Fleetwood – 1978 – Birds (PSEs)

PSEs are not a popular collecting field today, but I think there was a fair bit of hype around this issue back in 1978 when it came out. I recall reading somewhere the Birds PSEs in 1978 were well-received by collectors & the general public alike. I think they form a nice series to this day (who doesn’t love Australian parrots ?).

There was a special folder for this issue called “Nature’s Flying Colors”. I love the fact that they couldn’t even use the Australian English word for “Colours” but instead stuck with the American “Colors”. Perhaps this was because the folder was only for sale in the USA, I really don’t know. [UPDATE: I’m starting to think that might have been the case, because they do turn up for sale in the USA sometimes, but hardly ever in Australia]. It’s a lovely folder and can be tricky to find, but not expensive when you do. The front is deep sea-blue with a heavily embossed title and image, which really makes you want to open it up and have a look. It gives a little introduction quickly discussing Australia & it’s birds, as well as the artist for this series Webb Garrison (1944-2011). Webb was American, not Australian, another fact I find curious. Some original artwork from this series is available to buy in the States, but unfortunately it’s very expensive.

I have no idea how many of these folders were produced. It’s not numbered, so i’m guessing quite a lot. But…where are they now ? The covers can be had from time-to-time on eBay, and it would make a nice “colourful” addition to your collection.

There are 7 beautiful covers in the series, and the first day of issue was 11 SEP 1978.

20c Laughing Kookaburra
20c Gouldian Finch
20c Rainbow Lorikeet
20c Rose Robin
20c Crimson Rosella
20c Superb Blue Wren

Whatever happened with this issue must have been positive for Fleetwood because they launched into full swing with production for the next 3 years, releasing covers for virtually every Australian stamp issue in 1979/1980/1981.

Some more information about the artist Webb Garrison, from the Unicover website:

Webb Garrison
American 1944 – 2011

The son of a Methodist minister, Webb Garrison, Jr. was born in Timmonsville, South Carolina, in 1944. He had lived in several states in the South and the Midwest — South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Illinois and Indiana — before attending Emory University in Atlanta, where he received his B.S. degree in sociology in 1965. Garrison began working on a graduate degree in psychology, but after serving in the U.S. Army Reserves, he went back to undergraduate school at Georgia State University, taking math, physics, chemistry, and a few business classes. He eventually got a job as a computer programmer. In 1971, Garrison began to draw and paint for the first time — and it became a passion. He didn’t think it was possible to realistically pursue a career in art, but he knew that if he didn’t, his love for art would just be a hobby that he would only have time for when he retired. He finally decided to take that important step. With the support of his family, Garrison quit his job in real estate development and set out to become a full time artist. For an artist without formal training, he has developed his own unique style, experimenting with various mediums such as ink, oil and watercolor. Garrison attributes his success to his wife Gayle, who encouraged him to pursue his dream.