April saw the sale of the “Eshowe” collection of Zululand at Spink. There were many interesting lots for the Jubilee enthusiast, and the following are four that I found particularly so. My research on the cancellations of Zululand has been somewhat lacking so it was good to see how well the non-Eshowe cancellations sold, even when the condition and the strike weren’t the best!
Lot 2343 was this highly attractive albeit philatelic franking from Nongoma and said to be the earliest known with this cancel. Like a moth to the flame, I was burned for £900 plus commission.
Lot 2335 was a cover with the rare “R.M. OFFICE/HLABISA’ rubber datestamp which sold £1’300 plus commission.
Lot 2338 was a rather tired looking cover with an OK strike of the triple-ring “NKANDHLA/ZULULAND” rubber cds. Even with a torn stamp, peripheral cover tears and a mostly legible cancel, it sold £1’000 plus commission.
Lot 2342 was another rather ugly cover, but obviously this oval Nondweni ds is a rare beast as it still managed to sell for £1’100 plus commission.
So not to give Spink complete dominance, we finish with lot 1055 from Argyll Etkin’s March 1st auction (apologies for the image quality but that’s what they have on their website), which is a well travelled presumed to have been written in Uganda and sent from Mombassa with 1895 British East Africa overprint on India 2a6p to a Captain Lugard (later Lord Lugard, who was sent to Uganda to assist in the pacification of the country in 1889-92 and who made terms with King Mwanga which placed the country under British influence), and then redirected from the UK with 2½d Jubilee to South Africa where it was unclaimed and finally returned to the UK. It doubled the £400-500 estimate selling for £900 plus 19% buyers premium plus VAT.
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.
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.
Top 5 Items of the Month
It was a bit of a struggle to find some interesting items this month, as it is every August as even philatelists stop thinking about stamps to enjoy the sunshine!
The first item is a scarcer control setting of the 1/2d vermilion with the letter B without marginal rule. For those that are interested, I have published the Stanley Gibbons catalogue listing for the 1/2d controls on my site, and I haven’t been told off for doing so yet… But at some point I will do my own more specialised listing and pricing as strips of three and blocks of six with controls command a premium.
This piece with a 2 1/2d Jubilee was priced at £49.99 and found one bidder. It has a Union Steamship Co. perfin and is tied by a Santa Cruz, Tenerife cds. As you can guess from the perfin, this would have been posted on board a ship and cancelled in port at Tenerife which was permitted by UPU rules.
This block of six 3d Jubilees realised £67.99 in spite of a few minor faults because it is cancelled by a Continental Night Mail cds of the Travelling Post Office. More information on this is another “To Do” for the “Related Info” section.
And this duo of 10d Jubilees is tied to a small piece by a complete Royal Niger Company Akassa ds and fetched a solid £165.70.
And bargain of the month goes to this Portuguese postal stationery card sent from Funchal on the island of Madeira and redirected from the UK to France with a 1/2d vermilion. Probably because it was hosted only on ebay.com and not ebay.co.uk, it sold for only $15.90.
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
September was a good month for the Jubilees (please ignore the fact that it’s nearly November…). I was actually a little spoiled for choice! First we have a cover sent from the USA with 1883 Washington 2c pair and 1887 Franklin 1c, redirected on arrival in England with two 1887 1/2d vermilion paying the single letter rate. Not a common franking as US/Jubilee combinations are more often seen with later US issues. It sold for £70.
This little scarce book on the control letters on the 1881 1d lilac, 1887 1/2d vermilion and 1900 1/2d blue-green sold for £21.00. Although it won’t have any information that can’t be found in the essential Queen Victoria specialised catalogue by Stanley Gibbons, it’s still a nice addition to a Jubilee collector’s philatelic library.
Another redirected cover with mixed country franking from the same seller. This time from India. As coincidence would have it, I bought a very similar cover the same day this one finished for £25 (a bit tatty on top unfortunately but still attractive) which bore a 1a brown instead of the 1a plum which this cover features. I had already set my heart on making this a pair with mine to make an attractive page. Alas, I underbid the cover to £43.
This Zululand set with Specimen overprints sold for a very reasonable £103 in mounted mint condition. I already have this set and I paid more than that…
And finally we come to the only item I actually added to my collection this month. This registered envelope was sent at 12 times the UPU rate with five 6d purple on rose, plus 2d registration (as noted at the lower left) paid by the envelope. The peripheral wear and the US customs hs also indicating that something heavy was posted inside. I was very happy to add this multiple franking for £31.98.
Top 5 Items of the Month
A busy month of exciting Jubilee items means this post comes just 5 days after my late, late post of last month.
First off is the item I was most excited about. Number 48 in my census of 1s Green & Carmine covers. This is the only one I have recorded with a “LATE FEE 1/-” handstamp (which is fantastic because there is no need for guess work to work out what the franking is paying!). A good addition to my collection at £407.99 even if I was the only bidder.
Next up is a cover sent by the Continental Night Mail. This is the second example I have seen come up on eBay in recent times. Sent from Crédit Lyonaise Bank, the 5d pair and 1 1/2d have the bank’s perfin and are tied by the “CONTINENTAL NIGHT MAIL” duplex with “CS / 2″ (denoting that it was posted at Cannon St. Post Office). It sold for £92.90.
