All about postmarks

A postmark is an inked rubber stamp, with an imprint that indicates the date and place. A postal worker will press the postmark onto your letter to show the stamp has been used for postage. The date on the postmark records where and when the item enters the mail system.

Postmarks are just as unique and fascinating as stamps themselves. Take a look at some of our latest ones, and learn how to perfectly place postmark ink onto your collectable items.
 

Latest first day of issue postmarks

Welcome Stranger postmark

Issue: Welcome Stranger
Issue date: 26 February 2019

Robin Boyd: 1919-17 postmark

Issue: Robin Boyd: 1919-17
Issue date: 12 February 2019

Moments of Treasure postmark

Issue: Moments to Treasure
Issue date: 5 February 2019

Norfolk Island Pitcairn Settlement postmark

Issue: Norfolk Island Pitcairn Settlement
Issue date: 22 January 2019

Australian Legends 2019 postmark

Issue: Australian Legends 2019
Issue date: 17 January 2019

Christmas Island Year of the Pig 2018 postmark

Issue: Christmas Island Year of the Pig 2018
Issue date: 8 January 2019

Latest temporary and permanent postmarks

Alice Sprints NT 0870 postmark

First day of use: 2 January 2019
Post Office: Alice Springs
Type: Permanent pictorial
Postmark text: Old Telegraph Station Alice Sprints NT 0870
Pictorial elements: Old telegraph station buildings and morse key
Size: 38mm

 

Wyndham WA 6740 postmark

First day of use: 2 January 2019
Post Office: Wyndham LPO
Type: Permanent pictorial
Postmark text: Wyndham WA 6740
Pictorial elements: Crocodile with open mouth
Size: 40mm

 

Latest stamp show postmarks

2018 Macau stamp exhibition day 1 postmark

First day of use: 21 September 2018
Show: 35th Asian International Stamp Exhibition
Type: Stamp Show temporary postmark
Postmark text: 35th Asian International Stamp Exhibition Macau 21 September 2018
Pictorial elements: Koala in tree and Australia Post logo

2018 Macau stamp exhibition day 2 postmark

First day of use: 22 September 2018
Show: 35th Asian International Stamp Exhibition
Type: Stamp Show temporary postmark
Postmark text: 35th Asian International Stamp Exhibition Macau 22 September 2018
Pictorial elements: Koala in tree and Australia Post logo

2018 Macau stamp exhibition day 3 postmark

First day of use: 23 September 2018
Show: 35th Asian International Stamp Exhibition
Type: Stamp Show temporary postmark
Postmark text: 35th Asian International Stamp Exhibition Macau 23 September 2018
Pictorial elements: Koala in tree and Australia Post logo

2018 Macau stamp exhibition day 4 postmark

First day of use: 21 September 2018
Show: 35th Asian International Stamp Exhibition
Type: Stamp Show temporary postmark
Postmark text: 35th Asian International Stamp Exhibition Macau 21 September 2018
Pictorial elements: Koala in tree and Australia Post logo

The four types of postmarks

Most Post Offices have a standard postmark with the name of the Post Office, postcode and date, but there are also four postmark types exclusively produced for specific stamp releases or events.

National First Day of Issue

Used to commemorate the release of a new stamp on a national level. The locality name is chosen for its link to the stamp issue.

Permanent Pictorial

Reflecting something distinctive to the locality, such as penguins for the town of Penguin in Tasmania or a lighthouse if one is prominent in the area.

Temporary 

These postmarks are used on either single days or consecutive days commemorating a special event.

Individual location

Postmarks associated with a historical or geographical reflection of the local area but not necessarily pictorial and can be used to cancel first day of issue stamps only.

Applying a postmark

If you need a postmark applied to your philatelic item, head to your local Post Office. Only authorised Australia Post staff can apply postmarks. Make sure you’re getting the right kind of postmark applied. You’ll want a national postmark on a first day cover, the correct commemorative postmark for a special occasion stamp, and so on.

Request that the postmark impression is applied with clarity and precision - no smudging! Black is the only colour ink that should be used. Catch the corner of the stamp - don’t cover up the stamp design. Refer to the images below as a guide.

Correct postmarking

Single stamp

Place the postmark on the left hand side.

Pair of stamps

Should be centrally postmarked at the base of the stamps.

Minisheets

Cancel all the stamps, ensuring at least one postmark also marks the envelope.

Multiple stamps or strips

Use the least number of postmarks to cancel the most number of stamps.

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