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Private Revenue Perfins of New South Wales

An Elsmore Coath production

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User: Hardy Brothers

Goldsmiths and Jeweller's

Address: 13 Hunter St, Sydney, NSW

Revenue Use:

KEDVII 1909-28 issue 2d

Rarity Scale:

KEDVII 1909-28 issue 2d R4

Background: John Hardy was born in Nottinghamshire, England, in 1831, the son of Samuel Hardy I, a jeweller and watchmaker, and his wife Catherine Esther, nee Wilson. His brother Samuel Hardy II was a retail jeweller at St. Ives, Huntingdonshire, England.


On 31 July 1853 John arrived in Sydney aboard the ship 'Plantagenet' and was met by his cousin Felix Wilson. A few weeks later John established a jewellery business from his rooms at Jamieson Street, Sydney. Before leaving England, John had formed a partnership with his brother Samuel Hardy II, to trade in NSW selling jewellery from England. Samuel’s role was to source and ship the stock and John was to manage the retail sales in NSW. The partnership continued until Samuel II’s death in 1865.


From 1861 John was joined in Sydney by his nephew Samuel Hardy III (born 1842) and he remained in Sydney until 1865 but returned to England following his father’s death. In 1869 Samuel III returned to Sydney to marry Emma Louisa Sparke. He then returned to England to conduct his fathers business but continued a partnership with his Uncle John.

Between 1855 and 1934 Hardy Brothers operated from premises at 13 Hunter Street, Sydney but in 1934 they moved to Castlereagh Street, Sydney. In 1892 a branch of Hardy Brothers was opened in Brisbane at 116 Queens St with Walter Hardy, son of John Hardy, as manager. In 1917 (some sources 1918) a branch was opened in Melbourne at 298 Collins St.

Hardy Brothers are known for their gold and silverware and have manufactured the Melbourne Cup. The company is the only holder of a Royal Warrant from Queen Elizabeth II, in Australia.


John Hardy (1831-1904)


Today the company has 7 stores around Australia including two each in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and a store in Perth.


Device: The HB.a was a Sydney device and was one of 3 similar single die devices used by Hardy Brothers in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Only the Sydney and Brisbane devices are found on revenue stamps.


These devices produce 3 patterns that are almost indistinguishable from each other and are most accurately confirmed by postmarks or there use on a given States revenue or postage stamps.


The characteristics of the patterns are:


Sydney: From 1913 missing pin second from base of spine of B

Brisbane: Rounded base of B


Melbourne: Centre pin of 3 of the base of the B is slightly higher than the pins to either side giving a concave look to the base.


The Sydney HB device has not been reported on Railway Stamps but is found used on Postage Stamps of NSW and then Australia from at least 1907 until about 1930.


Related Patterns: Refer to other Hardy Brothers patterns in:





User: Henry Berry & Co (Australasia) Ltd


General Merchants

Address: 515-519 Kent St, Sydney, NSW

Revenue Use:

Numeral 1929-66 issue 2d, 3d

Rarity Scale:

Numeral 1929-66 issue 2d R4, 3d R4

Background: Henry Berry was born in 1836 in Boughton-under-Blean, Kent, England, and in February 1856 he arrived at Melbourne in the 'Nimrod'. He tried to establish a grocery business but in 1859 he formed a partnership with John May, a salt and general merchant. Soon Berry was the sole owner and he looked to expand the business by sourcing salt locally. His first attempt at Cundare, near Colac, Vic, was a failure but he later developed the important deposits at Edithburgh, Yorke Peninsula, SA, which later became the Castle Salt Co-operative Co.

In 1878 Berry opened a branch of his general merchandise business in Adelaide. Other branches soon followed in New Zealand 1885, Sydney 1890, Brisbane 1891, and Perth 1896, and in addition he opened offices in London and Toronto. In 1879 his brother Howard joined the firm and Berry's son, Henry Parton May, became a partner in 1888. By 1899 the company had 600 employees in Australia and New Zealand.

Despite ill health in his later years Henry (senior) and Board steered the company towards consolidation with the creation of Henry Berry & Co (Australasia) Ltd in 1920 that collected up the various Henry Berry companies from the Australian States and New Zealand as well as some other wholesale and retail grocery companies into a single corporate entity. Henry (senior) died on 10 January 1923 aged 86.

The company continued to trade successfully and became increasing involved in the manufacturing of grocery items. This trend continued into the 1970’s when the company was absorbed by the US food giant Beatrice to become Beatrice Australia Pty Limited.

Device: The HB.b device came into service in about 1939 and was still in use in 1967. It was a single die device and produced clear strikes over its nearly 30 years of use. Previous studies have indicated that there were three 'types' of this pattern but this is not supported by the author’s research in which we have found that the device produced a consistent strike and shows no sign of modification or variation during its life. 

