‘Possibly the rarest classic imperforate stamp of British North America’ highlights Schuyler Rumsey WSS-NY 2016 sale

May 3, 2021, 7 PM

By Matthew Healey, New York Correspondent

Yes, the whole world came to World Stamp Show–NY 2016, or so it seemed.

Besides visitors, exhibitors, dealers, postal administrations and philatelic dignitaries from literally dozens of countries, there were auctions by international firms including Christoph Gaertner of Germany and the Global Philatelic Network consortium that includes H.R. Harmer (Tustin, Calif.), Corinphila (Switzerland and the Netherlands), Heinrich Koehler (Germany) and John Bull (Hong Kong).

In addition, American auction firms such as Schuyler Rumsey and Daniel F. Kelleher boasted international offerings, in the latter case the Alfred J. Capurro collection of worldwide mint stamps.

All told, visitors were treated to an unprecedented six days’ worth of philatelic auctions at the show. Linn’s Stamp News is breaking down a slew of them. 

Read all of our World Stamp Show-NY 2016 International Auction Roundup:

Christoph Gaertner | H.R. Harmer | Daniel F. Kelleher

Schuyler Rumsey, based in San Francisco, offered its “New York 2016” sale on June 1 at the show, with some worldwide rarities alongside an assortment of United States material.

The top seller was a radiant, unused example of Newfoundland’s 1-shilling orange vermilion of 1860 (Scott 15), “possibly the rarest classic imperforate stamp of British North America.”

Just 1,000 were printed of this stamp, and most ended up being used. Only a few survive in unused condition, with several of those either lacking one or more margins, or having less-than-fresh color. In fact, the Rumsey firm counts “only three satisfactory four margin copies with good color.”

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The one offered in New York, with a pedigree that includes Ferrary, Lilly and other top collections, was bid up to an impressive $37,375, including the 15 percent buyer’s premium added by Rumsey to all lots.

Rumsey also offered a legal-size cover from Mombasa, in modern-day Kenya, franked with several stamps of India, canceled Aug. 20, 1890.

The stamps — ½-anna, 1a, 2a, 8a and 1-rupee Queen Victoria designs — are listed in the ScottClassic Specialized Catalog of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 under British East Africa/Stamps of India Used in British East Africa as Scott A1, A2, A4, A7 and A8, respectively. All except the ½a also show a handwritten provisional “BEA” overprint in red.

These Indian stamps were used in Mombasa from July to October 1890, when British stamps overprinted BRITISH EAST AFRICA COMPANY ran out.

The commercial cover, with a preprinted address of a telegraph company in London that was laying a cable in Kenya at the time, is one of just six known with this provisional usage. It sold for $20,700.

After you finish the International Auction Roundup, check out our U.S. Auction Roundup: 

1857 cover bearing five examples of remarkable stamp tops $250,000 in Siegel sale

Confederate postmaster’s provisional sells for $108,000 at Christoph Gaertner sale

Finest-graded Inverted Jenny sets record during Siegel's second day of WSS-NY sales

Inverted Jenny doesn’t set records, but still tops Schuyler Rumsey sale

German retail magnate’s collection dominates H.R. Harmer’s U.S. auction at WSS-NY 2016