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WA

OS PUNCTURES and OVERPRINTS

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Until recently (1970’s) perforated OS issues were seen as inferior ‘space fillers’, or collected at the back of the book. Although they rated a mention, they were not viewed as ‘collectible’ in their own right (much like postage dues).

From the very first days of the Australian Colonial issues, various state departments used some method to identify their ‘official’ status. WA for instance used commissariat punctures (2 types) on the earliest WA swans.

The purpose of all official stamps was clear, they were issued ‘free’ of charge to the relevant departments, specifically for departmental use. Ie not public, or personal, use. As such, OS stamps were never available, nor sold to, the general public. To do so would destroy their intention.

The one exception to this occurred in the 1930’s Kingsford Smith, and caused the immediate abandonment of OS markings altogether.

Not being on sale, mint copies are supposedly scarce. However, heavy trafficking occurred in these issues at all times, and were thus collected mint. As a general rule, they are about equal in scarcity, used or mint.

As to their inferior ‘space filler’ quality. It is true, and for the wrong reasons. OS stamps normally originated from rejected normal printings. Either poor print quality, bad perforations, poor paper, or a combination of them. Sometimes an entire print run was devoted to the OS issue (to use up poor quality paper), or similar eg the NWPI 2/- Roo issue.

For the Kangaroos, three types of OS exist.

Perforated Large OS

Perforated Small OS

Overprinted OS.

The large OS came first. It was devastatingly bad. The stamps disintegrating as a result. The small OS subsequently became the mainstay of the Kangaroo officials. Overprinted OS appeared in later printings of the 6d only. (The 6d wmk CA anything, is scarce as it was quickly superseded by the 6d Kookaburra).

The OS table below neatly illustrates:

bulletSmall Perf OS exists for ALL denominations, ALL watermarks except wmk CA
bulletWmk CA has NO perfins at all.
bulletLarge OS appears only on 1st watermark.
bulletOverprinted OS took over on late printings of the 6d and is the only OS variety in CA wmk. (OS was abandoned soon after).
bulletThe 2d 2nd watermark mysteriously has no OS varieties (Robson Lowe report it as being ‘scarce’).

OS ISSUES

           

d

Both

       

1d

Both

       

2d

Both

Small

Small

   

2d

Both

None?

Small

   

3d

Both

 

Small

   

4d

Both

       

5d

Both

       

6d

Both

Small

Small

   

6d

   

Small

Small & overprint

Overprint

9d

Both

Small

Small

Small

 

1/-

Both

Small

Small

Small

 

2/-

Both

Small

Small

   

2/-

   

Small

Small

 

5/-

Both

Small

Small

Small

 

10/-

Both

 

Small

Small

 

20/-

Both

 

Small

   

20/- Grey

   

Small

   

40/-

Both

 

Small

Small

 
 

Unlike all other issues of the kangaroo, there is no recorded instance of a 2.5d OS variety except by Robson Lowe, and, one example sold by Robin Linke in 2008. As punctures are easily forged, it remains conjecture whether this denomination exists perforated or not.

No OS punctured stamps were produced (via the Archival records) between June 1914 and May 1917. Below is the table of when  each denomination on KGV paper was released. Only the 5/- and the 2d fall into the region of punctures.

  KGV 3rd wmk
5/- Aug 1914 Dec 1917
2d  Dec 1914 Oct 1919
6d Feb 1915 Dec 1915
2/- Apr 1915 Jun 1916
2.5d Jul 1915 Mar 1917
9d Jul 1915 Jun 1916
1/- Aug 1915 Jun 1916

For most denominations, therefore, it is unexplained why any OS punctures appear at all, on this watermark,

(The 1d is also a problem, as it is unexplained why small OS and large OS appeared together across several plates and printings. Large was supposed to be abandoned).

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