Penguins Take Flight

The Helen Davis collection of penguin themed items, featured in the British Empire & Foreign Countries auction on June 5th-6th, attracted interest from a wide collector base with highest realisations achieved unsurprisingly by items connected directly to the early Antarctic expeditions.

Lot 931

From the 1901-04 British Expedition and featured on the catalogue front cover, the attractive postcard with illustrated penguins sent from H.M.S. Morning “as Far South as we can get now” by seaman Leonard Burgess [lot 1016] rose impressively to £5,742. Sent by photographer Frank Hurley at the conclusion of the 1911-14 Australasian Expedition [lot 931], one of only two covers showing the ‘Loose Ship’s Letter’ penguin cachet without ‘Posted In’ inscription, soared to £11,484.

An interesting section of Falkland Islands & Antarctica again reflected the strength of this area of collecting. Sent from South Georgia in 1911 and showing the scarce “Paid At” handstamp with two date errors, the cover [lot 882] was supported to £6,820.

Lot 1216

The following for India is similarly reliable and this group of lots contained several notable prices. Two unusual items, working essays from 1865, attracted particular attention both [lots 1215, 1216] reaching £3,840. A fine mint example of the Cochin Official 1942-type 10 2¼a. green [lot 1239] achieved £3,360 against a catalogue value of £4,000.

Lot 1239

Lot 1283

Encouraging and challenging prices were encountered throughout. From the Russian Post Offices in the Turkish Empire in 1867, a cover sent from Alexandria to Latakia franked by the Ropit 1865 (2pi.) [lot 1517] was bid to £3,480. Cancelled by the unusual Fort Hall skeleton c.d.s. the East Africa & Uganda 1903-04 50r. [lot 1283] reached £3,968.

Lot 1556

Lot 1522

Despite a close margin and repaired corner, the ever-popular Cape of Good Hope 1861 ‘Woodblock’ 4d. carmine error [lot 1556] achieved £9,570.  The fine used Saint Helena 1922-37 15s. [lot 1522] was also a strong price at £2,488.

This auction more than satisfied pre-sale expectations, achieving an impressive total realisation of £601,908.  Full listings of prices realised at every single sale may be downloaded from the Grosvenor website or contact Tom Margalski and Andrew Williams at the address below for further information.

News item published on: 13 June, 2019