This could well be the bargain of the month or possibly the biggest mistake of the month. This Board of Education 1s green & carmine came with a 1932 RPS certificate. But given the quality of some of the forgeries of this overprint (forgeries that may well have occurred even before 1932), it’s not a stamp I would risk spending £1’000 on from eBay with such an old certificate. But if it is right, it’s probably worth double what the person paid.
Although not brilliant strikes, these Manchester Station Late Box hooded circular datestamps are rare. This cover sold for £41.20, but I think a dealer would be easily asking £100 plus.
In terms of quantity, the ½d vermilion features on the largest proportion of covers in my collection. Because it was so ubiquitous there is such a large range and variety of usages which I enjoy finding. This example is an incoming postcard from India that has been redirected with a ½d three weeks later to elsewhere in the UK. It realised a strong price of £85.50.
This British Bechuanaland Protectorate ½d vermilion has an unusual dry print of the “Protectorate” overprint resulting in “rate” being omitted. Although it has a horrible crease, it sold for $40.07 on eBay.com.
Unfortunately I missed this one. Most of the time the uprated stationery cards are philatelic usages sent to the UK or Germany. However this example, with a 1½d on 1d card uprated with a ½d vermilion to pay the 2d rate to the UK, was sent from Palla which is one of the more scarce cancellations (this being only the fourth example I’ve found). Not only that but the message on the reverse makes reference to the “Jameson Raid”, which was a botched raid against the South African Republic carried out by British colonial administrator Leander Starr Jameson, under the employment of Cecil Rhodes. It only sold for £101.10.
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.
This is a 1d postal stationery envelope printed for the 1890 Penny Postage Jubilee exhibition, which was sent registered and uprated with a 2d Jubilee with both cancelled by the special South Kensington exhibition cancel. It’s a particularly nice example as such and it sold for £164.99. Now I’ve had time to sit down and look at it properly, given that the addressee is a Lady Whitehead and the cover is initialled “J.W.” at lower left, it is very likely that the sender was Sir James Whitehead. Looking at John’s book, Sir James is referenced more than 20 times because he was in fact the Chairman of the Jubilee Committee (as well as being the Lord Mayor of London in 1888 and the High Sheriff of the County of London in 1890). So at that price it looks like a very good buy to me, considering that these envelopes uprated and used after the exhibition can sell for around £100. If only I’d taken the time to do some simple research! I also only just realised he references this very website in the Acknowledgements so thank you John! Will have to make sure to keep my section on the 1890 Uniform Penny Postage Jubilee updated now…
This ½d vermilion block of four may not look like much, but to a specialist/nutter like me, I get quite excited about this sort of thing. The big black arrow is slightly misleading because it’s pointing at the wrong thing, but there is in fact a major plate flaw on the top left stamp, which shows a crack which starts in the “Jubilee” line, continues through the “T” of “POSTAGE” and continues through the “E” of “ONE”. It is the variety listed in the SG Queen Victoria Specialised catalogue as K27j. It’s a very scarce variety and even with the lower stamp creased it’s worth considerably more than the £8.45 it sold for.
I’m not particularly knowledgable on rare GB cancels, but I had seen this “LIVERPOOL LANDING STAGE” cancel on one or two covers with one being offered by a dealer at £1’000 plus. So I was interested to see this very crisp example, albeit on a faded 1s green, sell for £31.65.
And finally this was the surprise of the month. It’s an example of GB stamps used in British Levant, with a ½d green pair paying the postcard rate. Normally retailing for about £40-60, it sold for £115.15.
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).
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’ve had a request from a fellow enthusiast into the existence of overprint varieties on the Bechuanaland 1/2d vermilion used on cover. Specifically inverted or double overprints on SG numbers 53, 54, and 55.
I have not seen any before, but I have heard that in his long search the enthusiast has managed to find a 1913 Tamsen cover with a SG54a block of four. Presumably other philatelic covers from Tamsen must exist?
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!
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!
We start this ebay report with what is I think the most valuable Jubilee item I’ve seen sell at auction on ebay. I would have been gutted to have missed it but I would never have thought of paying as much as $2’850 for the cover below. Sent to the Portuguese colony of Macao with a 5d Jubilee, it was then re-directed to Japan with a Macao 40r. It’s an extraordinary mixed country franking and Macao collectors have the hunger and the cash for such unusual items.
This is a rare used block of four of the Army Telegraphs overprint on the ½d vermilion. I’ve seen very few used examples (less than a dozen of the vermilion and I don’t think any of the ½d blue-green). So I might regret not trying to beat the final realisation of £129.25.
This unmounted mint example of the 1 ½d with inverted watermark variety sold for £460, which is just a little under half the Stanley Gibbons catalogue price of £950.
This slightly ugly cover is an unusual usage of the 4 ½d. It is paying the 2d registration rate and 2 ½d to send the cover from York to Plymouth. It is only the third single franking of the 4 ½d I’ve seen on an internal letter.
And finally quite an attractive uprated postal stationery cover to Belgium from Jersey. These types of covers from Jersey always sell well; this one realising £135.10.
I’m a bit behind on my blogging so I’ve decided to cheat and do three months in one. Hopefully I can find some items for the December report otherwise I’ll cheat again and edit this report to make it for the last four months…
The first item this month is a pane of the 4d green & brown. This is actually the scarcest of the settings for the 4d which shows the thin coloured lines at the right (as opposed to the filed-in bars). The retail price for Stanley Gibbons is £2’500 for such a pane, so the new owner of this item may well have got a bargain at £355.25, but since it wasn’t sold by a regular vendor of stamps I fear that it might not have been perfect. The colour of the green looks slightly faded in the image and no mention was made of the gum so that put me off bidding. But I should really have sent a question to the vendor…
Next up is an impressive printing error on the ½d vermilion, caused by the corner of the sheet being folded over before printing resulting in a portion of the stamp being printed on the gummed side. They are not massively uncommon, and I always feel dealers ask too much for such items. So it was surprising to me that this sold for £446.
This attractive franking also surprised me by fetching £100. These high franking combinations of stamped-to-order postal stationery uprated with Jubilees always seem to sell well.
My best ebay purchase of the Autumn season is a 2d that shows the variety “bottom right corner of tablet raised” (SG K30f), which catalogues £90 unmounted in my old 14th edition SG Specialised catalogue, and for which I paid the princely sum of £4.32. There are unnoticed catalogued varieties on stamps to be found on ebay, but it is a laborious task!
And we finish with this unusual combination of a late usage of a line engraved 1d red and a ½d vermilion which sold for £16.95.