The special auction of the Lord Cornwallis collections of Australia, Gambia, Gibraltar and Malta, held at Grosvenor’s London saleroom on 17th March, achieved a total realisation of £513,525, well in excess of early expectations.
Lord Cornwallis, who died in March last year following a full life which encompassed many achievements and positions of responsibility, had been a former Deputy Lieutenant of Kent, a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society and Pro Grand Master, second only to HRH The Duke of Kent in the ranks of Freemasonry.
The stamps of Australia held great interest for him and the prices paid in his auction for many of the rarities that he had acquired highlight again that many others share this enthusiasm. This was a late night for collectors living in that country who hoped to bring items back ‘home’ and they were up against bidders from Europe and beyond who were more than ready to compete.
The Kangaroo issues were as popular as ever. For many the star of the show would have been the 1913 First Watermark 5s. with “JBC” monogram in lower margin (lot 61) which was estimated at £8,000 but kept jumping up in the saleroom until it finally found a new home for a price of £14,480. Shortly before this a similarly attractive 2s. stamp with the same watermark and monogram (lot 54) had leapt from its estimate of £5,000 to a final realisation of £9,632.
Only three examples of the 1915 Second Watermark 6d. with watermark inverted have been recorded so the price of £22,230 paid here (lot 77) was perhaps not surprising. Similarly the £19,890 paid for the 1945 2s. with the same variety (lot 206) was no more than it deserved, there being only four examples of this recorded.
Not all collectors are aware that great rarities exist among blocks of stamps that show printers’ or other imprints in the attached margin. The £10,595 paid for the very fine mint pair of the 1931–36 £2 with Ash
imprint (lot 205, featured on the front cover of the auction catalogue) seems well deserved but the £13,244 paid for the 1915–28 2s. pair with one line Harrison imprint (lot 135) will surprise many.
For further information please contact Andrew Williams at Grosvenor Auctions, 399-401 Strand, London WC2R 0 LT. Tel (00 44) 20 7379 8789, Fax (00 44) 20 7379 9737,