We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. Click here to find out more. Allow cookies

arrow Register here

Forgotten password?


  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 

The story of a stamp. by Ken Dunn on 20 June 2013 8:57am
I’ve been collecting stamps for years. In fact I had so many bits and pieces a long time ago that at one point I stopped collecting ‘foreign’ stamps and at another point I stopped collecting some British Commonwealth countries. By this time I was living in Scotland and had found a few very good dealers and a couple of stamp clubs that I became a member of consecutively. I now belong to the Dunfermline Stamp and Postcard Club and have been its secretary for a while.

Anyway, back to the stamp. I don’t know where I got it but a few months ago I decided that my Australian States collection needed sorting and tidying so I began the task of weeding out the duplicates and properly identifying every one. This was difficult because there are a lot of varieties in the States stamps with different colours, watermarks and perforations.

There are 6 states in Australia that issued stamps: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania and I started to go through them one at a time identifying each stamp and remounting them individually with their Stanley Gibbons catalogue number (I did not want to have to do this again) neatly on their country pages in chronological order. Any oddities were noted beside the stamp.

When I had finished I looked through the 20 pages or so to find one oddity that I had come across. From the New South Wales section I removed it for careful reassessment and identified it as a 2d blue, double lined watermark 2, perf 10. I read and reread the notes and information in the Gibbons Commonwealth catalogue to try to find this stamp and couldn’t. There were ones which were nearly the same with p12 and p12-13 but none p10.

I should perhaps mention at this point that p and perf are stamp collectors jargon for the word perforations, which are the little holes between stamps in a sheet that are used to aid separation.

This was getting interesting and I thought I needed a few opinions on the stamp so I photographed it with my Olympus DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera fitted with extension tube. I was surprised to find that I only needed the adaptor rings of the extension tube set to be able to get close enough to take the photos of the front and back of the stamp. I checked the photos and they were good enough to allow easy inspection of the stamp and the watermark was clear.

The catalogue I had used was a few years old so I contacted a friend in the stamp club who had a more up to date version of Australia and colonies just in case this variety had been added in the interim. He loaned me his catalogue and I brought it home to check all the similar detail about the stamp and once again there was no listing of the type.

Today, I managed a trip to Kirkcaldy where I bought a copy of Stamp and Coin Mart (S & C Mart) and noticed that an Australian stamp that had been offered on eBay for 99p was valued at £65,000 ($100,000Au). This stamp was found by a buyer at a Kinross Stamp Shop auction which is about 15 miles up the road from where I live. There are more details of this in the mentioned magazine but on seeing that I decided I should get the stamp certified genuine.

In between times I had contacted an Australian stamp forum and the Australian Philatelic Traders Society (APTS) to ask about known varieties of this stamp in Australia. None of them did and Phoenix auctions kindly identified it as a reperf. I had sent my detailed photos of the stamp to the correspondents.

Back to getting the stamp certified. There are various people who can certify a stamp genuine and I noticed that the article in the S & C Mart mentioned a group in Melbourne, Australia who had certified the £65,000 stamp genuine. I didn’t want to go that far a field so checked the Internet for assessors nearer to home. The RPSL(Royal Philatelic Society of London) popped up so I have sent a copy of my photos to them with a request for assessment and I await their reply. Their next meeting is early in July so I hope to hear back from them after that.

One of my concerns about the stamp is that it might be a perforation forgery but none of the people I have shown it to so far have indicated it is so I am hopeful that the RPSL assessment will be positive.

The stamp itself is a 2d blue with a Queen Victoria head and NEW SOUTH WALES inscribed around the sides and top. The back of the stamp shows the watermark and there is a slight thin and a couple of other marks but these do not detract from the front appearance which has a neat NSW postmark.

I have received a copy of the Vendor terms from Phoenix auctions.

Doing my own research into Phoenix’s assessment of the stamp where they call it a ‘reperf’ I have been trying to understand the implications of this. It seems that older perforated stamps that had one edge straight because they were at the edge of the sheet were sometimes reperforated ‘to make them look better’. This would require careful punching of holes along the straight edge at the same perf spacing as the rest of the stamp to make all the perforations the same. There is a big risk of ruining the stamp unless a lot of practice and or care is taken to do the reperf correctly. The stamp I have has an edge that would lead you to think this has been done but I think it may have been one of a pair and the lower stamp was separated off carefully with scissors. The alleged reperf would need to be a known perf type with the same perf added to the straight edge.

Now another scenario arises. My stamp is p10 all round which raises the question, “Has a good imperforate stamp been reperforated all round to create an unknown variety to defraud collectors?” This is unlikely as I found the stamp in my collection as an oddity and don’t remember buying it or any other groups of stamps containing it at a higher price than I would have expected. Also imperforate types of older stamps tend to be more valuable than their later equivalent perforated types. This scenario would be classified as creating a forgery out of a genuine stamp.

