Wednesday, 10 April 2013

A Commemorative Winner

60th Anniversary of the Queen's Coronation

The 9th April may seem like a rather strange date for the release of Australia's QEII Coronation Diamond Jubilee Commemoratives. The Coronation took place on 2 June! Nevertheless, the stamps - in my humble opinion - are a real winner! Australia Post came up to the plate and hit a home run!!

The issue comprises a set of two stamps. A 60c stamp for postage within Australia, and a $2.60 stamp for International Postage.

The 60c stamp is in landscape format. It depicts the stunning and ornate royal golden carriage...

The $2.40 International stamp is a close-up of the Queen from a portrait with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip...

The mini-sheet, incorporating both stamps, includes the full protrait of the Queen and the Prince...

As usual, Australia Post has released quite a few souvenir items Here are a few...

5 x $2.40 peel & stick booklet

60c Maxicard

$2.40 Maxicard

Stay Stamp Crazy!!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

QEII Definitives - Southern Rhodesia 1953 (Part 1)

Southern Rhodesia 1953 Part 1

Southern Rhodesia was a self-governing British colony now known as Zimbabwe. Over the years it has undergone numerous name changes. For more information click HERE

On 31 August 1953 Southern Rhodesia issued its first Queen Elizabeth II definitives. And what a beautiful set it was!! This set consisted of 14 stamps, on unwatermarked paper. This series was recess-printed by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co (except the 4d stamp, which had a typography vignette).

In Part 1 we shall study the first two stamps in this delightful set. Both stamps are perforated 14 x 13½. Both stamps were issued on 31 August 1953.

The first stamp in the series is the ½d grey-green and claret. The focus of this stamp is the sable antelope. The sable antelope (Hippotragus niger) lives in the wooded savannah areas of East Africa, and in the southern parts of Africa. The sable antelope is a large species. They can grow as tall as 1.4m. They have impressive antlers that can grow as high as 1.1m. Sadly, their lovely antlers have become prized trophies for hunters. This combined with the sable antelope's habitat being slowly eaten by farming has reduced their numbers considerably.

SG 78
The second stamp in the series is the 1d green and brown. The focus of this stamp is the industry of tobacco growing. According to an article in Economic Geographic (July 1952 vol. 28, no. 3) the tobacco industry in Southern Rhodesia boomed after WWII. By 1950, a few years before this series was issued, tobacco had surpassed gold as the premier export of Southern Rhodesia. It is, therefore, quite appropriate that the tobacco industry be depicted on a stamp of the region...

SG 79 

In Part 2 we shall discover where the name 'Rhodesia' originated. And more! Until then...

Stay Stamp Crazy!

Monday, 1 April 2013

QEII Coronation Issue Part 3

Beauties and the Beast

The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on 2 June 1953. To commemorate this momentous event 106 stamps were issued throughout the Commonwealth. 62 of these stamps were in the Omnibus format. In Part 1 we studied the story behind the Omnibus Issue. In Part 2 we studied the lovely Coronation stamps of Great Britain.

In this the final part of the Coronation series I'd like to study two vastly different issues: one that, to me, offers beauty in its simplicity; and one that has, over time, been heralded as downright ugly.

Australia was one of eleven territories to opt for its own design. This proved to be an excellent choice, for the resultant issue was nothing short of stunning! The design was the brainchild of one F.D. Manley. Frank Davies Manley, born in Lambeth, London, England on 24 October 1894, was a gifted artist who went on to be one of, if not the most, prolific stamp designers in Australia. He designed some of Australia’s most iconic stamps.

Australia issued three stamps for the Coronation. All were of the same design, but with different colours and denominations. All three stamps were perforated 15 x 14.

The first stamp is the 3½d Scarlet...

The second stamp is the 7½d violet. My favourite of the three colours....

The third stamp is the 2/- dull bluish green...


Now to the beast, as it were. This stamp probably needs no introduction! The ugly duckling award goes to... Canada.

Canada's 4 cent violet Coronation stamp was based on a stunning portrait of the Queen taken by Yousuf Karsh. 

So what went wrong?? Well, let me tell you a little story. The design of Canada's Coronation stamp was placed in to the hands of Emanuel Hahn, who was a freelance artist. Hahn based his design of the Queen's head on a plaster cast that was made, based on the Karsh protrait. The deviation from the Queen's likeness had begun.

When the design was complete it was given to engraver, Silas Allen. Allen asked the Post Office for a copy of the original portrait as he didn't like the look of the portrait within the stamp design. He was refused access. Dubious, Allen set to work. He created a Die proof that to him was awful, and he hoped the Post Office would agree. But they didn't!! They accepted the Die proofs!! Allen must have been stunned. Apparently Silas Allen never got over the negative publicity of the design.

So, the ugliness of this stamp has nothing to do with its designer OR engraver. The blame must fall squarely on the shoulders of those who approved the Die proofs!!

Stay Stamp Crazy!!