On March 12, Spink in London offered the Harry Birkhead collection of occupation and siege issues from the Second Anglo-Boer War.
During this 1899-1902 conflict, the South African town of Mafeking, held by the British, was besieged for seven months by the Transvaal Army. When stamps ran out, the town’s leader, Col. Robert Baden-Powell, ordered the production of ad hoc ones. A photographic process was used, with Baden-Powell’s portrait the centerpiece of the design.
In traditional photography, the negative must be placed the right way up when making a print. If it is placed face-down, the image will be reversed. This happened when one sheet of the stamps was printed, and the result is a rarity, in which the image of the stamp is backward (Cape of Good Hope, Scott 179c).
According to Spink, only 10 examples of the error are known, and three are in the Royal collection. The example in the Spink sale is considered one of the finest. Postmarked April 27, 1900, the earliest recorded date of use, it sold for the equivalent of $67,600, including 20 percent buyer’s premium.
The siege was lifted three weeks later. Baden-Powell would return to Britain a hero and go on to found the Scouting movement.
On March 13, Spink offered the “Foxley” collection of British Guiana. Among the lots were several examples of the 4¢ black-on-magenta stamp of the 1856 provisional issue (Scott 14).
Siblings of the world-famous 1¢ stamp that will be offered by Sotheby’s in June and might fetch $10 million or more, the 4¢ stamps went for more modest amounts. A slightly faulty used example, its four corners trimmed off forming a familiar octagon, fetched just under $5,000.
A die proof in black of the 4¢ value of the 1860-75 Ship design (Scott type A5) with additional value tablets alongside, including a 72¢ denomination that was never issued, sold for nearly $22,000.
A mint vertical pair of the 4¢ Kaieteur Falls stamp from the 1938 pictorial set, lacking horizontal perforations (Scott 213a), sold for almost $24,000. Only about a dozen such pairs of the dramatic error are known.
blogIn this column in the Aug. 24 issue of Linn’s, I referred to the American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., as a “gift to stamp collectors.” The BNAPS library and the APRL are two of many libraries available to stamp collectors, and some philatelic libraries are available online. Read More ›
blogIt’s often been said that one of the salutary benefits of collecting stamps is the friendships made along one’s philatelic journey. If I were asked to place a value on the bonds thus forged with collectors in locales near and far, I would be rich beyond measure. A few of these hobby friends I have never met in person. Read More ›
blogToday, Nov. 11, 2015, is Veterans Day. Over the years, a number of United States stamps honoring those who have served in our nation’s armed forces have been issued. Read More ›
blogMy previous blog post focused on a mystery: the apparent indentations of paper clips on United States Purple Heart forever stamps that were used to mail payments to the circulation department of my employer, Amos Media in Sidney, Ohio. Read More ›
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Denise McCarty discusses Great Britain’s final stamp issue for 2015, a Star Wars prestige booklet, and reveals what is included in its stamp program for 2016.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News managing editor Chad Snee discusses a registered 1967 cover from Qatar that recently sold for almost $1,200 and the latest discovery of an Upright Jenny Invert pane.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News editorial director Donna Houseman announces that Linn’s has been named official daily publisher of World Stamp Show-NY 2016 and provides an update on the reorganization of the Scott catalogs.
Watch as Linn’s Stamp News senior editor Marty Frankevicz reports on the suspension of Canada Post’s cluster box conversion plan after the election of a new prime minister.
It is always a treat to get to see stamp dealers’ own collections.
In the recently concluded Linn’s United States Stamp Popularity Poll, the Circus Posters set of eight stamps was chosen as the overall favorite issue of 2014.
Dispersal of the splendid Daniel B. Curtis collection continued March 25, with Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries gaveling items from United States back-of-the-book and possessions.
The 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, Great Britain's Penny Black, is May 6, but the stamp was placed on sale May 1, 1840, for mailers to use beginning on May 6, the designated issue date.