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Definitives versus Commemoratives.

In the general sense, a commemorative, is a stamp which often commemorates an event, person or place, and is often obvious from it’s design, e.g. the opening of parliament house. Often, this simple distinction is blurred by the very same stamp (or design) turning into a definitive!

In this handbook, I attempt to distinguish two separate stamp issuing policies.

bulletStamps on issue for a short time - Commemoratives
bulletStamps on sale for years – Definitives.

I imply no other connotations to this simple distinction. The reasons for labelling a stamp, or issue, as being definitive or commemorative are important. The production methods and quantities are different. It is for this reason and no other, that I distinguish between them,

With commemorative issues, since the intention is to produce limited quantities for a comparatively short period of time (6 months), it allowed for the use of recess (engraved) printing methods which gave more attractive results. Thus, until the introduction of the Hoe Rotary recess printers in the mid 1930’s, commemorative issues were synonymous with the more attractive recess printings.

One difficulty arises very early in this handbook in describing the aborted 1913 KGV recess issue. Although sometimes stated as such, It is doubtful that it ever was intended as a definitive issue. Even though, by my definition,  it fits the category of a commemorative issue in every respect, I have assigned it a special pride of place between the Kangaroo and KGV chapters for reasons which should become obvious to the reader.


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