Happy new year everyone! Just about managed to get this out in January…
At first glance this looks like a rather mundane 2 1/2d franking from Edinburgh to Austria on a registered envelope. But look slightly to the left of the stamp and you will see the “EDINB INTERNL / EXHIBITION” circular datestamp. The Edinburgh Jubilee Exhibition was an International Exhibition of Electrical Engineering, General Inventions and Industries, including the Jubilee Postal Conversazione which included displays brought together by the General Post Office. According to John Davies’ book “A Jubilee Reminiscence”, this is now only the fourth recorded example of this datestamp from the exhibition post office. A very good buy at £253.
I would have like to have added this advertising cover to my collection if I had spotted it. The postman had a few valiant attempts to deliver this “Church Monthly” cover. There are several datestamps and the postman seems to have recorded his attempts by putting the word “Not” in front of the datestamps of West Felton, Bucknell and Oswestry before figuring that the destination couldn’t be in Shropshire and crossing it out and writing “Try Colwich Staffordshire”! It sold for £46.
Grenada sounds a rarer destination than it actually is. There seems to be quite a correspondence that exists sent to The Honorable G. W. Williamson in Grenville with similar mixed Jubilee and stamped-to-order frankings. I highlight this one because I like the four of the same Jubilee value added to make the quintuple rate. It sold for £37.
It’s very rare that I have any British East Africa to highlight on my eBay reports. It so rarely comes up as an eBay auction item that to be honest I don’t look. But I came across this example of the 4a on 5d cancelled by a neat Lamu cds one offered by a Dutch seller, which sold for US$188.26 (equivalent to about £139).
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.
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.
I’ve had more free time of late so I’ve been able to spend more of it looking through the eBay listings under Great Britain Victoria, Great Britain Covers and Great Britain Postal History in order to find some items for my collection.
The first is a stamp (for a change!) that I would have liked to add to my collection. As the 4 1/2d value was printed in 1892, it’s much more difficult to find with a SPECIMEN overprint than the stamps issued in 1887 (which are typically worth £15-40 each with the same type 9 overprint). Dealers tend to charge two to three times the realisation of £68.
So back to postal history. Although having said that I’m sure that this postcard is of more interest to postcard collectors, which depicts the Snowdon Summit Hotel. I know little about the scarcity of postcards, but I imagine to the right person they would be willing to pay at least double the 18.85 it sold for.
The scarcity of postal stationery is something I probably know even less about. So I was a little shocked to see that this had sold for £138.95. The 1 1/2d die has been uprated with a 3d Jubilee to pay the 4 1/2d registered rate to Germany and was sent from the Colombian Consulate in Jersey. Although this sounds exotic, there seems to plenty of mail to have survived from this consulate and in fact I have the same franking on a cover sent to Fiji which I know I paid too much money for but it was so attractive.
This cover was one I was annoyed to have missed because it’s a very uncommon usage of a single 4d: Sent to New Zealand at double the Empire rate of 1d and with 2d registration fee. I would have paid at least double the final price of £21.95
And finally another stamp to finish of this month. This Mafeking 1s on 6d sold for £67.75. Decent value in my opinion, probably helped by the poor photograph taken by the vendor.
June brought us some attractive and high value items (compared to the usual eBay offerings at least). First up was this advertising parcel post label from the Thorton-Pickard manufacturing company. Unusually it has a 6d stamped-to-order die and is also uprated with a 2d Jubilee. Although a little creased, it sold for a healthy £155.
The surprise result of the week was this 4 1/2d marginal block of four with a crisp central Darlington cds (which was against the regulations as each stamp should have been cancelled individually). The green is slightly washed, but that didn’t stop this multiple fetching £217.47!
The item of the month that I missed bidding on was this scarce Mafeking 1s on 6d (with serif overprint) tied to small piece. With a RPS certificate and a catalogue value of £850 in Stanley Gibbons, it only sold for £217. Doh!
And to finish with we have a couple of incoming Boer War covers. The first with a 4d green & brown with “GONE – NO ADDRESS” handstamp struck on arrival in South Africa. It was then returned to the UK and a large “Officially Sealed” label of the Returned Letter Office was stuck on the reverse. It sold for £122.70.
And this cover was sent at the triple rate to a Prisoner of War in Pretoria. The cover was censored at the neutral United States Consul in Pretoria. Although the franking is a little tired, incoming mail to prisoners of war are very scarce, and this cover realised £164.
After a lazy start to 2016 I’m going to try get back in to the rhythm of doing my monthly eBay reports. We’ll see how long it lasts…
First up is a scarce Qua-Iboe River cancel from Niger Coast on an overprinted 1/2d vermilion which sold for £30.35.
Next up are two blocks featuring constant varieties listed in the Stanley Gibbons Specialised Volume 1, although neither were highlighted by the vendor. The 4 1/2d block shows the variety “broken bar to fraction” (SG K34h) which affects the fraction bar on the right “1/2” on the lower left stamp in this block. Catalogued at £90, it sold for a respectable £52.10 so a couple of people must have spotted it.
However the variety featured on this block of 1 1/2d was a much better buy. The lower right stamp in the block shows the variety “retouch left of tablet and around large figure 1” (SG K29f) which catalogues at £600 for a mounted mint example. So I was rather happy to pick it up for £67.09. Stanley Gibbons are currently offering a mint nh interpanneu block of 8 with this variety for £1’200! In fact if I hadn’t had been studying the catalogue the day bidding finished I probably would have missed it.
