The Grosvenor Autumn 2003 auction, held over two days on 19th and 20th November, and which has been described as the strongest all World auction to be held in London for some years, realised a final total of £1,528,046.
Some concern had earlier been expressed about the “rival attraction” of the visit to London of George W. Bush but these fears proved unfounded as full rooms on both days testified. A noisy but good humoured protest march passing along the Strand added to the entertainment value of the first day and was manfully ignored by auctioneer Andrew Claridge.
The first day of the auction began with the ever-popular section of Miscellaneous and Mixed lots, the tone for which was set by lot 1, a collection of British Empire in two New Imperial albums, selling for £5,200 (est. £3,000-3,500).
This was followed by British Empire and Foreign Countries, which included two major collections offered mainly as country lots throughout. The exceptional lots offered by the notable philatelist, Simon Goldblatt of the British West Indies Study Circle, attracted particular attention due to their quality and their inclusion of many scarcer items.
Dominica: 1886 “One Penny” on 6d. green, used, realised £7,475 (est. £6,500-7,000)
Singapore: An unexpectedly high price was achieved for a “modern” revenue item. Strong bidding pushed the 1985 Arms $50,000 with control no “B00000” to a final realisation of £2,415 (est. £400-500).
Falkland Islands: two recently discovered covers attracted strong bidding: The 1902 registered cover to Glasgow showing the rare West Falkland registration Crown sold for£5,175 (est. £3,000-4,000) and the 1904 envelope from Government House showing the very rare large registration “R” mark realised £7,475 (est. £4,000-5,000)
China: British Railway Administration 1901 cover bearing 5c. on 1/2c. inverted surcharge, realised £4,600 (est. £4,000-5,000).
Basutoland: 1934 Official set used on small pieces realised £5,750 (est. £4,000-5,000).
Tasmania: 1891 partially handpainted Key Type essays, four different examples realised between £1,380 and £1,610. (each est. £800-900)
Uganda: the unique vertical strip of four comprising 1895 (Nov.) 30c., 40c., 50c. and 10c. se-tenant, realised £5,980 (est. £5,500-6,000).
The Great Britain section totalled over £875,000 and showed the continued strength which has been evident for many months, collections and mixed lots attracted the usual strong competition with very high prices being paid, the top lot being an unused collection on Windsor leaves (lot 1636) selling for £18,975.
The extraordinary range of attempted reconstructions attracted a great deal of interest, the 1840 1d. blacks and 2d. blues (lot 1882) selling for £211,725, 1864–79 1d. plates (lot 2100) made £32,935, 1883–84 2/6, 5/- & 10/- (lot 2232) £7,645, 1884 £1 crowns (lot 2240) £10,351 and the 1891 £1 (lot 2286) £7,998. The collection of Downey Heads formed by the late Ken Cross attracted spirited bidding with all but one lot finding new homes.
Individual lots of interest included among a great many:
1840 1d. plate 9 IA-JC mint block of six with some staining and other imperfections (lot 1993) £15,291, 1840 1d. plate 1a OA re-entry mint (lot 1907) £5,881, 1860 Unissued 11/2d. rosy-mauve mint (lot 2132) £2,352, 1840 1d. plate 4 HD-IE mint block of 4
with imperfections (lot 1955) £8,469, 1860 Unissued 11/2d. rosy-mauve mint (lot 2132) £2,352, 1935 Silver Jubilee 21/2d. Prussian blue unmounted mint (2482) £5,881 and fine used on piece (2485) £5,646
Prices quoted above include 15% buyer’s premium (+ VAT where applicable)