The reports of variation are likely caused by confusion with the symmetrical nature of the pattern and the rather square shape of the B, which makes it impossible to know what position the strike of the pattern is in. There was also a device used by Hawkes Brothers in Geelong that produced a rather similar pattern with a square B, but this pattern is slightly smaller in scale and has a single pin between the H and the B.  See HB.c in the Victorian section. 


Related Patterns: Refer to other Henry Berry & Co (Asia) Ltd patterns in:


VIC:  HB.a   HB/Co.a




User: H H Groth & Co

Paint, Glass, Wallpaper and artists suppliers

Address: 529 George St, Sydney, NSW

Revenue Use: Not seen by the authors

Rarity Scale:

Background: *The firm of H H Groth was established in Sydney in 1852 and was at one stage the largest contract painting and decorating company in Sydney. From the mid 1880’s they were sometimes listed as HH Groth (junior) and it is known that the founder of HH Groth died in 1903.


The company occupied a series of premises including 330 George St in the early 1880’s, later 530 George St, before moving to 529 George St in about 1890.


By the late nineteenth century, the firm had ceased contracting, devoting activities to the retail and distribution of painters and decorators supplies.


In 1911 they were located at 525 George St and in both 1912 and 1913 they had serious fires at these premises and this may have lead to a return to 529 George St, In 1919 they are advertised as being being Glass Merchants, Oil and Colour men, and Wallpaper Experts and having a head office at 529 George St, as well as a factory in Sussex St, and a store in 504 Kent St.


 In 1927, the firm moved from their familiar George Street premises to York St, and rationalised business to concentrate only on sales of wallpaper. In 1931, the firm was once again supplying painter’s materials. H.H. Groth and remained a going concern in 1936.


Device: This device was only used in Sydney for a short period in the early years of the 1900’s, from 1903 until at least 1905. Accordingly the patterns from this device are rare.


Given the early usage and from the evidence of examples seen on postage stamps it is most likely that the device was a single die one.


The pattern is known on the postage stamps of NSW in this period and recently it has been reported used on revenue stamps, no example has been sighted by the authors.


Related patterns:  Nil






User: Hartford Fire Insurance Co

Insurance Provider

Address: Lammington House, 46-48 Margaret St, Sydney, NSW

Revenue Use:

Numeral 1929-66 issue 3d, 9d, 1/-, 1/6, 2/-, 2/6, 3/-, 4/-, 5/-, 6/-, 8/-[brown], 10/-, 12/-, 14/-, 18/-[orange], 18/-[yellow], £1, 30/-, £5, £10, £30, £50

Decimal 1966 issue 1c, 3c, 5c, 10c, 15c, 20c, 30c, 40c, 60c, 70c, 80c, 90c, $1, $1.60, $1.80, $2, $20, $100

Rarity Scale:

Numeral 1929-66 issue 3d R3, 9d R4, 1/- R2, 1/6 R3, 2/- R3, 2/6 R4, 3/- R4. 4/- R4, 5/- R3, 6/- R3, 8/-[brown] R4, 10/- R4, 12/- R4, 14/- R4, 18/-[orange] R3, 18/-[yellow] R4, £1 R4, 30/-, £5 R4, £10 R4, £30 R4, £50 R4

Decimal 1966 issue 1c R4, 3c R4, 5c R4, 10c R4, 15c R4, 20c R4, 30c R4, 40c R4, 60c R4, 80c R4, 90c R4, $1 R4, $1.60 R4, $1.80 R4, $2 R4, $20 R4, $100 R4

Background: *The Hartford Fire Insurance Co was founded in Hartford, Connecticut, USA, in 1810 and operated successfully in the US before expanding into overseas markets.

The company arrived in Australia in the early 1930’s and initially occupied premises in 60 Pitt St, Sydney. In 1951 the company purchased 'Lamington Hall' an old boarding house in Margaret St, Sydney which it completely refurbished prior to occupying 2 floors of the 4 story building. It was still located in Margaret St as recently as 1959.

The company had a long association with the Home Insurance Co Ltd and is listed as providing workers compensation as well as motor vehicle insurance.

Hartford Fire Insurance left the Australian market in 1994.

Device: This single die device came into use in around the early 1940’s and is found on both postage and revenue stamps. Its use on postage stamps was discontinued in around 1955 but it continued to be used on revenue stamps well into the 1960’s. Accurate dating of this 1960’s use is hampered by the fact that in this period the Company cachet did not include a date.


Early reports of this pattern confused it with the many IH patterns of International Harvester. This is understandable as the letters I and H, are symmetrical and produce a logical pattern when read backwards and indeed upside down. The identity is no longer in question due to proving documents and stamps carrying readable Company cachets.


The fact that use of the device on postage stamps was ceased earlier than use on revenue stamps is not unusual and the same decision was made in a number of other Insurance companies in the 1950’s including Mercantile Mutual and Liverpool and London and Globe. It was also not exclusively a NSW policy as use of the MM.a device in Tasmanian shows a similar policy in place as the device came into use in this period and was not used on postage stamps.

