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 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. As China was not a member of the U.P.U., all incoming mail (usually arriving at Shanghai, but occasionally at Tientsin) required Customs postage to be added or a “To Pay” handstamp was used for transit within China, with the recipient paying in cash. Noted by the auctioneers as being one of only 26 incoming covers, it was estimated at HK$50’00-60’000 (around £5’000) and 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.
On the 26th and 28th of January 2015, Spink will be offering the East Africa collection of Lord Vestey and part 1 of the British Africa collection of James F. Hudson. Both have some fabulous material, and thankfully even some Jubilee items to talk about.
The only items of interest from the Vestey collection for me are on the first page of the catalogue, with the most interesting lot having come from the “Shivani” collection of British East Africa sold by Spink in 1997. Lot 1 is the 1d lilac, 2d green & red and 5d deep purple & blue with the B.E.A. overprints all with “CANCELLED” handstamps. In fact the lot also includes a Zululand 1d lilac and 2d green & red with the same. Stamps with this “CANCELLED” overprint were used as colour specimens by De La Rue and the Inland Revenue. Bought for £2’185 in 1997, the estimate is £3’000 to £4’000.
From the Hudson collection, there is a decent section of Niger Coast (without anything spectacular in way of Jubilees). But the most interesting lot for me is a Zululand 5d deep purple & blue, used, with inverted watermark. Catalogued at £1’800 by Stanley Gibbons, the estimate is £600-700. I would have thought it would do better than that because it’s not a stamp I remember ever seeing before.
Top 3 Items of the Month
We kick of this month with this spectacular franking on a large part envelope (reduced at bottom). It features two sets of the Jubilee (at least all that were available in 1890) all tied by the Uniform Penny Postage Jubilee cancels from the South Kensington museum, with a piece of the postal stationery affixed at the bottom. Exhibitions as a thematic is a very collectable area of philately, hence why this item fetched no less than £400.09!
From the same vendor was this attractive set of three of the British East Africa values. Each with a Knope certificate, they didn’t stay on eBay long at a buy-it-now price of £750.
As destination mail goes for the Jubilee issue, Chile is far from being the most common in South America. The added interest in this cover also comes from the fact that it is addressed to the “Submarine Cable Office”. Attractively franked with a 5d and 2 1/2d Jubilees tied by Croydon cds, this cover only fetched one bidder at £65.