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Private Revenue Perfins of Victoria

An Elsmore Coath production

The authors would welcome your comments additions or input into this work

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User: Edgar Bell & Co(unconfirmed)

Customs Agents

Address: 14-16 Market St, Melbourne, VIC

Revenue Use:

1911 Series 1d

Rarity Scale:


1911 Series 1d R4


Background: Edgar Bell & Co was established in Melbourne in 1888 as Customs House, Shipping and Forwarding company. The company was initially run by brothers Edgar and Henry Bell. Henry later moved to work at competitor, Howard Smith and Co.

Little is reported about the company, except their location in Market Street.

Edgar Bell & Co merged with fellow Customs and Shipping Agents C Stokes & Co (formed 1899) in 2004 to form Stokes and Bell Pty Ltd.

14-16 Market St, Melbourne, VIC

Device: The EB.a pattern is not proved to Edgar Bell via use on postage stamps but it can be linked to the company by its use on revenue stamps.


Note in the examples for EB.b one shows part of a “Received by” cancelation that shows the words “…DGAR BELL & CO”. This leaves the E of Edgar unconfirmed but the other example shows a manuscript cancel that is “EB&Co”.  Given that these revenue stamps both share the same EB pattern it is reasonable to assume that the user is Edgar Bell & Co.


EB.a and EB.b are both Temporary perfin patterns made by a Stamp Vendor and would have been in a single die format. They share the same basic layout but differ in scale. This is sufficient to regard them as both being used by Edgar Bell & Co as the Stamp Vendors who provided perforating services have been shown to be careful in the structuring of patterns for a specific user.


EB.a was used in about 1902 and there are various layouts of the pattern showing different separation of the letters and in some instances misplaced pins but only the EB.a as shown has been found on revenue stamps.


EB.b was used from about 1904 until at least 1922. As with EB.a, EB.b was subject to much variation in settings and you will note that the examples shown under EB.b show different separation between the letters.  This is common in Temporary patterns, as different settings of the same letter combinations made up over the period of usage of the pattern will vary.


Both EB.a and EB.b are found used on the postage and revenue stamps of Victoria and EB.b is also later found used on the postage stamps of Australia from 1913.


Patterns: Refer to other Edgar Bell & Co patterns in:




User: Edgar Bell & Co(unconfirmed)

Customs Agents

Address: 14-16 Market St, Melbourne, VIC

Revenue Use:

1911 Series 1d, 6d

1915 Series 2d

Rarity Scale:


1911 Series 1d R4, 6d R4


1915 Series 2d R4


Background: See EB.a

Device: See EB.a

Related Patterns: Refer to other Edgar Bell & Co patterns in:




User: Eliza Tinsley

Iron and Steel, later Machinery Merchants

Address: 46 King-street, Melbourne, VIC

From 1901 640-652 Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC

Revenue Use: 

1886-1899 Series, inscribed 'STAMP DUTY' 1d (shades)

Rarity Scale:


1886-1899 Series 1d R4

Background: *The company that would become Eliza Tinsley started in 1851 at Cradley Heath in ‘Black Country’ area of the Western Midlands in England. During the Industrial Revolution this area was one of the most industrialised parts of Britain with coalmines, coking, iron foundries and steel mills doting the area. 

It was in the centre of this thriving, industrialised area that Eliza Tinsley started her chain making business in the mid 19th Century. Eliza was married to Thomas, a self-employed nail maker.  They had six children and following the death of their eldest daughter and Thomas in 1851, Eliza continued to run the business under her own name and it soon became very successful.

Eliza was know locally as “The Widow” and for over 20 years built her reputation as a fair and knowledgeable business woman visiting customers in the United Kingdom and even sending a representative out to Melbourne, to establish a company in her name their. 

By 1871 Eliza Tinsley in England was employing about 4000 people and production included wrought iron nails, rivets, chains, chain cables and anchors.  Many of these employees were “outworkers”, who lived locally and visited the company’s site once a week to collect materials and then returned the next with finished products.  Chain making was incredibly labour intensive and the heat, dirt and strength involved resulted in a very male dominated industry – making Eliza’s success even more of an achievement.

 Eliza retired in 1872 at 58 and died in 1882 at home.  The business was taken over by four partners including G Harry Green, a former sales representative of the Company.  He eventually bought out the other partners but the Tinsley family continued to work in the company and in 2014 a 5th generation of the Tinsley family still remained closely linked with the business.

In the later part of the 1800’s and early 1900’s increased automation in manufacturing meant that the company moved away from nail production and expanding chain manufacturing in support of the booming industries of ship building and mining. 

The company expanded through the 20th Century with acquisitions of the Swindell Tool Company (1928) J T Parkes - door and gate products (1966), Wiggin Chains - welded chain manufacturer (1984) and J H Carter - un-welded chain manufacturer (1994). By 1994 the companies chain and accessory range dominating the UK market. In 2006 Eliza Tinsley was acquired by an Indian based Manufacturing Group.

The details of Eliza Tinsley’s operations in Melbourne are somewhat unclear. Eliza’s sonsCharles Theophylus Tinsley, (Born 1844) and his brother Thomas Tinsley (Born 1846) are both known to have immigrated to Australia. The approximate dates are 1861 for Charles and 1871 for Thomas.

Given the family nature of the company at this early stage it is most likely that Charles and/or Thomas, or indeed both, were involved in the establishment of the branch of the company in Melbourne.

Newspaper records show that on 1 May 1891 Eliza Tinsley announced that the company in Melbourne described as “Iron, steel, and hardware merchants, at 46 King-street, Melbourne, under the style of " Eliza Tinsley,"” which had been conducted by Charles Theophilus Tinsley, and Frank Evers, would be transferred to Charles Theophilus Tinsley, and Leonard Richard Lloyd. Further it was agreed that the business will be continue, “at the premises above mentioned under the same style of  “Eliza Tinsley”.

Charles Theophylus Tinsley, died in Melbourne in 1900 but the company moved into new premises at 640-652 Bourke St in 1901 with the occupants being the firms of Eliza Tinsley, (hardware importers), and Lloyd Bros, and James Maginnis, (leather merchants).

The Bourke St building was extended to its current form in 1925 and the company continued to operate from these premises until the 1970s, after this time it was used for hardware storage (warehousing) and later sold to Australia Post who used it as storage purposes.

Eliza Tinsley Building 640-652 Bourke St, Melbourne

Device: The ET.a pattern is proved to Eliza Tinsley via its use on postage stamps but the examples that we have seen of the pattern used on revenue stamps show partial impressions of the words Eliza Tinsley in manuscript cancels.


There are a total approximately 30 ET patterns found on the postage stamps of Victoria and Australia from the period 1896 until 1940, yet only this single ET.a has been found used as a revenue.


Most of the various ET patterns are Temporary perfin patterns made by a Stamp Vendor but the company did purchase its own Customized perforator in 1920 but the pattern from this device is not found on revenue stamps.


The ET.a pattern is found used on the postage and revenue stamps of Victoria in the period in the period 1896 until 1903.


Related Patterns: Nil

*Eliza Tinsley web site


Walking Melbourne


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