July/August Ebay Report

This month is a bit focused on only the 6d and Bechuanaland postal history, but there are some lovely things that I would have liked to have added to my collection.

First up is this stunning used block of 36 of the 6d purple on rose. Bidding started at £1500 but no one took up the offer. I messaged the vendor afterwards to see if it is was available for a bit less but unfortunately by the time he saw my message he had already sold it. The new owner now has it on eBay “Buy-it-now” for £2’750…

Sticking with the 6d, this mint never hinged lower marginal block of four sold for £110. For those interested in the marginal settings on the 6d, note the cut in the Jubilee line below the lower left stamp which looks like it is from plate 6a.

Next up are three Bechuanaland covers, funnily enough, which were from a collection we sold at David Feldman called the “Koi” collection. I recognise the beautiful and painstakingly hand-drawn pages. I’ve spent quite a bit of time during my summer holiday going through my Bechuanaland files on my computer. Partly because it was long overdue, but also as my other role as editor of The Overprinter for the GB Overprint Society, where there has been some interesting debate about the postal rates from British Bechuanaland to the UK and abroad. I’m hoping to update that section of the site this week before the end of my holiday.

This is an attractive philatelic franking from “PALACHWE / KHAMAS TOWN”, bearing Bechuanaland Protectorate 1888 1/2d and 4d on 1/2d, was sent in 1891 to Port Elizabeth in the Cape Colony which at this time should have been at the 2d rate. Still a particularly nice example and scarce usage of the 4d on 1/2d. It sold for £121.15.

This 1899 cover from Francestown in the Protectorate is paying double to 2d rate to a chemists in the Cape Colony called Lennon Limited. I did a quick search and came up with a page on the Rhodesian Study Circle website so I presume it’s a decent sized correspondence across Southern Africa. This cover sold for £131.50.

Finally this 1894 cover is an example of British Bechuanaland stamps used in the Protectorate, sent from a general dealer from Khamas Town to the famous merchant Isaacs in Mafeking. The two British Bechuanaland 2d’s are paying the 4d rate from the Protectorate to another Southern African territory. It’s also an extremely fine example of the “676” BONC (barred oval numeral cancel) which are so often poorly struck. It sold for £105.50 and I regret not bidding more!

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May/June 2021 Ebay Report

Prices for Jubilee material seems to have been getting stronger in recent months, which has been noticeable not just on eBay but also in recent auction sales such as the ones at Grosvenor and Corinphila (with the “Besançon” collection which I’ll have to get round to writing about) in the first six months of this year.

One item that highlights the increase in demand is this rare single franking of the 1s green and carmine on a registered envelope, which is paying 9d in registration fee as annotated at the lower left and double the UPU rate to Germany. It is one of only 10 single franking covers out of the 93 that I have recorded with the 1s green and carmine. It sold for an impressive £805, which looking back on it is worth it but I don’t think it would have sold for so much a couple of years ago.

Another scarce item which very rarely pops up on eBay with a 99p start was this 4d head plate die proof, cut-down to stamp size, which sold for £225.12

This registered postcard was an item I wanted to add to my collection but not as much as somebody else unfortunately. Registered postcards are unusual and it is a nice example of using a single 2d to uprate a stationery item. It sold for £45.77.

The postal stationery envelopes with the advertising ring around the die are very popular. This one is for W & T Avery of Birmingham and it sold for £112, which even with its minor imperfections I think is cheap because I think it should be £200-300.

And finally this “British Bechuanaland Government Gazette” wrapper, although it has a bit of rough life, it is a correct usage of the ½d. I can’t say that it’s not philatelic because it is addressed to Isaacs who was a merchant and a prolific creator (or at least recipient) of covers, and whom Bechuanaland collectors have a lot to be thankful to. It sold for £64.11.

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April 2021 Ebay Report

Now it’s the summer and I’m on holiday, instead of laying by the pool in the sun all day I’m going to be catching up on my Ebay posts as well as some content for the rest of the site. So expect some more updates in the coming weeks.

The first item is an important block for the marginal settings enthusiasts. Even if I had spotted this at the time, I think its importance would have passed me by; and it’s all because of the dot in the margin! This interpane perforation dot under the 6th stamp in the 10th row means it is from setting 1B, which wasn’t known to exist at the time Wiseman published his seminal “The De La Rue Years”, in which he only postulated its existence based on examples seen of the 3d. The lucky buyer, who bought it for a snip at £84.46, I believe is going to publish an article about this find in the GB Philatelic Society’s GB Journal soon. Looking in my files, I have recorded one other example which was featured in “The Overprinter” (2019, vol.3, p.76), which was an Army Official lower right corner marginal strip of six.

