I hope everyone is still coping well with the current situation. I’m lucky that in Switzerland the restrictions are quickly coming to an end. I can’t say I’ve been as productive as I should have been in terms of my Jubilee research but I didn’t spend the whole time doing quizzes over Zoom and playing computer games… Recently I spent some time looking at finished eBay auctions from earlier in the year and found some interesting Jubilees that I missed at the time so I’ve included them under the umbrella of my “May” report.
The usage of this Government Parcels 1s is unusual. The Govt Parcels stamps are most frequently seen on “Postal Stores Department” parcel labels (of varying types) and seldom with a rubber Parcel Post handstamp. Only one person placed a bid at the opening price of £29.99 so a nice buy for them!
This 1887 Jubilee imprimatur of the 4d green & brown sold for £191.99. There were 46 examples taken from the registration sheets without “Jubilee” lines (or rules), a further 28 from the sheet with “Jubilee” lines as well as some which have come from spare registration sheets. I only recently discovered that the images of the remainder sheets are available on the Postal Museum Online Catalogue (as well as the GBPS website), so I have been trying to piece them back together with the images I’ve saved over the years. Reconstructing the 4d sheets looks to be a bridge too far.
This Halfpenny postal stationery card is very unusual. Firstly it was cancelled at the 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee exhibition at the Guildhall in May. The owner then obviously took it along the exhibition at South Kensington in July to get a strike of the special cancellation adjacent, and even dug it out when they went to the Royal Naval Exhibition a year later and had a ½d vermilion cancelled by the special cancellation. I’d think it is very rare to see all three on the same card. It sold for £156.83.
This group also had an unaddressed cover/card with a combination of the 1890 Penny Post Jubilee Guildhall and South Kensington exhibition cancels tying two ½d vermilions. Even with the tone spots, the group fetched £105 because of this item.
And finally this attractive franking shows a 4d late fee for the cover to be sent by Continental Night Mail to Paris. Note that the “C.X” at the bottom of the cds means that it was posted in the late box at Charing Cross. There was also “C.S.” for Cannon Street, as well as duplex cancels for both stations. This cover sold for £68.
I hope that this finds everyone in good health and fine spirits. Definitely seems to be more people bidding on items on eBay unsurprisingly. I’ve seen a few Jubilee items sell surprisingly strongly these last two or three weeks.
First up is a rare and collectable “TAUNTON / CRICKET GROUND” cancellation. Unfortunately the green of the 1s is a bit washed, but the strike of the cancellation is very good and almost complete. It sold for £355.67. In fine condition it’s worth around £1’000. I’ve been keeping a (work in progress) census of cricket ground cancellations for those who are interested.
I was ready to bid on this cover, hoping it would go in the £15-20 region. It’s slightly unusual to have a combination of a Queen Victoria and a King Edward VII stamp and it sold for a strong £37.50.
The 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee is a popular collecting area but I was still surprised to see this cover with the Guildhall cancellation sell for £64.53
And we finish with a couple of ½d vermilion controls. The first a nice cover with two different “M” control marginal examples, which sold for £29.14, which is a fair price.
And finally this Zululand ½d vermilion block of four with “K” control. Offered at a starting price of £64.99, it only found one bidder who got it for a very good price!
It’s been hard to find interesting Jubilees since the start of the year, so I think from now on I’ll do my eBay findings every couple of months. As usual they’ll probably be late, even though I don’t have the excuse of being too busy at the moment! But I hope this post finds everybody safe and healthy.
This 2½d imperforate imprimatur fetched the very high price of £227 considering it has no gum.
Unfortunately I was the underbidder on this quite spectacular used block of 20 of the 2½d, which sold for £104.20. The “PAID LIVEPOOL BR. PACKET” cancellation was used on mail on arrival into the UK, which was uncancelled and often coming from West Africa. I regret not bidding more. It also may well be the joint largest used multiple (I have recorded a perfinned block of 20 on cover).
I’ve always been attracted to covers where the sender has put some creativity into the address, even if I don’t quite get the riddle at the top… Two fifths? Not enough? Any way, it sold for £13.45.
Army Telegraphs seem to be very desirable at the minute. So I was surprised that a SPECIMEN overprint on a ½d blue-green was unsold at a buy-it-now price of £100. I would have snapped it up if I didn’t already have 2 (they are rare, honestly). So I was even more surprised when it was re-listed at a minimum bid of £65 and only one person went for it!
