Alternative Australia

The Alternative Australia Cinderellas are based upon unadopted designs for early Australian stamps.

The history:

Australia is much like the United States in that it is a federation made up of six states and two territories. Prior to Australia’s federation in 1901, each of the states was a British colony that issued its own stamps.

Before the six self-governing Australian colonies formed the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January 1901 they had operated their own postal service and issued their own stamps. For a period of a dozen years after federation, each state continued to have its own stamps, although gradually some postal paper was issued for the Commonwealth of Australia. The first stamps issued by Australia in 1902 did not pre-pay postal services. They were postage due stamps.

After the Commonwealth was formed, Australian Stamp Design Competitions were held in 1902, 1905, 1906 and 1909 to design Australia’s first real postage series, but the process was slow and no common postage stamps were produced.

By 1911, a common postage could no longer be delayed, and the Commonwealth of Australia’s postmaster general, Josiah Thomas, invited artists to, once again, submit designs for a uniform series of Commonwealth postage stamps (for Australia’s first common postage stamps). Two competing interests were at stake. The Commonwealth needed cheap production. The public wanted what they had before Federation, Beautiful postage.

More than 1,000  designs by more than 500 contestants were considered and prizes were awarded. Herbert Altmann of St Kilda (Melbourne) took the first prize for his elaborate, full face portrait of “George V” flanked by a kangaroo, an emu and six shields bearing the emblems of each state. The “Coat of Arms” by Donald Mackay of North Finchley, England, was awarded equal second place with Edwin Arnold’s (“Baldy”) Kangaroo. “Baldy” was the nom-de-plume of Edwin Arnold.

BUT, none of the winning designs were made into postage stamps and nothing happened over the next few months … until a new Postmaster-General, Charles Frazer, was appointed in October 1911. The new Postmaster-General did not like the design from Herbert Altmann and instead he requested an “outline map of Australia” design. A series of stamp designs showing an outline of Australia were produced, one of which superimposed a pair of kangaroos on the map.

Frazer had seen the winning competition entries and remembered a design from the competition that showed a single kangaroo in a pose that he liked. This entry had been submitted under the pseudonym “Baldy”. A new design was prepared by the artist Blamire Young and according to Frazer’ specifications, showing an ‘outline map of Australia’ and Edwin Arnold’s (“Baldy”) Kangaroo.

A limited quantity of 1d Kangaroo stamps could be printed and despatched to post offices by the beginning of January 1913. The remaining 14 denominations in the series were issued progressively over the next three months. When the Kangaroo stamps went on sale, a new surge of debate started about the design and, in particular, the omission of the King’s portrait. Moves were made to also introduce a recess issue of postage stamps.

In June 1913, six months after the first issue of the 1d Kangaroo stamps, there was a change of government and the Liberal Party came to power. One of the first things they did was to order new stamps with the monarch, King George V on them. Agar Wynne, the Liberal government’s new Postmaster-General, announced the kangaroo-and-map stamp was to be replaced by Hermann Altmann’s 1911 competition-winning stamp after all. The Liberals were so keen to establish themselves as a pro-monarchy government they allowed the Australian Treasury to print engraved King George V stamps because the stamp printer of the day did not have the facilities to do engraved printings.

T.S. Harrison convinced the authorities that there was no Australian engraver capable of producing a suitable King George V die. Harrison contended that he could engrave a recess die, manufacture the necessary plates, and print the stamps. He must have persuaded the Postmaster-General of his ability to perform the work, because he was authorized to produce an engraved die based on Hermann Altmann’s revised design.

In November 1913 the concept of a new 1d stamp featuring the King’s head had been enlarged to a completely new stamp series to replace the Kangaroo stamps. A number of denominations would feature King George V but, most surprisingly considering the government’s objection to the Kangaroo stamps, others would show different subjects, including a kookaburra and a black swan.

Hermann Altmann’s 1911 competition-winning stamp proved to be too complex, so a simpler design featuring the Royal portrait of King George V on a 1d stamp was produced, and issued in December 2013.

The political promise to replace the kangaroo series, began and ended with the 1d red Kangaroo. On defeat of the Fisher government, no further attempts ever occurred to replace the Kangaroo series. The Kangaroo and Map series continued to be issued, and was not removed from sale for over thirty years.

In 1914 Harrison was ordered to proceed with other designs in the proposed recess-printed definitives series. Dies were engraved for the 2d King George V, the 6d Kookaburra and the 1/- Black Swan designs. Printing plates for the 2d and the 1/- were manufactured, and proofs for the selection of colour were pulled. Subsequently, a small quantity of the 1/- was printed, but the stamps were never issued and virtually the whole supply was later destroyed.

The Cinderella stamps:

Several of the sets produced by Gerald King are inspired by artists who entered designs in the 1911 Australian Stamp Design Competition to produce a design for the first Australia Commonwealth stamp issue. The King George V fantasies and the Black Swan Fantasies are inspired by the 1913-designs by T.S. Harrison.

The Alternative Australia Cinderellas are quite rare (even by Gerald King standards) and some of the sets have only been produced in few copies (some as few as 6 copies).

