Home Up The Colonies The States BOOK KEEPING Postal rates Towards a uniform series. The end Summary

The States

Technically, Australian colony stamps occur from 1850 to 1901, and Australian state stamps are from 1901 to 1913. Nowadays, the term 'Australian States' simply embrace both periods as there is little (initially) to distinguish them.

Under the surface however, there were two significant changes to postal arrangements. The first reaped a philatelic harvest. Prior to federation, each state either printed stamps ‘on the premises’ so to speak, or, contracted to London to do the same, or, used the services of another Colony. After federation, all State stamps were brought onshore to conserve costs. Some of the former colonies elected to do away with production altogether, and passed responsibility over to the new Commonwealth Stamp Printer, JB Cooke, in Melbourne. It is here where the story gets fascinating, because, Cooke’s supply of paper was Victorian watermark. We then have the appealing varieties of WA issues printed on Victorian watermark, and, due to shortages, NSW watermark on Victorian stamps, former Crown Colonies issues on SA watermark, etc. In addition, printing formerly done overseas in London was now carried out in Melbourne. Where those printings were formerly recess printed (Tasmanian Pictorials) the printing was converted to typography. Similarly, previous surface printings, done by De La Rue, were re done in Victoria, and of lesser quality. (De La Rue had no obligation to supply the printing plates for these issues as they were originally made ‘for free’ and were not owned by the Commonwealth Government). The entire period is a rich philatelic harvest and deserves a handbook of its own, at a later date.



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