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1969 Yarralumla Specimen 50c Cover

1969 Specimen 50c/Yarralumla PNC

Correspondence with Ray Dobson, one of the founding members of Nuphil Associates.
Jan/Feb 2006

preserving for prosperity etc etc

I searched on Google for info regarding the above coins and found your site about the 1969 Specimen strikes.
At that time I was a partner in Nuphil Associates Ltd of Christchurch, NZ. There were only 2 of us in the company, Varian J. Wilson and myself, W. Ray Dobson. Varian did the actual work in producing the covers in Canberra with the help of Ray Whelan of Healesville, Vic.
..........I could take a day or 2 to put my thoughts in order and send you a full account and include a copy of our Newsletter re these covers and a scan of one of my covers.
Ray Dobson.
PS. I am 80 now so like to take my time over things. Varian died some years ago.

I have reprinted Nuphil's Newsletter #1 which deals with this cover and have added colour scans of both sides of one of my covers (#0001) together with some more about Nuphil and the cover.
You may use this in any way you like and publish my name, email and postal addresses, phone #, etc, etc.
One of these covers was sold in Downie's auction # 288 (Item #1014). They said the issue was limited to 1,200 examples.

Just some additional info about the above. I was looking through some very old Nuphil Associates Ltd material when I found an advert we had placed in Lynn's Stamp Weekly in the US sometime in 1970.
It seems we had prepared 1,330 covers so there must have been at least that number of 1969 50c Specimen coins.
We offered them at $US7.50 each! In 1970 the exchange rate was $Aust1.00 = $US1.11 so they probably sold at $7.00 in Australia.

Image Courtesy of Downies-Australian Coin Auctions

Correspondence received in May 2006

In 1969 a partner, Varian j. Wilson, in a Christchurch, New Zealand firm, Nuphil Associates Ltd, arranged with the RAM, Canberra to prepare a Philatelic Numismatic Cover (PNC) containing the new 50c coin to be released that year. On arrival at the Mint Varian found that, in order to fill his order for the coins, a special striking of the coins had been made and were available for him to prepare the covers. However, he was not permitted to take the coins away from the Mint until the official release date but was given facilities to prepare the covers there. This he, with the assistance of a Victorian coin-dealer, Ray Whelan of Healesville, did over a number of days working while the Mint was open.

On 1st September, 1969, they took the covers to the Yarralumla Post Office for postmarking. They were then delivered to Nuphil Associates Ltd, PO Box 962, Canberra City, where they were backstamped on the same date.

Varian J. Wilson (Left) with Lilian and Ray Whelan at Chopsticks Restaurant in Canberra
Nuphil Associates Ltd was a very small company consisting of myself, W. Ray Dobson, and Varian J. Wilson. Varian was a semi-retired clinical psychologist so was in a position to travel while I had a busy pharmacy to run so was somewhat tied. Varian and I had met through our mutual interest in coin collecting and had set up our company to prepare PNCs to mark New Zealand's change to decimal currency in 1967. We had established a fiendly relationship with a Victorian coin dealer, Ray Whelan, of Healesville who assisted Varian in preparing the covers in Canberra and would be responsible for the sale of them in Australia.

I regret I am unable to throw any light on the question of how many coins were struck in the special striking but, from an advert we placed in a US publication, Lynn's Stamp News, in 1969 or 1970 it seems we prepared 1,330 covers. These were priced at $US7.50 each which would equate to about $Aust7.00 at that time. That there was an excess of coins over covers produced I do know as, on his return, Varian gave me 6 of the coins in unstamped and unpostmarked covers, which I have since sold. He also gave me 4 of the covers (#s 0001, 0089, 0090, 0091) which I still have today.

Lynn's Stamp News Advertisement

Two points I would like to mention. It has been suggested that we (Nuphil Associates Ltd) financially assisted the RAM to install a specialist press to strike the Specimen coins. This cannot be true as we were cash-strapped to the extent we had difficulty in paying for Varian's trip to Canberra and buying the coins and certainly had nothing left over. There is a faint possibility that Ray Whelan financed this but I have no recollection of any such deal. It has also been suggested that mounting the coins in card and covering them in plastic has caused them to lose their original bright, lustrous state and turn a dull, steel grey. This could well be true as the coins in my covers are all in this dull state and, as suggested, "not very appealing at all". What the coins were like when I received them in 1969 I cannot now remember.

I have not heard of the covers being referred to as the "Yarralumla Covers" but can well imagine Varian posting them there if it was the most convenient post office to the RAM. We referred to them as "Nu27" as they were the 27th cover we had produced The covers were originally sold mainly in Australia and the US, very few in New Zealand.