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Oceania/Australia : Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
28 Jul 2019
08:08:39am
Australia's first inner-capital city airmail service was inaugurated between Perth and Adelaide on June 2, 1929. The weekly service connected with inward and outward shipping between Fremantle and Europe for the purpose of expediting the transit of overseas mail within Australia. The 3d airmail stamp was issued on May 20, 1929 to mark the commencement of the aerial service, but the stamp remained in use as a definitive issue until 1938.

The stamp design was chosen from several preliminary designs prepared at the Note Printing Branch by a board of experts appointed by the Post Office. The selected design depicts a DH66 de Havilland biplane, of the type used on the airmail service, flying across a pastoral scene. Although inscribed “AIR MAIL SERVICE”, the stamp could be used freely for ordinary postal purposes.

The 1929 airmail stamp has no watermark and all were printed on damped paper with the mesh facing in either direction which led to the production of two sizes of stamps due to shrinkage of the paper across the direction of the mesh after printing.

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Type A is on the left and Type B on the right.

TYPE A: Size of design 31 x 22mm - Mesh of paper vertical
TYPE B: Size of design 31.75 x 21.5mm - Mesh of paper horizontal

All printings of the 1929 airmail stamp were made between October 1928 and May 1929, previous suggestions by authors in the past that there were later printings made during the dry process are incorrect.

There are numerous variations relating to this issue some are rare, for example, the “long wing” which is only found in the booklet issue which is not included in this post, I will eventually post the varieties of this issue which will include the “long wing”.

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Type A is on the left and Type B on the right.

The punctured OS stamps were distributed to all States between June and August 1929. Federal Members of parliament also received supplies, and cancelled-to-order (CTO) stamps were included in collector’s sets. The initial distribution comprised of 146,000 stamps; it has been stated that approximately 180,000 stamps were punctured.

All plate numbers and the imprint exist of the punctured OS. But these are very scarce, and dangerous fakes exist.

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Booklet Type A is on the left and Booklet Type B on the right.

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Booklet Type A
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Booklet Type B

Booklet Type A: Dot situated below the base of the perforation in the top middle of the stamp as shown.
Booklet Type B: Dot situated on the base of the perforation in the top middle of the stamp as shown.

Single stamps booklets are identified by a dot in the centre of the of the top and bottom margin of each stamp. These dots are occasionally removed by the perforations. Booklets were first issued in May 1930, and contained three panes of 4 3d stamps plus a pane of airmail etiquettes.

1929 Official Black and White Publicity Photo.

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Reverse

From the late Arthur Gray collection, now part of my collection.

In a few weeks I will be purchasing a microscope to highlight the different mesh on these papers and will post the images.

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
Horamakhet
28 Jul 2019
05:13:15pm
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Rob

Very fascinating, can hardly wait for episode two

I have not been lucky enough to find a long wing version, but I will keep searching.

Horamakhet

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
28 Jul 2019
06:22:58pm
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Horamakhet

It is a very interesting set of stamps (now 90 years old), being Australia's first official airmail stamp, the way they were manufactured and the two mesh types. The second half of this post will show in detail the position of the mesh, which will expose the intricate mesh weaving of both types.

The "long wing" variety as mentioned can only be found in the booklets; the tip of the top right wing has a colour flaw about 1-2mm long giving the impression that the top right wing is longer, it is a near impossible stamp to find and very expensive if bought, and it is the key stamp to complete the set of 1929 airmail stamps.

But who knows, rare stamps can be found in unexpected places.

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The "long wing" flaw.

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
Kapul
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31 Jul 2019
07:22:54am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Rob, I was very lucky to buy a cover for my "Faith in Australia" collection and once I received it I found it had the long wing flaw and the dot in the perf. See below.Image Not Found
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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
31 Jul 2019
03:54:07pm
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Kapul

That is a quite interesting registered cover, a postally used “long wing” (identified as a Type B) on its own is worth a few hundred dollars but on a registered cover with NZ stamps is scarcer and worth a lot more.

But I doubt the authenticity of the stamps as one of the cancellations is a commemorative cancellation dated “1984”, that was placed on the cover 35 years ago which would not have been seen on the cover which is 85 years old and 50 years older than the more recent commemorative strike.

And if it is real and someone had it stamps in 1984 with the commemorative cancellation, the recent cancellation would have ruined the cover but not the stamp, though at the moment I believe that the stamps may not be authentic.

I will look further into the purpose of the commemorative cancellation today and whether the stamps are authentic or not.

