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…
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 MonthWell I’ve broken my mini spell of talking first about an item I’ve bought. This is an item that I absolutely should have bought and is my biggest regret in the last few years. People who regularly read these posts will know I have an interest in recording all the usages of the 1900 1s green and carmine I find. So this item caught my attention especially because it was sent from the British Army Post Office during the Boer war. But as it’s a bit ugly (it’s reduced at the top and some of the backflap is missing), it’s philatelic and I have nicer usages of this stamp from South Africa, I put in a miserly bid of £75 and it sold for £77.50. It was only when I came to include it in my listing did I notice the date. The stamp was issued on July 11th 1900. This cover is clearly dated JU 15 1900. Even presuming that the month on the handstamp should be July and not June (unfortunately the arrival backstamp is missing the date entirely), it is the earliest recorded usage of this stamp, and to be sent only 4 days after issue 5’000+ miles away in South Africa is extraordinary.
Surprise of the month goes to this Lunn & Co., “Tennis, Cycle, Croquet, Golf, and Cricket Manufacturers” printed advertising wrapper. It sold on ebay.com for $309.29. Golf evidently a highly popular thematic for stamp collectors!
This group of Jubilees affixed to card come from a butchered 1884 “Before and After the Stamp Committee” presentation book by De La Rue, of which only thirty six were produced. Consisting of three pages, the third page featured the original issue of Jubilee stamps plus the 1881 1d lilac. Part of me can understand dismantling the book, but why someone would then cut up a perfectly attractive page is beyond me. And I’m pretty sure the information at the top of the page is incorrect. The Jubilees were not line perforated for this book (some other stamps in the book were), they have comb perforations as normal. It sold for £185.50.
The type 15 SPECIMEN on the 1900 1s green and carmine is catalogued by Stanley Gibbons at . This one, described as having small faults, with no explanation or scan of the reverse, sold for only £20… I think, not just because it was poorly described, but because it is a fake specimen overprint. There’s two or three discrepancies in the appearance of the shape of the letters when compared to the reasonably common 10d with type 15 specimen overprint (the curvature of the “S”, the central point of the M descends all the way to the baseline). But I’m not an expert. I had somebody recently just point out two Specimen forgeries in my collection that I’ve had since I first started collecting Jubilees, and never thought to question them as when I looked at the time they were identical to the illustrations in the SG catalogue. Unfortunately I’ve come to realise that the illustrations are misleading and should be corrected!
And we finish this month with what looks to me like another forgery which cost someone £110.77. I think a regular stamp with a Crown watermark has been bleached white and on it someone has printed the 1900 1s green and carmine design upside-down to create an inverted watermark variety. It could be the poor clarity of the image, but the definition of the stamp looks blurred, which is especially noticeable at on the side ornaments which appear as red blobs with a dash of white (I’ve conveniently put this stamp after the specimen stamp so one can compare). There also appears to be different shades of green in the lettering and the white area inside the frame is definitely not white like the perfs around the edge.
Top 5 Items of the Month
I’ve got a bit behind again with my updates and work on the website after a hectic start to the year (and breaking fracturing my arm snowboarding…) but I’m going to try and catch up over the next week because there have been some nice Jubilee items on Ebay and in the major auction houses.
We kick off with this ½d vermilion “E” control block of six from setting 3 (showing the broken squared corner marginal rule). I have plenty of control marginal singles in my collection but I really want to collect these controls in blocks of six. Knowing that they are popular, I went after this rather strongly but someone else still wanted it more than me and paid £104 for the pleasure of owning it.
This cover I noticed was part of a lot in Cavendish’s March auction. Although it’s a little bit tatty, it’s unusual in that it’s paying the quadruple UPU rate with a block of four of the 2½d and it’s going to Aden. Only one person wanted it at the £19.99 asking price.
This British Levant 40pa postal stationery envelope shows the inverted overprint variety. Uprated with a 40pa on 2½d Jubilee to pay the registration fee, it was sent from Beyrout to Constantinople. It sold for £130.
This Army Official pair has one stamp showing a constant variety “short foot to L”. Although not listed by Gibbons it is recorded by Wiseman. It sold for £42.46.
And finally we have a 1s green with type 12 SPECIMEN overprint. Although a little toned, it sold for £69.61. The type 12 is much scarcer than the type 9, however SG still don’t price the different types of Specimen overprints individually. Fingers crossed they do for a future update of the Queen Victoria Specialised Catalogue
I’m sure I say this every year, but my New Year’s resolution to do more work on the website has started poorly with the blog a month behind already. Actually there has been very few items of interest on Ebay, but the first item I will talk about was quite a special item to find as I didn’t remember ever seeing one before.
This 2d green & carmine was simply described as a 2d with specimen overprint. Even at a quick glance it’s noticeable that it has been overprinted twice, and with a closer look you’ll notice that it has two different type of the specimen overprint, types 9 and 12. Listed in the SG Queen Victoria specialised as K30sa with a catalogue value of £225 for mounted mint, I took a look at Gibbons sale catalogue of the “Aureum” Jubilee collection from 2016 to see if they had one. They did, and with the comment “the first example we have handled for over 15 years”, it had a price of £550 and evidently sold. If I could have I would a bid at the very last moment but as I was travelling I couldn’t. As a result I pushed the price from £41 to £310 but unfortunately gave the other bidder time to increase his bid and I lost it for £385.
Another item which realised almost the same price, but is significantly less rare as far as I’m aware was this unmounted mint 4d green and brown with inverted watermark, which sold for £388 plus postage (against a SG catalogue price of £1’500).
And I finish with the Bechuanaland Protectorate 4d on 1/2d inverted surcharge. Catalogued at £4’000, it sold for £87.72… The suspiciously poor quality image is always a red flag and it had no expertising certificate. Looking at the shape of the letters in “Fourpence”, I’m pretty sure it’s a fake. Either that or someone got an absolute bargain!
Top 3 Items of the Month
This interesting piece sold for £37.05. It is a opposite halves of a bisect of a 2d and a 1 1/2d together on piece tied by a Bletchinton cds. There a few of these types of items around, all philatelically inspired of course, and they were not permitted by the Post Office at the time. As you can see, the words “not accepted” appear below the stamps. It is now up for sale by Arthur Ryan & Co. for £95.
This cover from Niger Coast also bears bisects and was sold for £765.75. A very similar cover, sent to the same address, but addressed to “Mr. Britain”, was sold by Spink in the John Sacher collection in Novermber 2009 for £850 plus 20% commission, so this was a good purchase for the winning bidder.
This unmounted mint set of specimen overprints on the Zululand set sold for £359.35