Australia and Territories

Kangaroo and Map Stamps 1913 – 1950

Background

The Australian States federated in 1901 to create the Commonwealth of Australia and as a part of this a National Post Office administration was implemented.  It was not until 1913 that various difficulties were resolved and States continued with their own stamp issues until 1912.

Problems including the distribution of revenues from the new Federal Postmaster General’s Department to the States delayed the issue of the first Australian stamps. Finally, on 2 January 1913, the first of the Kangaroo and Map stamps was issued, the 1d red.

In more far-flung States the new stamps did not appear until later in January. For instance, in Tasmania, the first recorded date for a 1d Kangaroo and Map stamp is 22 January 1913.  Distribution to all Post Offices in Tasmania probably did not occur until the end of January. Even then, the new stamps were not necessarily put on sale until current stocks of State stamps were exhausted.

The Kangaroo and Map stamps

All Kangaroo and map stamps were printed by letterpress from electrotype plates. 5 different watermarked papers  were used – first, second and third watermark( crown over A), small multiple and C of A watermarks.

Traditionally, 4 dies are listed but this is somewhat of a simplification. Specialist collectors will identify more.

“OS”, signifying Official Service was both punctured and overprinted on some issues  for use by Federal Government Departments. Such punctures and overprints can increase the value of stamps and dangerous fakes exist especially form the 1980s.

The many plate varieties, shades, Dies, imprints and monograms, perf errors, range of usage and longevity of this series make the Kangaroo and Map stamps of Australia a very popular and widely collected issue. The Kangaroo and Map stamps are a very large field for collectors. The primary reference is Brusden White “Australian Commonwealth Specialists CatalogueKangaroos and the Early Federal Period. ISBN 0 9587630 3 8 Image of some mint examples are featured below.

Kangaroo and Map Values – details

½d.

The ½d Green was printed from two plates on First Watermark paper only. It was first placed on sale on 14 January 1913 in Melbourne. A total of 317,040,000 were printed prior to its replacement by the ½d green George V Sideface design in February 1915.

1d.

The 1d Red was printed from nine plates on First Watermark paper only. It was the first Kangaroo stamp to be issued, being placed on sale on 2 January 1913 in Sydney, and two days later in Melbourne. Although briefly joined by the 1d Engraved George V stamp in December 1914, it remained in use until replacement by the 1d red George V Sideface design in July 1914. A total of 661,992,000 were printed.

2d.

The 2d Grey was printed from three plates on First, Second, and Third Watermark papers. It was first placed on sale on 15 January 1913 in Sydney. A total of 58,200,000 were printed on all watermarks prior to its replacement by the 2d Orange George V Sideface design in October 1920.

2½d.

The 2½d Indigo was printed from two plates on First, Second, and Third Watermark papers. It was first placed on sale on 27 January 1913 in Sydney. A total of 15,380,160 were printed on all watermarks up to 1920, and the denomination was officially withdrawn on 30 April 1924 as obsolete.

3d.

The 3d Olive was printed from four plates on First and Third Watermark papers. It was first placed on sale on 28 January 1913 in Sydney. A total of 78,537,280 were printed on all watermarks prior to its replacement by the 3d blue George V Sideface design on 1 May 1924.

4d.

The 4d Orange was printed from two plates on First Watermark paper only. It was first placed on sale on 19 February 1913 in Sydney. A total of 5,860,000 were printed prior to its replacement by the 4d orange George V Sideface design in January 1915.

5d.

The 5d Chestnut was printed from two plates on First Watermark paper only. It was first placed on sale on 18 January 1913 in Melbourne. A total of 4,080,000 were printed prior to its replacement by the 5d brown George V Sideface design in February 1915.

6d Blue.

The 6d Blue was printed from four plates on First, Second and Third Watermark papers. It was first placed on sale on 18 January 1913 in Melbourne. A total of 67,706,400 were printed prior to the change of colour to Chestnut in December 1923.

6d Chestnut.

The colour of the 6d Kangaroo was changed from Blue to Chestnut in December 1923 prior to the issue of the 3d blue George V on 1 May 1924, to avoid a clash of colours.  It was printed from two plates on Third Watermark, Small Multiple and C of A Watermark papers. A total of 47,520,000 were printed prior to its replacement by the 6d Kookaburra design in June 1932.

9d Violet.

The 9d Violet was printed from four plates on First, Second, Third, Small Multiple and C of A Watermarked papers. It was first placed on sale on 1 February 1913. A total of 144,685,440 were printed prior to its replacement by the 9d Platypus design in September 1938.

1/- Emerald.

The 1/- Emerald was printed from four plates on First, Second, Third, and Small Multiple Watermarked papers. It was first placed on sale on 25 January 1913. A total of 296,312,320 were printed prior to its replacement by the 1/- Lyrebird design in February 1932.

2/- Brown.

The 2/- Brown was printed from two plates on First, Second, and Third Watermarked papers. It was first placed on sale on 28 January 1913 in Sydney. A total of 15,014,880 were printed prior to the change of colour to Maroon on 1 May 1924.

2/- Maroon.

The colour of the 2/- Kangaroo was changed from Brown to Maroon on 1 May 1924 to avoid confusion with the 6d Chestnut issued in December 1923.  It was printed from two plates on Third, Small Multiple and C of A Watermark papers. A total of 58,163,040 were printed prior to the original plates being replaced by a new pair from a redrawn die showing small differences in the design, issued 24 December 1945. From these plates, 16,800,000 stamps were printed prior to replacement by the 2/- Aboriginal Art design in February 1948. The 2/- Kangaroo was the last Kangaroo stamp to be withdrawn.

5/- Grey and Yellow.

The 5/- Grey and Yellow was printed from single frame and kangaroo plates on First, Second, Third, Small multiple and C of A Watermarked papers. It was first placed on sale on 2 April 1913 in Sydney. A total of 4,832,640 were printed prior to replacement by the 5/- ‘Robes’ design on 1 April 1938.

10/- Grey and Pink.

The 10/- Grey and Pink was printed from single frame and kangaroo plates on First, Third, Small Multiple and C of A Watermarked papers. It was first placed on sale on 20 March 1913. A total of 2,436,000 were printed prior to replacement by the 10/- ‘Robes’ design on 1 November 1938.

£1 Brown and Blue.

The £1 Brown and Blue was printed from single frame and kangaroo plates on First and Third Watermarked papers. It was first placed on sale on 20 March 1913. A total of 1,449,120 were printed prior to its change of colour to Grey on 1 May 1924.

£1 Grey.

The colour of the £1 Kangaroo was changed from Brown and Blue to Grey on 1 May 1924 to avoid confusion with the 3d blue George V.  It was printed from a single plate on Third  and C of A Watermark papers. A total of 1,210,640 were printed prior to replacement by the £1 ‘Robes’ design on 1 November 1938.

£2 Black and Rose.

The £2 Black and Rose was printed from single frame and kangaroo plates on First, Third, Small Multiple and C of A Watermarked papers. It was first placed on sale on 8 April 1913. A total of 1,058,520 were printed prior to a decision to withdraw the £2 denomination from sale at the beginning of 1939.