The continuing strong demand for Great Britain was fully evident at the Grosvenor sale held on May 26, at which the realisations, including the buyer’s premium of 17.625% totalled over three quarters of a million pounds. The line engraved material included one of the largest multiple uses of the Penny Black recorded, comprising a block of twelve from plate 6, with corner letters from AJ to DL, split to form two blocks of six, and a pair from plate 4 ( corner letters AL and BL ) , all cancelled with red Maltese Crosses, and all stamps having ample to large margins. The stamps are on a piece from a legal entire dated “3 Aug” on the reverse, the postage of 1s 2d paying for a package weighing up to seven ounces. This sold for £27,054.
A fine unmounted mint example of the £5 orange on white paper with anchor watermark realised £9,998, while what is thought to be the only mint multiple of the 2 1/2 d rosy-mauve of 1873-80 on blued paper, in a block of four from plate 2, went for £16,468. A unique item of importance to postal stationery collectors, a King Edward VII 1901 “paste up” essay by De La Rue for an embossed 10d impression, mounted on card and dated “June 20th 01” sold for £3,529. The king’s head is embossed in brown, while brown and Chinese white have been used in touch in other parts of the design. A beautiful mint block of four of the King George V 10/- deep blue “Seahorse” printed by De La Rue, realised £19,408.
Interest in modern errors has increased considerably over recent months, so it was not surprising that there was keen demand for those included in this sale. £4,940 was paid for a mint vertical pair of the 6d British Technology stamp of 1966 with the deep ( Jaguar E-Type ) completely omitted from the lower stamp, and partly omitted on the upper stamp. What is believed to be the only known mint example of the 1968 British Bridges 1s 9d stamp, with the gold of the Queen’s head and the phosphor omitted went for £3,058. The 65p value of the 2001 Nobel prize set mint, on which the hologram was missing, sold for £3,294.
A remarkable find offered in the sale was of presentation packs of the early decimal definitives, containing stamps overprinted “SPECIMEN”. The overprint is as found on the panes of the £1 “Stamps for Cooks” booklet, and on panes in the £1 “Story of Wedgewood” booklet from the one recorded book. The packs contained the recess printed high values of 20p, 50p and £1; the low values from 1/2 p to 10p; the 3p, 3 1/2 p, 5 1/2 p and 8p from Scotland; and the 3p 1/2 p, 1/2 p and 8p from Wales. These sold for £1,176; £2,823; £529; £765; and £529 respectively.