Top 5 Items of the MonthWell I’ve broken my mini spell of talking first about an item I’ve bought. This is an item that I absolutely should have bought and is my biggest regret in the last few years. People who regularly read these posts will know I have an interest in recording all the usages of the 1900 1s green and carmine I find. So this item caught my attention especially because it was sent from the British Army Post Office during the Boer war. But as it’s a bit ugly (it’s reduced at the top and some of the backflap is missing), it’s philatelic and I have nicer usages of this stamp from South Africa, I put in a miserly bid of £75 and it sold for £77.50. It was only when I came to include it in my listing did I notice the date. The stamp was issued on July 11th 1900. This cover is clearly dated JU 15 1900. Even presuming that the month on the handstamp should be July and not June (unfortunately the arrival backstamp is missing the date entirely), it is the earliest recorded usage of this stamp, and to be sent only 4 days after issue 5’000+ miles away in South Africa is extraordinary.
Surprise of the month goes to this Lunn & Co., “Tennis, Cycle, Croquet, Golf, and Cricket Manufacturers” printed advertising wrapper. It sold on ebay.com for $309.29. Golf evidently a highly popular thematic for stamp collectors!
This group of Jubilees affixed to card come from a butchered 1884 “Before and After the Stamp Committee” presentation book by De La Rue, of which only thirty six were produced. Consisting of three pages, the third page featured the original issue of Jubilee stamps plus the 1881 1d lilac. Part of me can understand dismantling the book, but why someone would then cut up a perfectly attractive page is beyond me. And I’m pretty sure the information at the top of the page is incorrect. The Jubilees were not line perforated for this book (some other stamps in the book were), they have comb perforations as normal. It sold for £185.50.
The type 15 SPECIMEN on the 1900 1s green and carmine is catalogued by Stanley Gibbons at . This one, described as having small faults, with no explanation or scan of the reverse, sold for only £20… I think, not just because it was poorly described, but because it is a fake specimen overprint. There’s two or three discrepancies in the appearance of the shape of the letters when compared to the reasonably common 10d with type 15 specimen overprint (the curvature of the “S”, the central point of the M descends all the way to the baseline). But I’m not an expert. I had somebody recently just point out two Specimen forgeries in my collection that I’ve had since I first started collecting Jubilees, and never thought to question them as when I looked at the time they were identical to the illustrations in the SG catalogue. Unfortunately I’ve come to realise that the illustrations are misleading and should be corrected!
And we finish this month with what looks to me like another forgery which cost someone £110.77. I think a regular stamp with a Crown watermark has been bleached white and on it someone has printed the 1900 1s green and carmine design upside-down to create an inverted watermark variety. It could be the poor clarity of the image, but the definition of the stamp looks blurred, which is especially noticeable at on the side ornaments which appear as red blobs with a dash of white (I’ve conveniently put this stamp after the specimen stamp so one can compare). There also appears to be different shades of green in the lettering and the white area inside the frame is definitely not white like the perfs around the edge.
Top 5 Items of the MonthIt’s the second month in a row that I’m kicking off my eBay report with an addition to my collection. I was very happy to pick up this Board of Trade perfin on a ½d vermilion on a Board of Trade cover for the opening bid of £99.99. Forgeries abound of the Board of Trade perfin so I’ve been aiming to get them on cover (or front when necessary) to significantly reduce the chances of buying a forgery. They are also still not listed in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, so they are definitely undervalued and under-appreciated. From used stamps and the limited number of covers I have seen, there seem to a four or five different London cancels which are used consistently, and this London “89” district office duplex is certainly one you’ll find on genuine items.
The stamped-to-postal stationery envelopes come up reasonably frequently (on eBay and on my reports) and always sell well. There’s a correspondence of these covers that go to Canada and Grenada. This one’s a bit nicer because it has two 1887 1s greens. It sold for £84.05.
This attractive lower marginal block of 8 of the Niger Coast 5d unfortunately had no gum, hence it only sold for £69.Uprated Bechuanaland postal stationery cards are reasonably common but the vast majority are philatelic and sent to Germany. So this card to New Zealand is an attractive and proper usage. It was a good buy at £56. Whether the buyer, a dealer, can sell it on for their price tag of £225 is another matter…
And finally an Army Official ½d vermilion “Q” control pair. Another cheap buy for somebody at only £28.14. In my head they are worth £40-50 for a pair, but if you search eBay you will find dozens of them being offered by different dealers at £100+…
Top 5 Items of the Month
No don’t worry, you haven’t gone back in time to May. I’m just playing catch up and will try and get June and July done in the next few days. Mind you I have been busy on the website over the summer even though it may not look it (since I’ve not posted since June…), but anyone looking on the main site will have noticed I have done some work on the essays, proofs and settings on some of the values.
Anyway, first up is this Express cover sent from Whitby to Stowmarket with a rare 1s green and carmine (this cover made a total of 87 1s green and carmine frankings recorded, although I’ve found two more in the meantime) along with a 4d and a 1d, thought to be paying 1d postage, 1s 3d express fee for 4-5 miles at 3d per mile and a 1d late fee. I was very happy to add this to my collection for the sum of £331.10.
