Ballon monte covers in April 14-15 Spink sale in London

Mar 26, 2020, 11 AM

By Charles Snee

Spink will hold its next Collectors’ Series sale April 14-15 at the Royal Philatelic Society London, 15 Abchurch Lane, London, England.

Approximately 950 lots of worldwide stamps and postal history will be on offer, including “better sections of Barbados [King George] VI issues, wonderful Ceylon Pence covers, France and French colonies, a comprehensive group of Hong Kong, Iran, covers and cancellations of Natal, John Smith’s New Zealand, Rhodesia Falls issue, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Victoria, Great Britain postal history, line engraved and surface printed stamps,” according to Spink.

Bidders will find items to suit a broad range of budgets and collecting interests, from stamps in choice condition to unusual assemblages of covers.

The 1870-71 siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War is documented in a remarkable collection of eight ballon monte covers and associated collateral material and transcripts.

Spink notes that the covers were sent by William Brown, a British businessman, to his wife, Margaret, who resided in England.

Ballon monte letters are considered by many postal historians to be the world’s first airmail covers because they were carried in hot air balloons. They are listed and valued in the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940.

The ballon monte collection in the Spink auction is described in the book Besieged in Paris/An Englishman’s Account of the Franco-German War, 1870-71 by Ashley Lawrence, a copy of which accompanies the collection.

Spink lists the collection with an estimate of £10,000 to £12,000, approximately $11,750 to $14,100 in late March.

Among the more eye-catching King George V stamps to cross the Spink auction block is a lovely mint never-hinged example of the Leeward Islands 1928 £1 black and violet on red paper (Scott 83).

In unused (previously hinged) condition, the stamp is valued at $240 in the Scott Classic Specialized catalog. Spink lists the stamp with an estimate of £100 to £120 ($117 to $141).

The Spink Philatelic Collectors’ series sale catalog is available as a downloadable PDF document from the website. Online bidding options are available after registering in advance with the firm.

In light of the current coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, the Spink website provides the following precautions: “Bidders and lot viewers will be seated approximately one metre apart from one another and tables will be sanitized before and after use. We will also be providing disposable nitrile gloves and masks for clients who request them and will have hand sanitizer wipes readily available.”

The catalog can be viewed on the Spink website. Click on “auctions,” then “by department” and then on “stamps” to locate the catalogs.

For additional information contact Spink London, 67-69 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury WC1B 4ET London, England.

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