Australia is a continent, an island and a big country — roughly the same size as the United States excluding Alaska — but its population of 23.3 million is slightly less than that of Texas.
Australia’s history is likewise similar to the United States. Australia’s six original British colonies federated into the Commonwealth of Australia Jan. 1, 1901. The former colonies became states. Sound familiar?
The Commonwealth of Australia issued its first postage stamps in 1913. These typographed issues depict an outline map of Australia in the background and Australia’s signature fauna, a kangaroo, in the foreground.
The ½-penny green stamp in this series (Scott 1) is shown in Figure 1.
This kangaroo and map design was in use for a long time, from its original issue in 1913 to a redrawn 2-shilling denomination issued in 1945.
Thereafter, the kangaroo and map design reappeared on stamps intermittently.
In 1984 it was featured on a 30¢ stamp issued for the Ausipex World Stamp Exhibition (Scott 925), shown in Figure 2.
In 2004 a block of £2 Kangaroo and Map stamps was shown on a large $5 stamp (Scott 2284), which is pictured in Figure 3.
And in 2013 a $10 Kangaroo and Map stamp was issued at World Stamp Expo in Melbourne, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the original issue (Scott 3919).
To say the Kangaroo and Map stamps are popular is an understatement.
Forming a complete collection of all the Kangaroo and Map stamps and their varieties of watermarks, paper types, perforations gauges, color shades, perfins, overprints, printing varieties and so on can be an expensive pursuit.
However, narrowing the field gives any collector a chance to develop an affordable classic Australian Kangaroo and Map collection.
The key to maximizing the enjoyment of collecting is to discover a method of limiting the collection in a way that satisfies and enhances your personal interest in the subject.
If both economy and completion are your goals, then a quick glance at the Australia listings in the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue will inform you that the 1913 1d carmine shown in Figure 4 (Scott 2) is a good, affordable stamp.
Making it even better, the 1d Kangaroo and Map was replaced by the 1d King George V stamp (Scott 17) in July 1914, so those first stamps, printed by J.B. Cooke on “wide crown and wide A” watermarked paper, were in service for just a year and a half, making them a perfect choice for completing a classic collection of a single stamp on a tight budget.
Now here is where it gets really interesting.
If you just collect postally used examples of the stamp, then you might attempt to find postmarked stamps that represent each month in which the stamp was used.
Another choice is to find different types of cancels, such as the numeral cancel shown in Figure 5. You could collect stamps that bear postmarks from each of the Australian states, too.
For those who like to delve into printing varieties, a number of them are explained and illustrated in the Brusden-White Australian Commonwealth Specialists’ Catalogue.
These varieties can be more difficult to spot, but once you find one or two of them it makes you feel like you have just discovered gold.
Remember that these are common, inexpensive stamps, but they are still worth close inspection.
A good starting place is the Scott catalog listings for Die I and Die II stamps.
Scott explains Die I as “the inside frameline has a break at the left, even with the top of the letters of the denomination. An example of this is shown at top in Figure 6. The catalog describes Die II as “The frameline does not show a break,” which is pictured at the bottom of Figure 6.
You will need a magnifying glass to check for these differences, but once you catch on, you will be able to spot other differences more quickly.
Beginning any new collection does not have to be intimidating or fearfully expensive. Start modestly, take little bites, dream big and don’t forget to have fun.
October 09, 2015 02:00 PMLinn’s managing editor Charles Snee reported the recovery of a block of three of the 1845 5¢ New York postmaster’s provisional stamp, once part of a block of 10 that was stolen from the Benjamin K. Miller collection in 1977. Read More ›
blogThis month marks my fifth anniversary writing the monthly auction report for Linn’s Stamp News. That’s 60 columns, totaling more than 100,000 words (enough for a decent-sized novel), all about our favorite hobby. Read More ›
blogWhen this cover was listed on eBay in mid-September, it didn't take long for some knowledgeable collectors to recognize this piece of postal history for the gem that it is: an early trans-oceanic survey cover for a Pacific route that included Midway Island, which would become famous as the location of a pivotal 1942 naval battle during World War II. Read More ›
blogIn mid-September I traveled to London, England, to attend Autumn Stampex, one of two British national stamp shows sponsored by the Philatelic Traders’ Society, Great Britain’s national stamp dealers association. The show took place Sept. 16-19 at the Business Design Centre in Islington (central north London), a comfortable and attractive venue for a stamp show. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses current events that relate to the stamp hobby, including the relocation of a stamp show in Sweden due to the Syrian refugee crises, and new stamps honoring Pope Francis and the British monarchy.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News associate editor Michael Baadke talks about a record fifth win for wildlife artist Joseph Hautman in the federal duck stamp art contest, and see the painting that will appear on next year’s federal duck stamp
Watch as Scott catalog senior editor Marty Frankevicz questions Bolivia’s choice for the design of a 2013 stamp honoring the country’s efforts to protect its migrants in foreign lands.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses the discovery of the upright Jenny Invert pane received in an order from Stamp Fulfillment Services in Kansas City, Mo., and also reports on the Confederate Stamp Alliance.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.