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Oceania/Australia : ERRORS THAT COULD EARN YOU MONEY

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
14 Jan 2019
10:30:04pm
Look out for stamps with errors if you want to make a difference in your collection. Not all errors (varieties) are scarce, rare, very rare or even extremely rare, and many will not have much value, but having these errors does make a difference in your collection.

Like all types of collectables, philately has been subject to market fluctuations, notably in the 1970s, when a heavily inflated market burst, leaving many investors burnt. But some believe this was caused by unscrupulous dealers flooding the market with heavily promoted, second-rate material. Since then dealers have worked together to police the industry and make stamps a safer investment. Prices have been steadily rising since the early Nineties.

While major errors are constant on all or part of a sheet, varieties tend to appear as one stamp on every sheet or just one stamp on a particular sheet. These are much harder to find and when found on the market; mainly specialised collectors will be willing to pay the premium asked.

Only recently in 2016, emergency CPS (Counter Printed Stamps) of the 30 cent adhesive issues were printed by the Adelaide General Post Office, there were six in a set. A Kangaroo with joey; 4 Koala bears on a tree branch; A jumping Kangaroo; A Koala walking on the ground; Two red Kangaroos; a Koala lying asleep on its back on a tree branch.

There was also a $1.00 value of the emergency stamps made. Through an artificially inflated price caused by initial excitement and the frenzy on eBay, the 30 cent emergency issues were being feverishly bought for thousands of dollars, some have paid $8,000 plus to buy the set of six 30 cent adhesive stamps.

Though technically a stamp, these stamps are a bad investment (and the “investors” who paid thousands of dollars for a set is in for a rude awakening when they attempt to cash in on their “nest egg”).

Local stamp dealers will not buy them; do not expect much in the way of an auction house. The Stanley Gibbons catalogue on Australian stamps refuses to acknowledge them as stamps but as labels, and Stanley Gibbons made it clear that they do not include labels in their catalogues.

Major errors need a recognised certificate of authenticity to prove their provenance as there are many counterfeits of major errors and counterfeits of rare overprints being offered on the internet, especially eBay.

When it comes to rare imperforate stamps it is wise to purchase a recognised certificate of authenticity as there are many counterfeits where the perforations of their cheaper counterpart had been removed.

There are cases, and I am very familiar with one particular stamp where even reputable stamp dealers can get it wrong, and it will cost the buyer the loss of thousands of dollars, such stamps must, and I cannot emphasis that enough, must be accompanied with a recognised certificate of authenticity; and if the stamp does not have the required certificate, even if the possibility of it being authentic, stay clear of it; these stamps must always be sold with the certificate.

Also, expertising certificates (certificates of authentication) will increase the value of the stamp and the stamp will be much more in demand.

What is flyspecking? Flyspecking is looking for varieties in stamps that would need great magnification in locating the error, or visible errors that have no relevant importance. But that does not make the variety less interesting than a major variety; there is a lot of philatelic interest in flyspecking.

Some of the things to look for when identifying a variety of interest:

a) Inverted watermarks – Some of these watermarks are common as many can be purchased around $40 or less, whereas other inverts can command many hundreds to a few thousand dollars.

b) Altered colour - Caused by incorrect mixing of pigments or a missing colour (changelings caused by strong light, chemical, deliberate alterations or moisture render the stamp useless).

c) Imperforate stamps – Be very careful, these stamps could have had the perforations removed or they are misplaced perforations mistaken for imperforations. If you have one, have the stamp professionally expertised, it could net you many hundreds to thousands of dollars if it is authentic.

d) Missing values or part of fractions always attract a healthy market value.

e) Double and triple overprints – These are specialised stamps and mostly are sought after by philatelists who specialise in major varieties. These stamps are worth good money, the B.C.O.F. double and triple overprints are very rare and command anything up to a thousand dollars or more.

f) Paper type: There is thick and thin paper, some thin papers are known as “pelure” the transparency is more prominent and is much thinner. Both the thin and “pelure” paper is the scarcer than the thick paper.

g) Unknown (unlisted varieties) – Although the majority of unlisted varieties have no real marketable value, there are some that are worth up to a hundred dollars to thousands of dollars each.

h) Plate numbers - There are plate numbers that are worth less than a hundred dollars to hundreds and even thousands of dollars, if you do have one, check the ACSC or post it online, I should be able to help you with that query.

i) Cracked Plates – These are very difficult to find, some can be valuable, and again I should be able to help you with that query.

