Royal Reels: Gambling


The cover with the printed pink ‘ONE PENNY’ stamp of Victoria has a pair and two singles of the carmen-rose horizontal ‘HALF-PENNY’ stamp, as well as a single copy of the ochre ‘THREE PENCE’ stamp of Victoria, a total of 6d postage. The stamps were all cancelled with MELBOURNE/ 10X/ AU 23/ 97. It was addressed to Fred Hagen, Esq., Stamp Importer, 74 Elizabeth Str., Sydney. The reverse was not seen (Figure 1).

The second cover had an orange ‘ Four Corners One Penny’ stamp of Queensland and the envelope was cancelled by a SYDNEY/ 18 JL/ 5-PM/ 1912/ N.S.W roller postmark. It was addressed to Mr. W.J. Heslop, Powlett River, Wonthaggi, Victoria and it had on the front an unframed reception postmark of POWLETT RIVER/ JL 20/ 12 (Figure 2).

The reverse had a large printed advertising red ‘signet’ on the tab with ‘POSTAGE STAMP/ DEALERS/ / FRED HAGEN/ LTD// 182 PITT STREET/ SYDNEY// NEW SOUTH WALES, printed clockwise around the four sides of the central square. In addition, there appeared to be a bisected 1d Victorian stamp at the lower edge of the cover which was postmarked WONTH(AGGI) (Figure 3).

A much simpler blue advertising signet was seen on the reverse of another Fred Hagen cover’s tag which was inscribed FRED HAGEN LTD/ POSTAGE STAMP DEALERS/ SYDNEY/N.S.W (Figure 4).

Fred Hagen (1860-1935) was a prominent member of Sydney’s philatelic circle and in 1881 he joined Dawson Vindin’s business as a junior partner. Within a year or so, Hagen took over the management of the firm, and with it, Vindin’s Philatelic Monthly. With the change of name to the Australian Philatelist, Hagen was the editor. However, he had A.F. Basset Hull as co-editor, and a perusal of the first issues makes it clear that it was the latter who produced much of the editorial. Beginning with Volume 2, Number 7 (February 1896) the position was simplified when Hagen relinquished any editorial responsibility and Hull became sole editor.

The Australian Philatelist was destined to become a dominant voice in Australian philately for the next 30 years, with not a missed monthly issue up to1921, normally of 12 pages, and occasionally 16 pages. Volume 5 No. 1 (August 1898) brought the announcement that Hagen had relinquished the control of the Australian Philatelist to a Mr. Oscar Schulze, the magazine’s printer, of 113 Pitt Street Sydney. He made no marked alterations with the style and contents. He however accepted advertisements from firms other than Hagen’s and Hull remained the editor as before. Fred Hagen advertised in several Australian newspapers and the following advert is shown as Figure 5.

A noteworthy feature was the publication of the ‘Oceania Catalogue’, a priced listing of the Australian Colonies and Pacific Islands stamps, which also acted as a price list for Hagen. Volume 7 (August 1900) saw the return of the Australian Philatelist as the house journal for Fred Hagen and at the same time Basset Hull relinquished the editorial chair for his employment took him away from Sydney. A picture of Fred Hagen is seen as Figure 6.

Fred Hagen in 1913 produced First Day, or early Sydney usage of the fledgling Kangaroo stamps. These were plain envelopes and at least eleven survive for the red 1d stamp, and one or two for the other denominations between ½d and 5 shillings. The Royal Collection contains a number of these “Hagen” covers which were originally prepared for the wealthy pastoralist H.L.White of ‘Belltrees’ Scone. A later manager of the Hagen’s firm (by then known as Fred Hagen Ltd.), E.T. Jones produced Australia’s first illustrated FDC, for the 1928 3d Kookaburra stamp.  Another picture of Fred Hagen is seen in a bowler hat on one of his advertising etiquettes in 1904, the ‘Dapper Fred’ (Figure 7).

Addendum (May 2011):  I had finished this paper yesterdaybut did not enter it to my website, and to-day I found another Fred Hagen paper.  The surprising thing  is that it confirms that the business name was changed from Vindin to Hagen (Figure 8).

Categories: Business, Philatelists