An eager audience awaited the start of this specialised Great Britain sale, a marathon 1600+ lots. With the start at 11am precisely the sale commenced with the Collection and Ranges section proving to be a total sell out. The following section including watermarked paper, Fiscals, Revenues and Railway stamps was also well received. Pre stamp postal history produced the usual mixed results and one must feel that before long this underrated collecting area must improve bearing in mind the scope that it offers.
Stamped covers to overseas destinations proved popular, realisations of note in this area being Lot 173, the block of sixteen 1841 1d red on cover to Belgium, most attractive, selling at £8,129 against a pre sale estimate of £6,000.
Highlight of the Penny Black section must surely be the newly discovered marginal example from plate 1b used on entire tied by the red MC together with a red Hampstead Rd handstamp, this brought remarkable £14,346 against an estimate of £2,800, clearly indicative of the demand for quality items of the period. This was further substantiated by the realisation of £2,510 for the beautiful plate two used on cover and tied by the sharpest impressions of the black MC. This had a pre sale estimate of £800!!
Later Line Engrave realisations include Lot 554, the 1841 1d red on cover with the red “Tombstone” cancellation, fetching a healthy £9,564 against an estimate of £5,000. Lot 617, another rare on cover usage of the same issue bought £11,357 against an estimate of just £4,000.
A lovely unused vertical block of six of the 1841 1ds red with the sheet margin at right each stamp overprinted Specimen estimated at £8,000 achieved £10,250.
The Queen Victoria surface printed section proved popular, with lots selling well throughout. A remarkable survivor offered in this section, Lot 918, was the 1896/1901 1d Lilac Army official in a complete sheet, this soared to £2,749 against an estimate of £1,200.
With the sale progressing the Edward VII sections experienced consistent bidding. During this section the saleroom audience increased in anticipation of the strong King George V section fast approaching. During the viewing of the auction the Seahorses in particular had been in demand. This quickly translated into bids, the majority of the lots being keenly contested.
Lot 1171, the imperforate block of the colour trial in bright vermilion estimated at £6,000 made a remarkable £10,161, a similar block, Lot 1173, this time in blue green made £7,700, again against an estimated £6,000. With fervoured bidding the lots continued to sell extremely well until at last Lot 1215 was reached. This was the remarkable and beautiful corner marginal block of the 5/- De La Rue issue in bright carmine shade, with the additional benefit of the watermark being reversed and misplaced, a rare animal indeed! Estimated at £8,000 it was a matter of seconds before the bidding rose to some £20,000… the lot finally sold for the magnificent price of £27,496 leaving one or two disappointed collectors along the way. Needless to say the Seahorses were a virtual sell out.
Further King George V lots sold well, realisations of note being Lot 1323, the 1929 PUC 21⁄2 d in a mint marginal single with watermark inverted, this brought £2,869 against a pre sale estimate of £1,500. A rare and superb mint block of four of the 1935 Silver Jubilee Prussian Blue estimated at £25,000 realised a very healthy £40.647.
The latter section of the sale offered a wide range of scarce, rare and unusual items from the current reign. These were all well received, bidding remaining constant through the session. Lot 1451, the 1966 Birds, the block of four with four colours omitted, featured on the front cover of the catalogue, realised £10,759 against a pre sale estimate of £8,000 the 1967 Paintings 1/6d with gold omitted in a mint single, thought to be one of the two examples known, made £9,564 against an estimated £8,000.
With time moving on the final lot fell under the hammer at approximately 7.15pm, a long days selling. With 75% of the lots sold the sale total came in at just under a million pounds, a very pleasing result.