Australia Post issues ‘Disaster Relief’ stamps

The international stamp community has come to the fore and, as I write, has already donated about A$12,500 to the Australian bush fi re disaster appeal fund – can you add to that? – tinyurl.com/FiresOz. Australians can now assist disaster donations by simply walking into their Post Offices and buying a sheet (or sheets) of the new Australia Post $1.10 booklet panes of five different die-cut ‘Disaster’ stamps. Each $5.50 sheet sees Australia Post donate $2 to the relief funds.

Australia Post produced 100,000 panes of five, and they are delivered to Post Offices in a ‘cheque book’ bound at sides, of 20 panes in each, ie $110 cost price, $40 of which goes immediately to relief work. It’s a wonderful opportunity for businesses to support the fund. A lot more detail, in chronological order, about this clearly rushed and rather confusing new issue is here – tinyurl.com/DisasterAP

Stampboards member ‘Allanswood’ – Greg Allan of Goulburn, NSW, bought such a cheque book of 100 stamps to use on his business mail on February 14, which appears to have been the issue date of the stamps, despite AP being rubbery on that detail.

Greg created a few sets of five attractive cacheted first day covers on that date, and they were backstamped at another PO, and as official FDCs from AP will never be offered or sold, they will be very nice items in the future, as few knew about this issue until well after February14. Few emergency issues like this appear from AP as it generally plans issues a year in advance.

As all collectors of FDC like to be 100% complete, sets of five on FDC will be certain stars of the future, as Australia Post will not be offering any to standing order clients, etc, as this was obviously an emergency short-notice issue.

The actual first day of issue appears to have been Friday February 14 (eBay sellers had sheets on sale before that day even, with scans taken from actual sheets) but various parts of AP were officially stating an issue date of Tuesday February 18 for some reason, despite it being clear some sheets were on sale well before then, so it seems that Australia Post itself does not know what the actual date was.

Might be worth tucking some away?

Nothing is surer that if only 100,000 sheets of these attractive die-cut new stamps exist globally, they will sell out pretty fast, as $200,000 will be donated by Australia Post to charity. Every small business in affected areas will, I am sure, be franking mail with these stamps. Complete mint sheets may not be retained in great number, and might be worth tucking away for a modest punt?

Only 100,000 sheets available

Allanswood generously offered to the Bushfire auction, a set of five cacheted FDC he printed out quickly, all cancelled at Goulburn NSW, February 14, and backstamped at a different PO the same day. They come with a copy of his PO purchase receipt of February 14. This is the only set of genuine cacheted FDC I am aware of, and am sure serious FDC collectors will bid it into three figures, especially seeing every cent goes to the Disaster Relief charity.

They are attractive issues, using a special die-cutting device simulating a stylised map of Australia, that I understand was created working closely with Cartor Security Printers in France. The special Australia map style of die-cutting is also used in the recent MyStamp personalised stamp issue series.

We are part of your community

Australia Post Group chief executive officer and managing director Christine Holgate said her organisation’s heartfelt thoughts were with the countless Australians and communities who have been so harshly affected by the recent natural disasters, saying: “The Post Office is a vital part of the local community, particularly in rural and regional Australia, and we are committed to doing everything that we can to support our communities in their recovery.”

Australian Red Cross chief executive officer Judy Slatyer said the ongoing community response had been incredible:

“The funds raised through the Disaster Relief stamps will help keep our staff and volunteers on the ground helping those affected by the bush fi res, etc, providing practical, local support where it’s needed to tens of thousands of people during and after the emergencies” she said.

Mail order of course, for those overseas, or whose local PO has sold out, is also possible, and the direct PO order link is here – tinyurl.com/DisasterSheet. As I typed this, plenty were in stock for ordering (I think they are post free as well?) and the Philatelic Bureau site confirms the issue date was Friday February 14, not February 18.

But will some eBay spiv create some plain white “FDC’’ via the Snake Gully North LPO that his sister owns – of course. They will remain just that – greedy, opportunistic, total fabrications. Only a mug will buy such unverified naked money-making fantasies. No real FDC collector will, for sure. I hope we see bids of a few hundred dollars for Greg’s generous donation, remember every single cent goes to the Bushfire Appeal at tinyurl.com/FiresOz


Article by Glen Stephens

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