The first Grosvenor auction of 2006, held on February 28th, was devoted to the Australasia region and produced an enthusiastic response from collectors and dealers across the World.
The sale, which produced a total realisation of £622,930 (including buyers premium) was divided into four important sections.
The first featured the remarkable “Ayers” specialised collection of the King George V Head stamps of Australia including many scarce stamps and proofs. Among these the One Penny Electrotype Plate Proof (lot 68), one of just two recorded examples, realised £6,469, the 1920 4d. colour trial in chocolate (lot 339) went for £3,764 , the rare (only five mint examples recorded) 4d. violet plate 2 with line through “FOUR PENCE” variety (lot 345) achieving the top price from this collection at £9,410.
Exceptional prices were also noted later in the Australia section for lot 425, the 1915-28 £1 kangaroo (S.G.44, cat. £1,800) which found a new owner at £1,941 and fine used examples of the 1909-10 Postage Due 10s. and £1 offered together as lot 469 which brought £2,941 against a Gibbons catalogue value of just £425. Medal experts were also surprised to see a commemorative silver medal for the
1879 Sydney International Exhibition sell for £729, the unusual interest being that it had been awarded to the colourful figure of Saul Samuel. Postmaster General for the Colony. The afternoon sessions began with the offering of the David Cohen Collection of the 1853-54 “Courier” issues of Tasmania. Although these fascinating classics have received varying levels of enthusiasm over the years, it was very gratifying to see the strong response that they now command. The £8,821.87 paid for a vertical strip of four of the One Penny (lot 500) was quickly beaten by a result of £11,174 for the very attractive horizontal strip (lot 505). The attractive local “town wrapper” featured on the back cover of the catalogue found a new home at £12,350. Altogether a fitting reward for David’s many years of study and the careful assembly of his items. Next offered was the Keith Buckingham Collection of Nauru which recently became known to a wider public through the publication of Keith’s invaluable book “Nauru 1915 to 1923, A Study of the Adhesives of Great Britain overprinted for use in Nauru” which has already helped to draw many new collectors to this interesting territory. This was reflected in a large numbers of outstanding results which caused some astonishment among those present. Chief among these has to be the £25,877 paid firstly for lot 914 and again for lot 916, fine used examples of the 1937-48 21/2d. imperf. between pairs, vertical and horizontal respectively. Truly remarkable when one notes that the Gibbons catalogue value is just £6,000 each.
Almost as extraordinary was the reponse to the many Seahorse rarities included in the collection. The De La Rue 2s.6d. brown showing major re-entry reached £5,881, fitting of its status as the only recorded example. Matching corner blocks of the De La Rue 10s. pale blue (lot 867) reached £7,057, whilst the Waterlow 10s. indigo-blue with overprint double, one albino (lot 888) sold for £10,586.
The final section of a very busy sale was devoted to New Zealand and featured the collections of the late Francis Gordon Payne and others with a strong range of scarce Chalon type issues. Among top prices here were the £5,646 paid for the 1857-63 Nelson pin-perf. 1d. pair (lot 977, S.G. 18) and the £2,588 for the 1862-63 Nelson Serrated Perf. 6d. (lot 1018, S.G. 95).
Good prices were also seen for Officials and Postal Fiscals, among which the £1,941 paid for the 1931-40 35s. (lot 1148, S.G. F161) against a catalogue value of £2,750 in spite of having been previously hinged.