Tag Archives: Spink

March & April 2019 Auction Report

April saw the sale of the “Eshowe” collection of Zululand at Spink. There were many interesting lots for the Jubilee enthusiast, and the following are four that I found particularly so. My research on the cancellations of Zululand has been somewhat lacking so it was good to see how well the non-Eshowe cancellations sold, even when the condition and the strike weren’t the best!

Lot 2343 was this highly attractive albeit philatelic franking from Nongoma and said to be the earliest known with this cancel. Like a moth to the flame, I was burned for £900 plus commission.

Lot 2335 was a cover with the rare “R.M. OFFICE/HLABISA’ rubber datestamp which sold £1’300 plus commission.

Lot 2338 was a rather tired looking cover with an OK strike of the triple-ring “NKANDHLA/ZULULAND” rubber cds. Even with a torn stamp, peripheral cover tears and a mostly legible cancel, it sold £1’000 plus commission.

Lot 2342 was another rather ugly cover, but obviously this oval Nondweni ds is a rare beast as it still managed to sell for £1’100 plus commission.

So not to give Spink complete dominance, we finish with lot 1055 from Argyll Etkin’s March 1st auction (apologies for the image quality but that’s what they have on their website), which is a well travelled presumed to have been written in Uganda and sent from Mombassa with 1895 British East Africa overprint on India 2a6p to a Captain Lugard (later Lord Lugard, who was sent to Uganda to assist in the pacification of the country in 1889-92 and who made terms with King Mwanga which placed the country under British influence), and then redirected from the UK with 2½d Jubilee to South Africa where it was unclaimed and finally returned to the UK. It doubled the £400-500 estimate selling for £900 plus 19% buyers premium plus VAT.

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The Dr Paul Ramsey Collection of Hand-Painted Envelopes

On the 8th and 9th of May, Spink sold the magnificent collection of hand-painted envelopes belonging to Dr Paul Ramsey, which featured many exquisite covers bearing Jubilee frankings from the famous King Harman correspondence. The collection was in fact gifted to the Royal Philatelic Society and sold on their behalf, in order to help finance their “Tomorrow’s Royal” appeal and the refurbishment of their new premises.

The prices realised were strong, as I noticed some fetching more than double what they had realised in recent years. Lot 125 for example, the cover depicting a horse rider in front of Gibraltar Rock sold for £480 plus commission in 2011, but realised £1’300 plus 20% this time.

A couple of my favourites included lot 132, which depicted an African warrior on camel back which sold for £800 plus 20% commission. Siegel sold this cover when the offered the Grunin collection in 2010 and it sold for $350 plus commission.

As well as lot 127, which depicted a stranded paddle steamer in the desert. An image very much reminiscent of the stranded ships you see on the “Skeleton Coast” of Namibia (hammer price £1’000).

The envelopes were addressed to the wife of Sir Charles Anthony King-Harman, who (according to thepeerage.com) served as Colonial Secretary in Mauritius between 1893 and 1897 and Administrator of Saint Lucia from 1897 to 1900. The artist was Lt-Col Hugh Rose, 24th of Kilravock, CMG, who commanded the 1st Battalion Black Watch and fought in the Nile Expedition 1884-1885, the Boer War 1901-02 and WWI (again, according to thepeerage.com). According to the Siegel catalogue of the Grunin collection, Captain Rose developed a close relationship with the King-Harman family while he served as aide-de-camp to Charles King-Harman in Mauritius during the early 1890s.

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January/February 2018 Auction Report

There may have been nothing on Ebay since the start of the year but there was plenty of material to interest a Jubilee collector which came up in the British auction houses.

Lot 1541 in Spink’s latest offering from the never ending “Lionheart” collection (part 7!) included a Bechuanaland Protectorate 4d on 1/2d with inverted surcharge, which inspired me to publish my census of all the examples I have come across. This example has a small wrinkle at the lower right, and sold for £1’100 plus 25% in fees.