Below are listed the items I currently have in my collection.


1895. South Australia Railways (Stamps)

Complete set of ‘South Australia Railways’ Cinderella stamps. A rare Gerald King design based on unadopted essays of 1895 by M H Barrett.
Only 6 sets produced.

4 perforated stamps with values: 3 Pence (black), 6 Pence (red), 9 Pence (green) and 1 Shilling (black). On white paper.

 

 

 

 


1900. Queensland, Australia – Patriotic Fund Charity (Stamps)

Complete set of ‘Queensland, Australia’ Patriotic Fund Charity Cinderella stamps, a rare Gerald King design based on unadopted essays of 1900 by F. Elliott.
Only 6 sets produced.

4 perforated stamps with values: 1 Penny (red), 2 Pence (blue), 3 Pence (brown) and 6 Pence (green). On white paper.

 

 

 


1900. Queensland, Australia – Queen Victoria Patriotic Fund Charity (Stamps)

Complete set of ‘Queensland, Australia’ Queen Victoria Patriotic Fund Charity Cinderella stamps, a rare Gerald King design based on unadopted essays of 1900 by F. Elliott.
Only 6 sets produced.

4 perforated stamps with values: 1 Penny (red), 2 Pence (blue), 2 Pence (brown) and 2 Pence (light purple). On white paper.

 

 

 


1911. Boomerang & Map (Stamps & Proofs)

Fantasy set based on unadopted essays of 1911.

6 perforated stamps with low values from Half Penny to Six Pence. No underprint.

Original artwork by E.T. Luke. Unsuccessful essays in the 1911 Australian Stamp Design Competition. The essay shows the Map of Australia, surmounted by the royal crown and with AUSTRALIA contained in a boomerang-shaped frame. The artwork was used for all of the six “Boomerang & Map” stamps produced by Gerald.

Plate Proofs signed on the back side.

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1911. Boomerang and Map (Stamps)

Alternative Australia – 1911. Boomerang and Map Stamps

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1911. Boomerang and Map (Proofs)

Alternative Australia – 1911. Boomerang and Map Proofs. Signed on the back


1911. Unity (Stamps & Proofs)

Fantasy set based on unadopted essays of 1911.

6 perforated stamps with high values from One Shilling to Two Pounds. No underprint.

Original artwork by Maximilian Tannenberg. Tannenberg had four unsuccessful essays in the 1911 Australian Stamp Design Competition. One of them was an essay described as an “Allegorical Figure and Coats-of-Arms” of the six Australian States, endorsed at the bottom as “BE UNITED” I. The artwork was used for four of the six “Unity” stamps produced by Gerald. Refer to the “One Shilling”, the “Two Shillings”, the “Five Shillings” and the “Ten Shilling” stamps below.

Another of the four essays by Maximilian was described as “Advance Australia Coats-of-Arms” which was endorsed “BE UNITED” III. The artwork from this essay was used for the remaining two of the six “Unity” stamps produced by Gerald. Refer to the “One Pound” and the “Two Pounds” stamps below.

Plate Proofs signed on the front.

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1911. Australia - Unity (Stamps)

Alternative Australia – 1911. Australia – Unity Stamps

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1911. Australia - Unity (Proofs)

Alternative Australia – 1911. Australia – Unity Proofs (Signed)


 1911. Kangaroo (Stamps & Proofs) – First Printing (High values)

Fantasy set based on the unsuccessful “Baldy essays” in the 1911 Australian Stamp Design Competition.

The high values Kangaroo set consist of 4 perforated stamps with high values from One Shilling to One Pound.

The high-value Kangaroo issue exists in two types / printings:

  • The colors in what appears to be the initial printing (1911) are dull, on dullish white paper and on the reverse is the A under a crown underprint on brownish gum as shown below
  • The assumed second printing (1913) is in brighter colors on white paper with no underprint

Original artwork by Edwin Arnold.

Plate Proofs signed on the front.

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1911. Baldy Essays (High Values Stamps - Front - First printing)

Alternative Australia – 1911. Baldy Essays Stamps (Front) – First printing

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1911. Baldy Essays (High Values Stamps - Underprint - First printing)

Alternative Australia – 1911. Baldy Essays Stamps (Underprint) – First Printing

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1911. Baldy Essays (High Values Proofs)

Alternative Australia – 1911. Baldy Essays Proofs (Signed) – First printing


1913. Kangaroo (Stamps & Proofs) – Second Printing (High values)

Fantasy set based on the unsuccessful “Baldy essays” in the 1911 Australian Stamp Design Competition.

The high values Kangaroo set consist of 4 perforated stamps with high values from One Shilling to One Pound.

The second printing (1913) has no underprint.

Original artwork by Edwin Arnold.

Plate Proofs signed on the front.

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Baldy Essays (High Values Stamps - Second printing)

Alternative Australia – 1913. Baldy Essays Stamps – Second printing

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Baldy Essays (High Values Proofs - Second printing)

Alternative Australia – 1913. Baldy Essays Proofs – Second printing


1913. Kangaroo (Low values stamps in pairs)

Fantasy set based on the unsuccessful “Baldy essays” in the 1911 Australian Stamp Design Competition.

