I struggled to find much of interest in February and March on eBay and it wasn’t for lack of searching, but the few things I did find were all interesting items.
Darth Vader would surely say “I find your lack of knowledge disturbing” if he ever quizzed my on my expertise of the postal history of the Boer War. As an example, I don’t know what the code “3MB” stands for in the centre of this large circular datestamp, surrounded by “ARMY POST OFFICE / SOUTH AFRICA”. Perhaps Mobile Box? From my quick internet search and what images I’ve saved on my computer, I know there are several different codes and some with the town name in its place (Barberton, Komatipoort and Machadodorp, as well as Volksrust instead of South Africa). But what I do know is that it’s a nice piece to have bought for £82.09.
Top 5 Items of the MonthIt’s the second month in a row that I’m kicking off my eBay report with an addition to my collection. I was very happy to pick up this Board of Trade perfin on a ½d vermilion on a Board of Trade cover for the opening bid of £99.99. Forgeries abound of the Board of Trade perfin so I’ve been aiming to get them on cover (or front when necessary) to significantly reduce the chances of buying a forgery. They are also still not listed in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, so they are definitely undervalued and under-appreciated. From used stamps and the limited number of covers I have seen, there seem to a four or five different London cancels which are used consistently, and this London “89” district office duplex is certainly one you’ll find on genuine items.
The stamped-to-postal stationery envelopes come up reasonably frequently (on eBay and on my reports) and always sell well. There’s a correspondence of these covers that go to Canada and Grenada. This one’s a bit nicer because it has two 1887 1s greens. It sold for £84.05.
This attractive lower marginal block of 8 of the Niger Coast 5d unfortunately had no gum, hence it only sold for £69.Uprated Bechuanaland postal stationery cards are reasonably common but the vast majority are philatelic and sent to Germany. So this card to New Zealand is an attractive and proper usage. It was a good buy at £56. Whether the buyer, a dealer, can sell it on for their price tag of £225 is another matter…
And finally an Army Official ½d vermilion “Q” control pair. Another cheap buy for somebody at only £28.14. In my head they are worth £40-50 for a pair, but if you search eBay you will find dozens of them being offered by different dealers at £100+…
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!
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.
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!
April seemed to be a quiet month and didn’t bring any particularly interesting items but I’ve managed to find a few to write about.
First up is an attractive parcel post label sent registered from Ilfracombe with a reasonably high franking of 1s7d, which sold for £81.76.
This Niger Coast Oil Rivers 1s green has a neat Benin River cds in red, but what is of more interest is the break in the first “R” of “RIVERS”. Whether it is constant or not I’m not sure. I’m currently a member of the GB Overprint Society, but have a backlog of journals to go through to glean more information on the overprints on Jubilee stamps. It sold for £27.25.
This stamp was a bit of a surprise at how much it realised. Obviously the “TATI / BECHUANALAND” cancel is scarcer than I realised. It realised £123.
Another item of cancellation interest is the cover below with a machine cancellation. Not the scarcest type by any means, but it sold for a solid £35.65.
And finally only 1 bidder was interested in the cover at the bottom at£25.74. Sent underpaid by 1 1/2d, it was sent to Munich then redirected to Paris before being sent to Glasgow. The colours in the 1/2d vermilion are slightly faded which put me off, but a collectable item nonetheless.
After a lazy start to 2016 I’m going to try get back in to the rhythm of doing my monthly eBay reports. We’ll see how long it lasts…
First up is a scarce Qua-Iboe River cancel from Niger Coast on an overprinted 1/2d vermilion which sold for £30.35.
Next up are two blocks featuring constant varieties listed in the Stanley Gibbons Specialised Volume 1, although neither were highlighted by the vendor. The 4 1/2d block shows the variety “broken bar to fraction” (SG K34h) which affects the fraction bar on the right “1/2” on the lower left stamp in this block. Catalogued at £90, it sold for a respectable £52.10 so a couple of people must have spotted it.
However the variety featured on this block of 1 1/2d was a much better buy. The lower right stamp in the block shows the variety “retouch left of tablet and around large figure 1” (SG K29f) which catalogues at £600 for a mounted mint example. So I was rather happy to pick it up for £67.09. Stanley Gibbons are currently offering a mint nh interpanneu block of 8 with this variety for £1’200! In fact if I hadn’t had been studying the catalogue the day bidding finished I probably would have missed it.
This block of 12 6d Jubilees is a scarce used multiple, but what it more interesting is the cancellation. Without my references in front of me, I think that the “FPO / 43” cancellation was used during the Boer War. So even with the faults (some splitting and creasing), I think the right person would pay more than the £29.70 it realised.
