPPO” brand has the same chemical content.

Far more economical, the Diggers “Shellite” brand is widely available in Australia for less than $A6 per Litre bottle in hardware stores like Bunnings etc.  Larger 4 litre containers are sold for about $A20 if you have some serious self-adhesive stamp soaking to do!


Read the instructions carefully!


All of these of course are flammable, and should be used in a ventilated area etc, as per usage instructions on their packaging.  If you are fond of having a cigarette whilst sorting stamps, do NOT use this stuff while you are doing that!


Shellite is under $A6 a litre nationally.


The good news is that both seem to work extremely well with assisting in removing these self-stick stamps - even the USA ones that otherwise do not soak off at all in water, and are famously tenacious to separate from backing paper. has a long discussion on these removal methods, with 50,000 page views - is the direct link, for those interested in reading more on this, and the personal experiences of many collectors globally


Checks Watermarks AND removes gum!


In some cases, they come away cleanly from the envelope paper.  In other instances, a little effort and technique is needed, as outlined with photos on the stampboards thread.  A final rinse in warm water, whatever method you choose, and you are done.


Very tenacious gum on these.


Short issue high face stamps like the USA $19.99 “USS Arizona” and $22.95 “Columbia River Gorge” illustrated nearby, are both worth near face value when neatly cancelled used, so taking a moment to remove them carefully is well worth the effort.

Try this method out and let me know if it works for you.  I understand that Eucalyptus Oil often works too to remove these stamps.  For British readers, reports are that “Sticky Stuff Remover” sold in the UK by Bettaware works wonderfully well for removing self-stick GB Machin heads etc.


Kangaroo Monograms newly Red Hot.


Kangaroo Monogram stamps have gone nuts in price in the past year or so.  None of them are common - even on the lowly ½d and 1d values, they are $100s, and the higher values are really hard to source.  Hinged Monogram SINGLES of the £2 have fetched  $A180,000 at Auction. 

There were 2 different printer Monograms on the lower selvedge of each PO pane of 120 for a couple of years - “JBC” for J.B.Cooke, the Government Stamp Printer, and “CA” which of course stood for the Commonwealth Of Australia.


The $180,000 piece of selvedge!


There is a photo of me nearby holding this hinged stamp, (which had a crease!) and which thankfully was not dropped into my nearby coffee, ensuring a very interesing discussion with some hostile Insurance Assessor.  Near all that $A180,000 price was for the tiny piece of selvedge at the base!

Several new collectors have emerged in recent times, seeking these Kangaroo Monograms, and they all appear to have very deep pockets, and the scarcer pieces when offered, can see Bidding Wars ensue.  Such was the case with the Phoenix Auction on November 15, in Melbourne.


Strong Monogram Roo Collection


They offered an ususually large range of these Monograms, and VERY bullish prices were obtained, often for material that did not look that attractive to me, but hey it is the nature of these issues.  The 2/- Brown Third watermark hinged Monogram shown nearby was invoiced for around $A20,000 - despite full ACSC Cat being $15,000 etc. 


Sold for $5000 over full ACSC cat.


Arthurs Gray’s “CA” monogram 2/- single was hammered for $US5,250, so there has been nice upside on these, in that interim period.  Many of the high values are recorded in only a few copies in collector hands, so these strong prices will stay solid I’d suggest.

Monograms of course only occurred on the first 3 watermarks of Roos, and were soon replaced with Printer Imprints.  Many of the middle value Monograms - 3d, 6d, 9d and 1/-, can still be secured for far more affordable prices to most pockets. 

I have both Monograms on hand now of the 9d Violet Kangaroo, for just on 4 figures each, and I see such things once each decade or two in stock.  There are probably 20 each of such values in collector hands globally, so current prices are pretty silly. 

Many collectors look for new challenges, and seeking Australia Kangaroo Monograms is a solid area to chase.  One chap I know has set his target on all issues to 1/-, so he dodges all the 5 figure prices then, for the 2/- and up values!




