Auction review: Block of six 1956 Melbourne Olympics stamps brings $26,400

Prices include buyer’s premium

An unused block of six 1956 Melbourne Olympics stamps in their original booklet crossed the auction block for $26,400 AUD (about $25,625 Cdn.) at the Oct. 3 Mossgreen sale of stamps, postal history and picture postcards.

Lot 132 of the 1,080-lot sale was described by auctioneers as a “superb and spectacular exhibit item” and “one of the most important stamp items from the reign of Queen Elizabeth II for the entire British Commonwealth.”

“It is also one of the most important Olympics items from any country, and of unissued stamps or booklets.”

The stamps included their original booklet covers (shown above at bottom).

The Australian Commonwealth Specialists Catalogue (ACSC) states the “increase of the basic letter rate to 4d on 1st October 1956 was done on short notice, and necessitated a change of value. No sheet stamps had been printed, but a printing was made from the 432-on booklet stamp plates comprising 27,000,000 stamps. Following the rates change the proposal for the stamp booklet was scrapped. The Post Office retained some uncut sheets of the 3½d booklet stamps [and destroyed the balance]. … The Archival Sales of 1986-1987 [sic: the sales were in 1987 and 1988] are the sole source of the 3½d stamps. In total 40 stamps were sold, comprising four singles, four booklet panes of six, and a Plate Number 2 block of 12.”

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