Monday, September 12, 2016

A Queensland stamp collection at the General Post Office in 1926

Week (Brisbane), Friday 22 January 1926, page 32


Where should one look but at the G.P.O. for the finest collection of postage stamps in Queensland? Carefully classified and guarded, stamps of all nations and all times are stored away in albums there. There are tens of thousands of them, some of them of immense value.

The "Week" reporter chanced upon the wonderful collection through an inquiry of the Deputy P.M.G., Mr. A. J. Christie, last week. A report was brought under Mr. Christie's notice of a sale of stamps in London, at which a sheet of 220 Queensland 1d. 1862-3, orange vermilion (which when complete, contained 240, the 11 missing being from the top), fetched £450. At the same sale, "a very fine mint block of 106 of the same date and issue, 2d. blue, forming nearly a complete lower half sheet." brought £325.

Mr. Christie was very busy with the correspondence of his office, and, with a smile, he informed the reporter that he was more concerned with the sale of the most recent issue of Commonwealth stamps than with those of the early days.

The reporter was insistent and the Deputy P.M.G. tolerant.

"Alright," said Mr. Christie. "I'll see if we can't look up those stamps for you." and he pressed a bell, and told the answering official what was required. "You might as well bring a few albums in." added the chief.

"Do you keep specimens, of all stamps issued in Queensland?." asked the re-porter.

"Yes," said Mr. Christie, "from the postal year one. We have them in vermilion, blue, green, and varicoloured; all shapes and sizes; all dates and values. Stamps! We'll show you some stamps!"


Then the deputy's room became a philatelist's paradise. Albums were unfolded with the rarest and oldest of Queensland stamps and those from other States. As the leaves were turned over there were revealed platoons, companies, and battalions of stamps from every nation in the world.

All the Queensland issues stood to attention in orderly array, the classification being neat and imposing. This applied throughout the albums. Besides postage stamps for the different Australian States before Federation. There were revenue and other stamps some for great amounts. There were reproductions of seals and chiller bag stamps.


"Here," said Mr. Christie, producing the reproductions of obliterating stamps and seals of the early days. "Here is a facsimile of stamps used when Queensland was in N. S. W." The stamps showed:—




Another one, also an obliterating stamp, showed:—




The reporter pointed out that the 1859 separation was accomplished so that in1861 Ipswich was in Queensland and not in New South Wales.

"Well, there is the stamp," said Mr. Christie. "I can't tell you why it was not altered."


Attention again centred upon the wonderful collection of stamps in the albums—tens of thousands of rare issues.

"I am afraid," ventured the reporter. "that an ardent collector would be tempted by these."

The Deputy retorted that cupidity was understood, even in the G.P.O., but special precautions were taken to guard the collections. He went on to explain that sometimes, an accident lent value to a stamp—a peculiarity in perforation, or a mistake in spelling. Thus one Queensland issue be-came famous because of the fact that "Queensland" was spelt "Qoeensland."

It was very interesting to trace the development in the production of the stamps, from the earliest woodcuts to the reproductions of scenes. Many of the later Tasmanian stamps, some of them very big, were very artistic in their pictures of island scenes. The engraving on all the stamp however was all of the very highest class, similar to that of bank-notes. Special precautions were taken in the printing of the issues.


In recent years, explained Mr. Christie, the Berne Postal Union had made the supplementing of the G.P.O. collections an easier task. Several copies of all new issues from every country in the Postal Union were sent to Berne, and the union headquarters there sent complete collections out periodically to all the subscribing nations. Thus Queensland was kept supplied with the official issues of all the newly constituted Balkan and Russian States and other countries, new and old.

Continually additions were being made to the wonderful collection in the albums at the G.P.O. To the unskilled eye, many of the issues seemed identical, but there were differences in watermarks and in other ways that caught the eye of the expert philatelist.

Turning over the leaves of the albums, the reporter's eye was arrested by the ever-changing colours of the stamps from all the countries of the world. Even Nauru and lesser known islands in the remoter seas had their own stamps and their own places in the books. Pictures of emperors, kings, and presidents looked out from the gaily-coloured oblongs. Some of the kings and presidents have died, and others have been deposed. Some of the countries even have disappeared in the upheaval and rebuilding of the world war.

But the stamps remain in the albums at the G.P.O., if only to reveal the power that was broken and the tyrant who fell.