Over £1.5 m hammer total for May 25 & 26 2004 sale

High prices for classic GB and exceptional Seychelles at Grosvenor

A beautiful entire letter bearing a Penny Black and used on May 6, 1840, was knocked down at £24,701 at the two day sale held by Grosvenor on May 25 and 26 at their auction rooms at 399 Strand. The first official day of use of the Penny Black, the entire was headed ‘Cloak Lane, 6 May 1840’ and addressed to Fenchurch Street.

It was just one of many outstanding Great Britain pieces sold at the auction. A 2d blue, on an entire sent from Glasgow to London on May 22, 1840, the stamp tied with a red Maltese Cross, reached an impressive £5,881. A block of four of the 2d blue, tied to an entire sent in 1842 from Malmesbury to Shrewsbury went for £3,058 despite being cut into.

An imperforate plate proof, part of the trials for lighter and more fugitive inks, of the 2d printed in purple sold for an incredible £14,115 against a catalogue value of £6,000 in the recently published Volume 1 Specialised Catalogue.

A magnificent corner marginal block of 48 without gum of the 2d blue printed from plate 9 went for £4,705, while a stunning corner block of 10 of the 1841 1d. red-brown from plate 74 sold for £8,233 and a block of 23 from plate 121 on lavender-tinted paper sold for £7,645. Another 1d red-brown, this time from plate 1b, an exceptionally fine unused example with very large margins, went for £3,764.

Confirming the increasing interest in ‘back of the book’ material, the Revenues, Postal Fiscals and Circular Delivery labels offered in the sale all sold well.

The sale also included the Peter Morgan collection of Seychelles, and here the outstanding item was the 1893 12c on 16c chestnut and blue from die I with the variety of the surcharge being double, one of only two mint examples known, the other being in The Royal Philatelic Collection. This was knocked down at £10,586.

An Appendix sheet from the De La Rue archives dated ‘Augt. 8th 1892’ bearing nine imperforate essays of the key plate design with the King Edward VII head and inscribed ‘REVENUE / REVENUE’ in dull purple or dull green, with the country name Seychelles and values hand painted in various colours, sold at £2,940.

Another collection included in the sale was that of the Nigerias which had been formed by the late Neville Jones. Neville had been a key member of both the West Africa Study Circle and the Civil ServicePhilatelic Society, and was author of ‘Cancellations and Postmarks of Nigeria 1914-1980’, published by the West Africa Study Circle. The lots from his collection sold for 145 per cent of the auctioneer’s estimates, with many members of the Study Circle bidding.

News item published on: 27 May, 2004