Sticking on the theme of marginal settings, this pair of 5d from the top right corner of the sheet is from setting 2, showing the continuous Jubilee lines of both colours and sold cheaply to the only bidder for £29.20.

This Specimen overprint on the Inland Revenue 1/2d vermilion is type 15 which is the scarcer type which can be found on this stamp out of the two (the other being type 9). SG currently don’t price the different Specimen types separately in the Specialised catalogue but it’s something they should definitely do. This example sold for £58.78.

And finally a plate proof of the 1/2d green on buff paper that sold for £38.10, which is the right price. I remember very early on in my Jubilee collecting paying £95 from a dealer for one.

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February/March 2021 Ebay Report

I struggled to find much of interest in February and March on eBay and it wasn’t for lack of searching, but the few things I did find were all interesting items.

Darth Vader would surely say “I find your lack of knowledge disturbing” if he ever quizzed my on my expertise of the postal history of the Boer War. As an example, I don’t know what the code “3MB” stands for in the centre of this large circular datestamp, surrounded by “ARMY POST OFFICE / SOUTH AFRICA”. Perhaps Mobile Box? From my quick internet search and what images I’ve saved on my computer, I know there are several different codes and some with the town name in its place (Barberton, Komatipoort and Machadodorp, as well as Volksrust instead of South Africa). But what I do know is that it’s a nice piece to have bought for £82.09.

This unusual usage of and Inland Revenue 1d fiscal helps to pay the 4½d registered rate to Germany along with a Jubilee ½d vermilion and 3d purple on yellow. Although philatelically inspired, it’s a legitimate usage and it sold for £72.
This was the items I wanted most out of this month’s selection, and as usual I completely missed it. This 1890 Jubilee Penny Postage stationery envelope, uprated with a 5d to pay the 6d rate, was sent to a member of the British South Africa Company’s Police in Mafeking a couple of months after the siege. Even though it’s a bit tatty, mail incoming to Mafeking and British Bechuanaland is very scarce. A very interesting item at £106.
Covers bearing the full set of the Oil Rivers overprinted Jubilees aren’t particularly scarce. Mainly because, as you can see by this address, they were done on demand for stamp collectors and dealers such as Winch Brothers at the time. This fetched a decent price at £177.01.
And finally, examples of the 1897 “Prince of Wales’s Hospital Fund” fund-raising vignettes on cover are reasonably scarce, more so cancelled or tied to the cover. This example of the 1s vignette is tied by the adjacent cancel of Tonbridge on the ½d vermilion, although unusually it has a Tonbridge cds itself. It was cheap at £56.90.

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January 2021 Ebay Report

There were several interesting items this month and, if I remember correctly, the following five were all from the same seller which is most unusual. It was even more of a coincidence that I had seen the seller post them in a Facebook group for Queen Victoria stamps only a few weeks ago.

First up is me bragging again (sorry) about my latest purchase. This attractive postcard is advertising a German-language newspaper in London and was sent to Germany with two 1900 ½d greens. One was abnormally placed in the lower left and obviously the postal clerk missed it with the canceller and so was cancelled only on arrival in Breslau. Cheap as chips at £29.85.

 

This large cover features an irregular block of five of the 6d purple on rose as well as two 1881 1d lilacs (how I wish it had been a 2d green & red instead), which are paying 12 times the UPU rate plus 2d registration fee; making an unusually high franking especially using a multiple of 6d.  It sold for £36.

 

Regular readers will probably know how much I adore the 1s green and carmine. I was planning to bid on the attractive parcel label but at the time I was still sulking about my missing purchases from December. I have started a census of usages on parcel labels but I’ve not been as rigorous in tracking down items as my listing for the usages on cover, so currently I have 24 recorded. Even if I had been in the right frame of mind to bid, I wouldn’t have gone as high as the £181 it realised, although I think it’s worth it.

 

This is a stamp I still don’t have in my collection; a ½d green with inverted watermark. The SG catalogue value of £75 for mint nh and £50 for hinged would suggest it’s common enough, but I really have seen very few, and the fact that this unmounted mint example sold for £89.11 was no surprise. Definitely under valued in the SG catalogue.

 

And finally this piece with four ½d vermilions used abroad is cancelled by two strikes of a Malta machine cancel. Shame it’s not a cover! It sold for £43.

