Monday, April 23, 2012

Queensland 1st sideface half-penny article

This article was written by A. F. Basset Hull in the Australian Philatelist, vol 1 no3 25 October 1894 pp. 42-3 and entitled Queensland Half-penny

“Q  AND CROWN," writing in The Post Office, gives particulars   regarding the issue of Half-penny Stamps in Queensland, He states that "on the lst January, 1880, a fresh contract with the Peninsular and Oriental S.N. Co. came into operation, and to compensate for the discontinuance of the cheap, long-sea route, via Southampton, the Brindisi rates were reduced. On pages 186 and 189 of ‘Pugh’s Queensland Almanac ’ for 1880 the rates are given:

‘Letters to and from the United Kingdom, MF; Brindisi, not exceeding g ½oz., 7d.

‘Newspapers for the United Kingdom, via Brindisi, the postage is - for every newspaper not exceeding 4—ozs., 1½d. and for every additional 4-ozs., 1½d.’ "

He then proceeds to describe the provisional ½d. Stamp issued to make up the new rate, and says further :

"At the period this Stamp was issued the writer was residing at an important inland town of the colony, in constant rail communication with the capital, Brisbane, and although making frequent inquiries at the post office for them was unable to purchase half-penny Stamps until February 23. This date may be relied upon, as in December, 1891 - nearly 12 years later -a pair of these Stamps (found in one of his own letters) with a piece of margin attached, were sent from England to the writer, and in his handwriting on the margin was the note ‘ Issued to-day, 23/2/80,’ so that the Stamps were only ready in time for the second monthly mail which left Moreton Bay on February 25. For the first monthly mail after the reduction—January 28 - on asking how, in the absence of a half-penny Stamp, it was possible to pay the exact postage, we were told by the assistant postmaster to cut a penny Stamp in halves. This course the writer adopted, and affixing a penny Stamp and a-half (cut diagonally) to a couple of newspapers under 4 ounces, they were passed by the authorities.”

In treating of the provisional ½d. Stamp (V.P.M., Feb, 1894) I quoted the Gazette notice anent the altered rates of postage, which first appeared on the 21st February, 1880. As the supply of provisional Stamps was not ordered until the 20th February, it seems reasonable to "suppose that the altered rates did not come into operation until the date of publication of the Gazette notice. "Q and Crown," however, asserts that the first mail, after the alteration, was despatched on the 28th January, nearly a month before the Stamps were issued to the Post Office. On this point I would like some further definite official information, as my researches in the departmental records led me to suppose that the provisional Stamps were ready for the first mail, - at least at the Brisbane office, though they might not have reached the country offices. The Government Engravers record shews that the Stamps were forwarded to the Post Office on the 21st February.

The above evidence of the use of a bisected ld. Stamp being permitted is interesting, and worthy of record.

There is an example of this bisected issue here.

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