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Australian Prestige Stamp Booklets.

Australian Prestige Stamp Booklets.

and

why I no longer collect them.

February 27th, 1997.

The Classic Cars series was designed by Sandra Harmon of the Australia Post Graphic Design Studio. The illustrator was Andrew Hopgood of Melbourne. Printed by SNP Cambec on Harrisons paper.
For the first time Australia Post produced The Prestige Collection for the Australia's Classic Cars stamp issue. The new product included sixteen stamps in total, in blocks of four. Each block depicted one of the classic cars — four of the same stamp. Also included were stickers of the cars, postage paid post cards featuring historic photographs, basic specifications and stories about each of the cars. The cost was $9.95.

This illustration shows the four stamps as they appeared in the sheet printings as blocks of four.
In the Prestige booklet each stamp was printed in a block of four in a separate pane.

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August 13th, 1998.

           

           

Issued on August 13th 1998. Illustrator Michael Leunig, designer Sandra Harmon. Printed by SNP Cambec on CPL paper using Offset lithography. Denominations were 45c x 3, $1 and $1.20. The Prestige Collection comprised a total of 16 stamp, which were valued at $9.80. In addition to the 16 stamps, the collection included one postage paid postcard and a set of stickers. The collection was priced at $9.95.

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March 12th, 2002..

Issued on March 12th, 2002, this booklet sold for $9.95 and contained stamps to a face value of $9.69. Featuring an introduction to lighthouses in Australia, it gave information about the lighthouses featured on the stamps plus historic and contemporary photographs. The stamp designer was Sean Pethick, Melbourne, the booklet design was by Lisa Christensen, Australia Post Design Studio and the printer was SNP Ausprint.

The multi-value pane in the booklet.

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March 12th, 2002.

Issued on March 12th, 2002, this booklet was issued in Prestige style but was not classified as such. The booklet contained 20 stamps in five panes of four stamps each plus a sheet of twenty rose bouquet seals. Each pane of stamps was set within a decorative border designed to complement the stamps, quotations and images on the adjacent and interleaved pages. The stamp was the Congratulations design from the Personal Greetings issue with a stamp image of wedding rings and roses and a message of congratulations printed on the tab. This was the first time this stamp had been issued in this format. The face value of the stamps contained in the booklet was $9 and the selling price was $9.95 which was a considerably higher mark up price when compared with the attractive Lighthouse booklet.

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July 2nd, 2002.

This Prestige Booklet had sixteen mint stamps, in four panes of four with decorative borders plus a miniature sheet, making a total of 20 45c stamps. There were four blocks of 4 of the Ghost Gum Mt Sonder, Mt Hermannsburg, Glen Helen Country, and Simpsons Gap stamps. Also included in this booklet were two postcards. The interleaved pages and borders of the panes included photographs, paintings by Namatjira, and text about his country, culture and people.
The face value of the stamps and miniature sheet was $9.00 and the booklet sold for $9.95.

The image above is similar to the last pane in the Prestige Booklet except that the latter has the vertical perforations continuing to the top of the pane.

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May 2nd, 2006.

This booklet followed the release of the 2002 Lighthouses in Australia. This second version contained 20 50c stamps in exclusive block of four configurations and also included a postcard. The face value of the stamps was $10 and the booklet sold for $10.95

This illustration shows the five stamps used in various combinations as blocks of four in the booklet.

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Letter to Australia Post Philatelic Bureau 21st March 2003.


Dear Sir,
I have a standing order for two copies of issued booklets (including Prestige Booklets) which I am currently receiving on a quarterly basis.
Today I received the March-May bulletin which gives details of a set of six Special Occasions Booklets at a cost of $75.70.
Please note that I do not wish to be sent these booklets and also that I wish to terminate my standing order after receipt of the next quarterly consignment. I also wish to register my disgust at these issues. Why not issue one booklet with one pane of each of the designs? I stuck with the standing order after the issue of the 1996 Centenary of the AFL booklets (against my better judgement) hoping that would be a 'one off' issue. This camel has taken a lot of straws on its back, but this is the last one that broke it!
As a matter of interest I was going to cancel the order after receipt of the 'Wedding' booklet which I felt was a very poor effort.
The Lighthouses of Australia was to my mind the best issue for years.
I would appreciate acknowledgment that my Standing Order has been cancelled
Thank you.
xxxxxx
A completely disillusioned (finally) booklet collector.
As a matter of interest I was asked before the issue of the AFL booklets if I wished to receive tham and I agreed, though registering my disquiet. I have to date had no such contact regarding the Special Occasions booklets. At over $150 I think the option should be given.

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As if to emphasise the wisdom of my decision, in March 2005 Australia Post issued a set of 7 Marking the Occasion Prestige Booklets at a cost of $89.65 and also a set of 6 Zodiac Prestige Booklets at a cost of $65.70.
Another problem with these booklets is the difficulty of displaying them (as is illustrated in this article). For the booklets to be appreciated they would need to be exploded (broken up) so that each pane could be seen. This is the reason I ordered two of each, one to explode and the other to retain intact.
Effectively doubling the cost of the collection — Surely enough to turn anyone off?

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Sources:-
Australia Post Philatelic Bulletins
Stamps of Australia 12th edition.

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