In the absence of anything worthwhile appearing on eBay, I thought I would talk about a few nice Jubilee items that have sold in auction this past month.
Starting with Grosvenor who offered the Richard Malim collection of British Levant on September 20th, including this attractive parcel labelLot 600 was this attractive albeit fragile official parcel label, with a mixed British and Turkish currency franking, for a package of acorn husks sent to Manchester. I’ve only seen a couple of these before, so I was disappointed to be the underbidder when it sold for £600 plus commission.
Spink offered another portion of the David Pitts collection, with their September 19th sale focussed on the West Indies. Not the normal place to find Jubilee items but it did throw up this cover franked with a ½ vermilion sent to the Cayman Islands. It has a backflap missing and is a bit worn, but it has a Grand Cayman arrival backstamp. It sold for £1’200 against an estimate of £1’500-1’800 and it’s the only Jubilee cover I have recorded going there.
And lot 1205 in the Argyll Etkin auction on September 29th saw this Furniss “New Century” envelope, sent from London to Paris with a 5d Jubilee sell for £400 plus 21% buyer’s premium. It was the first time I’d actually seen this envelope.
Let’s hope October brings us some more lovely Jubilee items!
After another quiet summer on the Jubilee front on Ebay with not much of interest to talk about, I decided to go for a theme this month; beautiful circular datestamp (cds) strikes. Or as the Americans say, “socked on the nose” cancels.
Starting with the cheapest and most abundant stamp of the set, the ½d vermilion had over 13 billion printed. So it can be a little tricky to find an example as attractive as the one shown, as it takes a lot of trawling through the many, many that still exist. So the winning bidder of this stamp paid £17 instead of doing the hard graft. That’s over 14 times the catalogue price of £1.20 in Stanley Gibbons.
The 4d green and brown is hard to find nicely used because of the fugitive ink in the green is easily affected by moisture (in fact it’s the one I’m in most need of upgrading in my collection). So any that have been soaked off will have lost some of the green to a degree. You almost have to be looking for a stamp still on piece. These two appear to have been removed carefully enough to be unaffected, and sold for £12.30 (above) and £9.81 (below) against a catalogue value of £18.
The 5d dull purple and blue doesn’t often come with a cds. I think for the most part because it was used predominantly to pay the double UPU letter rate, and often duplex cancels (with the barred oval obliterating the stamp) or squared circles (collectable in their own right but undeniably less attractive) were employed. Even with a toned perf, this example sold for £15.29. Full catalogue!
And finally the 10d, which is the highest catalogued stamp (at £45 for the standard carmine shade) in this report but paradoxically, I think, one of the easiest to find with a nice cds. So I was surprised to see this one sell for a much as £26.80 as you can get equally nice examples for around £10-15. I believe the reason that the 10d (as well as the 6d, 9d and the 1s green & carmine) is easier to find socked on the nose is because it was used more often for things such as parcel labels, telegrams and the like, which were more likely to be cancelled with a cds than regular letters.
I’m going to eschew the usual “Top 5 Items” for this Ebay report (partly because I’ve not being checking Ebay at all recently) and instead intend to tell a bit of a story about this postcard, concocted by the infamous Reginald Bray and addressed to Shelley Hall using a combination of postmarks and manuscript.
I managed to find out that there is not much left of Shelley Hall, and presumably there wasn’t at the time and Bray was expecting it to be undelivered (the Forest Hill return address is a give away for Bray’s philatelic curiosities). The message on the reverse continues with a mixture of cut-out postmarks and writing: “EY AM” “ANVERS” (I am envious) of you being at Shelley…” (prize of a pair of David Feldman tweezers to whoever can decipher the rest!).
Any way, I quite fancied this one so bid £55 and was slightly disappointed that it sold for £58.07. Alas, my disappointment turned to joy when two hours later I received a “Second Chance Offer”! I could buy the item for my top bid of £55. Great! I thought. I was one click away from buying it before I thought to myself. Hang on. Within two hours, the two bidders who beat me were no longer interested in buying an item that they had just bid on (either that or the vendor had an identical one…). Alarm bells rang.
So I looked at the two bidders who had bid higher than me (or at least the info eBay will let you see of the bidders). The top bidder bid on 90 lots a total of 277 times in the last 30 days. Of these bids, a staggering 53% were on lots owned by the seller of this postcard. And for this lot, in the course of 3 minutes, they increased their bid in stages 16 times from £9 to beyond the final price of £58.07 (we obviously can’t see what their actual top bid was). This screams of shill bidding to me (bidding on an item with the intent to artificially increase its price). So I thought to myself, as the Dragons so eloquently put it on their BBC show, “I’m out”.
