Australia #483/492 (SG#469/478) 1970 Commemoratives, A Specialized Lot of 13 VFNH Mint Stamps

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A specialized group of 13 VFNH stamps, covering some of the 1970 commemorative issues, including the National Development, Qantas and Christmas issues, with some different unlisted paper varieties. 

The Australian equivalent of tagging is called Helecon, which is a chemical in the zinc sulphide group that fluoresces orange-red under long-wave UV light. The very first stamp to be issued with Helecon coating applied to the paper was the 11d Rabbit Bandicoot from the 1958-1964 definitive issue. Later, the 5d orange-red Queen Elizabeth II stamp from the 1963-1966 issue was issued with the Helecon incorporated into the ink. By the end of 1965 all stamps issued had Helecon applied to the paper. On this issue, some stamps are found with a uniform coating on the paper that glows orange-red, while others have the paper impregnated with Helecon, so that it appears greyish white from a distance under UV, but under magnification, tiny orange-red dots can be seen on the surface of the paper. Most of the chalk-surfaced paper stamps from these issues are like this, while the engraved stamps tend to show a Helecon coating on the paper. 

The comparison pictures shows some of the differences that can be found on these stamps. As you can see the fluorescence of the paper varies from low to high fluorescent.

Gibbons lists the basic stamps at 3 pounds (approx. $6) for VFNH. The stamps here grade between 75 and 84. 


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