Benham

Hopefully I haven’t made any mistakes here, but please let me know if you find anything wrong with my information. I’d love to fix it up and be as accurate as possible. Thanks !

History  |  Characteristics  |  Numbering System  |  Year-by-Year  |  Wanted

History

It appears as though the first Benham-labelled silk Australian cover was made for the 1981 Royal Wedding issue. But i’m happy to stand corrected, if anyone has seen anything earlier than that ! From my own research & collection i’ve been able to scrape together a rough listing of most of the Benham Silk covers for Australia, which i’ll add to over time as more information presents itself. The latest cover i’ve seen is from a Sports issue in early 1989, but again if anyone has seen anything later than that please do let me know. This means Benham Silk covers were made for Australian stamp issues for ~8 years – not a very long time – and they are well worth collecting in my opinion. I’ll also make a page for “Sterling Silk” covers when I get time.

Characteristics

Benham Silk covers follow a basic design pattern: a rectangular design printed on silk affixed to the left, with a fancy gold border around it, and stamps affixed to the right-hand-side of the envelope as per usual. Postmarks range from a standard CDS to the typical Arrow from the Melbourne Philatelic Bureau in the early 80s, but most frequently Benham covers display special postmarks just like on the official APO issues. Sometimes an issue will have a cover containing all stamps from the set, as well as a cover for each single stamp. So for example an issue of 4 stamps would have 5 covers (1 set + 4 singles). This was not always the case, but frequently so. Often times these covers have an “insert” which acts as a basic stiffener for the envelope, usually with some interesting text about the issue itself but sometimes a stapled booklet with it’s own artwork. It can be tricky to open Benham covers to have a look at the insert and it’s not worth damaging the back of the envelope or back-flap for that purpose so i’d recommend just leaving them alone. The outsides of the covers are much more interesting than the insides anyway. Benham cover versos for Australian issues are usually blank.

Numbering System

Benham appear to have followed a rough numbering system over the years. This has helped put together information about the various releases & highlights gaps for some issues – but i’m not sure why such gaps exist. The earliest releases in 1981-2 simply have the year and the Benham logo in an oval. Later the numbering system starts with BAS1a,b,c,d for the Fire Engine issue in January 1983 and goes up sequentially from there, starting at 1 again the next year. Some AAT issues have code prefix ‘BAT’ (instead of ‘BAS’), and another issue has ‘AD’ but i’m not sure what these mean yet.

Year-by-year issues

1981  |  1982  |  1983  |  1984  |  1985  |  1986  |  1987  |  1988  |  1989

1981  |  Back to Year choices

29-Jul-81 Royal Wedding (2) Silk Collection 1a/b

1982  |  Back to Year choices

17-Feb-82 Whales (4) No issue ?
19-May-82 Roses (4) No issue ?
16-Jun-82 Animals II (7) 3c,15c,27c,40c,65c,75c,90c No issue ?
4-Aug-82 Post Offices (7) No issue ?
22-Sep-82 Commonwealth Games (4) 1982 (no code)
22-Sep-82 Commonwealth Games M/S 1982 (no code)
27-Sep-82 National Stamp Week 1982 (no code)
1982 ’82 Xmas (3) No issue ?
17-Nov-82 Aboriginal Culture (4) No issue ?

1983  |  Back to Year choices

12-Jan-83 Fire Engines (4) 1983 BAS1a,b,c,d
23-Jan-83 Australia Day (2) 1983 BAS2a,b
2-Feb-83 ANZCER (1) 1983 BAS3a
2-Feb-83 Animals III (4) 1c,70c,85c,95c No issue ?
9-Feb-83 Paintings (3) No issue ?
9-Mar-83 Commonwealth Day (4) 1983 BAS4a,b,c,d
6-Apr-83 Antarctic Wildlife (5) 1983 BAT1a,b,c,d,e
20-Apr-83 Queen’s Birthday (1) 1983 BAS5
18-May-83 World Communications Year (1) 1983 BAS6
8-Jun-83 Jaycee’s 50th Anniversary (1) 1983 BAS7
15-Jun-83 Butterflies (9+1) No issue ?
18-Jun-83 St Johns Ambulance (1) 1983 BAS8
3-Aug-83 Sentimental Bloke strip of 5 (1) 1983 BAS9
17-Sep-83 12th AAT Consultancy Meeting (1) 1983 BAT2
26-Sep-83 Explorers(4) 1983 BAS12a,b,c,d
2-Nov-83 ’83 Xmas(3) 1983 BAS10,11a,b

