I’m a bit behind again… Surprisingly there were a few nice things that popped up on Ebay in August (normally a very quiet month as everyone is on holiday or out and about), but there was nothing of note in September so I’ve cheated and combined the two months.
When I accidentally came across this item when I was searching for something else in the British Commonwealth category, I was excited as I thought I might get a bargain here if no GB collector sees this Leeward Islands 2d postal stationery envelope which was sent to England then redirected to Italy with a 2½ Jubilee then redirected back to London. The excitement didn’t last long unfortunately, as well before the deadline it had crept up to £129.80. Never mind.
This is a cut-out from a Smyrna Parcel Post / Customs Declaration form with five unoverprinted 6d Jubilees cancelled by a Smyrna cds. Intact forms are very scarce. This sold for £12.50.
This privately printed Parcel Post label from a company called Pryce Jones, in Newtown, Wales, is a little bit grubby but a scarce item. Despite its condition, it sold for £47.98.
Absolute bargain of the month was this cover from Stevenage to Bulawayo, Matabeleland, in Southern Africa. It is addressed to “Colonel Plumer’s Column”, which was a force organised to break the Siege of Bulawayo during the Second Matabele War (also known as the Matabeleland Rebellion). The Rebellion was officially over by 22 October 1896 (less than a month after this cover was sent), which saw the disbandment of Colonel Plumer’s column. Perhaps explaining why it had to be redirected to Johannesburg, as it has a Boer “ADVERTISED” hs and I think (I’m not sure) an “Unknown” hs at lower left. I was going to bid strongly but forgot and missed it so it only sold for £22.57… I think if you put a 2 in front of that, the right person would be happy to pay it.
And finally my surprise of the month was this registered envelope fro British Levant with the 40pa on 2½d sent from Beirut to Hong Kong. I know that destination mail to Hong Kong and China from GB is popular, but I was still surprised to see this sell for £160.
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).
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
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.
In the absence of anything worthwhile appearing on eBay, I thought I would talk about a few nice Jubilee items that have sold in auction this past month.
Starting with Grosvenor who offered the Richard Malim collection of British Levant on September 20th, including this attractive parcel labelLot 600 was this attractive albeit fragile official parcel label, with a mixed British and Turkish currency franking, for a package of acorn husks sent to Manchester. I’ve only seen a couple of these before, so I was disappointed to be the underbidder when it sold for £600 plus commission.
Spink offered another portion of the David Pitts collection, with their September 19th sale focussed on the West Indies. Not the normal place to find Jubilee items but it did throw up this cover franked with a ½ vermilion sent to the Cayman Islands. It has a backflap missing and is a bit worn, but it has a Grand Cayman arrival backstamp. It sold for £1’200 against an estimate of £1’500-1’800 and it’s the only Jubilee cover I have recorded going there.
And lot 1205 in the Argyll Etkin auction on September 29th saw this Furniss “New Century” envelope, sent from London to Paris with a 5d Jubilee sell for £400 plus 21% buyer’s premium. It was the first time I’d actually seen this envelope.
Let’s hope October brings us some more lovely Jubilee items!
On a lazy Saturday afternoon I was watching Bargain Hunt when one of the teams picked up a small silver stamp box in the shape of an envelope. It reminded me of the [insert shameless plug here] phenomenal “Primrose” collection of stamp boxes which David Feldman sold in 2000, which in turn reminded me that I had seen stamp boxes in the past with enamel copies of Jubilee stamps on the lid. A quick search of eBay and bingo! This is a Sampson Mordan & Co silver and enamel stamp box, hallmarked London 1891 with a gilt interior and three enamelled stamps: a ½d vermilion, 1d lilac and 2½d purple on blue. It sold for £2670. Anyone looking for more information on stamp boxes are recommended to take a look at this site I just found: http://stampbox.org.uk/. I’ve also found a few different examples with enamel Jubilees so I’ve added a Stamp Boxes page in the Related Info section.
Next we have an important auction catalogue for the collector of overprints on the Jubilee issue. A must have and cheap at only £5.19.
The attractive cover was sent to Northern Nigeria in 1910, with a late usage of the 1887 1/2d vermilion in combination with an Edward VII 1/2d and sold for £16.95.
Another combination with Edward VII, but this time it’s a single use of the 4d Jubilee to uprate a 1d + 2d registration envelope to pay double the UPU rate to the USA in 1907. It sold for only £4.10 but I think it’s unusual combination.
And finally this was my surprise of the month. This 9d and 1/2d green paying triple UPU rate and 2d registration sold for £88.75. I’ve seen nicer ones sell for less but I think they are underrated. I should have started this a lot earlier, but I’ve begun a census of known covers bearing the 9d. I’ve only got 30 so far which I will get uploaded some time soon so any one who wants to send me some scans of frankings with the 9d will be greatly appreciated.
We start this ebay report with what is I think the most valuable Jubilee item I’ve seen sell at auction on ebay. I would have been gutted to have missed it but I would never have thought of paying as much as $2’850 for the cover below. Sent to the Portuguese colony of Macao with a 5d Jubilee, it was then re-directed to Japan with a Macao 40r. It’s an extraordinary mixed country franking and Macao collectors have the hunger and the cash for such unusual items.