I considered sending the vendor a message to find out why it was being re-offered so quickly, but thought that if there was an honest reason for this, a message from him/her would surely have been forthcoming. So it was with interest that I saw that the item had been re-listed after my “Second Chance” had expired after 24 hours. No chance of me bidding this time. And sure enough, the item sold for only £22 this time. Noticeably absent from bidding was the top bidder the previous time, but the second highest bidder from last time came away with the lot this time. So I’ll be keeping my eye out to see if it surfaces again…
On a lazy Saturday afternoon I was watching Bargain Hunt when one of the teams picked up a small silver stamp box in the shape of an envelope. It reminded me of the [insert shameless plug here] phenomenal “Primrose” collection of stamp boxes which David Feldman sold in 2000, which in turn reminded me that I had seen stamp boxes in the past with enamel copies of Jubilee stamps on the lid. A quick search of eBay and bingo! This is a Sampson Mordan & Co silver and enamel stamp box, hallmarked London 1891 with a gilt interior and three enamelled stamps: a ½d vermilion, 1d lilac and 2½d purple on blue. It sold for £2670. Anyone looking for more information on stamp boxes are recommended to take a look at this site I just found: http://stampbox.org.uk/. I’ve also found a few different examples with enamel Jubilees so I’ve added a Stamp Boxes page in the Related Info section.
Next we have an important auction catalogue for the collector of overprints on the Jubilee issue. A must have and cheap at only £5.19.
The attractive cover was sent to Northern Nigeria in 1910, with a late usage of the 1887 1/2d vermilion in combination with an Edward VII 1/2d and sold for £16.95.
Another combination with Edward VII, but this time it’s a single use of the 4d Jubilee to uprate a 1d + 2d registration envelope to pay double the UPU rate to the USA in 1907. It sold for only £4.10 but I think it’s unusual combination.
And finally this was my surprise of the month. This 9d and 1/2d green paying triple UPU rate and 2d registration sold for £88.75. I’ve seen nicer ones sell for less but I think they are underrated. I should have started this a lot earlier, but I’ve begun a census of known covers bearing the 9d. I’ve only got 30 so far which I will get uploaded some time soon so any one who wants to send me some scans of frankings with the 9d will be greatly appreciated.
Top 5 Items
Been a busy couple of months for me so playing catch up as usual. I’m kicking of this one with one of the most unusual Jubilee items I’ve seen. This 6d Jubilee was used in 1944 in conjunction with a 4d Manchester & Altrincham South Junction Railway parcel label, both tied by an Altrincham machine cancel. There was only one bidder at the asking price of £55. Certainly a conversation piece in a collection.
This 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee 1d postal stationery envelope was sent on the first day of South Kensington Museum Exhibition with the special datestamp, over-franked with a 2 1/2d and sent locally. It sold for £110. I may be wrong but I’m always surprised at how much these sell for as they’re not particularly scarce (although they are attractive). But as someone pointed out to me recently, they can “tick the box” of many different collectors (e.g. Jubilee issue, Exhibitions, postal stationery, horse thematics and history of stamps thematics to name the most obvious).
This fresh mint never hinged marginal block of four of the 1s green sold for a solid £741.
This attractive used marginal strip of three of the British Levant 4pi on 10d sold for £104. I have seen very few multiples of this stamp…
Finally, this cover was sent to a Irish Prisoner of War during the Boer War. Sent “Care of the Postmaster General” in Pretoria, it was then passed on the the US Consulate in Pretoria and struck with their cachet. The Consulate acted as the intermediary between the Boers and the British in the exchange of prisoner of war mail. It sold for £117.
In Grosvenor and Spink this April, the following Army Telegraphs overprinted Jubilees turned up within a week of one another. The first to come up was this impressive used block of 16 still on piece. Unfortunately it was part of a larger lot (lot 2099) with other Army Telegraph issues, so my top bid was a bit far off lot the final hammer price of £2’200. It’s the largest multiple I’ve seen by far! (The second being a block of four that sold on ebay in February).Next up was lot 2106, an unused telegram form franked with various Army Telegraph issues including two overprinted 1/2d vermilion Jubilees, which dates from when the Army was doing manoeuvres on Salisbury Plain. I was a bit closer this time with my bidding but was still beaten to the final hammer price of £380. This was the first complete and franked telegram form I have seen but I’ve heard they exist.
And finally Grosvenor had this mint 1/2d vermilion “O” control strip of 3, lot 137 estimated £100-150. This was one I really wanted and even used an agent for the first time to bid in the auction room on my behalf. Disappointment turned to despair as my top bid was surpassed by a measly £50 and it sold for £1’250. This is only the second I have seen (which was corroborated by a dealer I know).
We start this ebay report with what is I think the most valuable Jubilee item I’ve seen sell at auction on ebay. I would have been gutted to have missed it but I would never have thought of paying as much as $2’850 for the cover below. Sent to the Portuguese colony of Macao with a 5d Jubilee, it was then re-directed to Japan with a Macao 40r. It’s an extraordinary mixed country franking and Macao collectors have the hunger and the cash for such unusual items.
This is a rare used block of four of the Army Telegraphs overprint on the ½d vermilion. I’ve seen very few used examples (less than a dozen of the vermilion and I don’t think any of the ½d blue-green). So I might regret not trying to beat the final realisation of £129.25.
This unmounted mint example of the 1 ½d with inverted watermark variety sold for £460, which is just a little under half the Stanley Gibbons catalogue price of £950.
