There is a bit of a theme of Officials (or Departmentals as I believe they should be more correctly known as) for this month’s report. As I write this in December, Stanley Gibbons have already brought to the market the magnificent collection of Michael Astley, which includes many of the major items of these Official issues and indeed some of the most valuable of the Jubilee issue.
Starting with my favourite, the ½d vermilion; this is a rare control marginal strip of three from the first setting (without Jubilee lines) and control letter “B” with the I.R. Official overprint of the Inland Revenue, of which 4’949 sheets of 480-set were printed (i.e. 9’898 control Bs were printed). Although there’s some toning and minor perforation separation, it sold for £94.40. But this strip is the only example of the “B” control I’ve recorded on my computer, and there wasn’t even an example in the brochure of Astley’s collection (although I don’t have my library at hand to check the other major sales of Officials).
These two Postal Stores Department parcel labels with Government Parcel stamps, one with a 1s green and the other with a 6d and 9d, were the bargains of the month, selling for only £29.88 and £38.99 respectively.
The Specimen overprint (type 15) on the 1/2d blue-green is very scarce if not rare (I thought I had one in my collection but just looking at it now I realised it’s a forgery unfortunately). So a block of four is very unusual, although Specimen multiples don’t float my boat. Looking at the Astley collection however, Stanley Gibbons also had a block of four in very fine condition priced at £1’950 (which has since sold). This example which has two heavy creases, sold for…£78.60. So I think this trumps the two parcel labels above for bargain the month!
It would have been perfect to have another Official as my fifth item, but this 1s green & carmine with a nice strike Field Post Office “17” cancel from the British Army in South Africa during the Boer War deserves the mention, as it sold for £76.60.
And I always forget to mention this, but apologies for the adverts below which get attached to my blog posts by the website provider. Unfortunately I can’t choose which ones they show and I’ve noticed some have been a bit bizarre…
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.
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
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!
Top 5 Items of the Month
Yikes. Doesn’t time fly over Christmas… Back in November there was a few items that I would like to have added to my collection but managed to miss out on all of them for various reasons. First up is a Penny Postage Jubilee insert sent with a 1/2d vermilion and cancelled by the special South Kensington cds. Not only is it uncommon for the insert to have been used as a postcard, but the added interest here is the manuscript “Nature of a letter / 1d to pay”. I think a collector of Exhibition items would have been willing to pay more than the £37.78 it realised.
Next up is a cover sent during the Boer War with a 2d green and carmine tied by the Field Post Office British Army South Africa cds. It was sent to forwarding agents Holt & Co showing their cachet and redirected within the UK. A good buy at 18.93.
Uprated newspaper wrappers and postcards with the Bechuanaland 1/2d are reasonably common, but nevertheless this attractive example sent from Ramoutsa only sold for £30.50.
The cover below is a scarce usage of the Board of Trade departmental perfin. Strangely still not listed by Stanley Gibbons, these official stamps are particularly difficult to find on complete cover as they were often used for printed matter resulting in fronts being more easily available. I was hoping that no one would notice the perfin from the thumbnail image but alas, it sold for £128.80.
And finally we have a quite scarce single franking of the 4d green and brown paying 2d internal postage and 2d registration fee. They are much more often seen paying the foreign letter rate to South America. It sold for £11.59.
Top 5 Items of the Month
Well I hope you have been enjoying the summer as much as I have. Holidays and stamp exhibitions (and some work in between) have taken up a lot of my time and energy, so excuse this post for being over a month late.
I start with a 6d purple on rose with a cancel I have featured before on my blog; the Baltasound mail bag seal. As it was meant to stamp wax, the strike in ink on the stamp creates negative impression. As far as I know, no covers exist, so it is likely that stamps like this were created by favour. I’ve only ever seen it on the Jubilee issue, and even so, not on the values issued after 1887 such as the 4 1/2d, 10d, 1/d blue-green and 1s green & carmine. This example sold for £42.00.
