On the 20th of January, Australian post has issued a set of eight stamps in the series “Australian legends” started in 1997. Each year since 1997, the Australian Legends Award has recognized outstanding individuals for their part in shaping the social and cultural life of Australia.
In 2012, the Australia Post Australian Legends award celebrates eight doyens of football, champions past and present. The four categories are:
- Australian rules football, with Ron Barassi and Gary Ablett
- Rugby league, with John Raper and Billy Slater
- Rugby union, with David Campese and David Pocock
- Soccer, with Joe Marston and Mark Schwarzer
Here are the eight stamps.
As usual, the Australian post has issued a huge number of philatelic products around this issue, such as the stamp pack, the maximum cards, the fdc, the gutter pairs.
And I don’t show you the booklets (one for each stamp), the booklet of booklets (yes!), the deluxe presentation pack and I don’t know what else. Gosh, you must be rich if you want to collect all items related to new stamp issues in Australia!
As you can imagine, I am interested in this stamp issue because two of the stamps are related to Rugby Union, my favorite sport and topic for collection. I therefore decided to try to buy the stamps from a post office in Melbourne. Just near the GPO, an old building that must have been a General Post Office in the past but which is now a shopping center, I found a large post shop from Australia shop. I decided to try this place. First thing that surprised me when entering is that you could find there a lot of things not at all related to postal service. For instance you could buy some plastic things to protect your toothbrush!
Then in a corner of the shop there was a large window display with all the recent stamps and philatelic issues. I was delighted as this is exactly what I was looking for! It was written that all these items are sold at the postal desk, you just needed to ask the clerk. So I queued at the postal desk. Then I was welcomed by a very nice lady. When I asked her the stamp pack from the 2012 Australian legend then I felt she did not really understand what I wanted. I thought that my (bad) accent was the cause of the trouble, so I pointed to the poster just behind her, advertizing the product I was looking for. She looked at the poster and looked back at me and then said “I’m not sure we have it”. Then I thought “come on, why do you have posters advertizing the items and why do you have this big display if you don’t have them!” but I did not say that, of course, and simply asked: could you check? She then disappeared for five minutes, and then came back with a large smile: she had found it! I was relieved. At this stage I did not dare asking her about the FDC and the maximum cards that I would have liked to purchase also. I can get them from another source (internet for instance).
As a conclusion I would say that it seems the situation in Australia is very comparable, as far as stamps are concerned. The number of issues (and related items) is big, probably bigger than in France. And it seems less and less common to buy stamps from a post office. It seems everything is done to encourage you to buy stamps from the internet. We can be a bit worried about our hobby!