This is the second item this month with a “LATE FEE 1/-” handstamp (although for those that care, it has different dimensions to the one on the 1s cover above). Even though this is just a front, it’s an unusual franking with the 1s green and 4 1/2d green and red. It sold for a solid £57.
I had been looking for a 1/2d vermilion franking with a Railway stamp for ages. And I finally got one last month for a very good price. So I wanted to see it sell more than the £50 I had paid for mine, but I didn’t have to help it as it reached £70.66.
From the same vendor as the first three items, this was one I would loved to have had. Sent from Transvaal to England, the cover was then redirected by the Continental Night Mail with a 1 1/2d, 4d, KEVII 1/2d and 1d. If I hadn’t had my eye on the 1s cover I would have probably pushed it a bit further than the £125 realisation
Top 5 Items of the Month
Late again… :( After having to cheat last month due to a slow June, July has not disappointed. I start with this unassuming postcard sent from Austria to the UK, and then redirected to Ireland with my favourite stamp! Great! Another mixed country franking to add to my collection! Unfortunately the final price of $450 (£266.64 to me) blew me out of the water. I had thought this might have been a case of two people putting in big bids but not expecting anyone else to care. However, there seemed to be 18 careful bids up to this figure. A closer look revealed it was a printed advertising card from Sigmund Friedl. A quick google search and old faithful Wikipedia showed me the light. It turns out the Sigmund Friedl is one of the most famous philatelists, having sold the Sweden Tre Skilling Banco for a sum of 4000 gulden to the famous collector, Philipp von Ferrary before turning to defrauding collectors in later life. So a very interesting item for the philately historian.
This interesting piece caught my eye, but I wasn’t that excited to pay £55.74 for this 2 1/2d “in combination” with a Spanish 25c, cancelled in Seville. My opinion is that the 25c covered the cost of postage, and the 2 1/2d was fortuitously cancelled at the same time.
Controls seem to be more popular than ever, with even common corner pairs selling for £20 plus. So I wasn’t surprised that this duo sold for £57 even though they both had faults!
This attractive piece has six 1/2d vermilions cancelled by the rubber datestamps of the Army Post Office at Modder Spruit. My second use of Wikipedia in a month reveals that “Modderspruit is a town in Bojanala District Municipality in the North West province of South Africa.” Short and sweet… I’m still learning about Boer War philately, but my gut says it must be scarce, and I’ve never seen this town cancel before. If only it were a complete cover! £44.40 is a good price for a piece though.
And last but not least…I couldn’t let a month go by without a bit of destination mail! New Zealand isn’t the rarest of destinations of course, but as this letter was sent underpaid, the New Zealand post office struck it with a nice “TO PAY / 5d / DOUBLE DEFFICIENT POSTAGE” tax handstamp. Even though it’s a little aged, it sold for £39.
I was fortunate enough to travel with work to Brasiliana 2013, the international stamp exhibition in Rio de Janeiro. Although the show was a bit of disaster, in my free time (and there was a lot of it because there were so few visitors), I actually managed to find some nice Jubilee items in the exhibits.
Two exhibits listed immediately caught my eye. The first I headed for was “The Siege of Mafeking” by Antonio Cucchiani. The collection featured several rare covers with Jubilee frankings as well as an example of the double overprint on the 4d. The collection was awarded a Vermeil medal.
And the other was “The British Postal Service in the Levant, 1857-1923” by Alexios Papadopoulos. Jubilee items of note included three GB 1s green on a parcel label, one of only 3 known covers with the single ring cds of Salonica and the cover pictured adjacent which is one of only 3 recorded with the 12pi on 2s6d. Interestingly the collection did not contain a QV 4pi on 10d on cover. The collection was awarded a Large Vermeil.
Individual items of note included this 1/2d postal stationery card uprated with a 1/2d vermilion sent to Argentina and forwarded on arrival with an Argentinian stamp, which I just happened to spot in a collection of Argentinian postal history.
And this cover belonged to an exhibition entitled “Swedish Militaries & Volunteers in war, Campaigns or in active service abroad 1582-1905”. Certainly not an exhibition I would expect to find a Jubilee cover, but in fact this envelope was sent to a Swede attached to the 5th Dragoons in the British Field Army in South Africa, and had a long journey to try and find its addressee!
…and then four come along at once!! The cover shown is a rare mixed franking of a 1/2d vermilion and a Russian Zemstvo 1k violet imperf from Bogorodsk to pay the delivery or printed matter from the UK to Moscow, and then from Moscow to its final destination in the Bogorodsk distrcit. This is not the first Zemstvo and Jubilee combination cover I have seen. However the other two covers I spotted featured different Bogorodsk stamps. This brief tale begins in September, when David Feldman sold a near identical cover to this for €900. It continued yesterday in the USA, when Cherrystone sold another two near identical covers for $1’500 each! And now Cavendish have got in on the act, and are offering the example pictured with an estimate of £300 as part of the Seymour collection of newspaper wrappers in their December auction. It’s stated in the description that, aside from being one of Seymour’s favourite covers, that there are only three such covers known… So either the entire world supply has appeared on the market in the space of three months, or there are a few more than first thought. Either way, it’s still a very rare franking!