Rob

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
31 Jul 2019
07:24:25pm
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Kapul

My apologies, had a closer look and had shown the cover to an expert and it turns out that your cover is authentic and the "8" is actually a "3".

As it is not the actual contemporary first flight cover for the stamp which would have given it a good value (1929), the first flight cover you have is of a first flight 5 years later.

The cover is collectable but the price of the cover I originally thought would be a few hundred dollars is actually worth less than a $100 from what I was told.

Rob







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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
Kapul
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03 Aug 2019
07:39:58am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Rob,
The purple Trans-Tasman Air Mail cachet tricks a lot of people out by reading it as 1984 instead of the correct 1934. The cover I posted above is to commemorate the sixth flight by Cmd.Ulm’s plane “The Faith in Australia”, Australia - New Zealand – Australia, 12th-14th April 1934.

Covers are found with a combination of various Australian and New Zealand stamps. See below.Finding a so called first day cover would be reasonable hard as Post Offices would accept mail many days before the flights departure, and would generally cease acceptance at the close of business the day prior to the flight.

And yes many of these Commerative flight covers can be purchased for less than $100, however with a catalogued value stamp of $325 tied to it I doubt you would buy it for less than $100.
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Kapul
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03 Aug 2019
07:52:19am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Rob,
Apologies the cover I first posted with the extended wing variety is the "Faith in Australia" 8th.flight New Zealand to Australia 2nd July 1934.The covers above are for the 6th flight.

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
03 Aug 2019
08:15:42pm
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Kapul

They are very nice historical covers, and thanks for the brief history of the covers. As a collector since 1968 (I became a specialised collector in 1976); I since learned that catalogues are best used for reference and identification guides and to ignore the catalogue value as the catalogue value has no relevance to the actual value of the stamp.

For instance, I have a stamp that in 2015 was catalogued at $150, an erroneous value for the actual value of this rare item, in 2019 when the new edition was published the value was raised to $750, the proper value, in the new catalogue, a stamp that has a maximum market value of $150 is valued at $2050, another erroneous value that is sure to upset the person who will try and sell the stamp expecting a little nest egg.

The "long wing" is worth around $850 on the market if it is mint unhinged; in the 2015 ACSC (Australian Commonwealth Specialists' Catalogue) it is slightly erroneously valued at $950.

If the variety stamp is used it is worth less than $100, though it is mentioned as $250 in the 2015 ACSC, again an inflated value typical of catalogues, and with other stamps the catalogue shows deflated values.

If the variety was on a 1929 first day cover, the year of issue, collectors would eagerly buy the cover as it is a very sought after cover, they will not have any interest in the variety.

Collectors who collect varieties will be looking for the variety in used, mint unhinged and mint lightly hinged conditions; the used stamp will be the lesser of the 4 conditions.

There are many variety collectors who will buy a used "long wing", but do not expect to get an offer past the $100 mark, even though the catalogue says different.

No stamp dealer will buy at catalogue value; get a dealer to price that particular cover and you will see what I mean.

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
Kapul
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04 Aug 2019
02:06:43am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Rob,
I love the fact that we can agree to disagree. Before this post started I had rejected two separate offers on my cover, both well over $100 – closer to $200.But I am not interested in selling, the cover is part of my “Faith in Australia” collection, and by your own words:-
“ it is a near impossible stamp to find and very expensive if bought,”.

Totally agree with you regarding catalogues they are only a reference book really. So over priced on some items and very under priced on others. I purchased a stamp in 1959/60? and even though the catalogue value has risen steadily I would be hard pushed to get my money back today.

Over the years I have purchased a number of collections that the Australian section always seemed to contain a 5/- Harbour Bridge, mint, used or cto, but none of the same collections ever contained a mint or used “long wing”. Yet the 5/- is cataloged at more than the "long wing”. On ebay today there are 50 odd 5/- bridges for sale and only one "long wing”!!!.

For a few years I have been trying to locate a couple of stamps for my own collecting field, of low catalogue value. I have approached major world dealers, including SG, have a standing order with a some, watch the auctions and have advertised in magazines and clubs, with no luck. At the price listed in catalogues these stamps should be everywhere, but they are so under catalogued it’s not funny.

As you say dealers cannot pay catalogue value, or the true market value, nor do I, they have to make their money somehow, but in this case I would gladly pay twice catalogue value for these stamps I’m chasing. So it comes back to the old adage “Supply and Demand”.


Even though I do not collect Australia I really enjoy reading your posts, full of knowledgeable information.


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Horamakhet
04 Aug 2019
08:20:31am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Rob & Kapul

This is my second "The Faith in Australia cover, which has different stamps to the first one which I have shown previously.

unfortunately, this one has a tear in the envelope, but I got it as part of a collection of Australian stamps that I purchased.

