There is a bit of a theme of Officials (or Departmentals as I believe they should be more correctly known as) for this month’s report. As I write this in December, Stanley Gibbons have already brought to the market the magnificent collection of Michael Astley, which includes many of the major items of these Official issues and indeed some of the most valuable of the Jubilee issue.
Starting with my favourite, the ½d vermilion; this is a rare control marginal strip of three from the first setting (without Jubilee lines) and control letter “B” with the I.R. Official overprint of the Inland Revenue, of which 4’949 sheets of 480-set were printed (i.e. 9’898 control Bs were printed). Although there’s some toning and minor perforation separation, it sold for £94.40. But this strip is the only example of the “B” control I’ve recorded on my computer, and there wasn’t even an example in the brochure of Astley’s collection (although I don’t have my library at hand to check the other major sales of Officials).
These two Postal Stores Department parcel labels with Government Parcel stamps, one with a 1s green and the other with a 6d and 9d, were the bargains of the month, selling for only £29.88 and £38.99 respectively.
The Specimen overprint (type 15) on the 1/2d blue-green is very scarce if not rare (I thought I had one in my collection but just looking at it now I realised it’s a forgery unfortunately). So a block of four is very unusual, although Specimen multiples don’t float my boat. Looking at the Astley collection however, Stanley Gibbons also had a block of four in very fine condition priced at £1’950 (which has since sold). This example which has two heavy creases, sold for…£78.60. So I think this trumps the two parcel labels above for bargain the month!
It would have been perfect to have another Official as my fifth item, but this 1s green & carmine with a nice strike Field Post Office “17” cancel from the British Army in South Africa during the Boer War deserves the mention, as it sold for £76.60.
And I always forget to mention this, but apologies for the adverts below which get attached to my blog posts by the website provider. Unfortunately I can’t choose which ones they show and I’ve noticed some have been a bit bizarre…