Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Adelaide Provisional issues of 2016, sometimes you just gotta take a risk....

If you are a collector of contemporary Australian issues and have not seen the discussion on the stampboards.com board, then you may not be aware of what has been happening down there in wake of the recent postal rate hike increase from Aus$0.70 to Aus$1.00

The new rate went into effect on 4 Jan 2016.  Unfortunately many postal areas were short of 30c stamps to offer customers as make-up rate stamps.  In South Australia, many of the post offices in the Metro Adelaide area were completely out of 30c stamps within the first 24 hours.  Unable to secure supplies, the regional head of the Australian PO in Adelaide authorized the printing of 30c provisional stamps on remainder stock of the 1994 Computer Value Indicated self adhesives featuring Koalas and Kangaroos. As there were six different designs in this issue, this resulted in a set of six provisional issues, all carrying the inscription "30c Adelaide 2016" at the bottom.

According to what I have read on the relevant thread on Stampboards, these computer vended stamp issues were phased out and the equipment destroyed in most of Australia around 2001 or so, with the exception of Adelaide where the computer to print the issues was preserved to allow the post office to print special event stamps for local events in South Australia. Thus the regional director in Adelaide had the tools to print 30c stamps to meet the shortfall in the Adelaide area until supplies of regular 30c stamps from the main Australian post office system could be provided.  All printing was done from the central post office in Adelaide, under strictly controlled circumstances, and was discontinued when supplies of the current 30c definitive were again available to Adelaide post offices staring on 8 January.

As far as can be ascertained, the first of these provisionals were sold on 6 January, and were sold on 6 and 7 January.  After 7 January sales of these provisional stamps ceased as supplies of the regular 30c definitive arrived at the local post offices.

There was no advance information from Australia post regarding the release of these provisionals from Adelaide, and the first inkling of their existence was posted on the stampboards forum on 17 January, catching the very active philatelic community there almost completely unawares.

There has been no information as to exactly how many sets were sold across the Adelaide region, though there were limits on the number of sets one person could purchase at any time.  They were only sold for a maximum of perhaps 2 1/2 post office business days (6, 7 and maybe the first part of 8 January), and have appeared on commercial covers as well as unused sets.

Once I read about this release I thought that this was going to be something quite special, so I contacted Australian dealer Glen Stephens to see if he had any sets for sale.  He did have a few and I purchased two sets from him on 19 January. These just arrived in my mailbox safe and sound today.

One set is for my collection, the other is for a rainy day, as I just have a hunch this set is going to become a very desirable specialist item for collectors of Australia or topicals such as fauna, Australiana, koalas and kangaroos.

There is still a lot of unknowns about the set, and the marketplace will probably need several months to determine a value for the set and for used on and off cover.  The first mint set that was offered on ebay.au ended up selling for over Aus$1000.00 (US$700.00) and a dated cover with a date of 17 January is currently in an auction on ebay.au with a high bid of a bit more than Aus$350.  And will it receive catalog status?

For more information on this issue check out the thread at stampboards.com

 Who knows if I made a lucky choice or if my purchase will turn out to be worthless a year from now, but it will be fun to see how this drama plays out over the next few months. And if it turns out that this issue does turn out to be the key set for 2010s Australia, then taking a risk to purchase a couple sets early will have been a risk worth taking. Or i might be out of something under US$100 if they don't turn out to be the key set. But if I had not taken the risk, and they do go on to be the key set, I'd probably have kicked myself for missing getting in at the start of the market.  Sometimes you just gotta play your hunch and see what happens.  Millions of people spend more per year than I have on these sets playing the lotteries, with much much lower odds of ever breaking even.


  1. Yesterday I read on SB you contacted Scott and they replied they will not list these computer printed stamps. Now your post on SB has been edited and your comment is deleted. Did you deleted it? If so, may I ask why?

    1. the situation on this issue remains quite fluid and new understanding continues to arrive, as a result the question of catalog status still remains to be determined.

  2. Well done! Lovely item for your collection and an investment set as well! They will be in the next SG catalogue & no doubt in all others, I hear. Prices now are around 30x what you paid? None offered on eBay at present ... I think Glen Stephens will still have one or two sets tucked away!

  3. Ah, there are some on eBay. The lowest is asking $2800 AUD, that's probably too high to sell, if I know eBay 'buy it now' offers. There are other sets at much higher prices as well! Retail price maybe only about $2000? Still a very good buy!