Also from Spink but from their January Philatelic Collectors Series was lots 1032 and 1033, two British Levant covers with “Express D’Orient” labels.

As far as I’m aware, these labels didn’t pay for any postal service and are basically vignettes/cinderella stamps which were likely created by the enterprising Postmaster of the Constantinople office for collectors. Note that both of these envelopes come with his Post Office cachet and I believe are in his handwriting. The black label is rarer and this cover fetched £950 plus commission. The envelope with the red label was in better condition (and looked better in the flesh than it does in the scan) and sold for £850 plus commission.

Among a nice selection of Niger Coast (of which many items were ex Sacher) in Grosvenor’s March 1st sale was this attractive item. With two 2d and two 1/2d tied by orange-red Benin circular rubber cancels, I couldn’t resist bidding on it. Estimated at £500-600 I guess I was the only bidder as I got it for £500. Unfortunately it was liable to 5% import duty, so commission on the hammer price was 29% (gulp!). They also wanted to charge me £18 for submitting the bid through their website but I’m not going to be paying that!

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September 2017 Auction Report

In the absence of anything worthwhile appearing on eBay, I thought I would talk about a few nice Jubilee items that have sold in auction this past month.

Starting with Grosvenor who offered the Richard Malim collection of British Levant on September 20th, including this attractive parcel labelLot 600 was this attractive albeit fragile official parcel label, with a mixed British and Turkish currency franking, for a package of acorn husks sent to Manchester. I’ve only seen a couple of these before, so I was disappointed to be the underbidder when it sold for £600 plus commission.

Spink offered another portion of the David Pitts collection, with their September 19th sale focussed on the West Indies. Not the normal place to find Jubilee items but it did throw up this cover franked with a ½ vermilion sent to the Cayman Islands. It has a backflap missing and is a bit worn, but it has a Grand Cayman arrival backstamp. It sold for £1’200 against an estimate of £1’500-1’800 and it’s the only Jubilee cover I have recorded going there.

And lot 1205 in the Argyll Etkin auction on September 29th saw this Furniss “New Century” envelope, sent from London to Paris with a 5d Jubilee sell for £400 plus 21% buyer’s premium. It was the first time I’d actually seen this envelope.

Let’s hope October brings us some more lovely Jubilee items!

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Army Telegraphs sold in London Auctions

In Grosvenor and Spink this April, the following Army Telegraphs overprinted Jubilees turned up within a week of one another. The first to come up was this impressive used block of 16 still on piece. Unfortunately it was part of a larger lot (lot 2099) with other Army Telegraph issues, so my top bid was a bit far off lot the final hammer price of £2’200. It’s the largest multiple I’ve seen by far! (The second being a block of four that sold on ebay in February).Next up was lot 2106, an unused telegram form franked with various Army Telegraph issues including two overprinted 1/2d vermilion Jubilees, which dates from when the Army was doing manoeuvres on Salisbury Plain. I was a bit closer this time with my bidding but was still beaten to the final hammer price of £380. This was the first complete and franked telegram form I have seen but I’ve heard they exist.

And finally Grosvenor had this mint 1/2d vermilion “O” control strip of 3, lot 137 estimated £100-150. This was one I really wanted and even used an agent for the first time to bid in the auction room on my behalf. Disappointment turned to despair as my top bid was surpassed by a measly £50 and it sold for £1’250. This is only the second I have seen (which was corroborated by a dealer I know).



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Spoilt For Choice At Spink

Bechuanaland 1889  4d on 0.5d vermilion with rpence omittedSpink’s Collector Series auction in London on 9th to 11th of July 2013 had a plethora of items of interest for the Jubilee collector. Lot 239 was a Bechuanaland Protectorate 1889 4d on ½d vermilion with “rpence” omitted. Catalogued at £6’000, the upper estimate was at full catalogue (when commission is taken into account) at £4’000-5’000. Not surprisingly it sold for less, but £3’200 hammer (or 64% of catalogue incl. commission) is still a good price. There were many other items of interest from Bechuanaland including a nice selection of covers not too often seen.

