Australia Post issued four stamps June 17 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the country’s 1914 stamps.
Each stamp in the new set is denominated 70¢, the basic domestic letter rate.
Australia Post says that these commemoratives are “modified designs of the original 1914 stamps.” Shown here is the 1914 1-penny red stamp (Scott 21) and the new 70¢ stamp, also in red.
The other 70¢ stamps, shown on page 20, are violet, green and maroon, respectively.
“A century ago, Australia’s stamp designs were ‘hot’ political topics, and there was much public discussion about their designs,” according to the new-issue announcement from Australia Post.
The Kangaroo and Map designs of 1913 were developed by Postmaster General Charles Frazer of the Labor Party. He considered this design “an effective advertisement” for Australia, according to Australia Post.
Frazer’s successor, Agar Wynne of the Commonwealth Liberal Party, decided to replace the Kangaroo and Map designs.
The new-issue announcement explained the reason behind this decision: “However, the absence of the traditional British monarch was believed by conservatives to be an insulting slight to Britain. Consequently, in mid-1913 plans were made to scrap the kangaroo in favour of stamps featuring the monarch, King George V.”
In newspaper reports, Wynne was quoted as saying that the George V designs “would make a very good stamp, being emblematic of Australia, and also of our loyalty to the empire.”
In addition to the profile of the king, the George V designs also included a kangaroo, an emu, a sprig of the plant wattle (Acacia), and a crown.
Australia’s first King George V stamp, a 1d red printed by intaglio, was issued Dec. 9, 1913 (Scott 17).
In the meantime, a typographed version of the King George V stamps was in the works. These stamps would be printed in Melbourne, but the dies and plates were created in England by Perkins, Bacon & Co., with some of the work subcontracted to De La Rue.
The first 1d King George V stamp printed by typography was released at the general post offices of Sydney and Melbourne July 17, 1914, according to Australia Post.
Stamps in other denominations paying commonly used rates also were issued over the next quarter of a century.
Australia Post said that during this period, 11.8 billion King George V stamps were produced.
John White of Australia Post Design Studio designed the new 70¢ commemoratives. Ego, a printer based in Mount Waverly, Australia, printed them by offset in sheets of 10.
According to Australia Post, the stamp issue also includes a souvenir sheet, a prestige booklet (with text and illustrations in addition to stamps) and a booklet of 10 self-adhesive stamps.
“This issue of George V-based designs marks an important era in Australian stamp production,” said Australia Post philatelic manager Michael Zsolt.
“The stamp issue also brings a new and exciting philatelic product to the range which we trust will spark interest amongst collectors,” he added.
The new product is a specimen pack with a fold-out design, containing the four 70¢ stamps in sheets of 10 and a fifth sheet of 10 with the four different stamps se-tenant (side-by-side) bearing “Specimen” and “OS” overprints.
The website of Australia Post’s philatelic shop is http://shop.auspost.com.au; the mailing address is Australian Philatelic Bureau, Box 4000, Ferntree Gully, Victoria 3156, Australia.
The Australian Stamp Agency in North America is located at 1 Unicover Center, Cheyenne, WY 82008-0010.