Christoph Gaertner postal history auction gem includes Togo fragment

May 3, 2021, 10 PM

By Tim Hodge 

The April 7 sale by the Christoph Gaertner auction house in Germany set a new record price for Germany colony material.

The item sold was a French occupied Togo cover fragment bearing the unique example of the 1915 narrow setting 1-mark stamp (Michel 16), one of two known used examples of the 5m stamp (Michel 19) and three of the 5-pfennig stamp (Michel 9, Scott 62). Considered the greatest rarity of Togo philately, the lot sold for the equivalent of $564,100, including the 23.8 percent buyer’s premium.

All of the other great philatelic rarities of Togo also were present in the sale of the Peter Zgonc collection. The only known unused example of the 5m stamp in the 1915 narrow setting realized the equivalent of $327,788.

One of only two known examples of the 3m stamp in the 1915 narrow setting found a new owner for the equivalent of $228,690. The other known stamp is also used.

In Gaertner’s international rarities sale on the same date, the firm offered an on-cover example of the Paraiba provisional from Brazil, an airmail semiofficial stamp. The stamp is footnoted and described in the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers following the listing for Brazil Scott 4CL3.

When the local post office in Paraiba, Brazil, ran out of 5,000-reis stamps it was authorized to surcharge a few of the 20,000r stamps for a flight of the Graf Zeppelin. Only 13 stamps were surcharged, and only seven are known used on cover. This rarity of aerophilately sold for the equivalent of $56,410.

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Zgonc auctioned his Oldenburg collection through Gaertner on the same day as the previous sales. The highlight of this collection was a very fine strip of three 1/3-groschen (Scott 5) on cover. Only five others are known on cover. A new owner added this to his collection for the equivalent of $89,951.