Grosvenor Spring auctions break £2 million barrier

The three Spring auctions, held over two days on May 17th and 18th at Grosvenor’s saleroom on the Strand, achieved a remarkable total realisation of £2,138,883.The two Great Britain auctions totalled an impressive £1,191,350.

Important Line Engraved: A prestige auction featuring rare and important items from the classic period of Great Britain included two mint blocks of four 1d. blacks with plate 7 on experimental paper (lot 47) -bringing £68,222 and a marginal block of plate 11 (lot 113) £88,218 despite a light crease on the lower pair. Other highlights included £8,469 for lot 14, 1840 1d. plate 4 with magenta Maltese Cross on cover (cat. £7,000), £8,821 for a used marginal pair of the same plate (lot 15), a red Maltese Cross on 1841 1d. plate 5 on cover (lot 28) rose to £23,525, two mint blocks of four 1841 1d. plate 9 forming an original block of eight (lot 86) brought £29,406 against a catalogue value of £25,000 for two blocks of four, an unused block of eight 1841 1d. plate 10 (lot 104) rose to £16,467 and a superb used- marginal example of the 1840 2d. plate 2 (lot 140) brought an extraordinary £14,115.

The Specialised Great Britain auction: An interesting auction of 1001 lots, the property of more than 100 vendors, attracted spirited bidding throughout. Collections and mixed lots proved as popular as ever with top prices of £7,645 for both lots 204 and 241. The ‘Barnsdale’ collection of Newspaper Tax stamps offered intact (lot 308) brought a respectable £4,705. A charming Mulready 1d. envelope (lot 406) used on May 25th 1840 with original enclosure with contemporary comment and affixed with an unused 1d. black rose to £8,233. Fine quality material from all reigns continued to bring strong prices. The Official pieces from a presentation album included £9,998 for lot 863 the Board of Education 1902-04 5d. & 1s. overprinted “SPECIMEN”. King Edward VII Canada Head essays brought strong bidding, the best price being £8,821 for a die 2 large head 4d. essay (lot 874).

The surge in prices for QE II errors shows no sign of abating with many items approaching or exceeding the catalogue values of the recently published Concise Catalogue, including 1961 Parliamentary 6d. gold omitted (lot 986) £1,092, 1963 Paris 6d. green omitted, the upper stamp of a strip (lot 987) £4,025, 1969 Ships 5d. missing black (lot 1012) £1,207. The highest price in this section was £19,996 for lot 1023, the 1970 Literary Anniversaries 5d. se-tenant block of four with silver omitted, lot 1048 the 2006 Victoria Cross booklet the first pane with bronze and phosphor omitted soared to £8,377. The fine section of Machin definitives achieved exceptional prices, many exceeding retail levels.

Falkland Islands 21⁄2d. “short extra flagstaff” in a corner block of four

The “Rest of the World” kicked off with the “Sahgal” collection of the 1935 Silver Jubilee stamps. This, the most important offering of these issues to have come to the market for many years, was rewarded with strong bidding throughout, creating an overall result in excess of 30% above the pre-sale estimates. Notable prices included the £1,294  paid for the Falkland Islands 21⁄2d. “short extra flagstaff” in a corner block of four (lot 1617)- despite being lightly hinged (S.G. 140b, cat. £1,400). The extremely rare British Forces in Egypt exploded booklet (lot 1609) containing a full 1pi. pane of twenty, reached £6,822, whilst the set of Northern Rhodesia frame die proofs (lot 1812, featured on the front cover of  the catalogue) achieved £4,370.

The pattern of striking results continued into the second day during which significant sections of Australia, Falkland Islands, Mauritius, Saint Lucia, Uganda and a number of other countries were offered.

Falkland Islands has featured strongly in recent Grosvenor auctions and on Friday afternoon an overflowing auction room was in competition against a well-filled auctioneer’s book and some determined telephone bidders. A 1909 cover to Buenos Aires, most unusually readdressed to Paraguay (lot 2504), which was fresh to the market although originating from the collection from the late Geoff Moir, rose to £1,764. The strengthening in prices of Queen Elizabeth II errors was again demonstrated, with the 1964 Battle “H.M.S. Glasgow” (lot 2528)- realising £27,054, whilst the Dependencies 1981 Plants 15p. with light brown omitted (lot 2570) coninued to £3,293.

A similarly strong response was shown by collectors of Saint Lucia attracted by the fine collection formed by Dr. David Filer, supplemented by a small number of items contributed by other vendors. The rare perforation 141⁄2 x 14 of the 1949-50 4c. grey (lot 3280, featured on the back cover) was sold for £10,935, well in excess of its £9,000 catalogue value.

The dramatic surge in King George VI errors was similarly demonstrated by the Saint Vincent 1938-47 10s. watermark inverted (lot 3304), very rare due to the low printing numbers for British Empire high values, which achieved £18,820.

Amongst the Southern Africa section a number of exceptional results were achieved. The Cape of Good Hope 1855-63 4d. blue in a remarkable marginal mint block of thirty-six (lot 3371) ex Levitt and Sir Maxwell Joseph, finally sold for £24,701.

Following shortly after, two great Mafeking rarities found new homes. The type 2 surcharge 1s. on British Bechuanaland 6d. (lot 3400) reached £19,408, whilst the type 1 surcharge 2s. on British Bechuanaland 1s. (lot 3401,- featured on the back cover), much discussed since its discovery four years ago, rose and rose to £34,111.

All prices include buyer’s premium + VAT (where applicable).For further information contact Grosvenor Auctions at 399-401 Strand, 3rd Floor, London WC2R 0LT, Tel. 020 7379 8789, Fax 020 7379 9737, or use the contact form on this site

News item published on: 11 May, 2007