On tonight’s episode of Antiques Roadshow (BBC1 in the UK) which took place at Osborne House, a silver and enamelled stamp box depicting the ½d vermilion, 1d lilac and 2½d purple on blue was brought in to be valued. The expert, Alastair Dickenson, who described it as the “Rolls Royce of stamp boxes”, went on to say that it is worth at least £2’000. A couple I had seen sell recently sold for around £2’600 to £3’000. People in the UK can watch the episode online here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mj2y
April not only brought us Easter, but also some interesting items and some strange results on Ebay along with it.
My favourite item was this cover from the Cardiff stamp dealer H. G. Hanson. I have seen many unusual and attractive covers sent by him with Jubilee frankings, with this being one of them. Not just because it has four different values including the 1s green, but because it has a corner marginal pair of the 4d from setting 4B (with the head duty rule cut away in the corner) and it’s rare to find marginal stamps on cover. It sold for the opening bid of £89.99.
Bargain of the month was this Army Telegraphs ½d blue-green with SPECIMEN overprint. I think mostly because it finished on Easter weekend (and partly because of a few short perfs), it sold for a paltry £32.76. I’ve seen a mint nh example retail at £675 which the dealer presumably sold because he doesn’t have it any more!
This next item made my heart skip a beat! After calming down for a moment and requesting a higher resolution scan of the O. W. Official overprint on the stamp, it was quite clearly a forgery. Enough people obviously suspected the same and it sold for £140 (not that I would pay that much for a reference item). The only Victorian O. W. Official stamps on cover I have seen are the ½d vermilion, ½d green and 1d lilac, so this would have been unique if it was right.
Top 5 Items of the Month
I’ve got a bit behind again with my updates and work on the website after a hectic start to the year (and breaking fracturing my arm snowboarding…) but I’m going to try and catch up over the next week because there have been some nice Jubilee items on Ebay and in the major auction houses.
We kick off with this ½d vermilion “E” control block of six from setting 3 (showing the broken squared corner marginal rule). I have plenty of control marginal singles in my collection but I really want to collect these controls in blocks of six. Knowing that they are popular, I went after this rather strongly but someone else still wanted it more than me and paid £104 for the pleasure of owning it.
This cover I noticed was part of a lot in Cavendish’s March auction. Although it’s a little bit tatty, it’s unusual in that it’s paying the quadruple UPU rate with a block of four of the 2½d and it’s going to Aden. Only one person wanted it at the £19.99 asking price.
This British Levant 40pa postal stationery envelope shows the inverted overprint variety. Uprated with a 40pa on 2½d Jubilee to pay the registration fee, it was sent from Beyrout to Constantinople. It sold for £130.
And finally we have a 1s green with type 12 SPECIMEN overprint. Although a little toned, it sold for £69.61. The type 12 is much scarcer than the type 9, however SG still don’t price the different types of Specimen overprints individually. Fingers crossed they do for a future update of the Queen Victoria Specialised Catalogue
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 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. As China was not a member of the U.P.U., all incoming mail (usually arriving at Shanghai, but occasionally at Tientsin) required Customs postage to be added or a “To Pay” handstamp was used for transit within China, with the recipient paying in cash. Noted by the auctioneers as being one of only 26 incoming covers, it was estimated at HK$50’00-60’000 (around £5’000) and 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.
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 gets a good BPA certificate.
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.
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/
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.
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.
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.
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).