Australia - Travel/Philately/Numismatics/Memorabilia Profile


Australia, a country in the Southern Hemisphere is comprised of the main island, the Island of Tasmania in the South East, and several other smaller islands. Neighboring countries to the North include Indonesia, East Timor, and Papua New Guinea - Australia is pretty much isolated otherwise with only New Zealand to the South East and few other smaller island nations as neighbors. Indigenous Australians (Aborigines) are known to have inhabited the place as early as 40,000 years ago. The major industries are mining, agriculture,  tourism and forestry.

Travel Resources:

Tourists all over the world flock to Australia primarily for the unique flora and fauna and the unlimited natural beauty. Kangaroos, Wombats, Koalas, and Emu can all be found in their native setting in Australia. The major Australian landmarks include the Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Sydney, Uluru (iconic rock formations in the Northern Territory), the Great Barrier Reef, and the Blue Mountains. December is peak season Down Under and ticket prices are not tourist friendly at all. As the climate can be all over the map for Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Cairns/Great Barrier Reef it is best to plan and dress accordingly.

ResourceISBN or ASINBest PriceDescription
Frommer’s Australia 2011978-0470640135$17Updated every year, the guide has the most up-to-date practical info such as prices, directions, reviews of hotels, and reviews, etc. Pocket Map included and the guide has other regional and town maps. Itineraries, walking tours, and trip-planning ideas.
Lonely Planet Discover Australia978-1741799910$17Introduction followed by region-wise complete coverage including practical tips.
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson978-0767903868$11Avoids stereotyping while being funny and informative! Author of ‘Walk in the Woods’.
Australia the Beautiful DVD by Reader’s DigestB0002PUGXE$18170 minutes. Documentary with excellent coverage of the landscapes and biodiversity of this country.
Streetwise Sydney Map978-1931257428$8Folding and Laminated, Scale – 1:10,000.
Universal Plug Adapter for Australia New Zealand China Argentina (VP 103)B00374I2T2$6
LodgingVaries


Philatelic Profile:

The commonwealth of Australia was formed on 1 January 1901, when the six colonies (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania) became a federation. The colonies issued their own stamps and these stamps were used until 1913.

The first stamps of Australia were a definitive set of 15 stamps with a “Kangaroo and Map” design with denominations from half-penny to two pounds (Scott #1 to #15) released on 2nd January 1913. The issue is significant in that the design does not incorporate any reference to the Monarch as the Fisher government at the time was opposed to the idea. The set is very valuable with the lower denominations valued at tens of dollars to a few hundred dollars and the higher denominations valued in the thousands. The two pound stamp in rose and black (Scott #15) in MNH condition catalogs for almost $9000 – used copies catalog for about one-third while hinged unused copies go for about half that price. The change of government in June 1914 resulted in the issue of a short set of two stamps with a KGV and Kookaburra designs (Scott #17 & Scott #18). The KGV stamp catalogs for around $5 for either used or MNH while the Kookaburra stamp catalogs for almost $200 for MNH and a one-fourth that for used. From 1914 to 1927, Australian stamp issues consisted of just two designs – the “Kangaroo and Map” design and a slightly different version of the KGV design. Most of the “Kangaroo and Map” stamps from this period are highly valued especially in higher denominations. Many of the KGV designs and certain varieties also fetch a heavy premium.

On May 9, 1927 Australia issued their first commemorative stamp to mark the opening of the first parliament house in Canberra (Scott #94). The stamp catalogs for under a dollar for either MNH or used. Vertical and horizontal Imperf pairs of this stamp exists but is very rare. Those catalog in the thousands. Australian flora and fauna along with the monarch theme dominated the Australian stamp issues for several years. One significant issue outside of this theme was the “Nurse, Sailor, Soldier, and Aviator” design issued on July 15, 1940 in a set of four stamps (Scott #184 to #187) to represent Australia’s participation in World War II. The set catalogs for around $20 for either MNH or used. A set of three stamps with a Peace theme followed after World War II (Scott #200 to #202). This set is fairly common and catalog for around a dollar for either MNH or used.