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December 2020 Ebay Report

When I first started the draft for this month’s report, I was going to proudly announce that I had caught up with my monthly eBay reports. However the start of 2021 had been a worrisome one for me for purely selfish and philatelic reasons and I had put off finishing it. I had little personally to worry about the Covid situation. Switzerland has now followed the UK in going into a stricter lockdown, with bars and restaurants continuing to stay shut until at least the end of February (after being open for only 2 weeks since the beginning of November); non-essential shops have shut again; working from home has been made mandatory unless unavoidable; but schools (and ski slopes!) continue to remain open. Funnily enough, vaccine roll out has been slow here in spite of the small population, excellent health care and being home to two of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Whilst in the UK there seems to have been only good news about the vaccination programme, and I was thankful that both of my Grandparents received their first jab over 2 weeks ago.

So apart from the pubs being shut, I should have had little to worry about personally…except I was waiting for some valuable purchases on eBay from a seller in Spain which were sent on December 16th, which thankfully arrived today; a full seven weeks later!

The seller had listed a range of different ½d vermilion controls for sale, and I realised that some of them were rare. My collection was still rather lacking in controls, with really only singles to speak of (although I do have at least one of each letter, from A to Q). So I was planning on bidding aggressively and as late as possible, and picked the ones I wanted to focus on and even planned a budget! Thankfully, they were finishing one after the other with enough time in between to make any necessary adjustments to my budget if I bought an item for less than I was planning.

First on my hit list was a nice warm up. Ideally I’d like to collect all the controls in blocks of six. For P and Q controls this is certainly possible and not very expensive. This block cost me £14.37.

Buoyed by getting target 1, next up was this matching pair of A and B controls from the first setting without marginal lines. I’ve seen a few pairs of the A and a strip of three of the B come up on eBay in the past. However the fabulous “Aureum” collection had a block of six of both, but both were sold before the sales brochure was even put to press! So not expecting to see blocks of six of these come up anytime soon, I was very happy to pick the pair up for only £54. I forget what my top bid was but it was probably around double that.

So now I was happy to increase my bid on my next target; this pair of G controls with one showing an imperforate margin and one perforated through. Referring back to the “Aureum” collection again, it featured a strip of three of the perforated (again which had sold before publication) and only a single of the imperf. which was priced at £250 (which is also the catalogue value in the specalised catalogue, compared to only £14 for the perf.). So I was even happier to buy the two for only £41! Next in my sights was a handsome block of 8 of the J control. I did my usual trick of submitting my bid seven seconds from the finishing time, but disaster struck as the “wheel of death” kept spinning and spinning until it was too late. I had missed it. Luckily it had happened on an item I wasn’t too fussed about, and just before the item I really wanted.

Although catalogued by SG at £170 which is less than the imperf. G, I remember a specialist telling me once that he had never seen an imperforate F before. “Aureum” didn’t have one. So after my previous cheap purchases, I was excited that the above imperforate F pair would be another bargain. This time I switched to bidding through my computer instead of the app on my iPad to avoid any further problems to bid. Thankfully my bid went through without a problem, as unfortunately did the underbidder’s… The price jumped from £22 to £255!

But I was too delighted to have bought it care too much about the strong price. Hence why I’ve been biting my nails for nearly two months waiting for these items to arrive. The seller had sent it registered so I was checking on its status every other day, but from December 18th until February 2nd when it landed at Heathrow, the tracking simply stated that it had left Spain. I had basically lost hope of it turning up and was deliberating reporting it as missing until it arrived today. Phew!

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November 2020 Ebay Report

November had an interesting a mix of items appear on eBay for sale. I managed to buy three small things but nothing as interesting as the following items unfortunately.

This plate proof on buff paper rarely surfaces on eBay, although I see it reasonably regularly on dealers’ stock lists. Multiples do exist and I don’t think it’s particularly scarce. However it definitely comes up less than the ½d green plate proof so I think it was reasonably cheap at £54.

 

Controls letters on the ½d vermilion and ½d green stamps are popular and are more valuable with Official overprints. The Army Official overprint is the most common, and even though used examples are rare, they don’t seem to be appreciated. This example sold for only £46.76.

 

Quadruple UPU rates are reasonably scarce. Single 10d frankings can be found for between £50 and £100. This example is more unusual as it features a 4d and 6d Jubilees to make up the 10d rate. What’s also nice are the cds cancels. A very nice franking for £31.95.

