I struggled to find much of interest in February and March on eBay and it wasn’t for lack of searching, but the few things I did find were all interesting items.
Darth Vader would surely say “I find your lack of knowledge disturbing” if he ever quizzed my on my expertise of the postal history of the Boer War. As an example, I don’t know what the code “3MB” stands for in the centre of this large circular datestamp, surrounded by “ARMY POST OFFICE / SOUTH AFRICA”. Perhaps Mobile Box? From my quick internet search and what images I’ve saved on my computer, I know there are several different codes and some with the town name in its place (Barberton, Komatipoort and Machadodorp, as well as Volksrust instead of South Africa). But what I do know is that it’s a nice piece to have bought for £82.09.
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.
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.
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.
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 ½d 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 ½d 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!
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.
Been a busy couple of months for me so playing catch up as usual. I’m kicking of this one with one of the most unusual Jubilee items I’ve seen. This 6d Jubilee was used in 1944 in conjunction with a 4d Manchester & Altrincham South Junction Railway parcel label, both tied by an Altrincham machine cancel. There was only one bidder at the asking price of £55. Certainly a conversation piece in a collection.
This 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee 1d postal stationery envelope was sent on the first day of South Kensington Museum Exhibition with the special datestamp, over-franked with a 2 1/2d and sent locally. It sold for £110. I may be wrong but I’m always surprised at how much these sell for as they’re not particularly scarce (although they are attractive). But as someone pointed out to me recently, they can “tick the box” of many different collectors (e.g. Jubilee issue, Exhibitions, postal stationery, horse thematics and history of stamps thematics to name the most obvious).
This fresh mint never hinged marginal block of four of the 1s green sold for a solid £741.
This attractive used marginal strip of three of the British Levant 4pi on 10d sold for £104. I have seen very few multiples of this stamp…
Finally, this cover was sent to a Irish Prisoner of War during the Boer War. Sent “Care of the Postmaster General” in Pretoria, it was then passed on the the US Consulate in Pretoria and struck with their cachet. The Consulate acted as the intermediary between the Boers and the British in the exchange of prisoner of war mail. It sold for £117.
Oh dear I’m very late this time. I didn’t even have time to keep track of what was selling on eBay, so I’ve had to cheat and search the “Sold” listings. I was all ready to say that it was a quiet month and I hadn’t missed a sausage…until I took a look at what had sold under Zululand. I am constantly on the look out for the overprinted controls of the 1/2d vermilion, and have had ZERO luck in buying any of the Empire overprints. So I was annoyed to see that this D control block of six only sold for £61 (presuming it’s genuine of course).
One item I did watch sell was this scarce and highly collectable Railway cover from Dublin. Ones from Ireland are particularly collectable, and even though it’s a little soiled and has a missing backflap this one sold for £313.88. Anyone interested in Railway Stamps should check out Grosvenor’s next sale on June 4th: The Rev. Roger de Lacy-Spencer Collection of Railway Stamps.
This Niger Coast provisional is worth mentioning. It has the type 6 overprint in vermilion on the 2 1/2d and is catalogue £600 by Stanley Gibbons as mint (which this is). Quite amazingly it sold for just under £560. It’s very rare to see stamps sell for nearly full catalogue, so either this was two bidders who got into a crazy war or it’s a sign that there is a strong demand for the scarcer provisional overprints.
This attractive cover from Bechuanaland sold for £110.95. Franked with a Bechuanaland Protectorate 3d and 6d, I’m pretty sure it’s philatelic as I’m not sure about the rate of 9d (I should know really…). Nice enough though.
This is another item I would like to have added to my Jubilee collection. It’s an uncommon usage of the 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee insert for the envelope, with a 1/2d vermilion tied by the special cancellation. I would have paid more than the £26.95 it fetched.
I hope that everyone who had the opportunity had a pleasant Easter holidays. We start this month off with a couple of items where I was unsuccessful bidder. First up is an 1890 Uniform Penny Postage Jubilee envelope sent to Canada, unusually uprated with a 4d and a 4 1/2d Jubilee paying three times the UPU rate plus registration fee. Apart from being an attractive franking, it has the added interested of a Canadian customs instructional label. It sold for £85.20.
Next we have a rare usage of a “Manchester Philatelic Society War Fund” charity label which I believe was to raise funds for the Boer war. It’s actually the first example I have seen on cover and it’s extra nice that it has the 1/2d vermilion and the 1/2d blue-green. It has some little faults, but I should have bid it up past the £69.50 it realised. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in a dealer’s stock at £150+.
This interesting variety sold for only 40.62. It shows an offset, caused by freshly printed sheets being stacked on top of each other and the wet ink being pressed into the reverse of the sheet above. This is not a common variety on the 3d but would have sold for much more if a complete impression of the stamp could be seen.
This Bechuanaland Protectorate 1/2d vermilion with double “Protectorate” overprint sold for a strong £69.95
And we finish off with an item that I featured in my June 2012 eBay report; a 1s double rate single franking to New Zealand. Back then it sold for £50.29. This time it sold for £46.94.