2018 continued to be a busy year for Jubilee collectors in the London auction houses. First off on March 9th was Argyll Etkin’s sale which included Brian Brookes’ collection of Channel Islands, which included this complete used pane of the 4½d (lot 1067), which is the only example I have seen. There was also a used 10d pane, but I’ve seen several of these and they are always cancelled in the Channel Islands as they were used to pay customs duty on products such as tobacco. Even though there is a little soiling and minor fading of the green, it sold for £290 plus commission.
Lot 257 in the Murray Payne sale two days later caught my eye, but I scoffed at the £800 estimate. It sold for £1’600 plus 20% commission. Shows how much I know! The double circle cancellation of “CROCODILE POOLS / SOUTH AFRICA” is obviously a rare one. However from this auction I did manage to pick up an envelope from Ascension with a pair of ½d blue-greens which I was very pleased about.
Grosvenor had further material from the Dr. Peter Young collection in April. The highlight in terms of Jubilees was lot 193, this appendix page from the De La Rue archives for the unissued Reply Paid stamp. It’s unique in private hands, as an almost identical page resides in the Phillips collection in the Postal Museum. It sold for £4’200 plus commission.
The next lot was another essay for this stamp which I hadn’t seen before. Interestingly, it has the centres of two ½d vermilions cut-out with the rest of the design done by hand. It sold for £1’800 pus commission. Would have loved to have bought both!
And I’ll finish with lot 925, this exquisite hand-painted essay of the 10d from the De La Rue archives. At £2’900 plus commission I thought it was a very reasonable price for a unique essay (there is another in the same design on tracing paper and cancelled by a pen cross in the Postal Museum).
There may have been nothing on Ebay since the start of the year but there was plenty of material to interest a Jubilee collector which came up in the British auction houses.
Lot 1541 in Spink’s latest offering from the never ending “Lionheart” collection (part 7!) included a Bechuanaland Protectorate 4d on 1/2d with inverted surcharge, which inspired me to publish my census of all the examples I have come across. This example has a small wrinkle at the lower right, and sold for £1’100 plus 25% in fees.
Also from Spink but from their January Philatelic Collectors Series was lots 1032 and 1033, two British Levant covers with “Express D’Orient” labels.
As far as I’m aware, these labels didn’t pay for any postal service and are basically vignettes/cinderella stamps which were likely created by the enterprising Postmaster of the Constantinople office for collectors. Note that both of these envelopes come with his Post Office cachet and I believe are in his handwriting. The black label is rarer and this cover fetched £950 plus commission. The envelope with the red label was in better condition (and looked better in the flesh than it does in the scan) and sold for £850 plus commission.
Among a nice selection of Niger Coast (of which many items were ex Sacher) in Grosvenor’s March 1st sale was this attractive item. With two 2d and two 1/2d tied by orange-red Benin circular rubber cancels, I couldn’t resist bidding on it. Estimated at £500-600 I guess I was the only bidder as I got it for £500. Unfortunately it was liable to 5% import duty, so commission on the hammer price was 29% (gulp!). They also wanted to charge me £18 for submitting the bid through their website but I’m not going to be paying that!
Grosvenor managed to come up with a couple of Jubilee gems in their November 29th sale, which unfortunately I got outbid on. Lot 214 was a complete pane of the Bechuanaland Protectorate overprint on the 4d. This is the third example I have seen so far (ignoring the different settings) and it sold for £500 plus commission. Lot 232 followed soon after; a complete pane of the British Levant 4pi on 10d which sold for £920 plus hammer and is the only example I have seen so far (so I should have probably bid more…).
Elsewhere, David Feldman in their Jubilee auction on December 9th had a scarce Mafeking cover (lot 60136) with a pair of the 6d on 2d green & red Jubilees which sold for £1’300 plus 20% commission.
And lot 2126 in Cavendish’s December 6th auction was a group of Boer war covers which included a scarce 1s green & carmine franking with two examples along with a 5d pair on a cover (the 83rd cover I have recorded with a 1s green & carmine franking). It realised £480 plus commission.
It was another disappointing month again for interesting Jubilees on eBay, but the sale of the Dr Peter Young FRPSL and Iain Stephenson FRPSL collections at Grosvenor on October 25th & 26th more than made up for it.
Dr Young’s collection spanned the surface printed issued from 1879 up to the Jubilees, which featured many die proofs, colour trials and settings. The sexiest item being lot 1578, a 10d colour item bearing two colour trials in combination with two 10ds in the issued colour with one of each cancelled by a “B01” numeral. Estimated at £10’000-12’000, unfortunately it failed to sell. As did a few of the other die proofs and striking book pieces.
One group of items I had never seen before and didn’t spot until after the sale because they put it in (my opinion) the wrong place in the catalogue, was lot 641: a 1d lilac, a 1/2d vermilion, 1 1/2d and 2s Jubilees with the value printed on the reverse under the gum in black. I had seen the 1/2d and 1d before but not the other two values. Supposedly one of only 3 sets know, it sold for £5’500 plus commission.