Niger Coast cover with Old Calabar rubber cancelThe sale also featured the “Dunrovin” collection of Niger Coast. There were many of the provisional overprints, but the highlight for me was lot 1085; a cover with a ½d vermilion, 1d lilac pair and 2 ½d purple on blue all tied by Old Calabar rubber cancels, which according to the description is the only known example of this cancel on cover. It sold for £1’400 (plus commission).

And the items of interest concluded with a several lots of Zululand Specimen and Cancelled overprints, with the Cancelled overprint set (lot 2017) selling for £1’200 (plus commission)

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Spink Sell “Fine Covers of the World”

On 2nd May 2012, Spink sold “The Adriano Landini Collection of Fine Covers of the World”, including a few covers of interest to the Jubilee collector.

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“Chartwell” Jubilees are SPECTACULAR

It was only last November, that the Gold Medal collection of Jubilees by Lady Mary Buiri was sold at Sotheby’s. Now Spink are offering on the 13th October, as part of the “Chartwell” collection, a collection of Jubilees possibly surpassing that of Lady Buiri’s!!

The most striking and desireable of the collection is lot 876 (pictured). A page of handpainted essays of the final design for the entire set on an archive page, and endorsed by the Inland Revenue Secretary and with “THE DESIGNS ARE SIMPLY DRAWN BY HAND AND DO NOT SHOW THE FINISHED EFFECT WHICH WILL BE OBTAINED BY ENGRAVING.” printed below. At £30’000-35’000, it’s no price to be sniffed at, but at £3’000 to £3’500 per essay (excluding commission of course), it is well worth the money, and in my opinion, would be the pinnacle of a Jubilee collection. That gives me 17 days to save up…

The rest of the collection is full of essays, die proofs, colour trials, CANCELLED overprints and so take a look at the catalogue!

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Spink offer strong selection of Boer War

The Spink sale on 12th January 2011 had a strong selection of Boer War material, and with it, a number of fine usages of the 1887 Jubilee issue.

The first interesting item was a strip of six of the Mafeking Siege 1d on 1/2d vermilion, which is one of only two known multiples showing the complete setting. Estimated at £400-500, it sold for £650, and was quickly placed on David Brandon’s website for £1600!

Also from the Mafeking Siege issues was a block of six of the 6d on 2d green and red, which only fetched £500 against an estimate of £600-800. Multiples of these issues are very scarce and I’ve not seen any larger than this one.

Next, was my favourite item from this sale (pictured). A 1/2d vermilion with “ARMY / OFFICIAL” overprint tied to an envelope by a blue “LADYSMITH SIEGE POST OFFICE” datestamp. The Army Official stamps are very scarce on cover anyway, and are much under catalogued by Stanley Gibbons. So it was no suprise to see the estimate of £150-180 get smashed by a realisation of £400. Throughout all the catalogues and literature I have scoured, I have only seen this franking once, in a book about the Boer War. So I was very happy to have snapped this one up!

Unfortunately for me, not all my bids were successful, and a cover bearing five 1/2d vermilions tied by the temporary “VOLKSRUST” cancel in violet escaped me. Although it had some minor faults, the cover fetched £400 against a pre-sale estimate of £250-300.

The last item worthy of note from this Boer War section, was an unusual cover bearing a 3d purple on yellow tied by a Harrismith cds, along with a strip of five Natal 1d stamps cancelled by a manuscript “Harrismith”. Estimated at £150-180, it unsuprisingly fetched £380.

And finally, the last item to peak my interest was a beautifully hand illustrated cover from the famous King Harman correspondence, showing a man riding a horse in front of Gibraltar rock, and bearing five 1/2d vermilions. These covers always command good prices, although they appear on the market relatively frequently. It was sold for £480 against an estimate of £400-500.

Please note that all prices realised are subject to a further 20% commission

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