This block of 12 6d Jubilees is a scarce used multiple, but what it more interesting is the cancellation. Without my references in front of me, I think that the “FPO / 43” cancellation was used during the Boer War. So even with the faults (some splitting and creasing), I think the right person would pay more than the £29.70 it realised.
This attractive franking is on a printed envelope from the stamp dealer H. G. Hanson in Cardiff. Funnily enough I recognised this cover as I described it for a David Feldman SA auction and it sold a couple of years ago for €180. I don’t know if the buyer then was the same as the seller now, but it only sold for £93.78 this time.
May wasn’t such an interesting month on eBay for the Jubilee collector I must say, but I’ve managed to scrape a few interesting items together. The first is a cute franking with both the 1887 1/2d and the 1900 1/2d. I’ve seen very few covers with this combination and it’s a nice addition to a collection to have both on cover. Cheap at only £8.
I find myself more and more fascinated by covers from early stamp dealers. This cover is from the well known Alfred Smith of Bath. There are several different versions of this example depicting his shop, and modern day stamp dealers regularly retail these covers for much more than the £19.70 this one fetched.
My only purchase this month was this underpaid cover to Australia. I was very happy to pay £18.70. With the “REFUSED, D.L.O.” (dead letter office) handstamp, I’m pretty sure an Australian postal history collector would be happy to pay at least double that.
This item was an interesting curiosity. I should have bought it and I could have used it on all the letters I send…although I don’t actually send that many. It’s a very well made reproduction of the 1/2d design in handstamp form. I think I’ve seen a couple before, and it sold for £25.69.
Finally, we have an example of a “Jury Summons”. These were required to be sent by registered post, and were sent by the locally to request citizens to turn up to Jury duty. Surprisingly this one has been refused by the recipient…
We start the month off with this attractive advertising cover from the stamp dealer William Brown of Salisbury. In my ever-expanding “Related Info” section, I have started an encyclopaedia-type listing of famous 20th century stamp dealers and personalities (by started, I mean I have done two…), so you can find out more about William Brown here. Even though it is “tainted” with two 1d lilacs, it is still a very attractive cover and deserving of the £160.55 paid for it. I picked up an even more attractive example (although of different design) from a dealer at Stampex for £140 which goes to show that dealers aren’t always overpriced!
This attractively used Niger Coast 1/2d sold for £44.51 due to the dot between “R” and “S” of “RIVERS”. I’ve not seen this variety before, so I’ll be on the look out in the future to see if this proves to be a constant variety.
This cover has a very scarce single usage of the 9d sent to the USA. Unfortunately it was reduced at the left and top, but that didn’t stop it selling for £51.95. Probably paying 3 times the UPU rate with a late fee of 1 1/2d because I don’t think it’s philatelic.
Blocks of the 1s green aren’t rare, but this example with a fresh colour is surely worth more than £43.10!!
Finally we have a postcard sent from Jersey, with a 1/2d blue-green pair cancelled in transit by a French Granville cds, with a French “Boite Mobile” (or Mobile Box) hexagonal datestamp adjacent. Unfortunately the stamps are a little discoloured, but it still sold for £21.17.
I’ll admit that I’ve cheated a little bit this month. Two of the 5 items actually sold in July…so I’m going to have to look extra hard for my July report.
And I’ll commence with this very attractive advertising postcard for the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery. The illustration continues on the reverse, and for added interest, the 1/2d vermilion also has the company perfin. Not surprisingly this sold for £51.83.
This vertical pair of the 2d green and carmine cover is one that I wanted to add to my collection but missed out on. As you can see at the lower left, 5d of the franking (don’t forget about the 2d registration die on the reverse) has gone to an increased registration fee for extra compensation. Final price was a reasonable £32.75.
This used pair of the 1/2d vermilion with Army Telegraphs overprints is very scarce in used condition because all the telegraphs were supposed to be destroyed! It sold for £40.88.
Another advertising cover with a 1/2d vermilion sold for £70. This one is for Lee’s Art Studios at Portrush in Northern Ireland. The added interest is that the image depicts Dunluce Castle..
And the final items is this rare single usage of the 1s green and carmine on a parcel label, this being the second I have seen. It sold for £113.86.
This month was a bit of a slow month for Jubilee items coming to the market. The most attractive item was this parcel label with an unusually high franking of 1s 4 1/2d which sold for £42.
This piece bearing five 5d purple & blue is cancelled by the boxed ds of the Niger Company in Akassa. All the Niger Company cancels are listed by Stanley Gibbons and priced for each stamp. In this case the catalogue value is £100 for a single stamp. It sold for £86.33.
This attractive maritime cover only received one bidder at £40…me! Featuring a block of four 1/2d vermilion and a single, they are cancelled by Glasgow cds, but also by a dotted lozenge with anchor. I’ve read something about these covers before being the work of a Captain with a philatelic eye. When I find the article I’ll be sure to post it here.
This advertising cover is from Alfred Smith, a stamp dealer in Bath and profuse publisher of advertising envelopes. This is the first time I have seen this type (the most common ones being with the “New Address” overprint. There was only one bidder at £49.99 (not me this time).
And finally this slightly soiled cover sold for £41.75 due to it’s scarce destination: Singapore!