Dave Elsmore


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

This paper is not a critique: it is written to help guide the judge in this fairly new field of Railway & Revenue Exhibiting. I offer my 40 years of knowledge in collecting Tasmanian Railway Parcel stamps.

Most of you reading this will know very little has been written on Tasmanian railway parcel stamps. There are only a couple of references available to the judge to ‘polish up’ on, and as before, in my previous papers none are complete, in fact some are wrong & all need badly updating. ‘The Revenue and Railway Stamps of Tasmania by Craig & Ingles, would be concise but dates are bad. My online catalogue being the most concise reference to date.

This is one of the hardest of the states railways to collect let alone form into an exhibit; however an exhibitor should be able to put together 5 frames.

On 20 May 1886 a series of large format parcel stamps 3d & 6d printed in sheets of 12 3x4. These two higher values represented a surcharge of 1d over and above the normal postal rates; this should be explained by the exhibitor. All appear scarce with the 1d unique [fig 1] only these two copies in fig 1 have survived to date. Specifically for use by the Tasmanian Dairy Association, both showing different fonts and perfs one being a Melbourne perf 12.5 all others are the usual 11.8.

Single 3d & 6d values are found along with pairs of the 3d on the reverse of covers many are damaged and if shown should be appreciated by the judge. Unique copies of a 3d & 6d OHMS 'Police Dept' handstamped in violet [fig 2] exist and a unique larger format 6d roulette exists [c1915] with the 6d in a very thick font. By late 1904 the parcels tickets appeared to be in little use as waybills were in greater use, an exhibitor may choose to either include a page or two to help complete the picture or they may be left out of an exhibit.

Fig 1

Unique 1d x 2 different font Parcel Ticket.

Fig 2

Unique OHMS usage

It was 1 November 1902 which saw the introduction of the first railway newspaper stamp inscribed ‘T.G.RYS. Newspaper Stamp’ [fig 1]. The values issued corresponded with the postal rates of the time. The highest values were used only for large transfers of papers and accordingly the 4d, 5d & 6d values appear very rare. Multiples of the lower values are available along with three different perfs and a roulette are recorded, imperf marginal copies are scarce, these should all be shown by the exhibitor. Newspaper stamps on full or part wrappers are very scarce.

Fig 3

High values for carriage of bulk Newspapers.

By 1916 the 1d which was most in demand was reprinted and rouletted. With little use in 1917 the high values were overprinted with lower denominations to use up stock; the ½d was surcharged 1d. These overprints [fig 4] are rare, torn copies should not be penalized by a judge. By 1920 the newspaper series was replaced with 2 values 1d & 3d rouletted [fig 5] now inscribed ‘GOVT. RYS of TAS.’ Both are rare but available and should be shown by the exhibitor.

Fig 4

Overprint Sub-charge


Fig 5

New Ledged

The last of the newspaper stamps was issued by the Commissioner of Transport a 1d [fig 6] & 3d in 1938. Available in sheets. A small plating study should reward if shown.

Fig 6

Transport Dept.

Figure 7 is porported to have been first issued 10 Dec 1917. The so called Garrett series due to the Garrett locomotive in the top cartouche is actually an artistic representation of the L and M classes introduced on the main TGR system in 1912.

The first issue of this series was printed in black [fig 7] all nine values are recorded all are rare the black issue was only in use for 8 months before a colour change to indigo was issued. By 1919 a series of different mono coloured stamps was issued, shades can be found and should be shown. A unique set of full sheets exist and if shown should be rewarded by the judge. With this issue being the more plentiful it gives the exhibitor a chance to fill a few pages with a study of station names generally hand stamped in the lower cartouche in various colours. Big parcel user station were preprinted on. As large stocks were on hand of the 1d 4d & 8d they were later [1953] overprinted in red and used until exhaustion, this should be explained by the exhibitor.

Fig 7

Garrett Series

A new design depicting a Diesel locomotive [FIG 8] was introduced in the early 1950’s along with a new 4/- value, the 1d 4d & 8d values were dropped from the series, however as plenty of stock of the old series of these three values were on hand they were overprinted citing the 1935 Act. Full sheets of some of the values are known and if shown should be appreciated by the judge, with the 1d being derived from the 4d value. The 4/- value from the next three issues on non-fluorescent paper are scarce to rare.

Fig 8

Diesel Series

By late 1952 the Tasmanian Railways lost a court case for compensation due to a fire in a parcels van due to the fact the stamps bore no mention of the governing Act. Urgent measures were taken to correct this deficiency by overprinting “Subject to the Railway Management Act 1935” first by a provisional hand stamp in violet. Two values have survived a 9d and 1/3d and if shown would be a plus for the exhibitor. By 1953 a 1d was added to the Diesel series printed from a modified 4d die. Full sheets of some of the values are known and if shown should be appreciated by the judge. With the need to incorporate this legal wording and by removing the diesel locomotive from the design [fig 9] and keeping the same value colours, reintroducing the 4d & 8d values In 1956 this new series replaced the old, paper stock became exhausted and new florescent paper was being used by 1960. The 2/- value is known with misaligned rouletting and along with a number of constant flaws should fill a couple of pages for the exhibitor. Mint remainders are plentiful on this paper, used copies with station names hand stamped into the lower cartouche can be found and a small study should reward.

Fig 9

Redesigned to add in the Act

P of Parcels flaw

With a final rate change in late 1965 it was decided to apply a surcharge firstly four colours were used all struck from the 1/- plate [fig 10] and surcharged accordingly with 3/-, 5/-, 6/- & 8/- used copies are scarce as these four surcharges were only in use for 4½ months. Plenty of mint remainders can be found. Any usage including tags from all issues are scarce to rare and if shown should be appreciated by the judge.

Fig 10

1/- plate surcharge  

In all, does the exhibitor have good understanding and knowledge of the subject? does the exhibitor demonstrate this knowledge?.

Railway parcel stamps lack published information and there are few sources for obtaining material. Thus the depth of original research and the difficulty of acquisition of unusual material should be taken into account when an exhibit is compared with one from the more traditional class, even though parcel stamps are exhibited in traditional.

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.