Home Up HELECON Paper


Helecon was a trade name for a phosphor fluorescent from the zinc-sulphide group that reacts to Ultra Violet light and fluoresces a bright orange red. The UV range it is sensitive to is 3000 - 4000 Angstroms. It was applied on and after 1965 to all postage stamps to allow for automatic cancellation of letters. The machinery would simply detect the presence of the stamp, somewhere on the envelope, and react accordingly.


There is some confusion as to the application of Helecon on Australian postage. The bottom line is that ALL stamps were 'heleconised' in 1965, and that NO stamps (except for a trial run of the 11d bandicoot) were heleconised prior to that date. Long running definitives, such as the QEII 2d, and some coils, are found with and without Helecon, simply because their final 1965 printings are on Helecon paper.


Most Helecon issues are considerably paler than their non-helecon cousins. When viewed under a UV lamp all Helecon issues are dramatically different in appearance.

Helecon ink versus Helecon paper.

Helecon ink was ONLY used on the 5d QEII red. All other stamps used Helecon coated paper. However, it is this issue, and primarily it's change in colour from Green to Red, that gives the game away. The 5d Red was the defining moment when all Australian postage changed to Helecon. There is confusion with these Green / Red varieties with / without helecon ink / paper. The bottom line is that, red stamps, coils and booklets contain helecon ink, green stamps and booklets (there were no coils) contain no helecon. There are exceptions, and this is properly explained on the relevant page.

11d Bandicoot

Helecon coated paper.

Print rolls were coated with helecon on one side of their surfaces. The paper was first trialled on the 11d Bandicoot and issued in December, 1963.

No further helecon issues were produced until 1965, when ALL stamps were subsequently printed on this paper.


5d Red Helecon Ink.

In 1965, non helecon paper stock was expediently used up by mixing helecon in the printing ink.

The QEII 5d Green definitive was changed to Red specifically for this purpose and is the only issue to use helecon ink. In fact, the ink supply ran out before the paper did, and the final printings of this issue untreated.

Churchill Chambons.

Paper stock for the photogravure process was different than the rotary recess issues. A supply of helecon treated paper became available in early 1965. The Churchill issue represents a 50% mixture of old print rolls to use up stock. The 9d magpie was actually the first to use the new paper a few months earlier and was probably a test print run to check for suitability.


The list of helecon issues is as follows

HELECON Reprints

wpeD2.jpg (21328 bytes) wpeD7.jpg (28872 bytes) 5d Red wpeF4.jpg (23689 bytes)
March April June 1965
(coils 31.3.65) faded (coils 31.5.65) faded (Ink) (scarce)
2d QEII 3d QEII 5d Red QEII 5d Green QEII


Colombo Plan
1/- Colombo
11d Bandicoot 8d Tiger Cat 1/2d Tas Tiger 11d Bandicoot
Dec 1963 April April June
11d Bandicoot 8d Tiger cat 1/2d Tas Tiger 11d Bandicoot
White Paper Wattle faded
2/3d Wattle


June Birds
9d Magpie 6d Thornbill 1/6d Galah
9d Magpie 6d Thornbill 1/6d Galah


April Birds
2/- Whistler 3sh Ibis 2/6d Robin
2/- Bird 3/- Bird 2/6d Bird


Churchill Monash Hargrave International Cooperation Year Xmas 65
May June August September October
Churchill Monash Hargraves ICY Xmas65


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