One Bar Before Two



Dave Elsmore


The Western Australia 1d postage stamp of 1864-79 was available for revenue use in late 1881. Due to the late arrival of purpose revenue stamps, the Government Printer overprinted current postage stamps with the letter IR [Internal Revenue] and had to obliterate the word postage. Published works “The Fiscal Stamps of Western Australia” 1987 by John Dzelme [an excellent publication] have detailed this issue date for perf 12˝ as 26/12/81 and perf 14 as being issued 10/1/82.

Dated copies have shown the perf 14 was issued as early as 21/11/81, weeks before the earliest dated copies of the perf 12˝ issue.

My theory is ‘first in last out’ method used by most printers. This being, sheets of perf 12˝ kept in the strong room were being used up slowly when the printer changed to the perf 14 machine these were perfed then stored on top of the perf 12˝ sheets. When it came time to overprint the IR on the stamps the printer used the top sheets first, which were perf 14. He then overprinted them and issued same. As the overprinting progressed and more sheets were ordered he got down to the perf 12˝ sheets then overprinted and issued same.

Two bars quickly replaced one bar as the one bar inadequately covered the word postage [fig 1]. Many forgeries of this overprint are recorded. It is in the shape of the lower right tail of the ‘R’ [fig 2] also a give away this is on a two pence which was never overprinted with IR. In the forgery the tail does not curve up vertically. You may need a few copies to compare.


Fig 1 EKD


Fig 2 Forgery


© copyright 1997 on

All Graphics. Dave Elsmore

No part of this page may be copied used, saved in electronic form or hard printed.