According to the "The Australian Airmail Catalogue" ( my edition is the 1984, 4th reprint) there were four different designs for the envelopes, on both blue and white papers. My first copy though is actually a hand typed envelope. ( I have added it for comparison)

I wonder how many different versions of the covers exist.

Horamakhet

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DaveSheridan
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04 Aug 2019
09:19:50am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

I'm fortunate to have the long wing both mint and used


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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
04 Aug 2019
09:58:38am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Kapul

If some-one offered nearly $200 for the cover that’s very good; seems someone really wanted it. A collection of “Faith in Australia” covers must be a difficult project as it would be ongoing. All my time is tied up with KGVI and QEII, though I do dabble in the odd KGV and QV issues.

“Supply and Demand” is the key words for a good stamp, and some early varieties can be underrated. I will have to admit I haven’t seen many around, though there is a MUH 1929 3d airmail booklet pane showing the “Long Wing” variety on the lower left stamp currently for sale in Melbourne.

I did see one of the First Flight covers sold at auction with the signatures of both pilots.

I'm glad you enjoy reading my posts as I try to give as much history as possible for interesting reading.

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
04 Aug 2019
10:02:17am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Horamakhet

Nice cover, eventually I'll get one or two.

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
Kapul
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04 Aug 2019
06:45:37pm
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Horamakhet,
For your info apart from yours the others are as below.Hope this helps.
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auldstampguy
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Just one more small cover .....
04 Aug 2019
07:30:39pm
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Guys,
Thanks for a very interesting discussion and some great covers. Please forgive my ignorance on this, but why did these covers need stamps from both Australia and New Zealand?

Regards ... Tim.

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Rob1956
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Member ACCC (Australian Commonwealth Collectors Club of NSW)
04 Aug 2019
11:51:31pm
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Hi Tim

Good question.

Rob

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"Specialised Collector of Australian Pre-Decimal & Decimal Stamps"
DaveSheridan
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05 Aug 2019
03:33:09am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Covers with stamps from two countries (Aust-NZ or Aust-Papua) are so-called "boomerang" covers because they come back!

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DaveSheridan
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05 Aug 2019
03:44:11am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

This cover makes it a little clearer. Posted in NZ, addressed to NZ "via Australia". The plane lands in Australia, the mail is received and franked as such, Australian stamps are applied to the cover to pay postage to NZ, and loaded onto the plane for the return flight

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Kapul
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05 Aug 2019
07:18:12am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Rob,
Regarding signed covers etc.see below.

The third flight undertaken by Cmd.Ulm in his plane “Faith in Australia” was from Australia to New Zealand on the 3rd December 1933. The crew was Cmd.C.Ulm, G.Allan and R.Boulton.

Cmd.Ulm had special postcards printed to commemorate this flight, which should have been in November 1933, as printed on the cards, but for some reason was delayed till December 1933. They were signed by the crew and sold as a revenue source for the flight.

On this flight Cmd.Ulm took his wife and his secretary Miss E Rogers as passengers. They were the first women to fly across the Tasman Sea.

Three hundred of these cards were acquired by E.A.Crome, 1902-1987 businessman and stamp collector of aviation history, and can be found carried on later Tasman, Pacific and other flights suitable endorsed or overprinted. The card below is one of these and was flown on the 6th Flight 12th – 14th April 1934 from Australia to New Zealand to Australia and self addressed to E.A.Crome, Stanmore, NSW, Australia. The address is hardly readable on the front of this card.

The interesting thing about this card is that it is also signed by Ulm’s secretary E.Rogers, bottom left corner, who was on the 1933 flight. Image Not Found





























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Kapul
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05 Aug 2019
07:19:31am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Oops forgot to load the front scan.

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Kapul
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05 Aug 2019
07:42:01am
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Tim,
They can sometimes be found with stamps of three countries as below. Posted in New Zealand to Australia, then on to Papua and return to Australia. Makes for interesting collecting.

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auldstampguy
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Just one more small cover .....
05 Aug 2019
07:37:50pm
re: Australia’s First Inter-Capital City Airmail Stamp

Thanks Dave. I appreciate the explanation.

So, in your scenario, starting in NZ, flying to Australia and then returning to NZ, who pays the Australian postage? I'm struggling to understand how the sender knows how much Australian postage will cost, or do they pre-pay, with a special deal between the two countries.

Either way, I think these are incredibly interesting covers to collect and I wish I had some. Applause

Regards ... Tim.

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