The welcome early spring warmth on the London streets encouraged a strong attendance at the auction of British Empire & Foreign Countries, the first of Grosvenor’s Spring 2019 sales, held on February 21. Room bidders joined with internet, telephone and ‘book’ contributors around the world to create a series of most encouraging results and an overall sale total of £420,172.
As the stamp market continues its evolution from traditional patterns into a more diverse world of collecting it was appropriate that the highest price in the sale, £22,320, was generated by the exceptional Forgery Reference Collection formed over many years by members of the Bath Philatelic Society (lot 78).
There was strong international interest in a section of Hong Kong lots that featured the collection formed by the late Percy Vickery. An unmounted mint group of four King George V revenue stamps (lot 470) comprising the 1912 $100, 1921 $25 $40 and $50, was driven dramatically upwards by enthusiastic bidding to £1,984.
The Mel Doyle collection of Zanzibar was featured on the outside cover of the sale catalogue and the front cover item, an attractive master die proof for the 1908-09 Sultan Ali bin Hamoud issue (lot 900), was rewarded with a realisation of £713.
An unusual group of scarcer Colombia airmail stamps was well received, the cartoonish C.C.N.A. ‘ocean liner’ design (lot 301) reaching £1,440. The now classic Canada St. Lawrence Seaway Inverted error (lot 270) showed some imperfections but nevertheless achieved a price of £3,100.
Other notable or indicative results included the King George V Universal Key Plate die proof (lot 77) that climbed to £3,596, the solid £3,224 paid for the handsome mint Trengganu 1921 $100 and the £1,674 achieved by the British East Africa first issues on a ‘Whitfield King’ cover (lot 539).