Who knows what you may have or what you may find, happy hunting.

Thin paper vs transparent (translucent) paper –

Although thin paper is transparent paper, not all transparent papers are considered thin, and this is where many philatelists are caught in this confusion, I will try to explain with images of the £2 Coat-of-Arms and the 1942 Emu 5½d.

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The stamp on the left is transparent paper but not thin, the stamp on the right is thin paper.

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Again we can see the difference in the 5½d stamp, transparent on the left and thin paper on the right.

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Above, the stamp on the left is an extremely rare sheet stamp with the imperforation at left between the stamp to the sheet margin, it is accompanied by a recognised certificate of authenticity. The stamp on the right has misplaced perforations and is from a booklet of stamps, it is being sold as an imperforate for a few thousand dollars by a stamp dealer, the booklet stamp does not have a certificate of authenticity; the true value is no more than a few hundred dollars.

The thin paper emu is rare and at present no other has been recorded or seen on the market.

Both the £2 Coat-of-Arms on thin paper are very rare, the thin paper without roller flaw is seldom seen on the market, but that does not mean one will not be found in a collection, there are not that many, but there is always that possibility.

The £2 Coat-of-Arms with roller flaw on thin paper, only two exist (top and bottom sheet), the stamp I have is from the top sheet, and the other from the bottom sheet was sold at auction recently, the stamp from the top sheet is well centred and the stamp from the bottom sheet is centred to the right.

Both £2 stamps have certificates.

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
ernieinjax
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15 Jan 2019
02:10:51am
re: ERRORS THAT COULD EARN YOU MONEY

Rob, thank you for this informative write up. Great information from you as always. Have the Adelaide 30c labels come back to earth yet? I suspect that those items will fetch big bucks for a long time. Whether they are included in a stamp catalogue or not they seem to be just about "official" as you can get. I think enough mystique was created around their issue and there are so few that they will be a hot item for a long, long time.

Here is a current eBay auction for one used on piece. It has 5 days remaining but it already has 18 bids:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-2016-30c-Koala-Emergency-printing-Adelaide-counter-stamp-Used-on-piece/283333715198?hash=item41f80164fe:g:yg0AAOSwEZcNqL8

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
15 Jan 2019
04:51:54am
re: ERRORS THAT COULD EARN YOU MONEY

Hi Ernie

Thanks for the comment, I like sharing whatever knowledge and experiences I have with stamps. I do not think reality will set in with the Adelaide 2016 30 cent emergency issue, not while there are others keeping the hype alive.

I have seen the value of those particular stamps sink like a lead ball in a bucket of snow. I asked around by contacting major and local stamp dealers if they would if approached to buy a set or even one, not one would have anything to do with them, also, there is no Australian catalogue that mentioned the Adelaide 2016 issue, except Renniks, it mentions the value just over $4,000 but it came with a warning that the price mentioned is based on what they were being sold for on eBay and not an official value that can be supported by Renniks.

The 2016 SG catalogue stated these stamps as "counter-printed labels", they also said "$1 values in the same designs and also inscribed "Adelaide 2016" were released on 2 February 2016, but were not on general sale at post offices and, as other counter-stamped labels, are outside the scope of the catalogue"".

Also, it should be noted that the value of these "stamps" were generated by the hype individuals created over the internet, it was not valued by experts in that field.

