The Big Auction Week

It may have been unseasonably cold in London during the last week of November but there was plenty of heat generated by, in particular, the online bidding for Grosvenor’s last two auctions of 2023, generating a final sale total of £1,010,643 with happy buyers around the world.

Prominent in the British Empire & Foreign Countries auction, held on November 28-29, was the remarkable collection of the issues of the Union of South Africa formed by the late, and much missed, Sqn Ldr John Shaw MBE. Featured on the front cover of the auction catalogue his mint corner block of eight of the 1930-44 Unhyphenated Roto 2d. including two central tête-bêche pairs [lot 1665] realised £7,200. An unmounted mint corner plate no. pair of the 1913-24 £1 green and red [lot 1447] achieved an impressive £4,960.

Demand for India & States remains very strong for both collections and single items. Despite a number of faults the Bhopal 1872 single frame ¼ a. black [lot 803] soared to £4,200, only six used examples being known.

Catching the eye in the Falkland Islands & Antarctica section was the £3,596 paid for the unique first day cover of the 1938 issue [lot 402] produced by the designer George Roberts, each stamp in the set being the numbered example from the first sheet of each value. From the Gerry Pearce collection of Operation Tabarin a rare example of spoof base mail, the ‘Hope Bay Howler’ cover [lot 497] rose strongly to £1,800.

Other prices of note included the £2,976 paid for the corner pair of the Saint Helena 1922-37 ½d. with watermark inverted and also showing the ‘cleft rock’ variety [lot 1298] as well as the much prized booklet produced by the Survey of Egypt [lot 1325] containing the first stamps of the Hejaz (now Saudi Arabia) that realised £2,852.

Over the following two days, November 30-December 1, the auction of Specialised Great Britain was well supported. Collections generally produce strong results though many rarer and highly priced items did not find new homes.

This sale included the British section of John Ineson Collection of Scouting which was enthusiastically received. A most unusual group of coil leaders from the 1957 Scouts issue [lot 2134] here rose to £1,798 whilst a most desirable cover from the 1936 Northern Counties Jamboree Camp signed by the founder of the movement, Lord Baden-Powell [lot 2125] reached £1,922.

Another popular area was the Used Abroad, featuring rarely offered material from the collection of the late Revd. Bill Kemm. The remarkable block of 54 of the 1865-67 4d. vermilion with “C59” cancellations of Jacmel (Haiti), almost certainly the largest surviving used multiple [lot 2342] did not surprise with its £2,100 result.

Among other successful items of note were the handsome used example of the 1883-84 10s. cobalt [S.G. 177a, lot 2903] that sold for £3,968 and rare block of eight of the1841 2d. pale blue plate 3 with small part marginal inscription [lot 2736] reached £3,720. A possibly unique 1844 combination cover bearing two 1841 1d. red-brown and 2d. blue tied by the distinctive Norwich Maltese Crosses [lot 2695] sold for £3,100.

Realisations quoted include buyer’s premium. For further information please contact Tom Margalski or Bethany Pascoe at the Grosvenor London office.


News item published on: 3 December, 2023