And I’ll finish with an unusually late usage of a 1887 6d Jubilee on a 1914 parcel label tag in combination with a KGV 1d. Would have bid more than £20 if I had spotted it before it had sold.
There wasn’t much of note to write about which sold on eBay in November or December so I combined the two this time. I did find a few things at least!
Hot on the heels of my previous post, I came across three varieties of the Müllheim-Deutz-Köln local stamps, showing pairs of the 10pf, 40pf and 50pf with the “unfrankirt” overprint missing on one stamp. They are actually listed in the Michel specialised catalogue of local stamps, priced at around €20-30 if I remember correctly. They sold (on German eBay) for €18.50, €22.18 and €14.28 respectively.
Another bit of fun is this ½d vermilion with a rather unusual violet cancel depicting the Queen between “1837” and “1897”, presumably to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I’ve never seen this before, and can only presume that it is a commercial cachet (of a company presumably in Bayswater) that would have been applied when the stamp was used on a receipt for revenue purposes. If anyone has more of a clue than me then I’d be pleased to hear!
This book, “British Army Postal Cancellations of the Anglo-Boer War 1899 to 1902” by Peter Prime looks like a valuable reference work for a Boer war collector. It’s missing from my library and if I hadn’t have missed it I would have bid more than the £15.80 it realised. I’ll save an eBay search for it so I get an alert the next time one comes up!
Bygones of Bridlington offered quite a few Jubilees with Board of Trade perfins. I still haven’t quite worked out how to identify genuine perfins from fake perfins yet. I have noticed certain cancellations which are consistently found on Board of Trade stamps, and often the perfins are inverted, reversed, inverted and reversed, and sometimes show missing pins. So if this stamp is the real deal then at £19.86 it wasn’t at all expensive.
Finally this slightly ugly cover with a 4½d Jubilee with washed colour sold for £56.70! Unusually, it was sent in 1911 from the British Post Office in Constantinople in British Levant. This stamp isn’t listed by SG as being used in British Levant, and the fact that it was sent to Oswald Marsh, the famous stamp dealer, suggests that it is a philatelic concoction. But it is only the second example I have seen (the other being sent in 1910).
Top 5 Items of the Month
We start of this month’s report with a very recent discovery for me, when in the course of describing a collection for our next auction at David Feldman SA, I came across a presentation album of German local stamps which was produced by a German dealer in the 1940s. When I looked closely, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that some of these stamps were copied from the design of the 1887 halfpenny Jubilee! Since then, I have had an Ebay search saved to alert me when these stamps pop up again, and it wasn’t long before two pages cut out from the album came up. There was only one bidder at the asking price of £19.99 each. So now I need to find out some more information about whether these were actually ever used or just philatelic concoctions (I’m assuming the latter).
This attractive block of four with the hexagonal “ARMY POST OFFICE / STANDERTON / NATAL FIELD OFFICE” cancellation used during the Boer War fetched a surprising £114.55.
But even more surprising was this Midland Railway invoice sent from Hitchin with a ½d vermilion tied by a Hitchin squared circle cancel. Even with a spike hole through the stamp, it fetched £48.95.
This very attractive four-value franking was sent by the Continental Night Mail service to France, paying a total rate of 9d. I was a bit put off by the peripheral discolouration to the envelope, but someone else was happy to pay £78.89.
And finally this item struck me as unusual. It appears to be part of a parcel card, that I think would have been retained and destroyed by the receiving Post Office (if anyone knows better then please let me know in the comments section below). As far as I can recollect I haven’t seen a piece or a complete example before so £24.90 might be very cheap, especially as the stamps are so neatly cancelled.
I’m a bit behind again… Surprisingly there were a few nice things that popped up on Ebay in August (normally a very quiet month as everyone is on holiday or out and about), but there was nothing of note in September so I’ve cheated and combined the two months.
When I accidentally came across this item when I was searching for something else in the British Commonwealth category, I was excited as I thought I might get a bargain here if no GB collector sees this Leeward Islands 2d postal stationery envelope which was sent to England then redirected to Italy with a 2½ Jubilee then redirected back to London. The excitement didn’t last long unfortunately, as well before the deadline it had crept up to £129.80. Never mind.
This is a cut-out from a Smyrna Parcel Post / Customs Declaration form with five unoverprinted 6d Jubilees cancelled by a Smyrna cds. Intact forms are very scarce. This sold for £12.50.
This privately printed Parcel Post label from a company called Pryce Jones, in Newtown, Wales, is a little bit grubby but a scarce item. Despite its condition, it sold for £47.98.
