There were several interesting items this month and, if I remember correctly, the following five were all from the same seller which is most unusual. It was even more of a coincidence that I had seen the seller post them in a Facebook group for Queen Victoria stamps only a few weeks ago.
First up is me bragging again (sorry) about my latest purchase. This attractive postcard is advertising a German-language newspaper in London and was sent to Germany with two 1900 ½d greens. One was abnormally placed in the lower left and obviously the postal clerk missed it with the canceller and so was cancelled only on arrival in Breslau. Cheap as chips at £29.85.
This large cover features an irregular block of five of the 6d purple on rose as well as two 1881 1d lilacs (how I wish it had been a 2d green & red instead), which are paying 12 times the UPU rate plus 2d registration fee; making an unusually high franking especially using a multiple of 6d. It sold for £36.
Regular readers will probably know how much I adore the 1s green and carmine. I was planning to bid on the attractive parcel label but at the time I was still sulking about my missing purchases from December. I have started a census of usages on parcel labels but I’ve not been as rigorous in tracking down items as my listing for the usages on cover, so currently I have 24 recorded. Even if I had been in the right frame of mind to bid, I wouldn’t have gone as high as the £181 it realised, although I think it’s worth it.
This is a stamp I still don’t have in my collection; a ½d green with inverted watermark. The SG catalogue value of £75 for mint nh and £50 for hinged would suggest it’s common enough, but I really have seen very few, and the fact that this unmounted mint example sold for £89.11 was no surprise. Definitely under valued in the SG catalogue.
And finally this piece with four ½d vermilions used abroad is cancelled by two strikes of a Malta machine cancel. Shame it’s not a cover! It sold for £43.
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…
I hope everyone is still coping well with the current situation. I’m lucky that in Switzerland the restrictions are quickly coming to an end. I can’t say I’ve been as productive as I should have been in terms of my Jubilee research but I didn’t spend the whole time doing quizzes over Zoom and playing computer games… Recently I spent some time looking at finished eBay auctions from earlier in the year and found some interesting Jubilees that I missed at the time so I’ve included them under the umbrella of my “May” report.
The usage of this Government Parcels 1s is unusual. The Govt Parcels stamps are most frequently seen on “Postal Stores Department” parcel labels (of varying types) and seldom with a rubber Parcel Post handstamp. Only one person placed a bid at the opening price of £29.99 so a nice buy for them!
This 1887 Jubilee imprimatur of the 4d green & brown sold for £191.99. There were 46 examples taken from the registration sheets without “Jubilee” lines (or rules), a further 28 from the sheet with “Jubilee” lines as well as some which have come from spare registration sheets. I only recently discovered that the images of the remainder sheets are available on the Postal Museum Online Catalogue (as well as the GBPS website), so I have been trying to piece them back together with the images I’ve saved over the years. Reconstructing the 4d sheets looks to be a bridge too far.
This Halfpenny postal stationery card is very unusual. Firstly it was cancelled at the 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee exhibition at the Guildhall in May. The owner then obviously took it along the exhibition at South Kensington in July to get a strike of the special cancellation adjacent, and even dug it out when they went to the Royal Naval Exhibition a year later and had a ½d vermilion cancelled by the special cancellation. I’d think it is very rare to see all three on the same card. It sold for £156.83.
This group also had an unaddressed cover/card with a combination of the 1890 Penny Post Jubilee Guildhall and South Kensington exhibition cancels tying two ½d vermilions. Even with the tone spots, the group fetched £105 because of this item.
And finally this attractive franking shows a 4d late fee for the cover to be sent by Continental Night Mail to Paris. Note that the “C.X” at the bottom of the cds means that it was posted in the late box at Charing Cross. There was also “C.S.” for Cannon Street, as well as duplex cancels for both stations. This cover sold for £68.
It’s been hard to find interesting Jubilees since the start of the year, so I think from now on I’ll do my eBay findings every couple of months. As usual they’ll probably be late, even though I don’t have the excuse of being too busy at the moment! But I hope this post finds everybody safe and healthy.
This 2½d imperforate imprimatur fetched the very high price of £227 considering it has no gum.
Unfortunately I was the underbidder on this quite spectacular used block of 20 of the 2½d, which sold for £104.20. The “PAID LIVEPOOL BR. PACKET” cancellation was used on mail on arrival into the UK, which was uncancelled and often coming from West Africa. I regret not bidding more. It also may well be the joint largest used multiple (I have recorded a perfinned block of 20 on cover).
I’ve always been attracted to covers where the sender has put some creativity into the address, even if I don’t quite get the riddle at the top… Two fifths? Not enough? Any way, it sold for £13.45.
Army Telegraphs seem to be very desirable at the minute. So I was surprised that a SPECIMEN overprint on a ½d blue-green was unsold at a buy-it-now price of £100. I would have snapped it up if I didn’t already have 2 (they are rare, honestly). So I was even more surprised when it was re-listed at a minimum bid of £65 and only one person went for it!
