Air Commodore Sir Charles Kingsford Smith - Smitty - is a legendary Australian aviator. His record breaking flights between 1927 and 1935 earned him legendary status to all Australians. In 1931 the Post Office released a set of three stamps to honour the great flyer...
The design of this stamp featured Kingsford Smith's now famous plane, the tri-motor Fokker F.VIIb/3m, Southern Cross, in flight above the eastern and western hemispheres. The badge of the Royal Australian Air Force can be seen behind the word 'AUSTRALIA'. This stunning stamp was designed and engraved by the very talented F.D. Manley.
The issue came in three denominations. 2d, 3d, and 6d which was used for airmail. I'll detail more on the 6d, which went through some changes, later.
6d Violet Air Mail
A small quantity of the 2d and 3d stamps were overprinted 'OS'. This was the first time commemoratives were overprinted for official use instead of being punctured.
|3d OS overprint|
Although a stamp inscribed 'Airmail' was released on 19 March 1931, it was part of a commemorative series (Kingsford Smith) so its availability was limited.
|1931 Kingsford Smith Commemorative|
In May 1931, the Post Office decided to continue the 6d Air Mail stamp in the same design as the Commemorative, albeit with some alterations. The inscription 'Kingsford Smith's World Flights' was removed from the stamp and was replaced with the words 'Air Mail Service'. And the colour was changed to sepia. The stamp was issued on 4 November 1931.
|1931 Air Mail Service|
Later in November, some quantities of the stamp were taken and overprinted 'OS'. They were released on 17 November and, unlike other 'OS' stamps which were for official use, these overprints were available for purchase by the public.
Stay Engraver Crazy!!