Related Patterns: Nil




User: Harrington's Ltd

Photographic Equipment

Address: 386 George St, Sydney, NSW

Revenue Use:

Numeral Railway 1929-66 issue 1d

Rarity Scale:

Numeral Railway 1929-66 issue 1d R4

Background: *Harringtons Limited was founded in Sydney in 1906 by brothers John and Thomas. They were metallurgists initially involved in the Gold boom in Western Australia but later become involved in the silver residue technology used in the photographic industry. This lead Harringtons into the manufacturing and wholesaling of photographic equipment.

By 1930 they had offices across Australia and New Zealand and dabbled in Cinema with the purchase of the Raycophone System which they later sold to Kodak.

Harringtons traded until 1990 when they merged and became Golden West.

Device: This was most likely a single die device and this is evidenced by the image of multiple strikes on the Railway stamps above. The strikes are on different angles and are clearly unrelated. This is further supported by examples of strikes on postage stamps, which show single central strikes in a variety of positions on a range of different sized stamps, without evidence of any related die(s).


The pattern is not found on revenue stamps but is found on NSW railway stamps. It is found over the period 1928 to 1946.


There was an earlier HLTD device used by the company in the Sydney office and in earlier studies the reported usage of these patterns have been somewhat confusing as follows:


                     Reported usage        Authors findings


Earlier HLTD       1924–1925                1922-1926

H/LTD.a             1924–1947                1928-1946


It is unlikely that the devices existed in the same office at the same time. Further late (1926) examples of the earlier HLTD pattern show many missing pins so it is likely that the device was in disrepair and that the H/LTD.a device was purchased to replace the earlier device.


Related Patterns: Refer to other Howard Smith patterns in:



*Heritage Council of NSW.



User: Howard Smith Company Limited

Shipping Agents

Address: Sydney, NSW

Revenue Use:

Numeral 1917 issue 2d

Rarity Scale:

Numeral 1917 issue 2d R4

Background: *Captain William Howard Smith arrived in Melbourne from Hull (Yorkshire) in 1854 and formed Howard Smith Limited and commenced regular voyages between Melbourne and Geelong.

In 1864 he extended this to a Melbourne to Sydney passenger and cargo service and later included Newcastle (1868), then Maryborough (Qld), Adelaide, Brisbane and Rockhampton by 1880. This network was further extended to include Western Australia and Far North Queensland.

Smith had established himself well in coal importation and trading and this and the growth in his passenger and general cargo services lead to the accumulation of a large fleet. In the late 1870s he had three of his sons in the partnership and they took charge of the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane offices. In 1883 the firm became a limited liability company, William Howard Smith and Sons Ltd. He was the Managing Director at Melbourne before he retired from active management in 1884, but he continued as chairman until 1887.

Smith died in Melbourne in March 1890 aged 76, survived by his wife and seven sons and two daughters. The business was reorganized under the control of four sons, Edmund (Melbourne), Walter (Geelong), Harold (Sydney), and Ormond (Brisbane)

In 1901 the company became Howard Smith Company Ltd and later in 1914 it changed its name to Howard Smith Limited and it expanded from its base in the coastal shipping trade into the mining and sugar industries and later engineering, hardware, towage and safety.

The shipping activities continued to grow until the late 1940’s when the company ceased their involvement in the passenger trade. In 1969 Howard Smith withdrew from the shipping business in and then in 2001 sold their towage interests. The company and its remaining hardware interests were absorbed by Wesfarmers Ltd., Perth, the owners of the Bunnings chain of hardware stores. At this time Howard Smith Ltd. was de listed from the Australian Stock Exchange.

Device: Initially Howard Smith chose to use a range of very similar single die 'HSCO' devices in their offices around Australia. Most of these devices went out of service by 1913 and they were replaced, and indeed new offices were supplied with, single die devices that had the letters 'HSLD'.


Many of these HSLD devices produce very similar patterns and as a result there has been considerable confusion and miss reporting of their use and location. For more information about these patterns refer to the study that is located on under the Research tab as follows:


This HSLD.a device was first used in Sydney in around 1915 and had an H with straight sides. In around 1917 or perhaps shortly after, the device was either repaired or replaced by a very similar device. The pattern formed from the altered/new device was slightly different in the shape of the left hand leg of the H, in that it had a slight bend in it.


Further the top of the upright of the L bent in slightly. This was the case until about 1940 when the device was altered and thicker pins were fitted. The pattern following this alteration was more like the original 1915 pattern, as the thicker pins tended to hide the shape of the pattern.


The only known examples of this pattern on revenue stamps are found on the 1917 series and they are early setting.


HSLD.a early setting       


HSLD.a later variation 


HSLD.a thicker pins      


Related Patterns: refer to other Howard Smith patterns in:




*Australian Dictionary of Biography


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