Prior to Federation on 1 January 1901, Australia was made up of six of independent States and Colonies (under British rule): Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia. They all issued their own stamps, starting with New South Wales on January 1st 1850.
After Federation Australia issued stamps as a Commonwealth for all the States and Territories, although it did take a while to get organized: the first Australian stamp was issued in 1913 and marked the beginning of the "pre-decimal" era of stamp collecting. The values on these stamps were in the British monetary style of Pounds (£); shillings (20 s = 1£) and pence (12d = 1s or 1/-).
In 1966 Australia went through decimalization of its currency and weights and measures, the values on stamps changed to dollars and cents. This marks the start of the "decimal" era of stamp collecting.
The first issue of stamps of the pre-decimal era:
Kangaroo & Map Perf 12 on watermarked paper (Crown over A)
I've got a question about early Aussie watermarks... The Scott catalogues list various watermarks with wide crown & A, wide crown and narrow A, narrow crown & narrow A, etc. Today I was watermarking some roos & George V and found one that was unusual. It is a 3p George V light blue in color with a wide crown & narrow A watermark (watermark 9)which would make it Scott #30. But aside from the crown and the A there is a vertical line on the right side of the stamp (looking at it from the gum side). At first I thought it might be a line from a box cancel showing through but it appears to be a part of the watermark. Can anyone shed some light on this?
The single line can occur on the L or R side, top or bottom. This usually shows it as a marginal/edge of sheet copy. This can be important when trying to plate stamps, especially in the KGV era. Some issues had Commonwealth Australia watermark in the margins (selvage)
The only Crown over A watermark on KGV sideface issues is the second watermark. I think this was because the other watermarks didn't fit the format for the KGV sideface printing.
(The mark on 1d is an adherence on the scanner not on the stamp...)
Last Edit: Nov 7, 2013 2:01:33 GMT -5 by waroff49: additional information.
The 1d Red (and shades) only came with the 1st watermark (large Crown over large A) Perf 12. Original printer J B Cooke. Originally printed 240 per sheet but later reduced to 120. (240 was unwieldy to handle at the Post Offices. Nine plates were used in various combinations. There are 3 different dies which are characterized by different flaws in the master.
The 1d Red kangaroo was replaced by the 1d red KGV engraved sideface and later by the 1d red KGV Typo Useage approx. 1,000,000 a day.
The first series with watermark 1. (large crown over large A) were ½d green, 1d red, 2d grey, 2½d blue, 3d olive, 4d orange, 5d brown, 6d blue, 9d violet, 1/- green, 2/- brown. Values above 2/- were bi-colored with a black kangaroo ( shades of black/grey)- the 5/- was yellow/grey, the 10/- was pink/grey, the £1 was blue/brown and the £2 was red/black.
The ½d green and 1d red, 4d orange and 5d brown were only printed with this watermark. These values were eventually replaced by the KGV sideface issues.
Varieties- punctured Large OS (all values), punctured small OS -[all values]( for Official service by Govt. departments) and the 10/-, £1 and £2 were hand-stamped SPECIMEN for sale at a reduced price to collectors (in collector sets).
The 10/- N.W. Pacific Islands is the correct watermark. Overprinted for use in the islands mandated to Australia after WW I Most were former German territories except British New Guinea, where control was handed over by the British Government.
Note: At the time NWPI overprinted stamps were much cheaper than the un-overprinted types. The £2 has a telegraph puncture which reduces its value considerably. Postally used £2 has a cat. value of $4,000.00 - way out of my range. The £1 has a corner missing (CV $2,500.00 for good used)
The next issue used watermark -small multiple paper only had 7 values- 6d brown, 9d violet, 1/- green, 2/- maroon, 5/- yellow/grey, 10/- pink grey and £2 red/black.
The £1 grey was dropped from the series.
The final Kangaroos were printed on multiple crown-CofA watermarked paper. Some of the values lasted well past the death of KGV and into the reign of KG VI (Coronation Robes set-1938 replaced 5/-,10/- and £1.) The £2 Roo was not replaced until 1950 by the Coat of Arms series.
Last Edit: Nov 7, 2013 9:00:25 GMT -5 by waroff49: deleted second scan, added information
The high value Roos were printed in a two part process, first the colored vignette then the Roo. Some times the Roo has its head sticking out into the Indian Ocean, at other times his tail dipping in the Pacific Ocean. There are also several variations in the Roos head and tail.
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