At the conference of postal and telegraphic representatives from New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, held in Hobart in March and April 1898, it was agreed that:

The first issue of NSW Specimens to the UPU under the new agreement was recorded in the letter from Under-Secretary S, H. Lambton of Finance and Trade on 19th June 1889 and covered 345 specimens of each postage stamp of the colony then in use. Total cost £713/8/6. They were received on 29/8/89.

Previously, under the UPU agreement, the NSW Post Office had to provide the Berne Bureau of the UPU with 810 of each denomination overprinted SPECIMEN.

The overprint was in red, lower case letters (except for the first letter), serif font and 16 mm long. This format was used in NSW for stamps and postal stationery from September 1896 to about 1899 (see Bell (2007, p. 19)).

The stamps for these purposes were those printed on the standard watermarked paper and the usual perforation was used.

The stamps overprinted SPECIMEN are not rare but they are scarce in good condition. Less than five examples would be listed across all of the most prominent auction houses each year.

Multiples of the Specimens.

The only known multiple with the SPECIMEN overprint is from the Australia Post Archives.

A pair of the 2½d (2/6) with lower selvedge together with singles of both NSW stamps was sold at the February 1987 Philatelic Archival sale held by Australia Post.

The 2/6 (2½d) pair was also auctioned by Premier in their Rarities sale of January 2003 Lot 222 and only recently in the Corinphila Sale of November 2023 Lot 30082 - see below the image of the pair for further details.

The pair was taken from rows 4 and 5.

    • Australia Post Archival Sale, February 1987, Lot 22,
    • Premier Rarities Sale, January 2003, Lot 222.
    • Corinphila Sale 320 November 2023, Lot 30082 - Dubois Collection Part 3.
    • Johnstone.

The application of the SPECIMEN hand stamp varied in its position stamp-by-stamp by about 1 m horizontally.
Two examples show this feature:



Supplies of both denominations of the Charity stamps were exhausted very quickly after being issued and hence there were no stamps cancelled-to-order for collectors.

There are some stamps with light corner cancels on the market at times but these were not prepared as C.T.O. stamps.