I always like oddities like this 10d with the centre seemingly missing. All the green and purple inks used for printing the Jubilees were so-called “doubly fugitive”, which meant they were relatively easily affected by solvents (sometimes even just water) so that any attempt to remove a cancel would noticeably damage the appearance of the stamp. You can just about see a “ghost” of the original centre but it is first one I’ve seen on the 10d. An interesting curio for £23.
Speaking of oddities, this item caught my attention like a fire alarm. Unfortunately I had already missed it. But if I had seen it in time, I’m still not sure what I would have done because as far as I’m aware there are no bromide photographic essays of KEVII paste-ups recorded (at least not in the SG Specialised Volume 2). It looks properly perforated as well. If it is a new discovery then it is an absolute bargain at £60. So if anyone has any information about this I’m all ears!
Surprise of the month was definitely this 4½d Jubilee which sold for £49.75! And not because someone was mis-selling it as a deep carmine shade. Seven bidders were interested in this stamp because of the break in the frame above the top right “4”! Amazing…
And what could have been surprise of the month (although anything to do with China fetching huge sums shouldn’t really be a surprise any more) was this cover to the London Mission in Peking. It sold for a hefty £103 because of the rather indistinct “CUSTOMS / TIENTSIN” cds (Note: corrected thanks to Mel Kravitz’s comments below).
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.
This mint Mafeking 1d on ½d sold surprisingly well at £103 considering how poor the image is. It looks to be genuine but I’m not confident…
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.
And we finish with another stamp dealer’s cover. As attractive as it is, I was very surprised to see this sell for as much as £94 as there are plenty of them around.
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.
This Army Official pair has one stamp showing a constant variety “short foot to L”. Although not listed by Gibbons it is recorded by Wiseman. It sold for £42.46.
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
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 Foreign and Colonial Parcel Post labels are reasonably scarce and not at all expensive. This attractive example is from Lurgan in Ireland and deserved to fetch more than £35.
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.
I’m sure I say this every year, but my New Year’s resolution to do more work on the website has started poorly with the blog a month behind already. Actually there has been very few items of interest on Ebay, but the first item I will talk about was quite a special item to find as I didn’t remember ever seeing one before.
This 2d green & carmine was simply described as a 2d with specimen overprint. Even at a quick glance it’s noticeable that it has been overprinted twice, and with a closer look you’ll notice that it has two different type of the specimen overprint, types 9 and 12. Listed in the SG Queen Victoria specilaised as K30sa with a catalogue value of £225 for mounted mint, I took a look at Gibbons sale catalogue of the “Aureum” Jubilee collection from 2016 to see if they had one. They did, and with the comment “the first example we have handled for over 15 years”, it had a price of £550 and evidently sold. If I could have I would a bid at the very last moment but as I was travelling I couldn’t. As a result I pushed the price from £41 to £310 but give the other bidder time to increase his bid and I lost it for £385.
Another item which realised almost the same price, but is significantly less rare as far as I’m aware was this unmounted mint 4d green and brown with inverted watermark, which sold for £388 plus postage (against a SG catalogue price of £1’500).
And I finish with the Bechuanaland Protectorate 4d on 1/2d inverted surcharge. Catalogued at £4’000, it sold for £87.72… The suspiciously poor quality image is always a red flag and it had no expertising certificate. Looking at the shape of the letters in “Fourpence”, I’m pretty sure it’s a fake. Either that or someone got an absolute bargain!
Top 5 Items of the Month
November finally brought some Jubilee items of interest after a drought after 2 or 3 months of very little.
First off is this mint 9d Jubilee. At first glance, nothing special. Take a closer look and you’ll see that it is a forgery! I slightly regret not going for it. It could well be a modern replica in which case it’s worthless, but something about it tells me it’s not. The fact that the perforations are a pretty good attempt at simulating the genuine stamp, given away by the fact that it looks like it is line perforated and not comb perforated (the corner perfs are misshapen when they should be more symmetrical). The definition of the printing isn’t great, but it doesn’t look like it’s been done a laser jet printer. I’ve not heard of any contemporary forgeries of the Jubilees, but at £4.85 it may well have been a worthwhile gamble.
Although philatelic, this 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee uprated with a 10 Jubilee and tied by the special cds is very attractive and sold to the only bidder at £99.99 plus postage.
This mixed issue franking with a 2 1/2d “Lilac & Green” and a 2d Jubilee surprised me by selling for as much as £77.93 in spite of the toning around the stamps. I’ve noticed that Jubilee usages in early 1887 are pretty uncommon and I see quite a few “Lilac & Green” usages still in this period on eBay, so it is very unusual to see both on the same cover.
And I’ll finish this month with a couple of my purchases. At the minute I’m into single frankings and multiple frankings of the same stamp. So when these two giant registered envelopes came up I couldn’t help myself. It’s exactly the type of thing you hear people saying you shouldn’t buy because you can’t display them in an exhibition. But this 1887 cover with the 3d is paying the inland rate up to 8oz, and the 1894 cover with the 1/2d vermilions is paying up to 6oz. I think they are very scarce and it’s amazing really that these big covers weren’t thrown out at the time. So I was pleased to pay £10.94 and £21.95 respectively.
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…