From Telegraph to Internet

Featuring the finest offering of Private Telegraph Company stamps possibly ever presented to the stamp market, Grosvenor’s Great Britain Postage Stamps & Postal History auction on October 28th continued the recent trend of exceptional results by exceeding comfortably its pre-sale estimate with a total realisation of £490,784. The auction benefited from its timing ‘between waves’ of Coronavirus constraints with an especially extended period of public viewing beforehand and a restricted but effective sale-day attendance.

Conditions of partial lockdown across the world have enticed collectors back to their home hobbies and the continued absence of philatelic bourses has driven onward an already growing enthusiasm for online purchasing. The established public auction houses enjoy the trust of buyers and are being rewarded by ever higher ratios of internet bidding.

The Telegraph collections formed by the late Steve Lawrie before his untimely passing were important assemblies of unusual material that is now exceptionally scarce and elusive. Many important rarities found their new homes in the Grosvenor saleroom on this day.

Founded with the aim of creating closer links to the continent, the Submarine Telegraph Company’s 8s. lilac overprinted “TEMPORARY STAMP/4½d./FOUR-PENCE/HALFPENNY’ [lot 139] soared to £7,440, this being the only unused example of any ‘Submarine’ stamp still in private hands. Issued by the Electric Telegraph Company in 1854, the handsome set of three values that charged the purchaser by number of words and distance sent [lot 76] well deserved its realisation of £2,604.

The railway companies of the day also permitted the public to made use of their telegraph lines to send messages and the 3d. on greyish white laid paper issued by the London  Chatham & Dover Railway in 1863 [lot 236] is one of just three examples on this coloured paper that are known to have survived. Its realisation of £1,240 did not surprise.

The section of Military Telegraphs stamps from the Steve Lawrie collection was similarly well supported. The 1886 De La Rue archive appendix sheet bearing 100P.T. on £1 and 5P.T. on 1s. values showing unadopted curved surcharges [lot 259] is a key item from this field and was bid enthusiastically to a price of £6,240.

Other areas of this auction were overall solid and reliable in their results with strongest prices noted for selections and accumulations of material for collectors and dealer to sort. A well written-up display collection presenting stamps and advertisements from British Stamp Dealers [lot 45] was an unusual subject but caught the eye by rising to £2,480.

Bidders were likewise inspired by the quality of the Machin collections formed by the late Douglas Myall, which contained many modern ‘gems’. From the ever popular Q.E.II section of the auction a miscut pair of 50p. Rolls Royce Silver Ghost booklets resulting by accident in face values of 36p. and 64p. [lot 858], although slightly trimmed at top right, reached £3,888, there being only eleven pairs known.

Full listings of the prices realised from this sale may be downloaded. Contact Tom Margalski for further information.

News item published on: 2 November, 2020