Absolute bargain of the month was this cover from Stevenage to Bulawayo, Matabeleland, in Southern Africa. It is addressed to “Colonel Plumer’s Column”, which was a force organised to break the Siege of Bulawayo during the Second Matabele War (also known as the Matabeleland Rebellion). The Rebellion was officially over by 22 October 1896 (less than a month after this cover was sent), which saw the disbandment of Colonel Plumer’s column. Perhaps explaining why it had to be redirected to Johannesburg, as it has a Boer “ADVERTISED” hs and I think (I’m not sure) an “Unknown” hs at lower left. I was going to bid strongly but forgot and missed it so it only sold for £22.57… I think if you put a 2 in front of that, the right person would be happy to pay it.
And finally my surprise of the month was this registered envelope fro British Levant with the 40pa on 2½d sent from Beirut to Hong Kong. I know that destination mail to Hong Kong and China from GB is popular, but I was still surprised to see this sell for £160.
Top 5 Items of the MonthWell I’ve broken my mini spell of talking first about an item I’ve bought. This is an item that I absolutely should have bought and is my biggest regret in the last few years. People who regularly read these posts will know I have an interest in recording all the usages of the 1900 1s green and carmine I find. So this item caught my attention especially because it was sent from the British Army Post Office during the Boer war. But as it’s a bit ugly (it’s reduced at the top and some of the backflap is missing), it’s philatelic and I have nicer usages of this stamp from South Africa, I put in a miserly bid of £75 and it sold for £77.50. It was only when I came to include it in my listing did I notice the date. The stamp was issued on July 11th 1900. This cover is clearly dated JU 15 1900. Even presuming that the month on the handstamp should be July and not June (unfortunately the arrival backstamp is missing the date entirely), it is the earliest recorded usage of this stamp, and to be sent only 4 days after issue 5’000+ miles away in South Africa is extraordinary.
Surprise of the month goes to this Lunn & Co., “Tennis, Cycle, Croquet, Golf, and Cricket Manufacturers” printed advertising wrapper. It sold on ebay.com for $309.29. Golf evidently a highly popular thematic for stamp collectors!
This group of Jubilees affixed to card come from a butchered 1884 “Before and After the Stamp Committee” presentation book by De La Rue, of which only thirty six were produced. Consisting of three pages, the third page featured the original issue of Jubilee stamps plus the 1881 1d lilac. Part of me can understand dismantling the book, but why someone would then cut up a perfectly attractive page is beyond me. And I’m pretty sure the information at the top of the page is incorrect. The Jubilees were not line perforated for this book (some other stamps in the book were), they have comb perforations as normal. It sold for £185.50.
The type 15 SPECIMEN on the 1900 1s green and carmine is catalogued by Stanley Gibbons at . This one, described as having small faults, with no explanation or scan of the reverse, sold for only £20… I think, not just because it was poorly described, but because it is a fake specimen overprint. There’s two or three discrepancies in the appearance of the shape of the letters when compared to the reasonably common 10d with type 15 specimen overprint (the curvature of the “S”, the central point of the M descends all the way to the baseline). But I’m not an expert. I had somebody recently just point out two Specimen forgeries in my collection that I’ve had since I first started collecting Jubilees, and never thought to question them as when I looked at the time they were identical to the illustrations in the SG catalogue. Unfortunately I’ve come to realise that the illustrations are misleading and should be corrected!
And we finish this month with what looks to me like another forgery which cost someone £110.77. I think a regular stamp with a Crown watermark has been bleached white and on it someone has printed the 1900 1s green and carmine design upside-down to create an inverted watermark variety. It could be the poor clarity of the image, but the definition of the stamp looks blurred, which is especially noticeable at on the side ornaments which appear as red blobs with a dash of white (I’ve conveniently put this stamp after the specimen stamp so one can compare). There also appears to be different shades of green in the lettering and the white area inside the frame is definitely not white like the perfs around the edge.
Top 5 Items of the MonthIt’s the second month in a row that I’m kicking off my eBay report with an addition to my collection. I was very happy to pick up this Board of Trade perfin on a ½d vermilion on a Board of Trade cover for the opening bid of £99.99. Forgeries abound of the Board of Trade perfin so I’ve been aiming to get them on cover (or front when necessary) to significantly reduce the chances of buying a forgery. They are also still not listed in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, so they are definitely undervalued and under-appreciated. From used stamps and the limited number of covers I have seen, there seem to a four or five different London cancels which are used consistently, and this London “89” district office duplex is certainly one you’ll find on genuine items.