And I’ll finish with an unusually late usage of a 1887 6d Jubilee on a 1914 parcel label tag in combination with a KGV 1d. Would have bid more than £20 if I had spotted it before it had sold.
Top 5 Items of the Month
We start of this month’s report with a very recent discovery for me, when in the course of describing a collection for our next auction at David Feldman SA, I came across a presentation album of German local stamps which was produced by a German dealer in the 1940s. When I looked closely, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that some of these stamps were copied from the design of the 1887 halfpenny Jubilee! Since then, I have had an Ebay search saved to alert me when these stamps pop up again, and it wasn’t long before two pages cut out from the album came up. There was only one bidder at the asking price of £19.99 each. So now I need to find out some more information about whether these were actually ever used or just philatelic concoctions (I’m assuming the latter).
This attractive block of four with the hexagonal “ARMY POST OFFICE / STANDERTON / NATAL FIELD OFFICE” cancellation used during the Boer War fetched a surprising £114.55.
But even more surprising was this Midland Railway invoice sent from Hitchin with a ½d vermilion tied by a Hitchin squared circle cancel. Even with a spike hole through the stamp, it fetched £48.95.
This very attractive four-value franking was sent by the Continental Night Mail service to France, paying a total rate of 9d. I was a bit put off by the peripheral discolouration to the envelope, but someone else was happy to pay £78.89.
And finally this item struck me as unusual. It appears to be part of a parcel card, that I think would have been retained and destroyed by the receiving Post Office (if anyone knows better then please let me know in the comments section below). As far as I can recollect I haven’t seen a piece or a complete example before so £24.90 might be very cheap, especially as the stamps are so neatly cancelled.
I’m a bit behind again… Surprisingly there were a few nice things that popped up on Ebay in August (normally a very quiet month as everyone is on holiday or out and about), but there was nothing of note in September so I’ve cheated and combined the two months.
When I accidentally came across this item when I was searching for something else in the British Commonwealth category, I was excited as I thought I might get a bargain here if no GB collector sees this Leeward Islands 2d postal stationery envelope which was sent to England then redirected to Italy with a 2½ Jubilee then redirected back to London. The excitement didn’t last long unfortunately, as well before the deadline it had crept up to £129.80. Never mind.
This is a cut-out from a Smyrna Parcel Post / Customs Declaration form with five unoverprinted 6d Jubilees cancelled by a Smyrna cds. Intact forms are very scarce. This sold for £12.50.
This privately printed Parcel Post label from a company called Pryce Jones, in Newtown, Wales, is a little bit grubby but a scarce item. Despite its condition, it sold for £47.98.
Absolute bargain of the month was this cover from Stevenage to Bulawayo, Matabeleland, in Southern Africa. It is addressed to “Colonel Plumer’s Column”, which was a force organised to break the Siege of Bulawayo during the Second Matabele War (also known as the Matabeleland Rebellion). The Rebellion was officially over by 22 October 1896 (less than a month after this cover was sent), which saw the disbandment of Colonel Plumer’s column. Perhaps explaining why it had to be redirected to Johannesburg, as it has a Boer “ADVERTISED” hs and I think (I’m not sure) an “Unknown” hs at lower left. I was going to bid strongly but forgot and missed it so it only sold for £22.57… I think if you put a 2 in front of that, the right person would be happy to pay it.
And finally my surprise of the month was this registered envelope fro British Levant with the 40pa on 2½d sent from Beirut to Hong Kong. I know that destination mail to Hong Kong and China from GB is popular, but I was still surprised to see this sell for £160.
Top 5 Items of the Month
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year. Had some time to monitor eBay this month but still managed to miss some items I would have loved to have added to my collection.
First up is this impressive franking of the 2½d in a block of 8 sent from a Field Post Office during the Boer War. Used on a large OHMS envelope to a Captain in Pretoria and redirected to Kroonstad, I’m presuming it’s a philatelic franking as I think it should be something like 1d per oz for Military mail. Still it sounds a good buy at £45.10.
Next up is this very attractive parcel label with a pair of 4½d and ½d paying 7½d rate plus 2d registration fee. An unusual combination and another good buy at only £35.25.
I had a query this month about the largest known used multiples of the Jubilee issue. So it seemed appropriate to show this block of 8 of the 6d which sold for £52.10. It’s something I aim to publish in the future as I have always kept a track of large used multiples I’ve found in dealer’s stocks and online.
This block is definitely one I would like to have bought. It’s a bit unknown as it isn’t mentioned in the Stanley Gibbons Queen Victoria Specialised Catalogue, but this example shows the sheet watermark letter “B” in the right hand margin (at the far right located between the first and second rows, and only showing the left half of “B”). These watermarks are very scarce. Several different letters are known and listed by Wiseman in his essential book “The De La Rue Years 1878-1910“. This block sold for £20.88 but is worth much more to the specialist.
And I’ll finish with another Boer War item. This cover has the “MAIL SERVICE SUSPENDED” handstamp that was applied to incoming mail to areas in the hands of the Boers, as this was sent less than a month after it started. It sold for £56.
Top 5 Items of the Month
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.
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!
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.