This month is a bit focused on only the 6d and Bechuanaland postal history, but there are some lovely things that I would have liked to have added to my collection.
First up is this stunning used block of 36 of the 6d purple on rose. Bidding started at £1500 but no one took up the offer. I messaged the vendor afterwards to see if it is was available for a bit less but unfortunately by the time he saw my message he had already sold it. The new owner now has it on eBay “Buy-it-now” for £2’750…
Sticking with the 6d, this mint never hinged lower marginal block of four sold for £110. For those interested in the marginal settings on the 6d, note the cut in the Jubilee line below the lower left stamp which looks like it is from plate 6a.
Next up are three Bechuanaland covers, funnily enough, which were from a collection we sold at David Feldman called the “Koi” collection. I recognise the beautiful and painstakingly hand-drawn pages. I’ve spent quite a bit of time during my summer holiday going through my Bechuanaland files on my computer. Partly because it was long overdue, but also as my other role as editor of The Overprinter for the GB Overprint Society, where there has been some interesting debate about the postal rates from British Bechuanaland to the UK and abroad. I’m hoping to update that section of the site this week before the end of my holiday.
This is an attractive philatelic franking from “PALACHWE / KHAMAS TOWN”, bearing Bechuanaland Protectorate 1888 1/2d and 4d on 1/2d, was sent in 1891 to Port Elizabeth in the Cape Colony which at this time should have been at the 2d rate. Still a particularly nice example and scarce usage of the 4d on 1/2d. It sold for £121.15.
This 1899 cover from Francestown in the Protectorate is paying double to 2d rate to a chemists in the Cape Colony called Lennon Limited. I did a quick search and came up with a page on the Rhodesian Study Circle website so I presume it’s a decent sized correspondence across Southern Africa. This cover sold for £131.50.
Finally this 1894 cover is an example of British Bechuanaland stamps used in the Protectorate, sent from a general dealer from Khamas Town to the famous merchant Isaacs in Mafeking. The two British Bechuanaland 2d’s are paying the 4d rate from the Protectorate to another Southern African territory. It’s also an extremely fine example of the “676” BONC (barred oval numeral cancel) which are so often poorly struck. It sold for £105.50 and I regret not bidding more!
Prices for Jubilee material seems to have been getting stronger in recent months, which has been noticeable not just on eBay but also in recent auction sales such as the ones at Grosvenor and Corinphila (with the “Besançon” collection which I’ll have to get round to writing about) in the first six months of this year.
One item that highlights the increase in demand is this rare single franking of the 1s green and carmine on a registered envelope, which is paying 9d in registration fee as annotated at the lower left and double the UPU rate to Germany. It is one of only 10 single franking covers out of the 93 that I have recorded with the 1s green and carmine. It sold for an impressive £805, which looking back on it is worth it but I don’t think it would have sold for so much a couple of years ago.
Another scarce item which very rarely pops up on eBay with a 99p start was this 4d head plate die proof, cut-down to stamp size, which sold for £225.12
This registered postcard was an item I wanted to add to my collection but not as much as somebody else unfortunately. Registered postcards are unusual and it is a nice example of using a single 2d to uprate a stationery item. It sold for £45.77.
The postal stationery envelopes with the advertising ring around the die are very popular. This one is for W & T Avery of Birmingham and it sold for £112, which even with its minor imperfections I think is cheap because I think it should be £200-300.
And finally this “British Bechuanaland Government Gazette” wrapper, although it has a bit of rough life, it is a correct usage of the ½d. I can’t say that it’s not philatelic because it is addressed to Isaacs who was a merchant and a prolific creator (or at least recipient) of covers, and whom Bechuanaland collectors have a lot to be thankful to. It sold for £64.11.
Now it’s the summer and I’m on holiday, instead of laying by the pool in the sun all day I’m going to be catching up on my Ebay posts as well as some content for the rest of the site. So expect some more updates in the coming weeks.
The first item is an important block for the marginal settings enthusiasts. Even if I had spotted this at the time, I think its importance would have passed me by; and it’s all because of the dot in the margin! This interpane perforation dot under the 6th stamp in the 10th row means it is from setting 1B, which wasn’t known to exist at the time Wiseman published his seminal “The De La Rue Years”, in which he only postulated its existence based on examples seen of the 3d. The lucky buyer, who bought it for a snip at £84.46, I believe is going to publish an article about this find in the GB Philatelic Society’s GB Journal soon. Looking in my files, I have recorded one other example which was featured in “The Overprinter” (2019, vol.3, p.76), which was an Army Official lower right corner marginal strip of six.
Sticking on the theme of marginal settings, this pair of 5d from the top right corner of the sheet is from setting 2, showing the continuous Jubilee lines of both colours and sold cheaply to the only bidder for £29.20.
This Specimen overprint on the Inland Revenue 1/2d vermilion is type 15 which is the scarcer type which can be found on this stamp out of the two (the other being type 9). SG currently don’t price the different Specimen types separately in the Specialised catalogue but it’s something they should definitely do. This example sold for £58.78.
And finally a plate proof of the 1/2d green on buff paper that sold for £38.10, which is the right price. I remember very early on in my Jubilee collecting paying £95 from a dealer for one.
Spink will be offering part 5 of the “Lionheart” collection on June 17th, which contains the “proving piece” of the inverted overprint of the 1s green and carmine. Although several had been discovered and the variety was listed in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, opinions changed and in 1916 it was de-listed and all examples regarded as forgeries. That was until the discovery of this example in 1950, clearly tied to a Post Office parcel label, that the Royal Philatelic Society of London granted it a certificate and it was restored to the Stanley Gibbons catalogue. The full story can be read in this extract from the L. N. Williams Encyclopaedia of Rare and Famous Stamps.
This example was last sold at Cherrystone in 2008 for $20’700. It is being offered in June with an estimate of £10’000-£12’000.