The stamped-to-postal stationery envelopes come up reasonably frequently (on eBay and on my reports) and always sell well. There’s a correspondence of these covers that go to Canada and Grenada. This one’s a bit nicer because it has two 1887 1s greens. It sold for £84.05.
This attractive lower marginal block of 8 of the Niger Coast 5d unfortunately had no gum, hence it only sold for £69.Uprated Bechuanaland postal stationery cards are reasonably common but the vast majority are philatelic and sent to Germany. So this card to New Zealand is an attractive and proper usage. It was a good buy at £56. Whether the buyer, a dealer, can sell it on for their price tag of £225 is another matter…
And finally an Army Official ½d vermilion “Q” control pair. Another cheap buy for somebody at only £28.14. In my head they are worth £40-50 for a pair, but if you search eBay you will find dozens of them being offered by different dealers at £100+…
Top 5 Items of the Month
No don’t worry, you haven’t gone back in time to May. I’m just playing catch up and will try and get June and July done in the next few days. Mind you I have been busy on the website over the summer even though it may not look it (since I’ve not posted since June…), but anyone looking on the main site will have noticed I have done some work on the essays, proofs and settings on some of the values.
Anyway, first up is this Express cover sent from Whitby to Stowmarket with a rare 1s green and carmine (this cover made a total of 87 1s green and carmine frankings recorded, although I’ve found two more in the meantime) along with a 4d and a 1d, thought to be paying 1d postage, 1s 3d express fee for 4-5 miles at 3d per mile and a 1d late fee. I was very happy to add this to my collection for the sum of £331.10.
I always like oddities like this 10d with the centre seemingly missing. All the green and purple inks used for printing the Jubilees were so-called “doubly fugitive”, which meant they were relatively easily affected by solvents (sometimes even just water) so that any attempt to remove a cancel would noticeably damage the appearance of the stamp. You can just about see a “ghost” of the original centre but it is first one I’ve seen on the 10d. An interesting curio for £23.
Speaking of oddities, this item caught my attention like a fire alarm. Unfortunately I had already missed it. But if I had seen it in time, I’m still not sure what I would have done because as far as I’m aware there are no bromide photographic essays of KEVII paste-ups recorded (at least not in the SG Specialised Volume 2). It looks properly perforated as well. If it is a new discovery then it is an absolute bargain at £60. So if anyone has any information about this I’m all ears!
Surprise of the month was definitely this 4½d Jubilee which sold for £49.75! And not because someone was mis-selling it as a deep carmine shade. Seven bidders were interested in this stamp because of the break in the frame above the top right “4”! Amazing…
And what could have been surprise of the month (although anything to do with China fetching huge sums shouldn’t really be a surprise any more) was this cover to the London Mission in Peking. It sold for a hefty £103 because of the rather indistinct “CUSTOMS / TIENTSIN” cds (Note: corrected thanks to Mel Kravitz’s comments below).
April saw the sale of the “Eshowe” collection of Zululand at Spink. There were many interesting lots for the Jubilee enthusiast, and the following are four that I found particularly so. My research on the cancellations of Zululand has been somewhat lacking so it was good to see how well the non-Eshowe cancellations sold, even when the condition and the strike weren’t the best!
Lot 2343 was this highly attractive albeit philatelic franking from Nongoma and said to be the earliest known with this cancel. Like a moth to the flame, I was burned for £900 plus commission.
Lot 2335 was a cover with the rare “R.M. OFFICE/HLABISA’ rubber datestamp which sold £1’300 plus commission.
Lot 2338 was a rather tired looking cover with an OK strike of the triple-ring “NKANDHLA/ZULULAND” rubber cds. Even with a torn stamp, peripheral cover tears and a mostly legible cancel, it sold £1’000 plus commission.
Lot 2342 was another rather ugly cover, but obviously this oval Nondweni ds is a rare beast as it still managed to sell for £1’100 plus commission.
So not to give Spink complete dominance, we finish with lot 1055 from Argyll Etkin’s March 1st auction (apologies for the image quality but that’s what they have on their website), which is a well travelled presumed to have been written in Uganda and sent from Mombassa with 1895 British East Africa overprint on India 2a6p to a Captain Lugard (later Lord Lugard, who was sent to Uganda to assist in the pacification of the country in 1889-92 and who made terms with King Mwanga which placed the country under British influence), and then redirected from the UK with 2½d Jubilee to South Africa where it was unclaimed and finally returned to the UK. It doubled the £400-500 estimate selling for £900 plus 19% buyers premium plus VAT.