A postage stamp perforated with the initials or insignia of an organization, especially to prevent misuse. (from Oxford Languages.)


In 1858, Londoner, Joseph Sloper was granted a patent for a device which could perforate holes in the form of letters and symbols into cheques and other financial instruments so as to prevent these from being reused or otherwise fraudulently handled.

Given the growing issues of theft associated with postage stamps Joseph Sloper sought to extend the application of his perforating devices to postage stamps so that the true owner of the stamps could be known.

He approached the Post Office (in England) and after considerable correspondence and argument, in 1868 the Post Office gave permission for Sloper’s devices to be used on postage stamps and most importantly they altered their own regulations so that perforated stamps perforated with perfins could not be redeemed for cash.

The Perfin was born.

Perfins in Australia

The first device used on postage stamps in Australia is the 2 die device of D&J Fowler (Adelaide) which came into service around 1880. The device was made by Slopers and it was of a high quality remaining in service until at least 1954.

With Federation (1901) both State and Federal Departments sought to identify their own stamps and most asked the Postmaster General for permission to overprint. Oddly this rather cost effective option was refused and the use of perforation devices was suggested.

Commercial Perfins

The major users of Commercial perfins the mail order retailers and the emerging corporate users such as those involved in the growing industries of Insurance, Coastal trading, Warehousing, Pastoral management, Agricultural machinery, Film processing and Oil products.

These companies were the most common users of perfins into the 1920’s and 30’s and although their usage dropped off in later decades some were still users of perfins into the 1960’s and a few into the 1970’s.

Today the perfins that once served a key role in the processes of commerce and Government have become just an oddity and largely misunderstood.

Perfins and the AFL

On the 5 October 2015 the AFL and Royal Australian Mint, together with Australia Post, issued the Ultimate Collection of

  • Map of Australia 70c stamp with AFL Perfin
  • Custodians of the game in P stamp selvedge
  • The Gold Postmark. The “core” postmark is the same design but black ink
  • Mark of the Year: Nic Naitanui
  • Premiers: Hawthorn three-peat
  • Norm Smith Medalist: Cyril Rioli
  • Brownlow Medalist: Nat Fyfe

Other items:

  • ten select trading cards plain or signed
  • Silver coin or coin in Hawthorn Colours or Gold Plated coin

The issue was more popular with coin collectors.

The 70 cent Map of Australia with blue and green background (issued 15 April 2014) was perforated with the logo of the AFL.

Other AFL Perfins

199645 c Centenary of the AFLNorth Melbourne
Adelaide Crows
Richmond Tigers
St Kilda
West Coast Eagles
Essendon Bombers
Geelong Cats
Hawthorn Hawks
200845c 150 Years of Australian Football
200955c Let’s Get ActiveFootball
$3.20 Minisheet(6 stamps)
201260c Australian Legends of Football(8 stamps) Barassi and Ablett
Barassi Self Adhesive
2016 $1.00 Fair Dinkum Alphabet Part Two“A” Adelaide sock, Aussie Football
2015 Custodians of the Game
Perfin Stamps of Australia