1984  |  Back to Year choices

16-Jan-84 75th Anniversary South Pole AAT (2) 1984 BAT1a,b
26-Jan-84 Australia Day 1984 (1) Cook’s Cottage 1984 BAS1
22-Feb-84 45c Airmail Pair (2) 1984 BAS2a,b
14-Mar-84 Vintage Cars strip of 5 (1) + singles (5) 1984 BAS3a,b,c,d,e
4-Apr-84 $5 Mentone No issue ?
18-Apr-84 Queen’s Birthday (1) 1984 BAS4
23-May-84 Clipper Ships (4) 1984 BAS5a,b,c,d
6-Jun-84 Skiing (4) 1984 BAS6a,b,c,d
18-Jun-84 Marine Life I (6) 2c,25c,30c,50c,55c,85c No issue ?
18-Jul-84 AAT scenes (5) 1984 BAT2a,b,c,d,e
25-Jul-84 Olympic Games (3) 1984 BAS7a,b,c
22-Aug-84 Ausipex 1984 single 30c 1d roo 1984 BAS8
21-Sep-84 AUSIPEX M/S + singles (7) 1984 BAS9a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h
 Sep-Oct-84 ’84 Xmas (5) 1984 BAS11a,b,c,d,e
7-Nov-84 Bicentenary (8) 4 covers with 2 stamps on each 1984 BAS 10a,b,c,d
19-Nov-84 150th Anniversary of Vic (2) 1984 BAS 12a,b

1985  |  Back to Year choices

25-Jan-85 Australia Day (2) 1985 BAS1a,b
13-Feb-85 International Youth Year (1) 1985 BAS2
25-Feb-85 Military Uniforms strip of 5 (1) 1985 BAS3a,b,c,d,e
13-Mar-85 Centenary of District Nursing (1) 1985 BAS4
13-Mar-85 Australian Parrots (2) 1985 AD1a,b
10-Apr-85 Navigators (4) 1985 BAS5a,b,c,d
10-Apr-85 Navigators M/S (1) 1985 BAS5e
22-Apr-85 Queen’s Birthday (1) 1985 BAS6
15-May-85 Conservation (4) 1985 BAS7a,b,c,d
20-Mar-85 Marine Life II (6) 5c,20c,33c,40c,80c,90c) No issue ?
17-Jul-85 Childrens Books strip of 5 (1) 1985 BAS9
18-Sep-85 Electronic Mail (1) 1985 BAS10
7-Aug-85 AAT scenes (5) 1985 BAT1(?)a,b,c,d,e
2-Oct-85 Shipwrecks (4) 1985 BAS11a,b,c,d
22-Oct-85 33c Frama Kangaroo No Code
18-Sep-85 ’85 Xmas (5) 1985 BAS12a,b,c,d,e

1986  |  Back to Year choices

24-Jan-86 Australia Day 1986 BAS1
26-Jan-86 AUSSAT(2) 1985 BAS8a,b
12-Feb-86 150th Anniversary of S.A. (2) 1986 BAS2a,b
21-Apr-86 Queen’s Birthday (1) 1986  no code / BAS4
12-Mar-86 New Holland / Cook’s Voyage (6) 1986 BAS3a,b,c,d,e,f
9-Apr-86 Halley’s Comet (1) 1986 BAS5
21-May-86 Horses (4) 1986 BAS 6a,b,c,d
11-Jun-86 Marine Life III (7) 3c,10c,45c,60c,65c,70c,$1 1986 BAS7a,b,c,d,e,f,g
21-Jul-86 Click-Go-The-Shears strip of 5 (1) + singles (5) 1986 BAS9a,b,c,d,e,f
6-Aug-86 Bicentenary – Decision (4) 1986 BAS10a,b,c,d
13-Aug-86 Wildlife strip of 5 (1) 1986 BAS15
25-Aug-86 Wildflowers of Australia (4) 1986 BAS11a,b,c,d
25-Aug-86 New Frama Label 36c Platypus 1986 no code
17-Sep-86 25th Ann Antarctic Treaty AAT (1) 1986 BAT1
18-Sep-86 Orchids (4) 1986 BAS12a,b,c,d
26-Sep-86 America’s Cup (3) 1986 BAS13a,b,c
22-Oct-86 International Year of Peace (1) 1986 BAS8
3-Nov-86 86 Xmas singles (3) 1984 BAS 14a,b,c
3-Nov-86 86 Xmas Miniature Sheet (1) 1984 BAS14d

