Spink sold an array of Ascension in their Philatelic Collector’s Series auction on 26th-28th April 2016, with items from the Stanley Cole collection. The highlight of which was this cover with a 1887 2 1/2d Jubilee tied by a registered hooded circle datestamp, which is one of only two known covers with this cancellation. It was knocked down for £7’000 plus the 20% buyers premium. The other known example was last sold as part of the Vivien Sussex collection for £6’500, although I have been unable to locate an image of the item as of yet (if anyone can help me that would be great!).
Also of interest to Jubilee collectors was this usage of the 4 1/2d value, marked as registered by the sender but obviously just dropped in the post box and not officially registered by the Post Office until it reached London where it was handstamped with “POSTED OUT OF COURSE”. Funnily enough I own a sister cover to this with a 5d Jubilee. I got mine considerably cheaper than the £800+20% paid for this example though!
Top 4 Items of the Month
First off, I hope you all had a merry Christmas and have something exciting planned for New Year!
I’ll begin this months report with a rare registered cover franked with 1883 2s6d, 1887 1s and 1887 1/2d. There are around only 20 known covers with the 2s6d, however it was still a surprise to see BygonesofBridlington sell this for £1125.95.
Which makes this one at £2’105.95 look like a good buy. The book “Scarce Victorian Covers” by Brauer lists known rare QV surface printed covers recorded by him. He only records 10 frankings with the 10s (this one not being recorded).
BygonesofBridlington was also the vendor of this 1887 2 1/2d with inverted watermark. It shows how popular this vendor is with eBay bidders, because it fetched £583.84, compared to a catalogue value of £1’250 which is just under half catalogue.
We finish off this month with another item from BygonesofBridlington. This cover was described as going to New Zealand, when it is infact sent to Rarotonga, which is an island of the Cook Islands. Making this a rare item of destination mail. Unfortunately there was also a New Zealand arrival bs, otherwise I would have pushed this far beyond it’s £74.72 realisation.
Top 5 Items of the Month
Ebay was jam packed full of great and interesting Jubilee material this month. Starting off with not just one, but two(!!!) covers with 1s green & carmine frankings. The first was a the latest known usage of the 1s green and carmine, and sold for a fantastic £638.29, far surpassing what I had bid! This KEVII postal stationery envelope was sent in 1907 and uprated with the 1s as well as a QV 2d green and carmine.
The other 1s green and carmine franking was a QV postal stationery envelope uprated with the 1s and two 2 1/2d purple on blue, with 2d paying a late fee. This one fetched a more understandable £430.95.
This cover is the first that I have seen sell on ebay. The cover bears a strip of four 1881 1d lialc and a 1887 2 1/2d all tied by the “CONTINENTAL NIGHT MAIL” duplex with “CS / 2” (denoting that it was posted at Cannon St. Post Office). The “Continental Night Mail” cancel was used a TPO or Travelling Post Office on the railway line from London to Dover, for mail that was destined overseas. An extra fee was required for this service. This fine example of this scarce TPO cover fetched £102.08.
The final realisation of this 1d letter card was a slight shock. Sold for £68.15, I can’t quite see how two people would want this so badly. With the 1881 1d lilac and 1/2d vermilion paying a late fee, both are cancelled by the Threadneedle St. late fee duplex, which in itself is pretty common. However Romania as a destination is slightly more unusual.
And finally this very attractive cover features three different 1/2d issues! If it had featured 1/2d vermilion I would have certainly pushed it above the £190.95 realised. Although this cover isn’t one isn’t of massive interest to a Jubilee collector, it still bears a 3d purple on yellow and Riga (now modern day Latvia) as a destination is not very common.
Top 3 Items of the Month
This attractive, if slightly ragged, cover has two interesting points. Firstly, it is an advertising cover sent from Alfred Smith, the well-known stamp dealer, and prolific maker of advertising envelopes! This one has a 6d and 1d stamped-to-order dies which is much less common on advertising covers. And secondly, it’s going to Turks Island! Due to its condition, it sold for only £87.08. A fine one should fetch double.
This 1s green single franking is scarce, since at this time most countries were part of the UPU, and hence the standard letter rate of 2 1/2d applied. However, New Zealand was one of the few for which letters were still charged 6d, so this double rate cover is a nice example of this scarcer rate. If it were a little bit fresher, it would have sold for more than the £50.29 it realised.
This block of six 1/2d vermilion Army Officials looks pretty standard at first glance. However a closer look reveals that the fourth stamp has a broken L variety in OFFICIAL and the fifth stamp has a broken Y in ARMY. Unfortunately some creasing put me off pushing past £28.70.
Top 3 Items of the Month
This insured registered cover fetched a handsome £216.03! Sent from West Kensington in London to Berlin in Germany, the cover has a very unusual franking paying 2s 8 1/2d, with the manuscript “insured for twenty pounds” at the top. For letters going abroad, the insurance fee was 5d for the first 12 pounds. This included the registration fee of 2d. Each further insured amount of 12 pounds cost 2 1/2d extra. Therefore paying 7 1/2d in insurance and registration (manuscript as such at lower left), and 25d in postage (10 times the UPU letter rate). Despite the slightly soiled appearance, it is a wonderful franking.
Officials are, not only in my opinion, very underrated. The Inland Revenue overprints are certainly the most common, however it is hard to find a pair of halfpennys paying the 1d letter rate. This pair on an attractive printed OHMS envelope fetched £41.30.
Complete Telegrams like this are rare, and I’m still kicking myself for letting this one go for only £41.00. They are rare because they were supposed to have been destroyed after use. This was the more attractive of two examples that came up on eBay this month, and is franked with a 6d, 4d and a 1 1/2d.
Top 3 Items of the Month
This newspaper wrapper to La Spezia in Italy sold for £39.49…which surprsied me a little bit. It was something I would have bid on, but it was actually over £30 within a couple of days of being listed. Obviously I’ve slightly underestimated the scarcity of uprated newspaper wrappers with anything other than a 1/2d or 1d.
Control letters are very collectable and rare ones, like this Inland Revenue 1/2d green with control R, fetch good prices. In unmounted mint condition, this block realised £71.82.
This registered envelope from Ryde to Southampton was of interest to collectors of the different rates, and fetched £29.56, much more than a normal single franking with a 3d purple on yellow. As can be seen at the lower left of the envelope, there is “FEE PAID” with a manuscript “4” inserted, indicating that the sender had paid for extra compensation incase of loss.
Top 3 Items of the Month
This 1s green as a single franking on cover is quite scarce. However, what makes it more interesting is that it is on a privately printed registered envelope from Stanley Gibbons, along with two of their red wax seals. If I’d had noticed this at the time I would have been more interested, but it fetched a good price at £72.96.
This large piece is unusual not only because it was sent from South Africa during the Boer War, but because it also has the customs declaration form alongside which is the first time I’d seen this before. It bears a 3d and 6d Jubilee tied by a “FIELDPOST OFFICE / BRITISH FORCES S. AFRICA” cds. Strong competition saw this fetch £178.45.
The past couple of months has seen one vendor put up a wonderful collection of cancellations and covers from Niger Coast and the British Levant. This unassuming pair are cancelled by the rubber parcel cancellation of Brass (in violet on the 2d and red on the 2 1/2d). Not only are they scarce cancels, but they’re also very attractive, and fetched £87.00.