This slightly ugly cover is an unusual usage of the 4 ½d. It is paying the 2d registration rate and 2 ½d to send the cover from York to Plymouth. It is only the third single franking of the 4 ½d I’ve seen on an internal letter.
And finally quite an attractive uprated postal stationery cover to Belgium from Jersey. These types of covers from Jersey always sell well; this one realising £135.10.
I knew better than to make a New Year’s resolution to spend more time developing this site because I knew it wouldn’t take long to get behind on my updates…
First up is an item I should have bought. It’s the type of item that I think would add very nicely to an exhibition collection as I think it would go well as the final item to complete the story. It’s a picture postcard mourning the death of Queen Victoria, with a message along side saying “Her Funeral Procession passes through London to day”, with a 1/2d blue-green on the other side dated February 2nd. It sold for £30.80. By the way, I’m also desperately looking for a Jubilee stamp used on something commemorating her Jubilee in 1887 but have yet to find it!
Next up is an item of destination mail (one of my favourite topics). I’ve only come across three covers with Jubilee frankings to Cyprus so far, and this is a nice (albeit slightly toned) example with a 4 1/2d paying the UPU rate plus registration.
Imprimaturs rarely come up on eBay for auction (there not uncommon in dealer’s stocks). So I was interested to see this example described as unmounted mint fetch £338.50.
This picture postcard was posted on board the RMS Columba, a paddle steamer which operated on the first leg of the “The Royal Route” from Glasgow to Ardrishaig. With the 1/2d blue-green tied by the “COLUMBA STEAMER / GREENOCK” cds. There was only one bidder but the vendor started bidding at £110. That despite the fact that it’s not in perfect condition.
Speaking of not being in perfect condition, neither is this cover. But I’m still absolutely gutted I missed it. Originally sent to the Eastern Telegraph Company in Sierra Leone, it was redirected to São Tomé(!), San Vincent in Cabo Verde (!!) and back to Sierra Leone stopping off at Madeira on the way! An truly fascinating item of postal history and an absolute snip at £34.88 :(
Top 5 Items of the Month
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year. Had some time to monitor eBay this month but still managed to miss some items I would have loved to have added to my collection.
First up is this impressive franking of the 2½d in a block of 8 sent from a Field Post Office during the Boer War. Used on a large OHMS envelope to a Captain in Pretoria and redirected to Kroonstad, I’m presuming it’s a philatelic franking as I think it should be something like 1d per oz for Military mail. Still it sounds a good buy at £45.10.
Next up is this very attractive parcel label with a pair of 4½d and ½d paying 7½d rate plus 2d registration fee. An unusual combination and another good buy at only £35.25.
I had a query this month about the largest known used multiples of the Jubilee issue. So it seemed appropriate to show this block of 8 of the 6d which sold for £52.10. It’s something I aim to publish in the future as I have always kept a track of large used multiples I’ve found in dealer’s stocks and online.
This block is definitely one I would like to have bought. It’s a bit unknown as it isn’t mentioned in the Stanley Gibbons Queen Victoria Specialised Catalogue, but this example shows the sheet watermark letter “B” in the right hand margin (at the far right located between the first and second rows, and only showing the left half of “B”). These watermarks are very scarce. Several different letters are known and listed by Wiseman in his essential book “The De La Rue Years 1878-1910“. This block sold for £20.88 but is worth much more to the specialist.
And I’ll finish with another Boer War item. This cover has the “MAIL SERVICE SUSPENDED” handstamp that was applied to incoming mail to areas in the hands of the Boers, as this was sent less than a month after it started. It sold for £56.
Top 5 Items of the last 3 months…
I’m a bit behind on my blogging so I’ve decided to cheat and do three months in one. Hopefully I can find some items for the December report otherwise I’ll cheat again and edit this report to make it for the last four months…
The first item this month is a pane of the 4d green & brown. This is actually the scarcest of the settings for the 4d which shows the thin coloured lines at the right (as opposed to the filed-in bars). The retail price for Stanley Gibbons is £2’500 for such a pane, so the new owner of this item may well have got a bargain at £355.25, but since it wasn’t sold by a regular vendor of stamps I fear that it might not have been perfect. The colour of the green looks slightly faded in the image and no mention was made of the gum so that put me off bidding. But I should really have sent a question to the vendor…
Next up is an impressive printing error on the ½d vermilion, caused by the corner of the sheet being folded over before printing resulting in a portion of the stamp being printed on the gummed side. They are not massively uncommon, and I always feel dealers ask too much for such items. So it was surprising to me that this sold for £446.
This attractive franking also surprised me by fetching £100. These high franking combinations of stamped-to-order postal stationery uprated with Jubilees always seem to sell well.
My best ebay purchase of the Autumn season is a 2d that shows the variety “bottom right corner of tablet raised” (SG K30f), which catalogues £90 unmounted in my old 14th edition SG Specialised catalogue, and for which I paid the princely sum of £4.32. There are unnoticed catalogued varieties on stamps to be found on ebay, but it is a laborious task!
And we finish with this unusual combination of a late usage of a line engraved 1d red and a ½d vermilion which sold for £16.95.