Thursday, October 14, 2010

1973 An interesting Australia - UK -Canada Cover

The 1973 cover shown below addressed from Melbourne, Australia to Downside Cobham, England is a postage due collector's gem. In this article I provide an explanation of the various postal markings applied by the Australian, British, and Canadian post offices.

Stage 1 :Australia to England

1) Shortpaid Surface Letter

The letter was sent by surface mail from "The Royal Melbourne Hospital" and addressed to Downside Cobham, England. The Royal Melbourne Hospital meter was used to frank the letter The amount prepaid was 7 cents. The surface letter rate to the UK was 10 cents, thus the letter was shortpaid 3 cents.

7 cents
May 4, 1973

2) Australian Post Office Tax Fraction

The Australian post office applied this tax fraction (partially covered by an air mail etiquette subsequently applied in England):


The fraction is explained as follows:

(An explanation of the tax fraction system can be found in my earlier article. Click HERE)

3) British Tax 3p

The British post office used the Australian tax fraction to calculate the amount due in British currency. The British international letter rate (5p) was multiplied by the tax fraction (6/10):

The amount due in British currency was 3p. The post office applied the 3p handstamp. (The handstamp is in the correct denomination but the reason provided on the handstamp is incorrect):

The amount due was paid:

The Australian and British tax assessments were correct.

Stage 2 :Australia to Canada

1) The letter was re-posted by air mail to Canada:

2) An air mail etiquette was applied and a British 7 1/2 p stamp affixed:

Kingston-Upon-Tyme, June 17, 1973
7 1/2 p was the correct air mail rate to Canada

3) Canadian Postage due marking !

Upon arrival in Canada, this properly franked air mail letter was incorrectly taxed 7 cents by the Canadian post office:

I have no idea how the Canadian postal official arrived at 7 cents; however, had the error not been made, the cover wouldn't be as interesting.