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Postal Numismatic Covers

1969 Specimen 50c UNC

Nuphil Yarralumla Cover

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

Image Courtesy of Downies-Australian Coin Auctions
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.
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.
It has 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.

Full Correspondence can be found here

Nominal Specifications

Denomination: 50 Cents
Metal: Copper-Nickel
Mass: 15.55 grams
Diameter: 31.5 mm
Reverse: Stuart Devlin
Obverse: Arnold Machin