Australia issued an Arms set of four high-value stamps in 1949-50 with denominations from five shillings to two pounds (Scott #218 to #221). A MNH copy of this set is valued fairly high at around $200 while a used set catalogs for just $20. Other significant issues over the years include:
  1. A set of two stamps issued in September 1950 to mark the hundredth anniversary of stamp issues in Australia – the stamps (Scott #228 & #229) have the same designs that were used in 1850 by the colonies of Victoria and New South Wales (Queen Victoria and Seal of the Colony respectively). The pair is very affordable and catalogs for about a dollar for used or MNH.
  2. Two separate issue to mark the Melbourne Olympic Games of 1956. The first was a single stamp issued on December 1, 1954 with a design that combines the Olympic circles emblem and the Arms of Melbourne. The issue in dark blue (Scott #277) catalogs for less than $3 for either MNH or used. The second was a set of four stamps (Scott #288 to #291) in three different designs issued on October 31, 1956. The designs were Melbourne Coat of Arms, Olympic Torch, and a beautiful multi-colored design of the Collins Street in Melbourne across the Yarra River. The issue was significant also by the fact that this was the first multi-colored stamp issue of Australia (production was outsourced). This set is also fairly affordable and catalogs for a few dollars. A lithographed miniature version of the set also exists with very little philatelic value as they were invalid for postage and was of private origin.
  3. The September 5, 1962 issue to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Australian Inland Mission founded by Rev. John Flynn. This stamp (Scott #346) is also very affordable at under a dollar. The stamp is significant also by the fact that it was the first multicolored issue that was printed in Australia. There is a very scarce error variety of this stamp (red omitted) and that catalogs for around $400.
  4. A set (Scott #375 to #379) of 5 stamps issued in two designs between 1963 and 1965 to honor early European explorers of Australia. The first design incorporates a portrait of Abel Tasman and his ship - the Dutch explorer is credited to have led the first known European expedition to reach Tasmania. The second design incorporates a portrait of George Bass and his whaleboat – a British surgeon who explored Victoria and Tasmania in 1797. The high-value set (denominations from five shillings to two pounds) catalogs for around $150 for MNH and around $100 for used.
  5. The Foods set of 1972 (Scott #519 to #522) depicting different basic foods (apple and banana, rice, fish, and cattle). The set catalogs for around $10 for MNH or used. A similar set showing themes of Australian Economic Development was released in 1973 (Scott #550 to #553) and this set also catalogs for around $10 for MNH or used. The designs show iron ore and steel, truck convoy, and aerial mapping.
  6. The animals set of 1981-83 (Scott #784 to #800) depicting 17 different animals. The beautiful set is very affordable at around $10. A similarly valued sister set featuring sea life was also released 1984-86 (Scott #902 to #920).

Australia has a well-developed philatelic community and Australia Post issues several philatelic souvenirs and related items to cater to this community. Within philately per se, such items have limited value.

Numismatic Profile:

Australia’s first coins were British Colonial sovereign gold coins issued in 1855 from the Mint in Sydney. The designs showed the head of Queen Victoria (QV) in obverse and Mint and Denomination along with the Banksia wreath in reverse. The first issue is highly valued at around $100K for UNC and around $9K for Fine. After the founding of the Australian Colony of New South Wales in 1788, coins of other countries were used along with barter exchanges during the first twenty-odd years. The status changed in 1812 with the purchase of 40,000 Spanish Dollars. These coins were holed in the middle and counter-marked to form two coins – the famous Holey Dollars and Dumps. The 1850s decade saw private tokens becoming popular as currency – some 100-odd firms were active at the time and produced over 500 different tokens.

Numismatic items of Australia include:


ItemPrice RangeDescription
Bullion$3 and upRecent 1oz silver UNCs start around $3. Certified and Slabbed Silver coins in MS69 and above start around $30. Gold sovereigns from the early 1900s in F start into the 100s. 2001 Lunar 1oz, Treasures of Australia 1oz, etc start into the 1000s.
Gold Coins$80 and upRecent 0.05oz Gold Coins start around $80. Early 20th century sovereigns go well into the 100s. Slabbed and Certified MS60 and above gold coins go into the 1000s.
Other Coins$1 and upCommon coins in VF start around $1. Early 20th century coins in VF start around $10. Recent proofs, early UNCs etc start around $30. 10oz silver proofs from the 1990s and 2000s go well into the 100s.
Paper Money$5 and upCommon UNC banknotes start around $5. Pound and Shilling Banknotes from the 1940s and 1950s start around $50. UNCs in scarce dates start around $100.


Collectible Memorabilia:

Aboriginal Art is one of a kind souvenir from Australia. Young at heart will definitely want to munch on vegemite, tim tams and the like. Boomerangs in various shades and sizes are a typical takeaway.

ResourcePrice RangeDescription
Mineral Specimens$1 and upMeteorite samples at the low end and semi-precious and precious specimens, jewelry, and curios fetch a premium based on size, material, clarity and other factors.
WW Memorabilia$3 and upPatches fetch a few dollars, WW photo reproductions fetch a slight premium, and original badges, medals, prints, and equipments start in the 10s of dollars
Art$5 and upRecent no-name arts & prints fetch a few dollars, while their nineteenth century counterparts fetch a slight premium. Framed art prints start around $100 and originals from famous artists like Joseph Lycett, Des Spencer, Pete Peterson, James Wilmot, John Gould (Birds), Nancy Crosby, and F. Cousland fetch much more.

Related Posts:
  1. New South Wales.
  2. Queensland.  
  3. South Australia.  
  4. Tasmania.  
  5. Victoria.  
  6. Western Australia


Last Updated: 12/2015. 

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