November had an interesting a mix of items appear on eBay for sale. I managed to buy three small things but nothing as interesting as the following items unfortunately.
This plate proof on buff paper rarely surfaces on eBay, although I see it reasonably regularly on dealers’ stock lists. Multiples do exist and I don’t think it’s particularly scarce. However it definitely comes up less than the ½d green plate proof so I think it was reasonably cheap at £54.
Controls letters on the ½d vermilion and ½d green stamps are popular and are more valuable with Official overprints. The Army Official overprint is the most common, and even though used examples are rare, they don’t seem to be appreciated. This example sold for only £46.76.
Quadruple UPU rates are reasonably scarce. Single 10d frankings can be found for between £50 and £100. This example is more unusual as it features a 4d and 6d Jubilees to make up the 10d rate. What’s also nice are the cds cancels. A very nice franking for £31.95.
This postcard depicts Lieutenant General Sir George White VC, who as you might expect from his name, had quite the stellar career in the British Army. He was stationed at Peshawar during the Indian Mutiny, won a Victoria Cross for his bravery in two battles during the Second Anglo-Afghan War, commanded a brigade during the Third Anglo-Burmese War, commanded the forces in Natal at the opening of the Second Boer War and refused to surrender when instructed to when he commanded the garrison at the Siege of Ladysmith and went on to become Governor of Gibraltar. This card was produced by the famous postcard producers Raphael Tuck & Sons, presumably in honour of his heroics at Ladysmith. I’ve not read the message on but it’s one of the more creatively written that I’ve seen, spiralling into the centre (I wonder if he practiced that before hand!). It sold for £28.06.
I go through phases with my searches on eBay. Sometimes I have the energy to trawl through all the mint and used stamps looking for plate varieties not noticed by the sellers. This stamp was one such find and shows the clipped lower left corner to the right hand duty tablet, and is listed by SG in the specialised catalogue as K39e, although it doesn’t show the crack at the bottom right (but does show an extension of the white frame line and some other damage in the same area). Someone else must have spotted it and it sold for £47.35.
Top 5 Items of the Month
No don’t worry, you haven’t gone back in time to May. I’m just playing catch up and will try and get June and July done in the next few days. Mind you I have been busy on the website over the summer even though it may not look it (since I’ve not posted since June…), but anyone looking on the main site will have noticed I have done some work on the essays, proofs and settings on some of the values.
Anyway, first up is this Express cover sent from Whitby to Stowmarket with a rare 1s green and carmine (this cover made a total of 87 1s green and carmine frankings recorded, although I’ve found two more in the meantime) along with a 4d and a 1d, thought to be paying 1d postage, 1s 3d express fee for 4-5 miles at 3d per mile and a 1d late fee. I was very happy to add this to my collection for the sum of £331.10.
I always like oddities like this 10d with the centre seemingly missing. All the green and purple inks used for printing the Jubilees were so-called “doubly fugitive”, which meant they were relatively easily affected by solvents (sometimes even just water) so that any attempt to remove a cancel would noticeably damage the appearance of the stamp. You can just about see a “ghost” of the original centre but it is first one I’ve seen on the 10d. An interesting curio for £23.
Speaking of oddities, this item caught my attention like a fire alarm. Unfortunately I had already missed it. But if I had seen it in time, I’m still not sure what I would have done because as far as I’m aware there are no bromide photographic essays of KEVII paste-ups recorded (at least not in the SG Specialised Volume 2). It looks properly perforated as well. If it is a new discovery then it is an absolute bargain at £60. So if anyone has any information about this I’m all ears!
Surprise of the month was definitely this 4½d Jubilee which sold for £49.75! And not because someone was mis-selling it as a deep carmine shade. Seven bidders were interested in this stamp because of the break in the frame above the top right “4”! Amazing…
And what could have been surprise of the month (although anything to do with China fetching huge sums shouldn’t really be a surprise any more) was this cover to the London Mission in Peking. It sold for a hefty £103 because of the rather indistinct “CUSTOMS / TIENTSIN” cds (Note: corrected thanks to Mel Kravitz’s comments below).
2018 continued to be a busy year for Jubilee collectors in the London auction houses. First off on March 9th was Argyll Etkin’s sale which included Brian Brookes’ collection of Channel Islands, which included this complete used pane of the 4½d (lot 1067), which is the only example I have seen. There was also a used 10d pane, but I’ve seen several of these and they are always cancelled in the Channel Islands as they were used to pay customs duty on products such as tobacco. Even though there is a little soiling and minor fading of the green, it sold for £290 plus commission.
