Mafeking – 1d on 1/2d Vermilion Inverted Surcharge

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In my research on this stamp I have managed to come across 14 examples, of which I have found images for 13 (the missing image is of the stamp in the Mosely collection in the British Library which I hope to obtain soon). Using some crude computer graphics skills, I have re-constructed what looks to be the three strips of six, based on the surcharge settings, the alignment of the perforations and the alignment of the cancels (in three situations, the stamps were originally together so their cancellations match). So far, this would infer that only 18 were printed. Also worth noting is that all examples appear to be cancelled MR 31.

Mafeking 1-2d vermilion inverted surcharge1. Position 1, cert. RPS (1962)

History: Harry Birkhead collection (Spink March 2014, lot 180 sold for £4’000 plus 20% commission); For sale by Stanley Gibbons for £7’000

Mafeking 1/2d Vermilion Inverted Surcharge2. Position 2, cert. BPA

History: Kelleher Auctions October 2010 lot 501 realised $2’185; Christoph Gaertner October 2014, lot 6713, estimate €4’000 (unsold); Christoph Gaertner, June 2018, lot 29419, estimate €3’500 (unsold)

6. Position 6, cert. RPS (1952)

History: Stanley Gibbons’ Rarities of the World, 25-26 May 1967 lot 109; Ex George Asch, Ivy & Mader, Sep 1994, lot 1012

7. Position 1

9. Position 3 in tête-bêche pair with normal position 4, signed Tommy Allen & Herbert Bloch, cert. Friedl (1983) and Brandon (1983)

History: Harmers SA (18 February 1994 lot 1530 SFr26’000); Ex Rossi (Warwick & Warwick); Ex “Besançon”, Corinphila, Jun 2019, lot 4241, realised CHF21’000 plus commission; For sale by David Brandon, 2019, price on request

10. Position 4

History: Royal Philatelic Collection

11-12. Positions 5-6 in block of four with two tête-bêche pairs with normals (positions 1-2), with ‘MR 31 1900’ circular datestamps, cert. Brandon.

History: Harmers SA (18 February 1994 lot 1531 SFr60’000); Argyll Etkin Nov 2004 lot 241; For sale by David Brandon, 2011, price on request

13. Position 1

History: Ex Christie’s Robson Lowe, June 1998, lot 24, sold £1’800 plus 15% commission

14. Position 2, cert. RPS (1938)

History: Grosvenor (Richard Tompkins collection) Nov 2006 lot 1318 realised £4’800+commission; For sale by David Brandon P.O.R.

15-16. Positions 3-4, tied to piece by March 31 Mafeking cds, a few split perfs towards foot, cert. BPA (2019)

History: 1994 May 26: Sold for £4’830 by Christie’s; Ex “Besançon”, Corinphila, Dec 2019, lot 6011, realised CHF13’000 plus commission

18. Position 6

History: Harmers SA (18 February 1994 lot 1529 SFr4’200)


London Philatelist, May 1901, “Notes on the Mafeking Stamps” by J. R. F. Turner

“A stamp that calls for special comment is the 1d. on 1/2d. Bech. Prot, with inverted surcharge. As only five or six copies of this variety have turned up, it is undoubtedly the rarest stamp on the page. I would also point out that the figure of value of the surcharge of some of the ” fancy capitals” varieties is not always placed in the same position. Five times out of six it falls under the “EK” and “I” of “MAFEKING.” Copies are, however, occasionally met with where the 1d. is printed more to the left, and falls under the “FE” of “MAFEKING.”

London Philatelist, April 1902, Market

Messrs. PLUMRIDGE AND Co. Sale of April 15th and 16th, 1902.
Mafeking, 1d., on Bechuanaland Protectorate 1/2d., verm., with inverted surcharge . . . £9 s10 od