Auction Galleries Hamburg’s very first auction: What is for sale?

Apr 28, 2021, 11 AM
A Tuscan rarity is this 1860 3-lire ocher stamp that will be offered in the first public auction of the newly renamed Auction Galleries Hamburg.

By Michael Baadke

Auction Galleries Hamburg, formerly known as Schwanke Briefmarkenauktionen GmbH, is conducting its first public auction Sept. 2-3 under its new name and ownership.

After 43 years in business, Schwanke was acquired July 1 by German philatelic auctioneer Christoph Gaertner. Auctions will be conducted under the firm’s new name at the same Hamburg, Germany, location.

The upcoming sale includes a diverse worldwide selection of stamps and postal history, plus larger lots. Germany and Europe are strongly represented with a number of items not frequently seen.

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A used example of Tuscany’s scarce 1860 3-lire ocher stamp (Scott 23) is being offered with a starting bid of E5,000 (roughly $5,640), against catalog values of $155,000 in the 2016 Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940, and E200,000 in the 2016 Sassone Catalogo Specializzato dei Francobolli d’Italia e dei Paesi Italiani, Vol. 1. This stamp is cut in on the lower margin, but described by Auction Galleries Hamburg as a cleanly canceled fine example of this European rarity, with Dr. Diena photo certification.

Another listing from the Italian region is a group of six stamps representing the six different designs in Italy’s unissued 1925 Artistica set.

The full set with multiple color varieties is found in the Sassone specialized catalog, which Auction Galleries Hamburg cites with a €111,000 ($125,000) value for the six stamps offered in this auction. The group is presented with a starting bid of €12,000 ($13,520).

Exchange rates provided here in dollars are approximate and will fluctuate.

Another unusual European variety is Switzerland’s 1944 set of four Scenic Views Official stamps (Scott 2O73-2O75 and 2O78) with grilled gum, overprinted in black for the League of Nations. The grilled gum component is what makes these stamps special; only 50 sets of this variety were printed. The stamps are signed Zumstein and have a 2008 Berra-Gautschy certificate. The starting bid is €10,000 ($11,260).

From Switzerland’s Basel canton comes a classic favorite, the 1845 2½-rappen black, crimson and blue Dove of Basel stamp (Switzerland Scott 3L1). This first printing example is postmarked with a large red Basel circular datestamp.

“A clean stamp with contrasty colours and a good relief,” reports Auction Galleries Hamburg, “good margins around, an unimportant, slightly thinned corner at top left, otherwise a fine stamp.”

The Scott catalog lists the used Dove of Basel at $13,500; the example on offer has a starting bid of €4,600 ($5,180).

The catalog for the Sept. 2-3 public auction can be downloaded as a PDF here, and images of many lots are pictured on the website with high resolution enlargements.

Additional information is available from Auction Galleries Hamburg vormals Schanke GmbH, Kleine Reichenstrasse 1, 20457 Hamburg, Germany.