About 1’000 lots later where the rest of the Jubilees were, my most desired item was lot 1602, a 1s green & carmine die proof of the head which sold for an impressive £2’000 plus commission which was a shame (for me). But I managed to pick up a couple of 1/2d vermilion striking book pieces pretty cheaply. And further good news is that there are more items to come from his collection in Grosvenor’s next GB sale!
From the Professor Iain Stevenson collection, items of note included his collection of 4 1/2d Jubilee usages which looked like a steal at £2’300 plus hammer. One of the better results however was lot 360, a 4d Jubilee used in combination with a 2d South Eastern & Chatham Railway stamp which sold for £480 plus hammer.
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!
In Grosvenor and Spink this April, the following Army Telegraphs overprinted Jubilees turned up within a week of one another. The first to come up was this impressive used block of 16 still on piece. Unfortunately it was part of a larger lot (lot 2099) with other Army Telegraph issues, so my top bid was a bit far off lot the final hammer price of £2’200. It’s the largest multiple I’ve seen by far! (The second being a block of four that sold on ebay in February).Next up was lot 2106, an unused telegram form franked with various Army Telegraph issues including two overprinted 1/2d vermilion Jubilees, which dates from when the Army was doing manoeuvres on Salisbury Plain. I was a bit closer this time with my bidding but was still beaten to the final hammer price of £380. This was the first complete and franked telegram form I have seen but I’ve heard they exist.
And finally Grosvenor had this mint 1/2d vermilion “O” control strip of 3, lot 137 estimated £100-150. This was one I really wanted and even used an agent for the first time to bid in the auction room on my behalf. Disappointment turned to despair as my top bid was surpassed by a measly £50 and it sold for £1’250. This is only the second I have seen (which was corroborated by a dealer I know).
On May 21st, Grosvenor will auction the British Levant collection of Dr. Alan Huggins. The highlight (for a Jubilee collector at least) is certainly the cover pictured to the left which features the rare “Express D’Orient” label in red tied to a cover along with three 40pa on 5d. It is estimated at £800-1’000 and I wouldn’t be surprised if it fetched double.
Dr. Huggins MBE, RDP, FRPSL, is a renowned and highly respected philatelist who is a past President of the Royal Philatelic Society. He specialises in postal stationery so the sale features unique and very rare usages of newspaper wrappers, stamped envelopes, postcards and registered envelopes in the British Levant.
The last week has seen a variety of attractive and interesting Jubilee items up for sale at a variety of auction houses. Here are my three favourites.
The first item to bring to your attention is a rather unattractive cover. However, this cover belonged to one of the most famous (or perhaps most infamous is more accurate) collectors of his generation. Grosvenor sold the Falkland Islands collection of John E. Dupont on March 7th. Lot 2020 was a rare item of incoming mail to the islands, and was estimated at £200-250. My bid was blown out of the water as it went on the fetch £1’150 (plus 20.4% commission and 5% VAT!).
However that wasn’t even the highest price realised for a Jubilee item last week. Warwick and Warwick discovered a correspondence of no fewer than eight Zululand covers! Including two with never before seen cancellations (unfortunately not on the overprinted Jubilee issue). Of the three with Jubilee frankings, lot 284 was the most attractive and it sold for £1’200 (plus commission).
The next lot caught my eye on the front cover of Magpie Auctions catalogue when I wandered past there stand at Stampex. Lot 356 of their March 6th postal bid sale featured an 1897 Prince of Wales Hospital Fund 1s label along with a 1887 1/2d vermilion tied by a duplex to a printed cover of the Charity. These vignettes are scarce, and more so tied to the cover, and even more so being this attractive and fresh. It sold for £170.
Grosvenor appeared to have a successful sale Jim Mullett collection of British Offshore Islands on 26th April 2012.
My highlight was a postcard sent by the infamous W. R. Bray, who was famous for testing the Post Office regulations to the limit for sending letters, cards, bicycles, etc. through the post. It was sent from London with the message that the card be forwarded around the British islands as fast as possible, and sent via Lundy, Beaumaris, Holy Island and Sandwich. Estimated at £100-150, the estimate was thrashed and fetched £550 plus commission!
The largest known multiple of the 1893 40pa on 1/2d vermilion provisional is up for sale in Grosvenor’s 7th-8th March 2012 sale of British Empire and Foreign Countries. The high opinion of the rarity of this unmounted mint strip of five is underlined by the £10’000-£12’000 estimate. Catalogued by Stanley Gibbons at £425 each, that means they are estimating at well over 4 times catalogue!
Better news for the modest collector though, as there is also a selection of the British Levant Jubilee issue with Specimen and Cancelled handstamps.