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Four unused centenary re-issue of the first postage stamps produced in Australia, 1950

2004.0042.0003

Four unused centenary re-issue of the first postage stamps produced in Australia, 1950

Object information

Physical description

Sheet of four unused reddish brown postage stamps, being the 1950 centenary re-issue of the first postage stamps produced in Australia. The two stamps on the proper left side feature a half-length portrait of Queen Victoria, holding a staff and orb. "AUSTRALIA" is across the top, and "ONE HUNDRED YEARS" is across the bottom. "VICTORIA'S / FIRST STAMP" is in a small box at the bottom of the proper left side. The two stamps on the proper right side feature a crude version of the image found on the reverse of the 3rd Great Seal of New South Wales, known in Philatelic circles as the 'Sydney View'. It depicts an allegory of Britannia, sitting on a bale and holding out her hand to receive to the colony a standing male and female free settler. There are buildings, including a church, and a masted ship in the background. "SIC FORTIS ETRURIA CREVIT" (Thus Etruria Grew in Strength) is below it, and it is circumscribed by "SIGILLUM. NOV. CAMB. AUST." (Abbreviated from, Sigillum Novae Cambriae Australis, meaning The Seal of New South Wales). "AUSTRALIA" is across the top, and "ONE HUNDRED YEARS" is across the bottom. "N.S.WALES / FIRST STAMP" is in a small box at the bottom of the proper left side. The face value of all of the stamp's is 2 1/2d each.

Statement of significance

The 3rd Great Seal of New South Wales Collection comprises a red wax impression of the 3rd Great Seal of New South Wales housed in a contemporary tin; an article from the Sydney Morning Herald, 13 August 1932, entitled 'The Great Seal of N.S.W.: Its Successive Changes' by P.C. Mowle; and 4 unused stamps re-issued in 1950 to mark the centenary of the first stamps produced in Australia. The wax seal is brittle, has cracks and small losses and the surface is abraided. There are accretions and ferrous staining on both sides. The details of the image on the reverse are not as clear as the image on the obverse.

The Great Seal was one of a number of legal 'instruments' created to extend Royal authority to the Pacific and permit the operation of British law in the Colony of N.S.W. As the King's representative in the region, Governor Phillip was required to affix the Great Seal of N.S.W. to any official documents he signed, such as Commissions, Pardons and Deeds of Land Grant, in order to legitimise them. The design and motto used (in various configurations) on the first five Great Seals of N.S.W. makes reference to the hopes of its designers that N.S.W would flourish, and it is particularly apt that the design sealed documents which would help secure the colony's future.

Object information

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