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.
April not only brought us Easter, but also some interesting items and some strange results on Ebay along with it.
My favourite item was this cover from the Cardiff stamp dealer H. G. Hanson. I have seen many unusual and attractive covers sent by him with Jubilee frankings, with this being one of them. Not just because it has four different values including the 1s green, but because it has a corner marginal pair of the 4d from setting 4B (with the head duty rule cut away in the corner) and it’s rare to find marginal stamps on cover. It sold for the opening bid of £89.99.
This mint Mafeking 1d on ½d sold surprisingly well at £103 considering how poor the image is. It looks to be genuine but I’m not confident…
Bargain of the month was this Army Telegraphs ½d blue-green with SPECIMEN overprint. I think mostly because it finished on Easter weekend (and partly because of a few short perfs), it sold for a paltry £32.76. I’ve seen a mint nh example retail at £675 which the dealer presumably sold because he doesn’t have it any more!
This next item made my heart skip a beat! After calming down for a moment and requesting a higher resolution scan of the O. W. Official overprint on the stamp, it was quite clearly a forgery. Enough people obviously suspected the same and it sold for £140 (not that I would pay that much for a reference item). The only Victorian O. W. Official stamps on cover I have seen are the ½d vermilion, ½d green and 1d lilac, so this would have been unique if it was right.
And we finish with another stamp dealer’s cover. As attractive as it is, I was very surprised to see this sell for as much as £94 as there are plenty of them around.
I’m sure I say this every year, but my New Year’s resolution to do more work on the website has started poorly with the blog a month behind already. Actually there has been very few items of interest on Ebay, but the first item I will talk about was quite a special item to find as I didn’t remember ever seeing one before.
This 2d green & carmine was simply described as a 2d with specimen overprint. Even at a quick glance it’s noticeable that it has been overprinted twice, and with a closer look you’ll notice that it has two different type of the specimen overprint, types 9 and 12. Listed in the SG Queen Victoria specilaised as K30sa with a catalogue value of £225 for mounted mint, I took a look at Gibbons sale catalogue of the “Aureum” Jubilee collection from 2016 to see if they had one. They did, and with the comment “the first example we have handled for over 15 years”, it had a price of £550 and evidently sold. If I could have I would a bid at the very last moment but as I was travelling I couldn’t. As a result I pushed the price from £41 to £310 but give the other bidder time to increase his bid and I lost it for £385.
Another item which realised almost the same price, but is significantly less rare as far as I’m aware was this unmounted mint 4d green and brown with inverted watermark, which sold for £388 plus postage (against a SG catalogue price of £1’500).
And I finish with the Bechuanaland Protectorate 4d on 1/2d inverted surcharge. Catalogued at £4’000, it sold for £87.72… The suspiciously poor quality image is always a red flag and it had no expertising certificate. Looking at the shape of the letters in “Fourpence”, I’m pretty sure it’s a fake. Either that or someone got an absolute bargain!
Top 5 Items of the Month
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.
Top 5 Items of the Month
So hopefully now that I have discovered this new web tool that removes the backgrounds rather easily from my images, you will all notice how professional my images look now! First up we have this unusual and attractive philatelic franking with a 4 1/2d red & green and a 10d purple & red in combination with German Empire Eagle issues all on a registered envelope to Germany and cancelled in England by a Cresham House London registered oval ds. It sold for £69.99.
Next up is a genuine usage of the 10d which is one of the most scarce values on cover from the Jubilee issue. Sent on an official cover from the foreign office, it was sent to the British Consul General in Vienna. Although slightly toned, you would expect to pay a bit more than the £42.98 it fetched.
This is a cover I missed out on for my own collection. This postcard was sent from the British Post Office in Constantinople via Alexandria and Singapore to Saigon in Cochinchine (modern day Vietnam). Although the condition isn’t great, it’s a rare destination and especially attractive with the transit markings. It sold for only £35.09.
And the final two items are the Office of Works overprint on the 10d. The first one, signed by known expert Koehler among others, sold for £350.89. The other is a blatant and ugly forgery that sold for £110.90. I don’t know what to say…
The item pictured came up on eBay recently and I felt that it deserved it’s own post. With a “Buy it now” price of £5’000, an unknowing collector could be fooled into thinking that this is a rarity, with this 9d missing all of its blue colour.
Unfortunately the stamp wasn’t originally printed this way and has in fact had its blue colour chemically removed . One reason why I can say this confidently without seeing the stamp in the flesh is that the cancellation is still visible albeit severely faded. Closer examination would also probably reveal a faint outline where the blue ink used to be (indeed the frame surrounding the centre it is actually slightly noticeable in the picture).
The stamp is no longer available so hopefully the vendor has realised the error and withdrawn it from the site.
This is not the first “missing colour” in the 1887 Jubilee series I have seen. There is also a few examples I have spotted of the 5d with missing blue and a single example of the 1 1/2d with missing purple and a 10d with missing purple. The stamps were printed with “fugitive” inks so this was designed to happen if someone attempted to remove the cancellation and re-use the stamp.
Remember, if in doubt, check the Stanley Gibbons specialised catalogue of Queen Victoria. If a major variety is not listed, then there’s a 99.9% chance it doesn’t exist. And always buy valuable items with an RPS or BPA certificate.
Still have some catching up to do, so here is the March report…
First two items up show varieties not described by the vendor. This 10d has the constant variety “broken triangle” below the Queen’s head. Why this is not listed by SG is beyond me. Even undescribed, this mint hinged example sold for £55.00. Retail about £150.
This mint hinged 1 1/2d shows a retouched duty tablet at the left side and sold for £32.00. A few years ago I used to pick up items like these two for no premium over a normal stamp. Just goes to show that there are more eBay hunters these days looking for these valuable varieties. However the retail price is still £150+ if you can find one.
Next up is a familiar story that I’ve repeated several times. Crude forgeries like this 5d Board of Education which sell for stupid money (£56.80 in this case). For officials, please, please buy from a respected retailer with a RPS or BPA certificate.
These panes of 20 of the 4 1/2d are fairly common, but very attractive. If you want one, hold out for a perfect pane with no creases and mnh. This very fine example one sold for £206.50 and is the right price. As is the theme of this month, look out for the catalogued plate varieties for extra interest.
And finally, 1/2d control pairs are proving to still be a highly competitive collecting area. This quite common “L” control in mnh condition sold for £31.90. I think that’s more than what a dealer would charge.
As a special report, I would like to highlight two forgeries recently sold on eBay for three-figure sums. One is very crude and was sold by a general vendor with no expertise, and the other was a slightly crude forged overprint and was sold by a very experienced eBay stamp dealer who should know better.