May 7th saw the 47th auction sale at Grosvenor, Postage Stamps and Postal History of the British Empire. Offering over 1300 los from throughout the Empire the sale commenced with a strong section of Falkland Islands and Antarctica.
This specialised section of Falkland Islands included the wonderful collections formed by Margery Wharton and Judith Faulkner and comprised a wide range of fascinating lots. It drew a serious audience to the saleroom with over 50 specialist collectors and additional trade buyers in attendance. With the entire section a virtual sell out, highlights included Lot 34 at £1,495, the 1933 Falklands Centenary 5/- in a super lower marginal imprint pair, Lot 66, a collection of various stamp issues, photographs an ephemera from the Margery Wharton collection made £1,435 against an estimated £400. Lot 147, South Georgia, the 1928 21⁄2d Provisional in a lovely lower right corner marginal block of four realised £2,500. Moving through to Antarctica, Lot 230, estimated at £300, offered a sheet of notepaper from the R.M.S “Olympic”, the sister ship of the ‘Titanic”. Bearing a pair of King Edward VII Land pre-cancelled adhesives this unusual piece rose to almost £1,100 before the hammer finally fell. The mixed groups and collections offered in this section also proved to be keenly sought after with Lot 283, an extensive group of explorer autographs seeing spirited bidding, finally closing at just over £1,800 against an estimate of £500. This was closely followed by Lot 284, a themed display collectionx “Of Ice and Men” which soared to just over £2,500 against an estimated £400.
The Miscellaneous and Mixed Lot section proved as popular as ever, the majority of lots finding new homes. Lot 292 a general collection, Q.V. to Q.E.II estimated at £3,000 was much sought after, realising £7,500.
This sale continued with general Empire, A to Z, notable sections being specialised Egypt and Morocco Agencies together with good representations from African countries and the West Indies, including Bermuda and Trinidad & Tobago. Demand for these sections proved consistent with the Egypt collections formed by Alan Jeyes and Keith Pogson and the Morocco Agencies keenly contested in the room and on the telephone.
Thematic collectors demonstrated enthusiasm with spirited bidding for Scouting items in all sections. Notable realisations- achieved through this activity included Lots 359 and 360. These offered Australian Die Proofs from the 1948 and 1952 Jamboree issues each estimated at £250 and realised a very healthy £2,000 and £1,400 respectively. The Scout thematic collectors may also have been responsible for the remarkable realisations for the Mafeking Seige Issues on offer. The 1900 1d issue fine used on a local envelope SG17, Lot 1038, rising to £4,600 against an estimate of less than half this figure. Lot 1043, the 3d issue of the same date also used on a local envelope realised even more at £4,700, again against an estimate of £2,000.
Other remarkable realisations for Africa included £8,600 for the Rhodesia and Nyasaland 1960 Kariba 3d with variety red-orange omitted in a mint pair contained in a top marginal strip. The highest price for the day went to a Sierra Leone 1897 Stamp Duty Provisional, the 21x2d, type 13, a fine mint example which realised a healthy £29,800.
With the overall result in excess of £500,000 and with almost 80% of the lots sold Richard Watkins at Grosvenor commented “this represents a strong result and demonstrates that the interest and demand for stamps and postal history from the Empire continues despite the continued economic situation. The market continues to remain robust which bodes well for the sale of the “Aurelius” specialised King Edward VII Great Britain collection at Grosvenor on 21st May”.