Lot 257 in the Murray Payne sale two days later caught my eye, but I scoffed at the £800 estimate. It sold for £1’600 plus 20% commission. Shows how much I know! The double circle cancellation of “CROCODILE POOLS / SOUTH AFRICA” is obviously a rare one. However from this auction I did manage to pick up an envelope from Ascension with a pair of ½d blue-greens which I was very pleased about.
Grosvenor had further material from the Dr. Peter Young collection in April. The highlight in terms of Jubilees was lot 193, this appendix page from the De La Rue archives for the unissued Reply Paid stamp. It’s unique in private hands, as an almost identical page resides in the Phillips collection in the Postal Museum. It sold for £4’200 plus commission.
The next lot was another essay for this stamp which I hadn’t seen before. Interestingly, it has the centres of two ½d vermilions cut-out with the rest of the design done by hand. It sold for £1’800 pus commission. Would have loved to have bought both!
And I’ll finish with lot 925, this exquisite hand-painted essay of the 10d from the De La Rue archives. At £2’900 plus commission I thought it was a very reasonable price for a unique essay (there is another in the same design on tracing paper and cancelled by a pen cross in the Postal Museum).
I knew better than to make a New Year’s resolution to spend more time developing this site because I knew it wouldn’t take long to get behind on my updates…
First up is an item I should have bought. It’s the type of item that I think would add very nicely to an exhibition collection as I think it would go well as the final item to complete the story. It’s a picture postcard mourning the death of Queen Victoria, with a message along side saying “Her Funeral Procession passes through London to day”, with a 1/2d blue-green on the other side dated February 2nd. It sold for £30.80. By the way, I’m also desperately looking for a Jubilee stamp used on something commemorating her Jubilee in 1887 but have yet to find it!
Next up is an item of destination mail (one of my favourite topics). I’ve only come across three covers with Jubilee frankings to Cyprus so far, and this is a nice (albeit slightly toned) example with a 4 1/2d paying the UPU rate plus registration.
Imprimaturs rarely come up on eBay for auction (there not uncommon in dealer’s stocks). So I was interested to see this example described as unmounted mint fetch £338.50.
This picture postcard was posted on board the RMS Columba, a paddle steamer which operated on the first leg of the “The Royal Route” from Glasgow to Ardrishaig. With the 1/2d blue-green tied by the “COLUMBA STEAMER / GREENOCK” cds. There was only one bidder but the vendor started bidding at £110. That despite the fact that it’s not in perfect condition.
Speaking of not being in perfect condition, neither is this cover. But I’m still absolutely gutted I missed it. Originally sent to the Eastern Telegraph Company in Sierra Leone, it was redirected to São Tomé(!), San Vincent in Cabo Verde (!!) and back to Sierra Leone stopping off at Madeira on the way! An truly fascinating item of postal history and an absolute snip at £34.88 :(
Top 5 Items of the Month
I guess I wasn’t the only one being distracted by the sunshine as there didn’t seem to be as much of interest on offer in August, so I only have 3 items to show you this month.
Of course it wouldn’t have been a proper holiday for me if I hadn’t missed ANOTHER overprinted control block. This Bechuanaland Protectorate overprint on the 1/2d blue-green was in unmounted mint condition although you can see some gum creasing from the front, and sold for £88.50. One day I’ll get my hands on one…
This plate proof of the 1/2d blue-green easily qualifies as bargain of the month. One lucky bidder picked this up for only £7!!! Often retailed at around £100, I think it’s real value is £40-50.
This cover, although marked in pencil by a dealer for £28, didn’t stop it selling for £115.09, which is about double what I thought it would have sold for even though it’s an attractive high franking.
This cover is a rather unassuming one. Sent from Earl’s Court in May 1887, this cover was actually sent from the American Exhibition, the first ever exhibition at the Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre! I’m sure the retail on such an item would be £300 plus, so this was a snip at £172!
The last item is something that I would have liked to have added to my collection. It’s a postcard, but with a message on the reverse, it didn’t qualify for the 1/2d postcard rate and was charged an extra penny and struck with “Of the nature of a Letter” handstamp. Sold for £44.02.
Top 3 Items of the Month
This month is dedicated to Stanley Gibbons! Not too often will I say this, mainly because they are expensive but they do get some great Jubilee stamps! And the first item is this beautiful piece with the complete set of the Zululand Jubilee issue tied by Eshowe cds. Stanley Gibbons were listing this on eBay for £300. Unfortunately at the time of going to press, it is no longer available. Kicking myself a little bit for not snapping it up.
