Stamp collecting is on the whole a very popular hobby all over the world. This also rings true in Australia where many types of people have a strong interest in philately. There is a good variety of common and collectible Australian stamps issued each year. It is often surprising to see which stamps are most popular amongst collectors. The most popular in Australia is determined each year as thousands of locals vote for their favourite design. First place receives the distinguished Australia Post stamp design award. Some past winners include:
Sports treasures 2005: this line was particularly popular with sports lovers (Australia is a great sporting nation), and included pictures of Donald Bradman’s baggy green, Marjorie Jackson’s running spikes, Lionel Roses boxing gloves and Phar laps racing silks.
Working dogs 2008: this line featured images of working dogs such as German shepherds and border collies. The most popular of these was a working dogs stamp issue which depicted a border collie.
Australian songbirds 2009: this was a particularly beautiful range and included images of the mangrove golden Whistler, the Green catbird, the Scarlet honeyeater and the noisy scrub bird.
Rare Australian stamps.
Like stamp collectors from around the world Australian philatelists thoroughly enjoy finding the most rare and valuable Australian stamps to add to their collection. These are generally older stamps with distinctive or memorable designs although having said that, age is not the only factor in determining a stamps value. If a stamp was produced in large quantities and many copies still remain, this will of course drive the price down. Scarcity is the most important factor in determining the value of a stamp. Here are a few examples.
Inverted swan stamp 1855: this stamp is extremely rare and was one of the first to ever feature an inverted frame error. The Black Swan on the stamp was inadvertently printed upside down. With only 15 of these stamps remaining in existence they are currently valued at US$60,000 each.
King George V head stamps: many stamps depict King George V, but these are not all valuable. King George V stamps which include a dull green seahorse issue stamp 1913 and a turquoise royal cipher stamp 1912 with an inverted watermark are examples of some of the rarer issues.
Sir Charles Kingsford Smith 1931: Sir Charles Kingsford Smith was the first living Australian to be shown on an Australian stamp. A set that was presented to Sir Charles by the Australian postmaster general is one of the rarest of these.
Where to buy Australian stamps
As with stamp collecting in any country there are many different options and places to find and buy common, collectible and rare Australian stamps. Stamp bulletin features pictures of and information about a wide range of stamps and includes a mail order catalogue in each issue. For locals there are specialty shops where stamps can be bought though these are becoming fewer and less since the advent of the web. There is also a wide range of online stores providing wide ranges of common, collectible, and rare Australian stamps.
What’s my collection worth?
There are many ways to obtain valuations for your Australian stamp collection. Local stamp collecting clubs and societies can be a fantastic source of information or if you are lucky enough to have a local specialty store whose opinion you trust this is also a good place to start. Some websites offer valuation services though they may require you to be a member first.
Many Australian stamp collectors may be unaware of the number of past attempts to forge rare Australian stamps. Possibly the most famous of these attempts occurred in 1932 when a fraudster tried to forge the very rare ‘two pound kangaroo on map’ stamp.
Australian philately seems to have an interesting and colourful history and continues to be a delightful hobby for both beginner and expert collectors alike.