January & February 2019 Auction Report

2019 has kicked off with some beautiful Jubilee items already this year up for sale in auctions and not only in the UK! I spotted this rarity come up in the Spink China in their sale of The Lam Man Yin Collection of Small Dragons, Dowagers and 1897 Surcharges on January 18th. This cover (lot 685) was sent underpaid to the French Legation in Peking, China, and franked on arrival with a 2ca Dowager tied by a Tientsin seal in blue with Customs circular datestamp below. Noted as being one of only 26 incoming covers (presumably franked with a 2ca for postage due), it was estimated at HK$50’00-60’000 (around £5’000), it was hammered down for HK$180’000! (about £17’500). Almost certainly making it the most expensive 1/2d vermilion franking in existence!

This beautiful cover from the famous King Harman correspondence depicting a Robin on a holy branch was sold by Spink in London for £1’500 plus commission (lot 2466, January 22nd-23rd), which was a strong price even compared to the results of the Ramsey collection of hand-painted envelopes they sold last year.

This rare franking from British East Africa was sold by Grosvenor on February 21st (lot 539) and is apparently one of seven philatelic frankings by Whitfield King which bears the complete set of the overprinted GB stamps. Unfortunately I was the underbidder and it sold for £1’350 plus commission

One cover I did get though was in the Magpie Postal Auction on February 27th. Lot 409 was a 1/2d vermilion going to Guadeloupe, sent underpaid and franked with 40c of French Colonies postage dues on arrival. British mail to the French Colonies in this period is surprisingly scarce and this is the only cover I’ve seen going there. Estimated at only £25, I was very pleased to get it for £143 including fees.

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January 2019 Ebay Report

After an eight month hiatus from my monthly Ebay reports (I can’t believe it’s that long to be honest), I’m bringing it back for 2019 with a great selection of items that popped up in January.

First up is this beautiful printed envelope from stamp dealer William Ward advertising the 1909 Manchester “Postage Stamp Exhibition & Philatelic Congress” franked with a ½d vermilion and tied by the special cancellation. I don’t know how rare it is but underbid it up to £116 because it such an extremely attractive late usage.

 

Those that are familiar with my Ebay reports will have seen my reports on Cricket Ground cancellations that have come up over the years, which nearly always sell for more than £1’000. So I was quite excited to see this example of a 1s green & carmine with a “HULL / FOOTBALL GROUND” cds. So I was rather excited to pick it up for £78! Here’s to hoping it get’s a good BPA certificate.

 

This Foreign and Colonial Parcel Post labels are reasonably scarce and not at all expensive. This attractive example is from Lurgan in Ireland and deserved to fetch more than £35.

This unusual postcard has been stamped with the “Contrary to regulations / 154” handstamp and charged 1d due. Thanks goes to Maurice Buxton for pointing out my error in my original post. I had presumed it was taxed because the card was too thick, and the Post Office had regulations on the size of the postcards permitted. I completely missed the fact that this was sent more than 5 years before postcards were allowed to be franked with a stamp. So an absolute snip at £25.05.

And another topic I have featured quite often on my blog is the Army Telegraphs overprint on the Jubilees, and the control strips that have come up in auction over the last few years. The strips of three have sold upwards of £800 in auction. This pair sold for only £138.89. Absolute steal.

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Bechuanalands & Botswana Society Auction

The Bechuanalands & Botswana Society is holding a postal auction of 132 lots which closes on 1st March 2019. It features a section of Joe Taylor’s collection with many of his used stamps which have been carefully selected for their postmarks.

Bidding is open to everyone and is not restricted to members of the Society. Virtually every lot (excluding Botswana) is illustrated on the website: http://www.bechuanalandphilately.com/

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David Feldman Sells the “Koi” Collection of the Bechuanalands

Last week David Feldman in Switzerland sold the “Koi” collection of the Bechuanalands, and I had the pleasure to describe and lot it for the auction! There were many overprinted Jubilee stamps including essays, specimens, controls and postal history.

Of particular note were two essays for the 1889 “Fourpence” surcharge, lots 30421 (with a light crease, sold for £1’098) and 30420 (sold for £2’318) below (respectively)

Little is known about these essays produced by Messrs. Townshend. Mention of them is made in Holmes’ book but he doesn’t illustrate any. From what I’ve found appearing in auction catalogues over the years, there seems to be three types; “PROTECTORATE / FOURPENCE”, “Protectorate / 4D” and “Protectorate / 4d”.

