There was further evidence of the great upsurge in online live bidding at the British Empire & Foreign Countries auction held on January 22-23, pre-sale estimates sometimes left far behind as the sale soared to a total of £699,001. This auction had been postponed from December in order to allow sufficient time for viewing by collectors and dealers and this policy was rewarded by the remarkable prices achieved by collections as well as individual items.
The main focus of this auction was on the stamps and postal history of India and its States, an extensive collection compiled by the late Ken Carter over the course of a long, remarkable life.
Many realisations from this sale proved worthy of note. The popular 1854 ’91/2 Arches’ 1/2a. vermilion [lot 254] reached £2,760 despite minor imperfections. Among the Official stamps the mint 1925 2r. on 1912 10r. green and scarlet [lot 365], although slightly gum toned is one of only 96 examples known and merited fully its £3,000 price, whilst the fine used 1948 Gandhi overprint 11/2a. [lot 366] reached £1,860.
From Charkhari the very lightly mounted 1939-40 1a. on 1r. chestnut (S.G. 56) sold for £1,178 [lot 653]. From Cochin an unused vertical pair of the 1898-1905 3p. blue imperforate between (S.G. 11b) climbed strongly to £1,680 [lot 656] whilst the 1942-43 Official 21/4a. green (S.G.O56c) reached £2,400 [lot 689]. From Jammu & Kashmir the unused 1866 4a. ultramarine (S.G. 5a) had suffered some thinning yet still achieved £1,740 [lot 736].
Egypt remains in strong demand, including the fabulous items once held in King Farouk’s ‘Royal’ collection. A “Cancelled” block of ten comprising two lower rows of the 1947 Air 100m. olive with renumbered control [lot 1032] realised £2,400, the similar 200m. grey block [lot 1033] £3,000.
From Grenada a unique set of archival die proofs for the 1913-22 issue [lot 1104] reached £1,680 and a matched pair of plain first day covers bearing the New Zealand 1931 ‘Smiling Boys’ [lot 1214] surprised at £1,160.
Results were more varied for the exceptional collection of Postal Orders formed by prominent collector Jack Harwood but it is hoped that this exposure to the global market will increase interest in a specialist area that has great potential for future growth. As expected the strongest bidding came for the New Zealand postal notes with the handsome 1894 £5 essay achieving £5,580 [lot 167].
Full listings of the prices realised from this sale may be downloaded. Contact Tom Margalski for further information.