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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August 2020 Ebay Report

There is a bit of a theme of Officials (or Departmentals as I believe they should be more correctly known as) for this month’s report. As I write this in December, Stanley Gibbons have already brought to the market the magnificent collection of Michael Astley, which includes many of the major items of these Official issues and indeed some of the most valuable of the Jubilee issue.

Starting with my favourite, the ½d vermilion; this is a rare control marginal strip of three from the first setting (without Jubilee lines) and control letter “B” with the I.R. Official overprint of the Inland Revenue, of which 4’949 sheets of 480-set were printed (i.e. 9’898 control Bs were printed). Although there’s some toning and minor perforation separation, it sold for £94.40. But this strip is the only example of the “B” control I’ve recorded on my computer, and there wasn’t even an example in the brochure of Astley’s collection (although I don’t have my library at hand to check the other major sales of Officials).

 

These two Postal Stores Department parcel labels with Government Parcel stamps, one with a 1s green and the other with a 6d and 9d, were the bargains of the month, selling for only £29.88 and £38.99 respectively.

 

The Specimen overprint (type 15) on the 1/2d blue-green is very scarce if not rare (I thought I had one in my collection but just looking at it now I realised it’s a forgery unfortunately). So a block of four is very unusual, although Specimen multiples don’t float my boat. Looking at the Astley collection however, Stanley Gibbons also had a block of four in very fine condition priced at £1’950 (which has since sold). This example which has two heavy creases, sold for…£78.60. So I think this trumps the two parcel labels above for bargain the month!

 

It would have been perfect to have another Official as my fifth item, but this 1s green & carmine with a nice strike Field Post Office “17” cancel from the British Army in South Africa during the Boer War deserves the mention, as it sold for £76.60.

And I always forget to mention this, but apologies for the adverts below which get attached to my blog posts by the website provider. Unfortunately I can’t choose which ones they show and I’ve noticed some have been a bit bizarre…

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June & July 2020 Ebay Report

This is definitely my record for a late post. In spite of the worldwide problems with COVID, it’s been a busy year for stamps and a very busy year for me at David Feldman. But now with our auctions over for the year and Christmas rapidly approaching, I can finally sit down and trawl through all the images and data I’ve stashed over the last 6 months or so.

June and July are typically quiet months for stamps collectors, when minds turn to outdoor pursuits rather than the comforts of our stamp collections. I was lucky enough to get away for 3 weeks but still managed to spend too much time indoors working on the site and researching Jubilees, and some interesting items still managed to surface on eBay…

This 1d letter card, uprated with a 2d Jubilee, was sent express from Regent Street to Soho Square in London; a distance of about half a mile. It would be interesting to open it up to see why the sender couldn’t do the 10 minute journey themselves! This nice usage so for £66.83.

 

Used multiples of the 1s aren’t particularly scarce, although they are often impressive as the were used on parcels or telegraph forms and cancelled neatly with circular datestamps, with this block of 12 (from the first setting without Jubilee lines used unusually late) with cancels from the Aberdare Money Order & Sorting Branch in Wales. It sold for £160.55.

 

Stamp dealer mail is a popular collecting subject. This example is from Alfred Smith, who was prolific in producing printed advertising envelopes and often using an attractive franking to please the stamp collector receiving it. This example has a mix of stamped-to-order stationery dies, Penny Lilacs and ½d green and  4½d green & red. It sold for £57.65 (although the postage from the Netherlands was listed at a whopping £16.65 extra!)

 

This cover was sent to Malta, which is a reasonably common destination during the “Jubilee” period. But the unusual thing about this cover is the “UNCLAIMED” handstamp and the “RETURNED LETTER BRANCH / G.P.O. MALTA” datestamp. There was only one bidder at the asking price of £46.75.

 

Finally, a very scarce single franking of the 4d green & brown, paying the 2d internal letter rate for up to 4oz in weight, plus 2d for the registration fee. It’s more regularly found on mail going to South America (before the rate was reduced to 2½d), on express covers, or uprating stationery. It only sold for £12.60 which is very cheap for such a scarce single franking, but it was another one I forgot to bid on before it was too late.

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May 2020 Ebay Report

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.

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March-April 2020 Ebay Report

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 &‌#189;d 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 &‌#189;d 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!

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January & February 2020 Ebay Report

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.

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November & December 2019 Ebay Report

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).

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October 2019 Ebay Report

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.

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