Commonwealth

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John Winchester  |  Apr 19, 2012  |  0 comments

It was a brief encounter, but a momentous one.

Charles Holmes, a young writer from Melbourne, peered across the vast rocky Australian outback to the west of Alice Springs, anxious to obtain photographs for a newly launched travel magazine.

Barely discernable in the shimmering haze, he picked out a magnificent example of Aboriginal manhood.

 |  Nov 04, 2010  |  0 comments

Rarity is always relative, but there are not many stamps of which only one example is believed to exist.

One such is the British Guiana 1c of 1856.

Such is its legendary status that the history of its ownership is as interesting as that of its design, printing and usage.

Julia Lee  |  Dec 01, 2010  |  0 comments

Burma 1938 1r purple and blue, with the tail-feathers of a peacock embracing the head of King George VI The medium values had attractive pictorial designs Lower Burma had been progressively occupied by the British as part of India in 1826 and 1852, and in 1885 General Sir Harry Prendergast was dispatched with 10,000 troops to acquire Upper Burma and complete the conquest.

In what became known as the Third Anglo-Burmese War, the troublesome King Thibaw, who had hoped to reunify his country, was banished to serve out the rest of his days in exile.

At a stroke, Burma became the largest province in British India, and the use of Indian stamps was extended to the newly annexed territory.

John Winchester  |  Jul 05, 2011  |  0 comments

Arthur Bartlett from New Brunswick was a trader in dry goods and drapery.

But in his spare time he was a philatelist, no doubt itching to become a stamp dealer.

Fortunately, one of his friends was none other than Donald King, the Postmaster of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and this acquaintance was to provide him with a unique opportunity.

John Winchester  |  Dec 22, 2010  |  0 comments

Did rubber tapping techniques really undergo radical change between 1935 and 1938? Today more than 70% of natural rubber comes from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

But in 1935 the British colony of Ceylon was a very important producer, and it was keen to reflect this in its pictorial definitive series of 1935-36.

Four of the 11 values were recess-printed by De La Rue, and the other seven by Bradbury Wilkinson.

Mark SBD  |  Jul 28, 2017  |  0 comments

Champlain celebration Canada 1908 Quebec Tercentenary ½c sepia, portraying the Prince and Princess of Wales 1908 was a champagne moment in Canada’s history, and the Tercentenary of Quebec was celebrated by a fine recess-printed set of portrait and pictorial stamps.

The first successful European colony in mainland Canada had been established in 1608, when the French navigator Samuel de Champlain retraced the voyages of discovery made more than 70 years earlier by his fellow countryman Jacques Cartier.

A small settlement at the confluence of the St Lawrence and St Charles rivers, initially simply named l’Habitation, would eventually grow into Quebec City.

John Winchester  |  Mar 14, 2012  |  0 comments

Many collectors recall the hectic events of August 18, 1966, when the ‘England Winners’ reprint of the World Cup 4d stamp went on sale.

More than 150 million copies of the original stamp had been printed, so when it was made known that the new issue would consist of only 12 million, speculation ran riot.

Jostling in post office queues was widely reported, supplies were quickly exhausted, and copies were changing hands for 40 times their face value.

John Winchester  |  Jan 21, 2011  |  0 comments

ABOVE: The top value had a magnificent portrait of King George V in the uniform of the Gordon Highlanders The Falkland Islands had enjoyed its own stamps since the 1870s, but its most memorable set had to wait until 1933, when it marked the Centenary of British Administration in some style, with its first truly pictorial series and its first printed in two colours.

It was early in 1833 that Britain had sent two warships to expel South American insurgents from the islands, and when the 24-year-old Charles Darwin arrived on HMS Beagle that March he was greatly relieved to see the Union flag flying aloft.

But the situation remained tense, and a few months later rebellious gauchos would run amok, slaughtering eight islanders loyal to Britain.

John Winchester  |  Nov 02, 2010  |  0 comments

Mint copy of the octagonal 4a The East India Company, which had a monopoly on the carriage of mail to and from British India, was still using antiquated hand-struck stamps into the 1850s.

A commission reviewing its efficiency suggested the introduction of adhesive stamps, akin to those of Great Britain.

However, the cost of commissioning Perkins Bacon to engrave copper plates and recess-print these would be prohibitive, so a cheaper local approach was required.

Julia Lee  |  Dec 01, 2010  |  0 comments

The Ionian Islands’ only set of stamps, issued in 1859, comprised the undenominated (½d) orange, (1d) blue and (2d) carmine Today, the Ionian Islands are a magnet for tourism, inspired by films such as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

But in the 19th century, this small archipelago off the west coast of Greece was thought of mainly as a strategic base for a naval fleet.

The islands had been passed from the Venetians to the French, to the Turks, to the Russians and back to the French again, before they were made a British protectorate in 1815.

John Winchester  |  Jan 05, 2011  |  0 comments

Jamaica, the largest island in the British West Indies, was the very first British colony to operate its own postal service, having a post office established shortly after it was siezed from the Spanish in the 17th century.

But for two centuries the colony’s governors failed to implement an efficient service.

In the end London threw down the gauntlet.

Julia Lee  |  May 17, 2012  |  0 comments

Between 1848 and 1851, more than 43,000 Britons settled in Natal, as Durban became a flourishing centre of trade in southern Africa.

By 1857 the colony duly got its first postage stamps, in the unusual form of embossed impressions in plain relief on coloured paper.

Two years later these were replaced by recess-printed stamps making use of the well-known Chalon portrait of Queen Victoria.

John Winchester  |  Feb 08, 2011  |  0 comments

ABOVE: North Borneo 1894 5c black and vermilion, depicting the great argus pheasant Mention British North Borneo to a Commonwealth collector and a number of responses are possible.

He may be beguiled by some of the most attractive and innovative issues to emerge at the end of the 19th century.

Equally, he may be confused by the seemingly endless array of cancelled-to-order remainders, printer’s waste, improbable perforations, spurious overprints and downright forgeries that exist.

John Winchester  |  Jul 05, 2011  |  0 comments

The portrait of Queen Victoria which had been used for Queensland’s first stamps in 1860 was based on Alfred Chalon’s fine watercolour of 1837, depicting her as an elegant 18-year-old Princess during her first royal engagement, the State Opening of Parliament.

The recess-printed issue was a fine opener for the colony, and showing the Queen looking so youthful, even though she was by now in her 40s, was understandable flattery.

Few, however, could have anticipated that stamps bearing this portrait would still have postal validity after she had died of old age! The ‘Small Chalons’ of 1860 ruled the roost for 19 years and became a symbol of Queensland.

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