Exceptionally high numbers of viewers and bidders for May auctions

British Empire sale May 19th and 20th 2010

Held in the afternoon of the same day and continuing on May 20th, the accompanying auction of British Empire & Foreign Countries contained a number of interesting and significant areas of material.

First under the hammer was that of the Falkland Islands & Antarctica, which featured the collection of the late Robert Barnes FRPSL, the author of several important reference works on the subject. Featured on the front cover of the catalogue was the 1827 ship’s letter (lot 1001) written from Berkeley Sound off East Falkland, this being the joint second earliest postal item from the islands. Spirited bidding saw this rarity rise to £8,158.

Fine selections of Bermuda Key Types and Rhodesia Admiral issues, from the fine collection of King George V formed by John Sussex, RDP, FRPSL, proved very popular, as is often found when good quality material is enhanced by association with a much respected name. The scarce Rhodesia 1913-22 Die III, Perf. 15 2d. (S.G. 279c, lot 2769) in mint condition achieved £2,010 in spite of a little light toning. An especially striking shade of the Die II, Perf. 15 £1 (S.G. 254 variety, lot 2749) sold well at £984.

Cyprus featured a number of important rarities, a mint vertical pair of the 1880 1d. plate 218 showing double overprint (S.G. 2aa, lot 1887) achieving £5,599. A fine marginal pair of the 1934 Pictorial Half Piastre imperforate between variety (S.G. 136b, lot 1946) similarly reached an impressive £8,398.

There was strong interest in the unusual offering of the award winning collection of Estonia formed by the late Karl Valdo Laas, the £17,594 total achieved for this section of lots well exceeding the pre-sale estimate of £14,180, thus proving once again that there are no unpopular countries if the material is interesting and unusual.

The Gibraltar section of the auction featured the exceptional collection of the late Henry Busto, a former resident of that fascinating territory. Among a number of notable item were the double overprints of the 1918 War Tax Halfpenny (lot 2125, realising £600 in spite of a little faint gum toning) and the 1950 New Constitution 6d. (lot 2149, realized £1,150).

The exceptionally high numbers of viewers and bidders for these auctions, together with the remarkable results achieved, are clear evidence of a steady and sustained growth in the British Empire field with London leading the way.

News item published on: 1 July, 2010