Staying with the Fourpence surcharge issue, the following two varieties also saw strong competitive bidding.

Lot 30423 has the green surcharge variety, which was the result of faulty cleaning of the inking roll. Although not listed by Stanley Gibbons, it is mentioned and priced at £1’500 in the footnote for this stamp. It sold for £1’159. All the known examples are used in Shoshong, and this is only the fourth example I have found. More well known is lot 30424, the inverted surcharge variety (SG.53c, £4’000). This example is one of 19 I have found in auction catalogues and literature and sold for a solid £2’074.

On the postal history side of things was lot 30401, this interesting bisect of the 4d from Palapye Station.

Again from my brief research I have so far found 9 examples. Although undoubtedly philatelically contrived, they have only been recorded on November 22nd 1899, December 13th 1899 and March 12th 1900. This is one of only two used on March 12th, and unusually both are diagonally bisected as opposed to the rest which are vertically bisected. It sold for £854.

And I’ll finish with one item which sold for multiples of the estimate.

Lot 30474 is a cover from Gubulawayo during the Trans-Protectorate period, and shows the Gubulawayo cds with “MASHONALAND” excised (if I remember rightly). Estimated at £200-300, it sold for £1’342 including buyer’s premium. A rarer cancel than I realised.

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Appeal for Information: Bechuanaland Overprint Varieties on Cover


I’ve had a request from a fellow enthusiast into the existence of overprint varieties on the Bechuanaland 1/2d vermilion used on cover. Specifically inverted or double overprints on SG numbers 53, 54, and 55.

I have not seen any before, but I have heard that in his long search the enthusiast has managed to find a 1913 Tamsen cover with a SG54a block of four. Presumably other philatelic covers from Tamsen must exist?

Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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The Dr Paul Ramsey Collection of Hand-Painted Envelopes

On the 8th and 9th of May, Spink sold the magnificent collection of hand-painted envelopes belonging to Dr Paul Ramsey, which featured many exquisite covers bearing Jubilee frankings from the famous King Harman correspondence. The collection was in fact gifted to the Royal Philatelic Society and sold on their behalf, in order to help finance their “Tomorrow’s Royal” appeal and the refurbishment of their new premises.

The prices realised were strong, as I noticed some fetching more than double what they had realised in recent years. Lot 125 for example, the cover depicting a horse rider in front of Gibraltar Rock sold for £480 plus commission in 2011, but realised £1’300 plus 20% this time.

A couple of my favourites included lot 132, which depicted an African warrior on camel back which sold for £800 plus 20% commission. Siegel sold this cover when the offered the Grunin collection in 2010 and it sold for $350 plus commission.

As well as lot 127, which depicted a stranded paddle steamer in the desert. An image very much reminiscent of the stranded ships you see on the “Skeleton Coast” of Namibia (hammer price £1’000).

The envelopes were addressed to the wife of Sir Charles Anthony King-Harman, who (according to thepeerage.com) served as Colonial Secretary in Mauritius between 1893 and 1897 and Administrator of Saint Lucia from 1897 to 1900. The artist was Lt-Col Hugh Rose, 24th of Kilravock, CMG, who commanded the 1st Battalion Black Watch and fought in the Nile Expedition 1884-1885, the Boer War 1901-02 and WWI (again, according to thepeerage.com). According to the Siegel catalogue of the Grunin collection, Captain Rose developed a close relationship with the King-Harman family while he served as aide-de-camp to Charles King-Harman in Mauritius during the early 1890s.

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March / April 2018 Auction Report

2018 continued to be a busy year for Jubilee collectors in the London auction houses. First off on March 9th was Argyll Etkin’s sale which included Brian Brookes’ collection of Channel Islands, which included this complete used pane of the 4½d (lot 1067), which is the only example I have seen. There was also a used 10d pane, but I’ve seen several of these and they are always cancelled in the Channel Islands as they were used to pay customs duty on products such as tobacco. Even though there is a little soiling and minor fading of the green, it sold for  £290 plus commission.

 

Lot 257 in the Murray Payne sale two days later caught my eye, but I scoffed at the £800 estimate. It sold for £1’600 plus 20% commission. Shows how much I know! The double circle cancellation of “CROCODILE POOLS / SOUTH AFRICA” is obviously a rare one. However from this auction I did manage to pick up an envelope from Ascension with a pair of ½d blue-greens which I was very pleased about.