1987  |  Back to Year choices

23-Jan-87 Australia Day (2) 1987 BAS1,1b
28-Jan-87 America’s Cup (4) 1987 BAS2a,b,c,d
11-Feb-87 Fruit (4) 1987 BAS3a,b,c,d
 ? According to ‘Collect Benham Covers 1987’, this cover was going to be an Americas Cup overprint but Australia didn’t win, so the cover wasn’t issued. Can anyone help ? 1987 BAS4 ?
11-Mar-87 AAT scenes (5) 1987 BAS5
10-Apr-87 Agricultural Show (4) 1987 BAS6a,b,c,d
21-Apr-87 Queen’s Birthday (1) 1987 BAS7
? According to ‘Collect Benham Covers 1987’, this cover is ‘ International Congress of Technical Education’ but I have not seen it. Can anyone help ? 1987 BAS8 ?
13-May-87 1st Fleet Departure strip of 5 (1) + singles (5) 1987 BAS9a,b,c,d,e,f
3-Jun-87 1st Fleet Teneriffe set (1) + singles (3) 1987 BAS10a,b,c,d
24-Jun-87 Man from Snowy River strip of 5 (1) + singles (5) 1987 BAS11a,b,c,d,e,f
1-Jul-87 37c Wildlife strip of 5 (1) + singles (5) 1987 BAS12
6-Aug-87 1st Fleet Rio de Janeiro (5) 1987 BAS13
19-Aug-87 Technology (4) 1987 BAS14a,b,c,d
2-Sep-87 37c Frama Echidna (1) 1987 BAS15
16-Sep-87 Aussie Kids (4) 1987 BAS16
13-Oct-87 Aboriginal Crafts (5) 1987 BAS19
13-Oct-87 1st Fleet Cape of Good Hope (3) 1987 BAS17
2-Nov-87 ’87 Xmas (7) 1987 BAS18

1988  |  Back to Year choices

Can anyone help with the 1988 ‘Australian Craft’ set on cover ?? Surely this exists as 1988 BAS14.

26-Jan-88 1st Fleet Arrival (5) 1988 BAS1
26-Jan-88 Aust/USA Joint Issue (1) 1988 BAS2
15-Mar-88 Living Together (2) 1988 BAS3a,a
13-Apr-88 The Early Years (5) 1988 BAS4
21-Apr-88 Queen’s Birthday (1) 1988 BAS5
29-Apr-88 Expo ’88 (1) 1988 BAS6
9-May-88 Parliament House Canberra (1) 1988 BAS7
21-Jun-88 G.B./Australia Joint Issue (1) 1988 BAS8
21-Jun-88 N.Z./Australia Joint Issue (1) 1988 BAS9
1-Aug-88 Art of the Desert (4) 1988 BAS10
14-Sep-88 Olympic Games (3) 1988 BAS11
19-Sep-88 34th Parliamentary Conference (1) 1988 BAS12
28-Sep-88 Australian Craft (vending) (5) 1988 BAS14 ??? Not seen.
5-Oct-88 Panorama (4) 1988 BAS15
31-Oct-88 ’88 Xmas 1988 BAS16
29-Dec-88 Animals of the Antarctic (strip) (1) 1988 BAS13

1989  |  Back to Year choices

13-Feb-89 Sports I (8) Seen 70c cover only

Has anyone seen any other Benham Silk covers from 1989 or later ? Does anyone know any information about why Benham seems to have stopped producing Australian covers here, even though they were still producing UK covers & doing quite well at it ?

Wanted

I would like to buy the following Benham covers, if anyone can help please let me know !

  • any Benham covers from 1981 / 1982 (except Commonwealth Games ’82 & National Stamp Week ’82)
  • 2nd February 1983 – Animals III (may not exist)
  • 9th February 1983 – Paintings (may not exist)
  • 15th June 1983 – Butterflies (may not exist)
  • 4th April 1984 – $5 Mentone painting (may not exist)
  • 18th June 1984 – Marine Life I (may not exist)
  • 25th February 1985 – Military Uniforms strip of 5 (may not exist)
  • 20th March 1985 – Marine Life II (may not exist)
  • 17th July 1985 – Children’s Books singles (may not exist)
  • 13th August 1986 – Wildlife singles (may not exist)
  • 1987 BAS4 – unsure what this cover is
  • 1987 BAS8 – unsure what this cover is
  • 29th September 1988 – Australian Craft vending  (BAS14 ?)
  • 29th December 1988 – Animals of the Antarctic (strip of 5)
  • any Benham covers from 1989 except the 70c Cricket stamp
  • anything else missing from the above checklist that I have not mentioned here ?!