Specimen overprints

Both of the Hospital Charity stamps were overprinted Specimen in italic serif font 12 mm wide (type 22). The 1d (1/-) stamp was overprinted in red while the 2½d (2/6) was overprinted in black. This overprint was only used on the Victorian Charity stamps for distribution to the U.P.U. members.

The nature of the target group ensured that examples are now scarce - especially in multiples. The largest multiples are:

The only recorded blocks of 4 overprinted SPECIMEN.

Rod Perry June 1990 Lot 528;
Prestige Philately November 2008 Lot 581;
Abacus Auctions September 2019, Lot 237.

Strips of three of each denomination overprinted Specimen MNH.

Rod Perry September 1993 Lot 1031.
Charles Leski July 2002, Lot 345.

Similar strips sold at Millennium, June 2011 Lot 449 (lower margins not as wide) as did a pair of singles (lot 448).

The only recorded variety of the overprint is recorded on the 2½d. It is a double overprint of which one is an albino overprint. Only one Specimen is visible from the front but on the reverse side the double printing can be seen clearly.
(Rodney Perry April 1998 Lot 1035 and Prestige Philately January 2004 Lot 614).


Cancelled to Order.

Stamps were made available to collectors at a reduced price by being Cancelled to Order with a date stamp having Melbourne at the top and a two line date. There is no inscription at the base.

Three dates with CTO cancellations are recorded:

  1. on the First Day of Issue - Oct. 22 /97. This a scarce date samp with only 4 examples of each denomination recorded to date.
  2. a Melbourne datestamp of Nov. 16 /97. A much more common date with more than 10 examples recorded.
  3. a Melbourne datestamp of 9 June 1903 - 6 years after issue and after Federation. At least two sets of singles with this date are affixed to paper backing although this has no importance or relevance given the late dates.

The popularity of this issue with collectors resulted in very few of these CTO stamps being prepared. Multiples are rare and only have the November 16 date. There is no record of how many CTO examples were prepared but across both denominations, there are probably less than 25 singles or multiples presently known.

The 1d has:

  • one strip of four;
  • one marginal strip of three;
  • two pairs;
  • about 10 singles.

The 2½d has:

  • one marginal strip of three;
  • two pairs;
  • about 6 singles.
CTO singles of each denomination on MNH stamps with full gum.

Date stamps of Oct 22/97 -
First Day of Issue.

CTO strip of four - largest recorded CTO multiple.
Melbourne 16 November 1897.

Rod Perry September 1993;
Millennium Auctions June 2011 Lot 492.

Marginal strips of 3 with CTO cancellation of Melbourne 16 November 1897.

Millennium Auctions October 2002, lot 273.

Pairs with CTO cancellation at Melbourne of
16 November 1897.

Millennium Auctions
June 2011 Lot 491.

A CTO pair on separate pieces is also known with date of 9 June 1903 (Status Auctions October 2011 Lot 1735; February 2012, Lot 1670).
A single of the 2½d (2/6) is also recorded.