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
51Studebaker
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Dialysis, damned if you do...dead if you don't
15 Jan 2019
06:24:39am
re: ERRORS THAT COULD EARN YOU MONEY

Thanks for the informative and interesting article Rob.

It is always fun to find a less common stamp, no doubt about it. In my opinion our hobby also offers an incredible window into different cultures, history, and art. Additionally philately offers great comradery and common ground at a time when many of us feel divided. And unlike finding a rarity, these are things that any collector can expect to glean from our hobby.

Rob has many years of experience, this makes knowing what to look for and being able identify stamps much quicker than a typical hobbyist. Having a roomful of reference material also greatly helps in identifying less common stamps. It should also be noted that Rob operates at a financial level that not all hobbyist can afford. This leaves many of us only able to sort through tens of thousands of stamps hoping to find something unusual. Plenty of fun and something to do on a cold winter evening, but not likely to result in a significant collection of rarities.

Lastly, as Rob noted, you have to be leery of the marketing hype that surrounds some ‘errors’. For whatever reason(s), error collecting has always had a fair share of dealers who excel at procuring the material and then hyping their wares. Applying a cutesy marketing name to a normal printing variation does not make a stamp a good investment or a rarity. And for collectors who work at Rob’s level, they should be aware that sometimes additional copies are found. So while you may have purchased a ‘only 2 known’ today, tomorrow that may change.
Don

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"Current Score... Don 1 - Cancer 0"

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
15 Jan 2019
09:53:37pm
re: ERRORS THAT COULD EARN YOU MONEY

Thanks Don for your comment, I see stamps are more than just a colourful design, they are little encyclopaedia’s that tell a story, as you succinctly described about the “different cultures, history, and art”.

The comradery in philately is the glue that holds the global interest in stamps together; we speak the same language regardless of the language barrier that separates our culture.

I have been collecting professionally since 1976 (43 years this year) and I have accrued a wealth of information and a nice little reference library which I update if needs be, and the hunt for rare stamps became an important part of my collecting.

My late brother fuelled my interested in stamps, he passed away when I was 13, he was 22 years old, his stamp album was given to me when I turned 20, I still have that very album today, and even though the stamps have little monetary value, the album to me is priceless.

It is true that one can sort through many stamps in their possession but not likely to result in a significant collection of rarities, but then there is always that one lucky strike that will make a difference.

And if you cannot find any rarities, looking for varieties is one fun way of passing the time (if they are KGVI definitive issues I most likely can identify the sheet position of the variety), I’m always looking for varieties.

Last year I bought what is known as research stamps of the KGVI 1938-52 ½d Kangaroo (Wallaroo), it is a very large collection consisting of 5 large A3 art folders with plastic sleeves, holding complete sheets and complete coil sheets (one coil sheet had to be folded to fit into an A3 plastic sleeve as it consisted of 640 stamps); as well as smaller folders holding custom pages with singles, pairs, blocks of 4, 8 and 16 stamps, in total just over 4,000 stamps.

The collection also has an unfinished book, which I intend to finish with a better approach into identifying the varieties of the ½d roos and properly plating them, at the moment one would need an engineer’s degree just to understand the original format of the book, the research began in 1952; so far I have counted over 300 different varieties, some varieties having a completed progression (development in stages).

Yes, it is very important not to fall for hyped up “manufactured rarities”, the “Adelaide 2016” 30 cent emergency “stamps” is a very good example; the price started small and then in a short time skyrocketed into the stratosphere worth literally thousands of dollars.

The value and rarity status was not decided upon by professional expertisers or a team of stamp experts in the field of evaluating stamps, whereas the end result will eventually make it into official catalogues and recognised nationally and internationally, but instead, its “rarity” status and hyped up value is only within the eBay community, and this is mostly where you will see them being sold.

I liken the “Adelaide 2016” 30 cent emergency “stamps” to the cryptocurrency “BitCoin”. It is only worth money in the Cyberspace community, and only those within that community would want to purchase “BitCoins”; whereas real money is universally accepted.

