Category Archives: Auction News

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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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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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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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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December 2017 Auction Report

Grosvenor managed to come up with a couple of Jubilee gems in their November 29th sale, which unfortunately I got outbid on. Lot 214 was a complete pane of the Bechuanaland Protectorate overprint on the 4d. This is the third example I have seen so far (ignoring the different settings) and it sold for £500 plus commission. Lot 232 followed soon after; a complete pane of the British Levant 4pi on 10d which sold for £920 plus hammer and is the only example I have seen so far (so I should have probably bid more…).

Elsewhere, David Feldman in their Jubilee auction on December 9th had a scarce Mafeking cover (lot 60136) with a pair of the 6d on 2d green & red Jubilees which sold for £1’300 plus 20% commission.

And lot 2126 in Cavendish’s December 6th auction was a group of Boer war covers which included a scarce 1s green & carmine franking with two examples along with a 5d pair on a cover (the 83rd cover I have recorded with a 1s green & carmine franking). It realised £480 plus commission.

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October 2017 Auction Report

It was another disappointing month again for interesting Jubilees on eBay, but the sale of the Dr Peter Young FRPSL and Iain Stephenson FRPSL collections at Grosvenor on October 25th & 26th more than made up for it.

Dr Young’s collection spanned the surface printed issued from 1879 up to the Jubilees, which featured many die proofs, colour trials and settings. The sexiest item being lot 1578, a 10d colour item bearing two colour trials in combination with two 10ds in the issued colour with one of each cancelled by a “B01” numeral. Estimated at £10’000-12’000, unfortunately it failed to sell. As did a few of the other die proofs and striking book pieces.

One group of items I had never seen before and didn’t spot until after the sale because they put it in (my opinion) the wrong place in the catalogue, was lot 641: a 1d lilac, a 1/2d vermilion, 1 1/2d and 2s Jubilees with the value printed on the reverse under the gum in black. I had seen the 1/2d and 1d before but not the other two values. Supposedly one of only 3 sets know, it sold for £5’500 plus commission.

About 1’000 lots later where the rest of the Jubilees were, my most desired item was lot 1602, a 1s green & carmine die proof of the head which sold for an impressive £2’000 plus commission which was a shame (for me). But I managed to pick up a couple of 1/2d vermilion striking book pieces pretty cheaply. And further good news is that there are more items to come from his collection in Grosvenor’s next GB sale!

From the Professor Iain Stevenson collection, items of note included his collection of 4 1/2d Jubilee usages which looked like a steal at £2’300 plus hammer. One of the better results however was lot 360, a 4d Jubilee used in combination with a 2d South Eastern & Chatham Railway stamp which sold for £480 plus hammer.

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September 2017 Auction Report

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!

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Army Telegraphs sold in London Auctions

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).

 

 

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