The famous tormentor of the British Post Office in the late 19th and early 20th Century, W. Reginald Bray, was featured on the BBC2 programme QI. Many of his postal experiments featured the ½d vermilion or ½d blue-green Jubilees. You can see the clip in the Youtube video below, 18 minutes and 28 seconds in. Enjoy!
Tag Archives: Reginald Bray
I’m going to eschew the usual “Top 5 Items” for this Ebay report (partly because I’ve not being checking Ebay at all recently) and instead intend to tell a bit of a story about this postcard, concocted by the infamous Reginald Bray and addressed to Shelley Hall using a combination of postmarks and manuscript.
I managed to find out that there is not much left of Shelley Hall, and presumably there wasn’t at the time and Bray was expecting it to be undelivered (the Forest Hill return address is a give away for Bray’s philatelic curiosities). The message on the reverse continues with a mixture of cut-out postmarks and writing: “EY AM” “ANVERS” (I am envious) of you being at Shelley…” (prize of a pair of David Feldman tweezers to whoever can decipher the rest!).
Any way, I quite fancied this one so bid £55 and was slightly disappointed that it sold for £58.07. Alas, my disappointment turned to joy when two hours later I received a “Second Chance Offer”! I could buy the item for my top bid of £55. Great! I thought. I was one click away from buying it before I thought to myself. Hang on. Within two hours, the two bidders who beat me were no longer interested in buying an item that they had just bid on (either that or the vendor had an identical one…). Alarm bells rang.
So I looked at the two bidders who had bid higher than me (or at least the info eBay will let you see of the bidders). The top bidder bid on 90 lots a total of 277 times in the last 30 days. Of these bids, a staggering 53% were on lots owned by the seller of this postcard. And for this lot, in the course of 3 minutes, they increased their bid in stages 16 times from £9 to beyond the final price of £58.07 (we obviously can’t see what their actual top bid was). This screams of shill bidding to me (bidding on an item with the intent to artificially increase its price). So I thought to myself, as the Dragons so eloquently put it on their BBC show, “I’m out”.
I considered sending the vendor a message to find out why it was being re-offered so quickly, but thought that if there was an honest reason for this, a message from him/her would surely have been forthcoming. So it was with interest that I saw that the item had been re-listed after my “Second Chance” had expired after 24 hours. No chance of me bidding this time. And sure enough, the item sold for only £22 this time. Noticeably absent from bidding was the top bidder the previous time, but the second highest bidder from last time came away with the lot this time. So I’ll be keeping my eye out to see if it surfaces again…
Top 5 Items of the Month
We start this month off with a curious item. The postcard was sent to Sir Chih-Chen Lofengluh, Envoy and Minister Plenipotentiary to London. The card, which depicts an image of the man was duly signed and returned in the post according to the message on the back. The sender was the infamous Reginald Bray, tester of the post office’s regulations and autograph hunter extraordinaire. Reginald Bray sent thousands of these to celebrities and politicians of the time, and the items are highly collectable. The vendor of the item didn’t know of it’s provenance, but the distinct style is obvious to those who know. Still, the item managed to fetch £77.50 despite not being described.
This cover is actually my favourite item of the month (and now part of my collection!). Not only is it an unusual franking in having two stamped-to-order postal stationery dies and three Jubilee values, but it is a scarce destination as it was sent to Java in the Dutch Indies (an island in Indonesia). I think it was cheap at £36.91.
Superb used examples with a central cds don’t come along too often, and I always try to snatch them up. This 1s green and carmine is one of the best I’ve seen on eBay, but only sold for £9.38 (also now part of my collection!). This must have been due to the small image supplied by the vendor and the ever so slightly faded green (which is barely noticeable in the flesh).
And finally we have the 1/2d vermilion paying the late fee on a cover with a nice boxed “LATE FEE / PAID” handstamp. There are many different types of Late Fee handstamp to be found. This on one cover sold for £29.10.
Grosvenor appeared to have a successful sale Jim Mullett collection of British Offshore Islands on 26th April 2012.
My highlight was a postcard sent by the infamous W. R. Bray, who was famous for testing the Post Office regulations to the limit for sending letters, cards, bicycles, etc. through the post. It was sent from London with the message that the card be forwarded around the British islands as fast as possible, and sent via Lundy, Beaumaris, Holy Island and Sandwich. Estimated at £100-150, the estimate was thrashed and fetched £550 plus commission!