If it is a forgery then it is unlikely to be valuable but a search so far has not found any reference to this type of forgery existing for this stamp. If there were only a few made then it is possible none of the others have survived. And if it is a genuine stamp it is possible that only a few were made like this because part of the sheet was faulty and the residue was fed into a smaller P10 machine or a whole sheet was put into a different perforating machine than the normal stamp to create postally usable perforated copys. One other possibility is a perforation trial using an existing sheet of stamps to test a new perf. 10 machine.

The website, filatelia.fi/forglinks, gives good listings of forged stamps from a lot of countries and although there are quite a few from New South Wales my stamp is not included among them. I have found that Trevor Davis, who works as part of a committee, is an expert on Australia and Colonies. He works from London and from that I think I have sent the images of my stamp to the right place for assessment.

The story now has a conclusion. I’ve heard from the RPSL and one of their experts has deemed it to be a perforation forgery, made from the imperforate stamps which were common at the time. It is not worth the fee to certify it as a perf. forgery so it will stay in my collection with the documentation covering my investigations. All I can say is whoever forged it did a very good job, except for the slight irregularity in the spacing of the perforation holes.

The end.

Re: The story of a stamp. by kazzzz on 20 June 2013 10:02am
Wow Ken do you think it could be worth a few bucks then?
Re: The story of a stamp. by Ken Dunn on 20 June 2013 4:50pm
Sure do Kazzzz but see the continuation of the story above.
Re: The story of a stamp. by Lounge Trekker on 21 June 2013 4:07am
I enjoyed the lesson on stamp collecting, Ken. Thanks.

So Ken, if it is valuable, would you cash it in, or in true collector's style, keep it to further enhance your prodigous collection?
Re: The story of a stamp. by Ken Dunn on 21 June 2013 5:47am
At the moment I've decided to keep it and it is hidden away safely for now.
Re: The story of a stamp. by Ken Dunn on 21 June 2013 7:35pm
I've added another 3 or 4 paragraphs to the story but it is philatelic discussion so you may not be too interested.
Re: The story of a stamp. by Ken Dunn on 24 June 2013 7:00am
I've done further research on NSW forgeries and an excellent website for forgeries, of which there are more than a dozen types from NSW, does not list my stamp as one which has been forged, although some stamps around the same time period as mine have been.
Re: The story of a stamp. by Ken Dunn on 25 June 2013 9:29pm
The story is finished.
Re: The story of a stamp. by Ken Dunn on 4 August 2013 8:14pm

Although the story is finished I am not convinced the stamp is a forgery. A dealer I have shown it to has agreed that there is a possibility it is a trial on p10 on an old sheet/part sheet of stamps. If/when the trial was found to be ineffective or poor quality they decided to do the stamp as a p12 which would be inclined to give easier separation than p10. If this is the case it could be quite valuable.
Clutching at straws I took the stamp to Scotex in Perth, Scotland yesterday, 18/10/13, and showed it to Ian Perry, an Expert in Australian stamps. He was confident in his opinion that the stamp is a perforation forgery.
Re: The story of a stamp. by Ken Dunn on 12 October 2013 10:03am
Another philatelic gem has turned up - maybe a few!

I bought a speculative lot of mainly letter fronts from the 1830's. There were 17 items in the lot and I decided to analyze each one. I found that most had FREE postal markings with a crown and the date. These were used by politicians at the time to allow easy communication to constituents etc..

One of the fronts is addressed to Lt OBrien, Ramsey, Isle of man and dated 14 Sept. 1838. Palmerston is in manuscript to the bottom left of the front. The O'Brien could be Bronterre O'Brien who was into politics at the time and the Palmerston autograph is definitely that of the Prime Minister then. There are quite a few Palmerston signatures and fascimiles on the internet and it definitely matches them.

The other fronts, letters and covers in the lot are also very interesting, one of them having post office 'poached egg' training labels with a KGVI 1/2d stamp from the late 1930s.
Messages 1 2 

  Reply to this post:
  Register here


Select a discussion theme.
Register (or log in if you have not yet done so).

To start a new discussion topic:

Write the name of the topic in the 'Subject' box.
Type your message in the larger box to contribute.
Click 'Submit'.

To join a discussion topic:

Click on the discussion topic of your choice.
Type your message in the larger box to contribute.
Click 'Submit'.

To edit your message:

You can edit a message at any time after posting it as long as you're signed in.
Click on the 'Edit your message' link above the message.
Make your desired changes.
Click 'Submit'.

If you find you don't want to change the message after all, click on 'Return without changes'.

To set a chatmark:

Register (or log in if you have not yet done so).
Click on the "Set chatmark" link on the Chatter Box pages. This will set the time at which you have logged in.
Click on the "Go to chatmark" link to see all messages posted since you set your chatmark.

You can set your chatmark at any time and as often as you like.