This usage of the 1s green and carmine and 1/2d blue-green on a parcel address label sold for £72.18, despite the fact that it’s a bit grubby and not particularly nicely cancelled. A strong price in my opinion even in view of the scarcity of 1s usages.
Vying for bargain of the month is this British Bechuanaland postal stationery card sent from Vryburg and uprated with a 1/2d vermilion. By no means scarce, it’s certainly more valuable than the £18.65 it sold for.
This was another good buy. This Office of Works overprint on the 1/2d vermilion is showing the variety “chamfered O” on the O in OFFICIAL. Catalogued by Stanley Gibbons at £220 , it sold for only £10.51.
And finally we have one the only item I have bought off eBay in the last couple of months. Destination mail definitely seems to be a favourite of mine (as my tag cloud on the right hand side will prove). Sent to Grenada, I bought this stamped to order postal stationery envelope uprated with Jubilees for £18.65. Bargain!
Spink will be offering part 5 of the “Lionheart” collection on June 17th, which contains the “proving piece” of the inverted overprint of the 1s green and carmine. Although several had been discovered and the variety was listed in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue, opinions changed and in 1916 it was de-listed and all examples regarded as forgeries. That was until the discovery of this example in 1950, clearly tied to a Post Office parcel label, that the Royal Philatelic Society of London granted it a certificate and it was restored to the Stanley Gibbons catalogue. The full story can be read in this extract from the L. N. Williams Encyclopaedia of Rare and Famous Stamps.
This example was last sold at Cherrystone in 2008 for $20’700. It is being offered in June with an estimate of £10’000-£12’000.
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…
Top 5 Items of the Month
I’ll admit that I’ve cheated a little bit this month. Two of the 5 items actually sold in July…so I’m going to have to look extra hard for my July report.
And I’ll commence with this very attractive advertising postcard for the Anglo-Bavarian Brewery. The illustration continues on the reverse, and for added interest, the 1/2d vermilion also has the company perfin. Not surprisingly this sold for £51.83.
This vertical pair of the 2d green and carmine cover is one that I wanted to add to my collection but missed out on. As you can see at the lower left, 5d of the franking (don’t forget about the 2d registration die on the reverse) has gone to an increased registration fee for extra compensation. Final price was a reasonable £32.75.
This used pair of the 1/2d vermilion with Army Telegraphs overprints is very scarce in used condition because all the telegraphs were supposed to be destroyed! It sold for £40.88.
Another advertising cover with a 1/2d vermilion sold for £70. This one is for Lee’s Art Studios at Portrush in Northern Ireland. The added interest is that the image depicts Dunluce Castle..
And the final items is this rare single usage of the 1s green and carmine on a parcel label, this being the second I have seen. It sold for £113.86.
Top 5 Items of the Month
We start this month off with one of my favourite collecting areas at the minute; destination mail. I thought that this would have been a rare example of a newspaper wrapper going to the small island of St. Thomas in the Caribbean. However it was one of nearly 10 that have appeared in the last two months, and sold for only £9.04. One slight detraction with newspaper wrappers as destination mail is that there is never an arrival marking.
Following on from last months crude forgery of a Board of Education stamp, this O. W. Official fetch a similar price at £56.75. However I THINK that this is actually a genuine example. Many of the genuine examples I have seen have the Parliament St. cds.
Another Official for you. This one being the common 1/2d green I. R. Official. However it is very scarce on cover. This one is even more interesting because it is a turned cover with the other side franked with a 1d lilac. The extra unfranked 1d lilac next to the 1/2d probably paying the postage due as presumably the rate should have been 1d both ways. I need to have a closer look when it pops through my letter box. I was the only bidder at £140.
This attractive Boer war franking sold for £33.80. The interesting aspect being that it is an Army Telegraph printed envelope. Normally this franking is less than £10.
And finally the most fought over item of the month. This attractive cover to Egypt features two postage dues as the rate was 2 1/2d and not 1d. Final price: £70.75