This item here is a marginal block of four from setting 3B. This is in reference to the continuous purple line and intermittent blue lines in the margins around the stamp. This is actually not an area of Jubilee collecting I have got into yet, as it can get expensive for the rare (sometimes near unique) settings on all the values. This one has a Wiseman scarcity rating of J (A being the most common and M being unique), and sold for £450.
And we finish off with an expensive rarity. It is a 1901 2d composite “Paste Up” essay with a lithographed three-quarter face portrait of King Edward VII facing left cut and pasted in to an 1887 2d green and red Jubilee. It is believed to be one of only two or three examples in private hands. These series of essays will be the subject of a future article. When I find the time… For now, it’s yours for £10’000.
Top 3 Items
Well my new blog feature lasted exactly one month… If I fail again I will be less ambitious and do this every quarter. We’ll see…
Anyway, I will recommence with this envelope sent from Prince George, Duke of York (future King George V) to his wife “Her Royal Highness The Duchess of York” in Germany and initialled at the lower left. Andrew Lajer is asking £350 which seems reasonable to me considering the desirability of Royalty philatelic items.
Next up is this attractive and scarce imperf. plate proof of the 3d purple on yellow. I think it’s a snip at £100. For sale by Elstree Stamps on eBay.
And now, the pièce de résistance of any Jubilee collector’s den: a clock with the 1/2d vermilion!!!! Currently on sale by cafepress.com for a bargain £14 plus postage. As I write this I’m looking at mine hanging proudly on the wall :-). They also have a huge range of printed t-shirts, hoodies, etc. for all stamp collectors.
Top 5 Items of the Month
The star item of the month was this imperforate block of four essay for the Reply Paid stamp. A single of this essay is currently on eBay at a “Buy It Now” price of £295. So the vendor may well be disappointed that this item only fetched £320.50. More so as he stated in the description that he bought it as an investment for £500…
The second most valuable item of the month was this 2d colour trial in purple and blue. A few short perfs at the top and a corner crease saw this fetch one bid at the opening price of £99.99. Quality is everything. Normal retail is £600-700 for top quality.
Destination of the month was this mourning cover to Cyprus, sent to a Captain in the Connaught Rangers (an Irish regiment in the British Army). The reverse with some minor backflap faults and a Politiko bs, it sold for £33.90, and is the first Jubilee cover I have recorded going to Cyprus.
This slightly creased cover with an uncommon franking to a common destination sold for an impressive £81.65. What got people so excited? The Dublin & Belfast Railway Post Office cds.
And finally a little novelty item to finish on; a silver ingot of the 1s green & carmine. The Royal Mail produced a series of these about 5 years ago which retailed at £25 each. Again not a very sound investment as it sold for only £10.64 (which has knocked off £15 from the value of my collection. Doh!). But not as bad a loss as the poor seller of the Reply Paid essay block…
Top 5 Items of the Month
We kick off this month with something of a rarity, that I’m not too ashamed to say, that I missed it completely… Starting at 29p and 32 bids later, the final price was £1’800!!! Thanks to the very rare “LEYTON CRICKET GROUND” cds, which was the HQ of Essex County Cricket Club from 1886-1933. So keep an eye out in those bargain bins!
Coming down a peg or two in terms of price, but certainly not in terms of beauty, this superbly cancelled 5d purple and blue die I. For those that struggle with the difference between die I and die II, a cds like this with the year date 1887 clearly visible guarantees it as a die I, as the die II didn’t come out until 1888. Not only is this a very crisp cds, but it also has a Travelling Post Office (TPO) cds of the Edinburgh and Carstairs Sorting Tender. Why I was the only bidder for £31.20 is beyond me!
This stamp is one of the very few and certainly best example of an offset that I have seen on the 1/2d green. This is caused when a sheet of stamps is placed on top of another sheet that still has wet ink, leaving a mirrored impression on the gum. It sold for a very reasonable £75.50.
This item is not an imperforate example of the 3d purple on yellow, but in fact printer’s waste. It’s the same with the 1/2d green on buff, this 3d purple on green paper was struck just as a test to check the quality of the printing. It sold for £93.
And finally my best purchase in quite a while. Not only are Army Official overprints on cover scarce (except for on the 1d lilac), this 1/2d is paying the postcard rate, which you can imagine for official correspondence was used rarely. The usage of the 1/2d for the open-letter rate is marginally less rare. A bargain at £47.88.
Warwick and Warwick held the Commander Simpson collection of Great Britain at their offices in Warwick on October 3rd 2012. The highlight (for me obviously) was lot 1066, a group of five attractive 2d colour trials which sold for £1’955 (incl. commission). Only one had some minor faults.