Presently I am preparing an exhibition display of my scarcest and rarest stamps based on varieties and proofs. The first display is the three stages of the crystalline cracks of the ½d kangaroo caused when the printer W.C.G. McCracken burnished Ash's imprint from the original 1938 plates and substituting Ash's with his thus weakening the plates. The three stamps shown is a unique combination as the first stamp depicting the very early state of crack is recorded as being the only one known by the Australian Commonwealth Specialist Catalogue.
EXHIBITION DISPLAY 1
½d KANGAROO CRACKED PLATES
Issued October 3, 1938
Watermark Multiple Crown & C of A
Perforation 13½ x 14
Designer & Engraver Frank Manley, Note Printing Branch, Melbourne
The first block of 4 shown is the only example that has been seen of a very early state of the crack, the cracked plate is a result of the weakening of the copper plate caused by the burnishing of the Ash imprint and substituting it with the “W.C.G. MCCRACKEN” imprint. The very early cracked plate is mentioned in the ACSC. “One example has been seen showing a very early state of the crack, without perforation pip below.”
Very early cracked plate
Early cracked plate .............................................................Late cracked plate
Two 2 types of this variety may exist. Type A with 4 shading lines in the loop of the “5” of 5d, and Type B with 5 shading lines in the loop of the “5” of 5d.
This stamp is Type B, and is from row 41.1. There is only 1 error sheet in existence with just 10 examples imperforate at left between the stamp and sheet margin. (This stamp is an image of the actual stamp that will be added to my collection in December, the certificate is in in my possession and is shown below)
Very scarce First Day Cover March 23, 1960 with booklet pair
ACSC page 8/267, note 1: “The existence of booklet stamps printed with ordinary (non-helecon) ink was first reported in early 1966 after the stamp had been discontinued. An official explanation was issued stating that these stamps were printed in error but that it was decided to issue the made-up booklets, distribution being restricted as far as practicable to States other than New South Wales and Victoria. Although used non-helecon stamps have been found in some quantity (probable many hundreds have been identified) mint unhinged stamps are rare. It is believed that only four complete booklets have been identified (Edition G6), a very small number of panes of 6, and a small number of single stamps.”
Edition G6 EDITION N8
ACSC page 8/267-8, note 3: “Edition N8 showing no shading dashes left side (Panel C 1/1, 3.5). It is believed that this variety was the result of damage to the alto plate, prior to the manufacture of the last three electros. These electros have been arbitrarily numbered (a), (b) and (c). A relatively small printing in red from electro (a) was made in this original state. Subsequently, the units were retouched and larger printings were made. Electros (b) and (c) are not known in their original state, and it is therefore assumed that recutting was performed prior to the first printings in red.”
Both Editions are rare
Very scarce non-helecon ink on cover postmarked February 10, 1966 (4 days before the introduction of decimal currency), bearing a single 5d red booklet stamp
ACSC 2015 "These proofs, identical to the issued stamps but with the perforation used for the 2d instead of the normal single-line perf 11, were unknown before 1988, when part of a sheet was acquired by an Australian dealer from a source in Great Britain, believed to be from the estate of John Ash, Australian Stamp printer. Newly-available archival records now enable the status of these stamps to be established as plate proofs. A proof sheet of the 1/- stamp submitted to the Post Office for approval is specifically mentioned as being comb perforated, as would be the issued stamps. This sheet duly approved, was duly returned to the Note Printing Branch, and would seem to have been retained by Ash for some reason, rather than being destroyed, as was normally the case. Subsequently, the 1/- sheets were perforated by the gauge 11 line machine. This was probably because the comb machine, designed for the 2d value, did not quite fit the 1/- sheets (the 2d design is very slightly longer than the 1/- due to the curvature of the plates).”
1935 ANZAC COMMEMORATION
Designer: B. Cottier (private artist, Melbourne), and modified by Frank Manley, Note Printing Branch, Melbourne Engraver: Frank Manley, Note Printing Branch, Melbourne Printer: 2d by rotary press, 1/- by flat-bed recess at the Note Printing Branch, Melbourne
Paper: Watermark Multiple Crown and C of A. For the 2d this was Wiggins Teape uncoated paper
For the 1/- specially coated chalk-surfaced paper was used which enabled flat-bed printing by the dry process
Varieties: ‘Man with tail’ (Row 25/1), Thick colour line (Row 33/2), ‘Pantaloon’ (Row 37/2) and ‘Koala in tree’ (R37/3) are on the same sheet (B or D) of a nickel electro (Type A, with centre imprint). Designers: E.N. Broad and Frank Manley at the Note Printing Branch, Melbourne. Engravers: The 2d original die was engraved by E.N. Broad and Frank Manley from a cylinder from which the figures of value were erased; two subsidiary dies were laid down for the 3d and 9d values. The engraving of the denominations on these was performed by T.C. Duffell. Paper: The stamps were rotary recess printed at the Note Printing Branch, Melbourne and printed on watermarked multiple Crown C of A. Perforation: 13.25 x 13.75 (13½ x 14) comb.
L to R: Man with tail: Pantaloon: Koala in tree: Thick colour line
Plating of the 2d Sesquicentennial and variety sequence at right
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