Soon after you read this, the big national of 2019 will be taking place in Adelaide on December 6th-8th.  I’ll fly down and pop in on the Sunday - that Torrens Parade Ground Drill Hall location in Adelaide City is a really great location - free parking right at the door!

The focus of course is the 100th Anniversary of the epic First Flight from the UK to Australia by Sir Ross and Sir Keith Smith - both Adelaide born.  Charles Leski has planned at big Aero related Auction sale to tie in with this on Dec 11.  I heard a rumour a new AAMC catalogue will also be issued soon.




Get down and support the show!


Australia Post issued some very pretty product in October - the $3.20 stamp for the heavily used overseas airmail rate is shown nearby, and I urge all those reading this to buy a few, and keep them in your stamp den - superb design to use on foreign letters for years to come!

The foreign letter rate was only just increased from $3, so hopefully this $3.20 will be the rate for a few years to come, and a nicer “stamp on stamp” design I can’t imagine.  Spread the word - buy some today!

This was an epic flight of almost 18,000 kilometres.  There was widespread concern that the route had not been properly surveyed beyond Calcutta, and in many parts of Asia, airfields were simply non‑existent.  Some cities they landed at, had never seen ANY kind of plane!

The aircraft of the era were incredibly basic by modern standards, open top cockpits (!) and constructed from wire, fabric and wood, and had short flying ranges. They landed their Vickers Vimy twin-engine bi-plane at Fannie Bay “airfield”, Darwin, on 10 December 1919, and the event was met with national and international excitement and acclaim.


1919 Ross Smith “Vignette”


The Australian “Local” item most collectors think of first, is the pioneering and heroic 1919 Ross Smith First Flight, England to Australia stamp "Vignette".  This is technically more a semi-official stamp issue, than a “Local” or “Cinderella” as some incorrectly regard it as.

It was ordered by the Prime Minister's Department (by no less than PM 'Billy' Hughes personally!) via the Treasury Department.  Printed in great haste by T. S. Harrison, and the Commonwealth Note Printing Branch on watermarked paper - the identical CrownA paper we find on 1914 KGV heads, or the "Second" Watermark Kangaroos.


MEGA-SUPERSTARS in this era!


This crew were MEGA-SUPERSTARS in this era!  Ross Smith enlisted in 1914 in the 3rd Light Horse Regiment, landing at Gallipoli 13 May 1915.  In 1917, he volunteered for the Australian Flying Corps.  He was later twice awarded the Military Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross three times, becoming an Air Ace with 11 confirmed aerial victories.

Ross Smith (KBE, MC and Bar, DFC and Two Bars, AFC) was pilot for T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and fought in aerial combat missions in the Middle East.  He is mentioned several times in Lawrence's book, “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”.  The legendary Australian cricketer Keith Ross Miller was named after Smith and his flying brother Keith.


How to check for Ross Smith fakes.


For the dozen or so hopeful folks who phone or email me each year to ask if their "rare" 1919 Vignette they cleverly bought on eBay etc, as a super “BAAAAHRGIN” is really a super valuable gem, my very simple and accurate answer is - “just hold it up to the light”.

If there is NO watermark, you clearly have one of the many types of fakes/reprints done over the years.  Not that such minor detail bothers the 100s of dreamers who cheerfully list their fakes up on eBay each year as “Grandpappys treasjure gaurinteed genueen RAYAR” !


Pricier than most £2 Kangaroo stamps!


Some of them are really crude, and some were far better productions.  Endless 1000s seem to have been produced over the decades.  Edgar Lewy, long term ”Philatelic Exporter” columnist, did some quite decent high grade reproductions via Philart in the UK in the 1970s.  Edgar’s were by FAR the best “fakes” done.  He offered me a large carton of 10,000s of these 30 years ago.

Well after he died, I asked wife Lily if she still had them, and said she tossed them into the garbage bin in London - a shame, as they were nice efforts, and are seldom seen.  Some reprints are so roughly printed virtually none of the perf holes are punched out.  And in ALL cases, the colour is quite wrong, not being the deep steel blue of the genuine, as you can see in the photo of my copy nearby.