 

This postcard depicts Lieutenant General Sir George White VC, who as you might expect from his name, had quite the stellar career in the British Army. He was stationed at Peshawar during the Indian Mutiny, won a Victoria Cross for his bravery in two battles during the Second Anglo-Afghan War, commanded a brigade during the Third Anglo-Burmese War, commanded the forces in Natal at the opening of the Second Boer War and refused to surrender when instructed to when he commanded the garrison at the Siege of Ladysmith and went on to become Governor of Gibraltar. This card was produced by the famous postcard producers Raphael Tuck & Sons, presumably in honour of his heroics at Ladysmith. I’ve not read the message on but it’s one of the more creatively written that I’ve seen, spiralling into the centre (I wonder if he practiced that before hand!). It sold for £28.06.

 

I go through phases with my searches on eBay. Sometimes I have the energy to trawl through all the mint and used stamps looking for plate varieties not noticed by the sellers. This stamp was one such find and shows the clipped lower left corner to the right hand duty tablet, and is listed by SG in the specialised catalogue as K39e, although it doesn’t show the crack at the bottom right (but does show an extension of the white frame line and some other damage in the same area). Someone else must have spotted it and it sold for £47.35.

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10 Years of Jubilee Blogging!!!

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of me writing and blogging about Jubilees! So I thought to celebrate I’d write a bit about how I got into Jubilees and my journey to creating this website, and at the end I include some site statistics (which are interesting to me at least).

Corbitt’s stamp shop in Newcastle upon Tyne

So I started collecting the Jubilee issue in around 2003 when I was 18 years old. As I teenager, I was helping my Grandad with his collection of GB new issues, sorting them into album and going to Corbitts in Newcastle in the North East of England in order to fill in the gaps. It was a shop I used to go with him when I was young and me and my brother used to love buying kiloware and soaking all the stamp off the bits of paper and putting them in our stockbooks. At 18, I still had all my own stamps I had collected, and one day I come across an album page I had bought from Corbitts for a princely £2, which had a few used Jubilees on it. Looking them up in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, I was struck not only by their attractive designs of the whole set, but their affordability! This was at a time when eBay was still growing in popularity and I remember my first purchase was a used set of the Jubilees for £9.99 plus postage (I was the only bidder). Although Paypal was already a part of eBay by this point, the vast majority of people were still using cheques. How things have changed!

1887 ½d vermilion with complete offset on the reverse; my first purchase from Stanley Gibbons

As I continued to search through eBay listings, I began to discover there was more to collect than just the 14 issued stamps. There were overprints: Government Officials and British Empire overprints from countries such as Bechuanaland. I still remember when I was living in my halls of residence at Uni, bidding on a mint Mafeking 1d on ½d and being most disappointed to lose out on it for £35, but at the time I had never seen it before and had no clue of what it was worth. My interest in the Jubilees continued to develop and increase, with my first three-figure purchase: a ½d vermilion with a complete offset on the gummed side for £195. My friends I was sharing the house with were curious as to why I was receiving mail but I never let on I was a stamp collector. It wasn’t until my last year of Uni, when it came to applying for jobs for when I had graduated, that I finally “came out” as a stamp collector after applying for a job at Stanley Gibbons. Unfortunately a degree in Physics from Imperial College and an interest in stamps wasn’t enough to get the job as a Junior Describer in the GB department (much to the chagrin of the GB department when I told them some years later). So instead I ended up doing working experience at Bonhams in their stamp department before being offered a full time job, which sadly didn’t last very long as the message came from the top to close the department (no correlation I’m sure…). This led to a reunion with colleagues at Stampex in February 2009 and a fortuitous meeting with Marcus Orsi, who invited me to Geneva and I’ve been working at David Feldman ever since.

In early 2011, I created this website as a way to collate all the information I was accumulating; mostly from eBay listings, auctions and dealers’ websites. It was only meant for myself really as a tool to help me learn and remember, and to have the info at my fingertips if out and about. I wasn’t really thinking it would get picked up by Google and other search engines (including one click from a search engine called dogpile.com…) and that people would find the site without me telling them. I’ve also had 360 clicks come from the GB Philatelic Society web page since I was added to the useful links section of their website thanks to Maurice Buxton.

“The De La Rue Years 1878-1910”, volume 2, by W. A. Wiseman; the most important resource for a Jubilee collector

So what’s to come in the next 10 years? Perhaps a site redesign since it hasn’t changed in all this time! But I’d rather spend the time getting new content online, and eventually I’d love to do a book. However there is still so much I don’t know. In fact every time I pick up on of Wiseman’s “The De La Rue Years” I learn something new.

