The details addressed on this page are:


Design of the 2½d (2/6) stamp.

The 2½d. (2/6) red-brown stamp featured a very similar portrait of Queen Victoria (but there are slight differences) within an ornamental frame.>

To the right are the figures of a mother holding a young baby and a young girl standing to the side. Also included are a Cross and an Anchor to symbolise Faith and Hope respectively.

The postal denomination of the 2½d stamp paid the foreign letter rate.


The standard 2½d. stamps.

The usual 2½d stamp, issued first in 1890 to pay the cost of the basic overseas letter rate, was designed by Maximilian Tannenberg. There were many printings in red-brown.

Those wishing to send a letter overseas therefore had the choice between these two stamps - depending on whether they wished to pay 12 times the basic rate for postage by using the Hospital Fund stamp.

Main details of the printing.

This stamp was also printed from electrotype printing plates in sheets of 42 arranged in six rows of seven stamps.

Date of issue: 22 October 1897.
Watermark: V over Crown (V3) sideways.
Perforation: 12½ single line perf.
Number printed: 14,280 (340 sheets).
Supplied to Bern Bureau (UPU): Unknown.
Destroyed under Treasury Authority: 4,252
Number issued: 10,038 (239 sheets)



The largest multiples of the 2½d (2/6) stamp are:

There are several blocks of 4.

Three covers are recorded with pairs.

Strip of five from the bottom left corner.
Details of the issue of this strip.

Prestige Philately March 2007, Lot 341 (part).

Block of 6 - second largest multiple.


Stamps off cover.

2½d (2/6) brown Queen Victoria with CTO Melbourne date stamp of 22 October 1897 - First Day of Issue.
For the 2½ (2/6) 1897 Victorian Charity stamps, mint hinged and unused examples are common. Singles and pairs can only be rated as scarce if they are in good MUH condition with reasonable gum. Unfortunately the majority of stamps off cover are unused (no gum) and/or are in poor condition with thins, creases and stained. Almost all examples are singles which generally come in matched dates for the two denominations - possibly used on a cover and later removed.

There are a moderate number of "used" singles. A high proportion of the cancellations on the Hospital Fund stamps are actually CTO date stamps but that fact is not identified as such in descriptions by sellers. The CTO cancellation is distinctive with no inscription at the base. Other cancellations are very faint and indecipherable.

There are between 5 and 20 good used examples with distinguishable dates and these are listed below. A scarce example was used, like the 1d (1/-) stamp, before the issue date at Crowlands on 19 October 1897 (Status Auctions, February 2003. Lot 1587). Good used examples are much more elusive than unused or mint examples. Some stamps are used in the Commonwealth period - well after their validity for postal use. Some cancellations are barred numerals and so date of use cannot be determined.

Abbotsford (unframed).
25 October 1897 - 3 days after issue.

One of the few 2½d (2/6) stamps used during the period of postal validity.

Richard Juzwin, Nov. 2013.

Melbourne 80.
2 November 1897.

Blue Owl Stamps, Nov 2013.

6 January 1912 - used post-Federation.

ACE Auctions, November 2013.


Listing of the known date stamps on 2½d (2/6) stamps.

The list below records the clear date stamps on the 2½d (2/6) 1897 Victorian Charity stamp.
Faint, smudged and incomplete date stamps are not included because of the difficulty in ascertaining their degree of genuineness.

Date on stamp From Notes Seller/Reference & Date (lot)
19 October 1897 Crowlands Three days before official issue. Status February 2003 Lot 1587.
22 October 1897 Melbourne Day of issue (CTO). Status July 2013 Lot 1837.
25 October 1897 Abbotsford A1 Three days after issue. Richard Juzwin September 2013.
25 October 1897 Ballarat   Philately Unlimited, May 2014.
25 October 1897 Melbourne Single - has Melbourne 7O date stamp. Ebay August 2019.
2 November 1897 Melbourne 80   Blue Owl November 2013.
10 August 1903 Melbourne   Status March 2013 Lot 2007.
15 Sept. (?) 1905 Yarraville (?)   Ebay May 2018.
24 August 1906 Melbourne 2 line date. Ebay November 2018.
22 January 1909 Ballarat   Status January 2002 Lot 1306;
Ebay November 2013.
11 March 1911 Skipton   Ebay
6 January 1912 Wangaratta.   ACE Stamp Auctions
November 2013 Lot 1579.