It is not a “Local” or a “Cinderella” strictly speaking, but in my view is an officially sanctioned and printed label, and should be more correctly termed a “semi-official stamp” production.  Major catalogues like Yvert list and price it as an Australian postage stamp issue.  Major album makers like Seven Seas Stamps have made spaces for it in printed albums.   

Many still exist as genuine mint or used stamps, or even used on original covers.  A fine MUH sheetlet generally sells for about $A20,000 these days. The fresh MUH one illustrated nearby I sold for $15,000 recently.  I do not charge that for most MUH £2 Roos!


Highest on cover price c$A50,000.


A really striking looking Ross Smith flight cover was once auctioned and invoiced in the region of $A50,000. There are still quite a small number of these Ross Smith Vignettes existing, either as mint sheetlets as illustrated nearby, or on covers with the outer margins removed, in all such cases.


Sir Ross Smith still remembered in Darwin.


The last time I was up in Darwin, I drove down Ross Smith Avenue, and sought out the little known but impressive stone cairn marking his arrival in Australia in Dec 1919!  Planes were near unheard of back then, and the soon to be Qantas founders, were engaged to organise an oil drum lit runway for them to use.

It then took near 3 more months for the mail to arrive in Melbourne, where the "26 February, 1920" date-stamps were all applied to the hastily affixed Vignette "stamps", and all handed over personally to Prime Minister Hughes, and then delivered via normal mail, under separate Post Office outer cover.


Hopeless AP $500 Million Mail Sorters.


ABC News just reported Business owners and residents were dismayed about the length of time parcels are taking to be delivered, with widespread reports of many items going backwards and forwards between states. 

The new Australia Post facility at Redbank Brisbane is equipped with technology that includes parcel pickers, automated guided vehicles, and robotics they proudly tell us.  But it simply does NOT work.


Monty Python Australia Post “Service”.


I had a clearly addressed Registered parcel go between Sydney to Redbank Brisbane FIVE times last month - so much for their new high technology, that AP are denying to ABC News, has any issues.  The clearly addressed parcel took TWO WEEKS.  I could drive it there in a day.
As can be seen from the PO tracking website fiasco journey nearby, even when it got there for the FIFTH time to Redbank Queensland on a Thursday, it did not move anywhere locally until the next Monday, as can be seen. 

HOPELESS.  Zimbabwe level technology.  And they just had the cheek to crank up Parcel Post rates heavily October 1, to pay for all these White Elephant machines that clearly do not work.  Much more discussion here -






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


“Postmarks of SA and Northern Territory” - THREE massive Volumes for only $A199 (Stock 583HW)

HUGE James Bendon "UPU Specimen Stamps 1878-1961" 534 page Hardbound $A170 (Stock 892LR)

Stanley Gibbons current AUSTRALIA AND STATES & PACIFICS - Near 400 pages $A85 (Stock 736EQ)

Hugh Freeman huge  “Barred Numeral Cancellations Of Victoria”  Now Full COLOUR!  $A195 (Stock 274BN)

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

Hugh Freeman’s debut “NSW NUMERAL CANCELS” epic work on CD ROM just $A40! (Stock code 637KT)

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

Superb 2018 ACSC  "Australia Postal Stationery"  Catalogue - huge 484 pages colour $A240 (Stock 782DV)

ACSC New full colour catalogues for KGVI and QE2 – the BOTH huge A4 books $230 (Stock 892JC)

The Arthur Gray "KGV Reign" Collection, Superb hard bound leather Catalogue just $A65 (Stock 368WF)
"Plating Papua Lakatois" Book, 563 x A4 pages, RRP $110 - DISCOUNTED to just $A60! (Stock 432HA)

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

Stanley Gibbons superb "2020 British Commonwealth Cat" - 770 pages hardbound - $A180 (Stock 483HQ)

Stanley Gibbons colour GB "CONCISE" Cat - 500 pages – NOW REDUCED $A20 to just $A65  (Stock 483KA)

HUGE  Seven Seas Stamps "Australasian Stamp Cat."   *NO* dealers have stock! $A125 (Stock 792TQ)




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Full Time Stamp Dealer in Australia for 35+ years.

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