Dave Elsmore


This is the third in the series of ‘Let’s Educate the Judges’ in evaluating the exhibits of the Australian States Revenue and Railway Stamps. 

Judging New South Wales railway parcel stamps in traditional can be a hard task indeed. Little specialist literature is available to the judges, and in all cases outdated. The latest is by Peck & Smith, 1999 95% is repetitious of previous works, which is good news as the extra 5% is much needed to help complete the story. Many shades are known but none are listed in this work.

This paper is not a critique: it is written to help guide the judge. I offer my 40 years of knowledge, seriously collecting New South Wales railway parcel stamps.

New South Wales railway first issued parcel stamps in 1891. The first key type issue was all locally printed and ran for nearly 40 years with changes in watermarks and values added.

An exhibit must show an 1891 die proof [fig 1]. No art work is recorded to date. First issue of the first series was issued on unwatermarked paper and separated by perforation and roulette.

Fig 1 

1891 6d Die Proof of Die 1

Lower left circle touching left frame

The exhibit should show both. It should also clearly show the 6d die 1 and 11 [fig 2] as both are available along with a 6d die 11 rouletted. A perforation study would be a plus with an array of compound perfs recorded. There are also many very nice shades from the different printings and a small study of these and any obliterator study should be appreciated.

Fig 2

Die 11

Lower left circle missing frame

Values were added up to 1910 and one mint set to 5/- [fig 3] is recorded. Usage is rare and would be a plus. OS official overprints are recorded on all values including the 3d in blue and in green. Values perfed and rouletted are recorded and a study should be shown. The 3d blue OS is rare and should be appreciated.

Fig 3  

5/- From unique mint set

In 1914 Crown over A postage paper was used up. All values are recorded and a good selection should be shown along with inverted and sideways watermarks.  Again usage is rare and would be a plus. OS official overprints are recorded on some values and should be shown.

In 1917 3 values are recorded on Crown over NSW paper. All are rare to very rare and the exhibit must show at least one example.

As the war loomed watermarked paper was in short supply, and in 1918 the printer produced a tint printing of a security underprint NSW over R [fig 4] while waiting for stocks of new watermarked paper. All values 1d – 5/- are recorded and are scarce to rare but most are available and a selection should be shown. Usage is rare and would be a plus. Further into 1918 the new NSW over R watermarked paper arrived and with the change in rates a 2/- value was added but appears to be very scarce. However it is available and must be shown in any condition. OS official overprints are recorded on some values and a study should be shown. Usage would be a plus.

Fig 4

  NSW R Underprint in light grey

In 1929 NSW decided to follow Queensland and introduce a design with a cartouche for the station name. Continuing in the previous watermark and perforation a 4/- value was added. All are available and should be shown along with the recorded roulettes [fig 5] which are very rare indeed but available. It is now possible to work on a plate transfer and if shown should be rewarded. There are many plate flaws, shades and station name fonts. A study of these should be rewarded along with usage.

Fig 5

Rare Roulette

1948 saw the introduction of a new watermark GNSW twice across the stamp which continued to 1965 and into the decimal period.  This issue saw the introduction of a 10/- value, rouletted very rare and inverted watermarks. Several are recorded and should be shown. The 10/- printed in the colour of the 3/- would be a plus. Perfins are known and should be shown along with private user overprints [fig 6].

Fig 6

  David Jones Limited

OS official overprints with ‘STATE GOVERNMENT’ in cartouche are recorded. An unrecorded 10/- in this lower cartouche layout is now known and should be apreciated by the judge.  

Fig 7

 Unrecorded 10/-

In this series ‘STATE GOV’T’ is found in the station name cartouche. All values are recorded and a study should be shown with varieties such as broken OS or the famous hollow ‘G’ [fig 8] would be a plus if shown. There is an essay, and a single used stamp of a prepaid cartage stamp recorded and would be a plus if shown.

Fig 8

Hollow G with left frame damage.

This issue was also used in Victoria with ‘Spencer St Vic’ or Victoria in the station name cartouche. A small range of these must be shown, with ‘Spencer St Vic’ very rare. The exhibitor may show a range of station names with over half the stations in NSW having been recorded as issuing stamps. Small towns would be given a plus, as several have very few surviving. Unlisted names should be appreciated by the judge. An obliterator study would also be a plus.

Rates should be explained throughout an exhibit. With very little usage on the early issues surviving, an exhibit must not be marked down if only showing a few pieces.

Fig 9

Usage showing Precancelled stamps (582) from bulk user Griffith Producers.

Booked parcel label removed on delivery. Insurance was paid by cash.

An exhibitor may struggle with importance as railways can only be exhibited in Traditional. All in all does the exhibitor have good understanding and knowledge of the subject, and does the exhibitor demonstrate this knowledge.

Railways in general lack published information and simple sources for obtaining material. Thus original research and the problem of acquisition can be difficult. This should be appreciated by the judges.

Treatment is left to the judge’s expertise with the exhibitor following the FIP SREV’s which can be found at the FIP web site here: https://www.f-i-p.ch/ The writer can be contacted at this email address:  Dave

© copyright 1997 on

All Graphics. Dave Elsmore

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