I would rather buy my stamps from experts than to rely on a community where the rarity and value is manufactured and only recognised by a group of people who do not have the expertise to provide any official background to support their claim relating to the over-inflated prices of which they are willing to pay.

I have two dealers in mind that excel at procuring material and then hyping their wares, and they still do that to this very day, I’ve seen how people are taken in thinking they are being given quality stamps which truthfully they are really not given.

Collecting varieties are not every collector’s cup of tea, collectors who specialise in varieties will find these errors interesting and in some cases will pay for them, the club I attend, the members there have a great interest in varieties.

I have an album full of varieties, and always find that album the most interesting of all the albums I have, I love varieties, they are different, they are interesting and they can be unique.

Quote:

"And for collectors who work at Rob’s level, they should be aware that sometimes additional copies are found. So while you may have purchased a ‘only 2 known’ today, tomorrow that may change."


That is true, though there are a few exceptions from ever finding another anytime in the future, such as the 1959 5d with the imperforate left side which only 10 exist, there are no others; and the £2 coat-of-Arms with roller flaw on thin paper to which only 2 exist.

But Don is correct when saying that two may be known today, but tomorrow that may change; the 5½d 1942 Emu on thin paper is a good example, there is only one currently known, and that is the copy I have, but, no printer would make a single copy. This stamp was made during WWII and paper was very scarce, and more affordable printing paper was tested, though there is no information found to say how many were printed on thin paper, it would be obvious that there are more, and most likely in collections.

There is supposed to be a thin paper 1/3d Hereford Bull, I have never seen one, The Juzwin’s have never seen one, none has ever been on the market, yet it is listed in the ACSC, Andy Juzwin and myself believe that a thin paper version never existed and that the ACSC is incorrect for stating that a thin paper version existed, the value of the “thin paper” in the ACSC is valued at $75, if the thin paper did exist it would be worth much more.

There may be one in a collection, if so, I will definitely buy it regardless of the stamp being used or not (I draw the line on hinged stamps, but I do know of a dealer who would be interested).

The local stamp dealer and others in NSW have never heard of a thin 5½d Emu and my suspicion is that these stamp dealers may have the thins mixed up with the normal paper, and as you can see from the images supplied, normal translucent paper have a similar appearance to thin paper.

The £2 Coat-of-Arms on thin paper without the roller flaw is a very rare stamp and very seldom seen on the market, yet there will be collections that have used copies of the thin paper £2 without knowing, used copies of these very rare stamps are still very rare, especially if it’s on cover.

There is one thing I failed to mention, if your stamp(s) have a corner selvedge, do not remove it (especially if it’s a pre-decimal), as it makes identification of its position on the sheet much easier to plate (if the selvedge has rust, photograph or scan the stamp and then remove the selvedge).

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
Horamakhet
24 Jan 2019
02:38:00am
re: ERRORS THAT COULD EARN YOU MONEY

Hi Rob

Just when I thought it was safe, you come up with more interesting information.

I have hundreds of 5&1/2d emu, and now I will have to check if any are thin paper, and also the Hereford Bull

Unfortunately mine are all used.

More sleepless nights.

Horamakhet

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
24 Jan 2019
05:31:10am
re: ERRORS THAT COULD EARN YOU MONEY

Hi Horamakhet

I like to add a real treasure hunt along with what I consider important information. With the 5½d emu a used thin paper copy is as good as an unused one, both are rare. And if you find a Hereford Bull on thin paper you will be in possession of a very scarce thin paper used or unused, and the holder of a stamp that has eluded my collection for 40 years.

Remember, the regular 5½d emu is partially transparent, it looks very much the same as a thin, this is why many collectors think they have one, if you suspect that you may have one (or more), a micrometer would be needed to check the thickness of the paper.

As I have mentioned in my top thread "all thin papers translucent but not all translucent papers are thin."

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
        
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