Tag Archives: Illustrated Covers

The Dr Paul Ramsey Collection of Hand-Painted Envelopes

On the 8th and 9th of May, Spink sold the magnificent collection of hand-painted envelopes belonging to Dr Paul Ramsey, which featured many exquisite covers bearing Jubilee frankings from the famous King Harman correspondence. The collection was in fact gifted to the Royal Philatelic Society and sold on their behalf, in order to help finance their “Tomorrow’s Royal” appeal and the refurbishment of their new premises.

The prices realised were strong, as I noticed some fetching more than double what they had realised in recent years. Lot 125 for example, the cover depicting a horse rider in front of Gibraltar Rock sold for £480 plus commission in 2011, but realised £1’300 plus 20% this time.

A couple of my favourites included lot 132, which depicted an African warrior on camel back which sold for £800 plus 20% commission. Siegel sold this cover when the offered the Grunin collection in 2010 and it sold for $350 plus commission.

As well as lot 127, which depicted a stranded paddle steamer in the desert. An image very much reminiscent of the stranded ships you see on the “Skeleton Coast” of Namibia (hammer price £1’000).

The envelopes were addressed to the wife of Sir Charles Anthony King-Harman, who (according to thepeerage.com) served as Colonial Secretary in Mauritius between 1893 and 1897 and Administrator of Saint Lucia from 1897 to 1900. The artist was Lt-Col Hugh Rose, 24th of Kilravock, CMG, who commanded the 1st Battalion Black Watch and fought in the Nile Expedition 1884-1885, the Boer War 1901-02 and WWI (again, according to thepeerage.com). According to the Siegel catalogue of the Grunin collection, Captain Rose developed a close relationship with the King-Harman family while he served as aide-de-camp to Charles King-Harman in Mauritius during the early 1890s.

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Spink offer strong selection of Boer War

The Spink sale on 12th January 2011 had a strong selection of Boer War material, and with it, a number of fine usages of the 1887 Jubilee issue.

The first interesting item was a strip of six of the Mafeking Siege 1d on 1/2d vermilion, which is one of only two known multiples showing the complete setting. Estimated at £400-500, it sold for £650, and was quickly placed on David Brandon’s website for £1600!

Also from the Mafeking Siege issues was a block of six of the 6d on 2d green and red, which only fetched £500 against an estimate of £600-800. Multiples of these issues are very scarce and I’ve not seen any larger than this one.

Next, was my favourite item from this sale (pictured). A 1/2d vermilion with “ARMY / OFFICIAL” overprint tied to an envelope by a blue “LADYSMITH SIEGE POST OFFICE” datestamp. The Army Official stamps are very scarce on cover anyway, and are much under catalogued by Stanley Gibbons. So it was no suprise to see the estimate of £150-180 get smashed by a realisation of £400. Throughout all the catalogues and literature I have scoured, I have only seen this franking once, in a book about the Boer War. So I was very happy to have snapped this one up!

Unfortunately for me, not all my bids were successful, and a cover bearing five 1/2d vermilions tied by the temporary “VOLKSRUST” cancel in violet escaped me. Although it had some minor faults, the cover fetched £400 against a pre-sale estimate of £250-300.

The last item worthy of note from this Boer War section, was an unusual cover bearing a 3d purple on yellow tied by a Harrismith cds, along with a strip of five Natal 1d stamps cancelled by a manuscript “Harrismith”. Estimated at £150-180, it unsuprisingly fetched £380.

And finally, the last item to peak my interest was a beautifully hand illustrated cover from the famous King Harman correspondence, showing a man riding a horse in front of Gibraltar rock, and bearing five 1/2d vermilions. These covers always command good prices, although they appear on the market relatively frequently. It was sold for £480 against an estimate of £400-500.

Please note that all prices realised are subject to a further 20% commission

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