 

Grosvenor had further material from the Dr. Peter Young collection in April. The highlight in terms of Jubilees was lot 193, this appendix page from the De La Rue archives for the unissued Reply Paid stamp. It’s unique in private hands, as an almost identical page resides in the Phillips collection in the Postal Museum. It sold for £4’200 plus commission.

 

The next lot was another essay for this stamp which I hadn’t seen before. Interestingly, it has the centres of two ½d vermilions cut-out with the rest of the design done by hand. It sold for £1’800 pus commission. Would have loved to have bought both!

 

And I’ll finish with lot 925, this exquisite hand-painted essay of the 10d from the De La Rue archives. At £2’900 plus commission I thought it was a very reasonable price for a unique essay (there is another in the same design on tracing paper and cancelled by a pen cross in the Postal Museum).

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Jubilees featured on QI on BBC2

The famous tormentor of the British Post Office in the late 19th and early 20th Century, W. Reginald Bray, was featured on the BBC2 programme QI. Many of his postal experiments featured the ½d vermilion or ½d blue-green Jubilees. You can see the clip in the Youtube video below, 18 minutes and 28 seconds in. Enjoy!

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March 19, 2018 · 12:50 pm

January/February 2018 Auction Report

There may have been nothing on Ebay since the start of the year but there was plenty of material to interest a Jubilee collector which came up in the British auction houses.

Lot 1541 in Spink’s latest offering from the never ending “Lionheart” collection (part 7!) included a Bechuanaland Protectorate 4d on 1/2d with inverted surcharge, which inspired me to publish my census of all the examples I have come across. This example has a small wrinkle at the lower right, and sold for £1’100 plus 25% in fees.

Also from Spink but from their January Philatelic Collectors Series was lots 1032 and 1033, two British Levant covers with “Express D’Orient” labels.

As far as I’m aware, these labels didn’t pay for any postal service and are basically vignettes/cinderella stamps which were likely created by the enterprising Postmaster of the Constantinople office for collectors. Note that both of these envelopes come with his Post Office cachet and I believe are in his handwriting. The black label is rarer and this cover fetched £950 plus commission. The envelope with the red label was in better condition (and looked better in the flesh than it does in the scan) and sold for £850 plus commission.

Among a nice selection of Niger Coast (of which many items were ex Sacher) in Grosvenor’s March 1st sale was this attractive item. With two 2d and two 1/2d tied by orange-red Benin circular rubber cancels, I couldn’t resist bidding on it. Estimated at £500-600 I guess I was the only bidder as I got it for £500. Unfortunately it was liable to 5% import duty, so commission on the hammer price was 29% (gulp!). They also wanted to charge me £18 for submitting the bid through their website but I’m not going to be paying that!

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January/February 2018 Ebay Report

I’m sure I say this every year, but my New Year’s resolution to do more work on the website has started poorly with the blog a month behind already. Actually there has been very few items of interest on Ebay, but the first item I will talk about was quite a special item to find as I didn’t remember ever seeing one before.

This 2d green & carmine was simply described as a 2d with specimen overprint. Even at a quick glance it’s noticeable that it has been overprinted twice, and with a closer look you’ll notice that it has two different type of the specimen overprint, types 9 and 12. Listed in the SG Queen Victoria specilaised as K30sa with a catalogue value of £225 for mounted mint, I took a look at Gibbons sale catalogue of the “Aureum” Jubilee collection from 2016 to see if they had one. They did, and with the comment “the first example we have handled for over 15 years”, it had a price of £550 and evidently sold. If I could have I would a bid at the very last moment but as I was travelling I couldn’t. As a result I pushed the price from £41 to £310 but give the other bidder time to increase his bid and I lost it for £385.

Another item which realised almost the same price, but is significantly less rare as far as I’m aware was this unmounted mint 4d green and brown with inverted watermark, which sold for £388 plus postage (against a SG catalogue price of £1’500).

And I finish with the Bechuanaland Protectorate 4d on 1/2d inverted surcharge. Catalogued at £4’000, it sold for £87.72… The suspiciously poor quality image is always a red flag and it had no expertising certificate. Looking at the shape of the letters in “Fourpence”, I’m pretty sure it’s a fake. Either that or someone got an absolute bargain!

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