The Low values Kangaroo fantasy set consist of 6 stamps with values from Half Penny to Six Pence.

The stamps exist as both perforated and imperforated stamps. The perforated stamps in pairs below have no underprint. The Imperforated stamps in pairs below have an “A under a crown” underprint (as shown below).

Original artwork by Edwin Arnold.

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Baldy Essays (Low values stamps in pairs) - Perforated

Alternative Australia – 1913. Baldy Essays – Low values stamps in pairs – Perforated

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Baldy Essays (Low values stamps in pairs) - Imperforated

Alternative Australia – 1913. Baldy Essays – Low values stamps in pairs – Imperforated

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Baldy Essays (Low values stamps in pairs - Imperforated - Underprint)

Alternative Australia – 1913. Baldy Essays – Low values stamps – Imperforated – Underprint

Unfortunately I do not have any signed proofs for the low values stamps… yet…


1913. Kangaroo (Low values stamps in blocks of four labels)

Fantasy set based on the unsuccessful “Baldy essays” in the 1911 Australian Stamp Design Competition.

The Low values Kangaroo fantasy set consist of 6 stamps with values from Half Penny to Six Pence.

The blocks of four labels are perforated and all the stamps have an “A under a crown” underprint (as shown below).

Original artwork by Edwin Arnold.

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Kangaroo - Low values stamps in blocks of four labels - Front

Alternative Australia – 1913. Kangaroo – Low values stamps in blocks of four labels – Perforated

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Kangaroo - Low values stamps in blocks of four labels - Underprint

Alternative Australia – 1913. Kangaroo – Low values stamps in blocks of four labels – Underprint


1913. Kangaroo (6d Stamps in mini sheet of six labels)

Fantasy stamps based on the unsuccessful “Baldy essays” in the 1911 Australian Stamp Design Competition.

The 6d Kangaroo fantasy stamps in a mini sheet of six labels.

The perforated stamps in the mini sheets have no underprint.

Original artwork by Edwin Arnold.

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Baldy Essays (Six Pence stamps in a mini sheet of six labels - Yellow stamps - Perforated) - Signed

Alternative Australia – 1913. Baldy Essays – Six Pence stamps in a mini sheet of six labels – Yellow stamps – Perforated – Signed

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Baldy Essays (Six Pence stamps in a mini sheet of six labels - Black stamps - Perforated) - Signed

Alternative Australia – 1913. Baldy Essays – Six Pence stamps in a mini sheet of six labels – Black stamps – Perforated – Signed


1913. Kangaroo  (6d Color Trials & Proofs)

XXX

 

 

 

 


1913. King George V (Stamps & Proofs)

When Joseph Cook took over as Australian Prime Minister in mid-1913, he promptly issued a series of stamps featuring the profile King George V.

The King George V set consist of 6 perforated stamps with values from Half Penny to Six Pence.

The set had at least two printings and the stamps exist in two sizes; 26mm x 23mm and 30mm x 25mm. All have an underprint of an A under a crown.

Original artwork by T.S. Harrison. Only one plate of each design was manufactured. On appointment of W.G. Spence as Postmaster-General in September 1914, this issue was cancelled.

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. King George V Stamps (Low values) - Perforated

Alternative Australia – 1913. King George V Stamps (Low values) – Perforated

 

Picture of signed proofs here!!! (I do not have these yet)

 


1913. King George V (Stamps)

Complete set of ‘1913 KGV Australia’ Cinderella stamps, a rare Gerald King design based on unadopted essays of 1913.
Only 6 sets produced.

6 perforated stamps with values of ½ Penny (green), 1 Penny (red), 2 Pence (dark blue), 3 Pence (brown), 4 Pence (orange) and 6 Pence (blue). On white paper.

 

 

 

 


1913. Australia Black Swan (Stamps & Proofs)

Fantasy set based on

and intended to replace the Kangaroo and Map stamps (the Kangaroo stamps of Australia, commonly known as Roos, were the Kangaroo and Map series of definitive stamps of the Australian Commonwealth first issued in January 1913).

The outbreak of World War I caused the Black Swan series to be terminated.

The Black Swan set consist of 6 perforated stamps with high values from One Shilling to Two Pounds.

Original artwork by T.S. Harrison (Only one plate of each design was manufactured. On appointment of W.G. Spence as Postmaster General in Sept 1914, this issue was cancelled).

I have 3 sets of the Black Swan stamps set. For two of the sets the stamps presents the “Crown over A” underprint on the back side. For the third set the stamps have no underprint. The last set might be a later print than the first two sets.

Plate Proofs signed on the front.

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Black Swan (Stamps)

Alternative Australia – 1913. Black Swan Stamps

Gerald King - Alternative Australia - 1913. Black Swan (Proofs)

Alternative Australia – 1913. Black Swan Proofs (Signed)


1937. Australia Maps (Stamps)

Complete set of ‘Australia Maps’ Cinderella stamps, a rare Gerald King design based on unadopted essays of the 1937 stamp competition.
Only 6 sets produced.

 

 

 

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