Statistics

Page views: 51,441

Number of visitors: 12’722 from 121 different countries (I’m guessing a good chunk of them are bots unfortunately)

Number of blog posts: 150

Number of followers of the blog: 48

First post: Spink offer strong selection of Boer War

Most viewed page (excluding home page/directory pages): 1890 Uniform Penny Postage Jubilee

Most viewed blog post: “Wellington” collection goes by mostly unnoticed

Most viewed eBay report: June & July 2017 Ebay Report

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October 2020 Ebay Report

I mentioned in my last post how I was behind on my philatelic reading and this month’s report neatly brings me on to the second book that I haven’t read (as well as the first again). “Great Britain Victorian Mixed-Franking Covers Illustrating Postage Stamp Development” by Ray Simpson and Karl Louis has a section of Jubilee mixed frankings which features several covers from my collection. It is an interesting area of research (and requires more study really) particularly for the changeover from the Lilac & Greens in early 1887 and the changeover to KEVII issues in 1902.

This mixed issue franking may possibly be philatelic, but the Inland Revenue 1d lilac (which was valid for postage) in combination with the ½d and 6d Jubilees pays the triple UPU rate to Germany and is unusual. It sold for £49.03.

And this postal notice for the “SPECIAL POSTAL JUBILEE ENVELOPE” brings us back to John Davies’ book “A Jubilee Reminiscence”. This notice announces the sale of the postal stationery envelope that was produced for the South Kensington exhibition which was put on sale at 1s. Either foresight or clever marketing suggested that “it is not improbable that the strictly limited supply will be exceeded by the demand”, which indeed was true. It sold for £83.

These printed envelopes produced by photographers are reasonably popular and this example sold for £38. Photographs were allowed to be sent at the cheaper book post/printed matter rate, with this cover paying postage up to 6oz. I have two different examples from A & G Taylor from their Stockton office from 1890 which don’t feature the Royal Warrant which they received in 1886, as the one above does, but still mention “Photographers to Her Majesty the Queen”.

These attractive covers from the stamp dealer H. G. Hanson aren’t particularly scarce, but often they have unusual frankings or marginal examples of Jubilees. This neat single use of a 4d to uprate a ½d postal stationery caught several bidders’ eyes and sold for £70.

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September 2020 Ebay Report

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Years (at least as best as one could in the circumstances). I’m still playing catch up on my blog posts and I’m also behind on my reading, as I’ve bought three new philatelic books recently and not read a single one of them (except for looking at the pictures). One of which was John Davies’ “A Jubilee Reminiscence, A Philatelic History of the Great Britain 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee”.

This is a 1d postal stationery envelope printed for the 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee exhibition, which was sent registered and uprated with a 2d Jubilee with both cancelled by the special South Kensington exhibition cancel. It’s a particularly nice example as such and it sold for £164.99. Now I’ve had time to sit down and look at it properly, given that the addressee is a Lady Whitehead and the cover is initialled “J.W.” at lower left, it is very likely that the sender was Sir James Whitehead. Looking at John’s book, Sir James is referenced more than 20 times because he was in fact the Chairman of the Jubilee Committee (as well as being the Lord Mayor of London in 1888 and the High Sheriff of the County of London in 1890). So at that price it looks like a very good buy to me, considering that these envelopes uprated and used after the exhibition can sell for around £100. If only I’d taken the time to do some simple research! I also only just realised he references this very website in the Acknowledgements so thank you John! Will have to make sure to keep my section on the 1890 Uniform Penny Postage Jubilee updated now…

 

This ½d vermilion block of four may not look like much, but to a specialist/nutter like me, I get quite excited about this sort of thing. The big black arrow is slightly misleading because it’s pointing at the wrong thing, but there is in fact a major plate flaw on the top left stamp, which shows a crack which starts in the “Jubilee” line, continues through the “T” of “POSTAGE” and continues through the “E” of “ONE”. It is the variety listed in the SG Queen Victoria Specialised catalogue as K27j. It’s a very scarce variety and even with the lower stamp creased it’s worth considerably more than the £8.45 it sold for.

 

I’m not particularly knowledgable on rare GB cancels, but I had seen this “LIVERPOOL LANDING STAGE” cancel on one or two covers with one being offered by a dealer at £1’000 plus. So I was interested to see this very crisp example, albeit on a faded 1s green, sell for £31.65.

 

And finally this was the surprise of the month. It’s an example of GB stamps used in British Levant, with a ½d green pair paying the postcard rate. Normally retailing for about £40-60, it sold for £115.15.

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