Queen: 1. Punk: 0.

Australia 2016 Queen's Birthday $2.75 Golden Wattle Diamond Brooch

Australia 2016 $1 Queen's Birthday stampHer Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, turned 90 on April 21st, but she’s stretching celebrations out all the way from April until June, because She’s The Queen So Suck It Plebs.

Last year I wrote about Australia’s tradition of marking Her Majesty’s birthday with a stamp issue. In that post, I may have inadvertently given readers the impression that I’m not a fan, with ambiguous phrases such as “pointless allegiance to Empire”, “another country’s monarch is irrelevant to a nation half a planet away in the 21st century”, and “reliably some of the dullest Australian stamp issues each year”.

Well, didn’t I have to swallow my republican tongue with this year’s issue. I didn’t mention it here when it was released, but I keep seeing it at the Post Office, and it is no less stunning for the delay.

Australia 2016 Queen's Birthday $2.75 Golden Wattle Diamond BroochIt’s all about this Australian Golden Wattle diamond brooch. Continue reading

An apology to rich people

Embarrassed punk

In my last post, I had a laugh at well-heeled collectors of Australia’s King George V stamps who were eyeing off a rare one-penny red rusted cliché block that was up for auction at the Arthur Gray KGV sale held at Mossgreen Auctions in Melbourne last Friday (it’s all explained at the link).

The error on the item is believed to have been caused when a rat urinated on the printing plate while it was in storage. That didn’t stop the block having an estimated hammer price of $85,000.

Embarrassed punkWell, there were red faces at Punk HQ this week Continue reading

Watch a rich person pay $85,000 for something a rat peed on

Australia KGV rusted cliché

Take my moneyI love a good auction. Whether it’s watching my dream home being fought over by people who can actually afford to buy it, or watching Beryl make five pounds for her Edwardian comb on Bargain Hunt, it’s supply and demand at their purest. It’s especially fun when you’re the vendor. Which eBay seller doesn’t love it when a surprise bidding war breaks out over a stash of old Nancy Drew novels?

There’s a doozie of an auction at Mossgreen Auctions in Melbourne this Friday, and while I’m not the vendor, at least no one has to pretend to be excited about Beryl’s comb.

Australia lost one of its greatest philatelists this year when Arthur Gray passed away in May. From the accounts of those who knew him, it seems that when Arthur decided to collect something, he had both the foresight to choose the best pieces – often before their rarity was recognised – and pockets deep enough to make sure he got them.

Arthur’s magnificent collection of ‘Kangaroo and Map’ stamps (the first issued under the new ‘Australia’ brand after Federation) was auctioned in New York in 2007. It made $5,584,000 US (over 7 million AUD). But don’t let me stop you pasting cloth samples into your scrapbook, I’m sure YOUR hobby will pay off someday too.

In recent years, Kangaroo prices bounded out of range for many collectors (downturn? What downturn?), so Australia’s second stamp issue, the ‘King George V’ (KGV) series, already a collector favourite, became even more popular. But Arthur had been quietly forming an amazing collection of KGVs long before they came into fashion. His KGV collection goes under the hammer on Friday, and lots of people will be very excited.
Continue reading

Water on Mars (and all the other planets)

Australia 2015 Our Solar System Jupiter stamp

This week, everyone’s excited about water being found on Mars. But at the House of Punk, water has been covering the surface of Mars for at least a week now, thanks to the tears of joy I’ve been crying over Australia Post’s latest stamp issue, entitled Our Solar System. Cynicism be damned, just look at these gorgeous stamps and tell me they don’t make you similarly wet. As with real planets, they’re best viewed in the night sky (or in this case, in their minisheet).

Australia 2015 Our Solar System minisheet

You can, of course, buy many of these stamps separately, but if you’re spending $4.90 or more on parcel postage this week, and you let them slap a boring docket on that parcel instead of insisting on this beautiful minisheet, then YOU SHOULD BE SHOT AND I MEAN THAT LITERALLY I AM QUITE PREPARED TO PULL THE TRIGGER. Continue reading

The Queen isn’t dead. Long live the Queen!

Australia 2015 Queen's Birthday minisheet

Due to general busy-ness I’ve missed a few Australian releases of late. But I thought Aussie Post did a decent job of the Centenary of the Anzac landing, amid the appalling jingoism currently en vogue down under. No doubt they’ll release some hideous and overpriced Anzac-themed ‘Impressions’ products at year’s end, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Then we’ll blow it up behind us so the Germans won’t get us. Continue reading

80s Stamp of the Day

UK1986RoyallWeddingPrinceAndrewSarahFerguson12pYou’d think I’d be watching the Oscars glamour today, wouldn’t you? But no. I came across this blast from the past on the weekend, and I CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF THE HAIR!

Nor the shoulder pads. Nor the open-necked shirt with the collars under the lemon pullover. Nor the tres eighties grey curtains in the background.

And what colour shall we make the banner at the bottom? How about a dark puce? Delightful! Pour me a wine cooler, and with a tip of the hat to the Oscars, let us remember that joyous night in 1986 when Prince Andrew made his way tentatively down the red carpet.

Then let us leave the party before his dodgy mate invites his suspiciously young friends.