This attractive franking is on a printed envelope from the stamp dealer H. G. Hanson in Cardiff. Funnily enough I recognised this cover as I described it for a David Feldman SA auction and it sold a couple of years ago for €180. I don’t know if the buyer then was the same as the seller now, but it only sold for £93.78 this time.
Crikey. For the first time in over 4 years I’ve missed my monthly blog post completely.I mostly blame my hectic work period over the last two or three months, meaning I haven’t had much free time to scour eBay like usual. But even so, there seems to have been a dearth of interesting Jubilee material. Even going through items that have already sold, I didn’t find one thing I was disappointed to have missed out on.
Top 5 Items of the Month
First up is this very clean strike of the Royal Niger Company Akassa boxed datestamp tying a pair of 1/2d vermilions to a piece. It sold for £105.41 which is a strong price considering a cover is probably worth £400 to £500.
This cover from the Boer war is more interesting as the envelope has split and has been resealed by the post office in Edinburgh, which is not uncommon. However the most interesting thing, which unfortunately I only spotted when it was too late, that it was sealed by the PO using the selvedge from a pane of the 4d green & brown! It sold for £25.46
Just to make sure that it’s not a clean sweep of 1/2d vermilion items, I have a bit of destination mail for you. Sold for a miserly 1.34, this cover to the Canary Islands was returned to England, and the reverse shows a Plymouth Ship Letter cds, a redirection mark, and a Canary Islands arrival. A much scarce destination than the price achieved.
And lastly, three covers with 1/2d vermilion controls, which sold for £25, £27 and £29 each. All from the same correspondence, usages of controls on cover are very scarce. Even though the condition of the covers are a bit grubby, this is still a very good price as they tend to retail between £75 and £100 each.
Only nearly 3 weeks late so let’s get going! First off is a cover “going home” from the Boer war at the 1d rate with a COGH stamp, and then redirected to the Netherlands with the necessary 1 1/2d Jubilee added to make the 2 1/2d foreign rate. A dealer is likely to charge about double the £30.76 price it realised.
This Army Telegraphs overprint on the 1/2d vermilion is scarce used and this item is especially nice as it is still on a piece of the telegram they were used for! Typically stamps were placed in the corner of telegraph forms, from which an enterprising individual could “liberate” with a swift and sneaky tear across the corner before the forms were destroyed. I do wonder if any complete forms exist… Sold for £82.39 by Stanley Gibbons no less.
Next up is an uncommon usage of the 9d in addition to a 6d making an even more uncommon 1s3d rate plus the 2d registration die. Worth more than the £30.85 it fetched.
This group of literature was my surprise of the month. I have the the two books by Nicholson and the auction catalogue for the Colonel Danson collection. None of which are scarce. So presumably everyone was trying to add the A. J. P . Baumann collection of British Africa to their library.
Oh dear I’m very late this time. I didn’t even have time to keep track of what was selling on eBay, so I’ve had to cheat and search the “Sold” listings. I was all ready to say that it was a quiet month and I hadn’t missed a sausage…until I took a look at what had sold under Zululand. I am constantly on the look out for the overprinted controls of the 1/2d vermilion, and have had ZERO luck in buying any of the Empire overprints. So I was annoyed to see that this D control block of six only sold for £61 (presuming it’s genuine of course).
One item I did watch sell was this scarce and highly collectable Railway cover from Dublin. Ones from Ireland are particularly collectable, and even though it’s a little soiled and has a missing backflap this one sold for £313.88. Anyone interested in Railway Stamps should check out Grosvenor’s next sale on June 4th: The Rev. Roger de Lacy-Spencer Collection of Railway Stamps.
This Niger Coast provisional is worth mentioning. It has the type 6 overprint in vermilion on the 2 1/2d and is catalogue £600 by Stanley Gibbons as mint (which this is). Quite amazingly it sold for just under £560. It’s very rare to see stamps sell for nearly full catalogue, so either this was two bidders who got into a crazy war or it’s a sign that there is a strong demand for the scarcer provisional overprints.
This attractive cover from Bechuanaland sold for £110.95. Franked with a Bechuanaland Protectorate 3d and 6d, I’m pretty sure it’s philatelic as I’m not sure about the rate of 9d (I should know really…). Nice enough though.
This is another item I would like to have added to my Jubilee collection. It’s an uncommon usage of the 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee insert for the envelope, with a 1/2d vermilion tied by the special cancellation. I would have paid more than the £26.95 it fetched.