This is a rare used block of four of the Army Telegraphs overprint on the ½d vermilion. I’ve seen very few used examples (less than a dozen of the vermilion and I don’t think any of the ½d blue-green). So I might regret not trying to beat the final realisation of £129.25.
This unmounted mint example of the 1 ½d with inverted watermark variety sold for £460, which is just a little under half the Stanley Gibbons catalogue price of £950.
This slightly ugly cover is an unusual usage of the 4 ½d. It is paying the 2d registration rate and 2 ½d to send the cover from York to Plymouth. It is only the third single franking of the 4 ½d I’ve seen on an internal letter.
And finally quite an attractive uprated postal stationery cover to Belgium from Jersey. These types of covers from Jersey always sell well; this one realising £135.10.
I knew better than to make a New Year’s resolution to spend more time developing this site because I knew it wouldn’t take long to get behind on my updates…
First up is an item I should have bought. It’s the type of item that I think would add very nicely to an exhibition collection as I think it would go well as the final item to complete the story. It’s a picture postcard mourning the death of Queen Victoria, with a message along side saying “Her Funeral Procession passes through London to day”, with a 1/2d blue-green on the other side dated February 2nd. It sold for £30.80. By the way, I’m also desperately looking for a Jubilee stamp used on something commemorating her Jubilee in 1887 but have yet to find it!
Next up is an item of destination mail (one of my favourite topics). I’ve only come across three covers with Jubilee frankings to Cyprus so far, and this is a nice (albeit slightly toned) example with a 4 1/2d paying the UPU rate plus registration.
Imprimaturs rarely come up on eBay for auction (there not uncommon in dealer’s stocks). So I was interested to see this example described as unmounted mint fetch £338.50.
This picture postcard was posted on board the RMS Columba, a paddle steamer which operated on the first leg of the “The Royal Route” from Glasgow to Ardrishaig. With the 1/2d blue-green tied by the “COLUMBA STEAMER / GREENOCK” cds. There was only one bidder but the vendor started bidding at £110. That despite the fact that it’s not in perfect condition.
Speaking of not being in perfect condition, neither is this cover. But I’m still absolutely gutted I missed it. Originally sent to the Eastern Telegraph Company in Sierra Leone, it was redirected to São Tomé(!), San Vincent in Cabo Verde (!!) and back to Sierra Leone stopping off at Madeira on the way! An truly fascinating item of postal history and an absolute snip at £34.88 :(
I was fortunate enough to travel to the New York World Stamp Show earlier this month, as I was working on the David Feldman stand for the whole eight days. I was kept extremely busy for the first four or five days, but eventually found the time to take a look around some of the amazing exhibits. There were no collections of Jubilees sadly, but I did manage to find some items of interest amongst the maze of collections.
The first one I spotted was the sister cover to the Ascension registered hooded cds that recently sold at Spink, one of only two known examples of this cancellation. It belonged to the fabulous collection of GB Used Abroad of Hugh Wood that was on display in the Court of Honor.
In a collection of Indonesia were two covers going to Java and one to Sumatra. Surprisingly perhaps, Indonesia isn’t such a scarce destination. I have recorded 15 Jubilee frankings to Indonesia so far, with most going to the island of Java and only two going to Sumatra and three to Celebes.
In a collection of New South Wales was this attractive mixed franking on a cover sent from the UK with a 2 1/2d and redirected to the USA. The additional New South Wales franking was needed as it was before they joined the UPU. I also recognise this cover because the company I work for, David Feldman SA, sold this cover in the Baron von Uexkull collection in 1997.
Also of note was a cover featured in a collection of Cuba. The owner described it as the only recorded usage of the “MISSENT / Military Sta. No. 20 Sancti Spiritus Cuba” handstamp.
And finally on display in Alan Huggins’ collection of British Postal Stationery were five covers from a correspondence to Jamaica with stamped-to-order postal stationery, three of which were uprated with Jubilees (bringing my census of Jubilee frankings to Jamaica up to 5 known).
Top 5 Items of the Month
Best buy in the month of May certainly goes to this unassuming 6d. With a Royal Philatelic Society saying that this stamp has a “Taunton / Cricket Ground” cds, I was expecting this to fetch around the £1’000 mark, so I was surprised to see it only fetch £392.45. You can view my attempted census of these cancellations here.
Also a 6d of note was this example of a Board of Trade official perfin tied to a small piece. These stamps are scarce, and until they are listed by Stanley Gibbons, will remain relatively inexpensive. I picked this one up for £22.75 (as well as a 9d for a little less). Forgeries abound so I tend to pick them up only on cover (which is not inexpensive!), put the piece of paper and the hooded London cancellation are very typical of the genuine item, as are missing puncture holes, inverted perfins and reversed perfins.
This philatelic cover with the complete Oil Rivers Jubilee set isn’t particularly scarce, but it is an attractive addition to a collection and it fetched a strong price of $269 on ebay.com
This slightly tatty cover (some would say well travelled) was sent at the 2 1/2d rate from London to Melbourne. However when it was redirected to Sydney, the 2 1/2d was no longer valid and the charge of a 2d postage due stamp was added (1d for the postage and 1d for the fine). I have seen very few and wasn’t surprised to see it sell for £90.88.
And finally, my “if only I had spotted it” cover of the month. Incoming mail to the island of Sark in the Channel Islands is rare, and if I, or perhaps a more fervent Channel Islands collector had seen it, it would have sold for much more than £44.00!