Rare Australian stamp tops final 2023 Melbourne auction


An extremely rare Australian One Pound chestnut and bright blue Kangaroo stamp (lot 644) was the top selling item at Melbourne-based Leski Auctions Stamps, Coins & Banknotes auction on December 18 and 19, bringing $52,500 – comfortably within its catalogue estimate.

The sale, the company’s last for 2023, was notable for several valuable postal history items, which proved extremely popular with collectors.  

A 1919 Ross Smith flight vignette (lot 799) was the pick of the postal history, going under the hammer for $11,000, while one of his flight covers (lot 798), from November that year – part of the first aerial mail cachet posted from the Anzac Wireless Squadron in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) – was a $7500 result.

A pioneering South Australian aviator, in 1919 Ross and his brother Keith became the first Australians to fly from England to Australia within 30 days – spurred on by a financially rewarding competition announced by Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes.

Qantas airmail vignette proofs from 1924 were another auction credit, with lots 815 and 814 respectively changing hands for $3400 and $3200 against estimates of $400-$500 and $500-$750.

A comprehensive collection of illustrated lettercards (lot 778) sold for $9500 and an enormous world collection comprising 64 albums (lot 961) for an above estimate $6000.

Buyers snapped up historic postcards, with one in particular (lot 513), showing various Western Australian scenes including Empire Day celebrations, indigenous Australians in the Pilbara region, transport infrastructure and landscapes and rock formations, selling for $3600 – 12 times its lower catalogue estimate.

Early 20th century photographic postcards (lot 464), revealing insights into hunting, dietary and religious practices of various groups, brought four times its top estimate at $2400.

Fifty pesos pure gold Mexican coins were another popular choice with lot 333 the best at $3400.

A 1979 150th anniversary coin of the Swan River Colony in Western Australia – showing founder Captain James Stirling with his ship in the background – also was a strong performer at $1800, $300 above the top catalogue estimate.

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