We have received from the British Philatelic Association an official release status of some recent Australian varieties which are now determined to be of illegal origin. The information is interesting and of permanent value, so we reprint it full:
"The British Philatelic Association are now in a position to give full details of the story which lies behind the appearance on market of the following Australian Commonwealth varieties:—
Imperf. all round:
1½d Queen's Head
2½d K.G. VI
1/- Lyre bird (small);
l/6d Air Mail (S.G. type 22)
2½d King George VI
2½d Peace commemorative
3½d Newcastle in a marked dull ultramarine shade
5/- "Robes" with clear off-set on back
2½d K.G. VI. on "toned" paper.
Recently the philatelic status of these varieties was questioned, but it is only now that the Association has been able to release the following facts which have been communicated through an authoritative source in Australia.
As the result of representations by certain Australian stamp dealers and prominent collectors who felt some concern at the origin of these varieties, the Postmaster General's Department, acting in concert with the Stamp and Note Printing Department caused investigations to be made by the police as well as by their own investigators. The sequel was the interrogation of an ex-employee of the Government Stamp Printer.
This employee admitted having removed from the printing works imperforate sheets of the stamps described above and sheets with the other varieties named. All these had been scheduled for destruction and it was believed by the authorities that all such material had, in fact, been destroyed.
In the case of the 2½d Peace stamp without watermark, it was intended at one time to issue this stamp without watermark and a certain number of sheets were completely prepared. It was found, however, that there would be insufficient stocks of the unwatermarked paper for the whole issue and it was ultimately decided to use the normal watermarked paper.
Were it not for the circumstance which they were obtained, these unwatermarked stamps might, at first sight classed as "prepared but not issued" since their abstraction from the work the Government Stamp Printer was completely unauthorized, all those printed having been scheduled for destruction, their status is no higher than that of the other varieties mentioned.
It is not known for certain how many sheets of these stamps found their way into the hands of the stamp trade. The information at the disposal of the B.P.A. suggests that the police in the course of several raids on stamp dealers' premises in Australia have recovered a large proportion of these varieties, but it is uncertain how many still remain in trade hands.
It is known that the employee responsible for their initial purchase by the dealers concerned received only a very small sum for them and at the retail prices prevailing someone must have netted unreasonable profits. If collectors desire to purchase them they must do so at their own risk.
It is emphasized that these notes relate only to stamps listed at the beginning of this notice. Varieties such as the Canberra stamp of 1927 imperf. between and the Id. rose-carmine Die 3 of 1918 printed on both sides are genuine errors, inadvertently issued in the normal course of Post Office business. Their status is undoubted and their rarity well established."