Corinphila June auction series features Besancon, DuBois, Erivan, other name collections

May 18, 2023, 8 AM
The June Corinphila auction series in Zurich, Switzerland, features the Ake Rietz collection of Great Britain line-engraved issues 1840-70. Included in this June 7 sale is an unused left margin block of four of Great Britain’s first Official stamp.

By Charles Snee

Corinphila, the Swiss philatelic auction house, will present stamps and postal history from the Besancon, DuBois, Erivan and other significant collections June 2-3 and June 5-9 at its Zurich gallery.

The seven-day auction series will include 10 separate catalogs offering the following material: part 2 of the Besancon collection of British West Africa (June 2); more than 1,900 lots of Switzerland and Liechtenstein stamps and postal history (June 2-3); part 2 of the Dubois collection of Australian States and the Commonwealth of Australia (June 5); part 3 of the Guayaquil collection of Ecuador 1865-72 (June 5); almost 2,800 lots of Europe and overseas stamps and postal history (June 5-8); the Erivan collection of zeppelin mail (June 6); the Ake Rietz collection of Great Britain line-engraved issues 1840-70 (June 7); the Chateau du Soudun collection of Great Britain mint Victorian stamps and St. Lucia mint first issues (June 7); part 6 of the Ing. Pietro Provera collection of Italy, France, European countries, and South and Central America (June 9); and part 2 of the Waldviertel collection of Austria and Lombardy-Venetia 1850-67 (June 9).

With such an expansive variety of items available, bidders are sure to find something of interest to add to their collections.

A standout rarity from the offerings of the Ake Rietz collection of Great Britain line-engraved issues 1840-70 is an unused left margin block of four of Britain’s first Official stamp: the 1840 1-penny black Queen Victoria (Scott O1) with the letters V and R in the upper left and right corners, respectively.

The two stamps in the top row show the check letters K and A and K and B in the bottom corners, while the check letters L and A and L and B are in the bottom corners of the stamps in the bottom row.

Corinphila describes the block as having “large even margins all around” and notes the presence of a horizontal crease running through the check letters of the bottom two stamps.

A footnote in the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 states that the 1d Queen Victoria Official stamp “was never placed in use but examples are known used and on covers that passed through the mails by oversight. The stamp also was used experimentally to test cancellations.”

An unused single is valued at $23,000 in the Scott Classic Specialized catalog. The value is italicized to indicate an item that trades infrequently in the philatelic marketplace.

The block in the Corinphila sale was discovered as part of the storied 1899 Dublin find, a trove of British stamps and postal stationery found at the post offices in Dublin, Ireland, and Edinburgh, Scotland.

In an effort to get as much money as possible from the sale of items in the Dublin find, postal officials got their employees to sell them at auction using their own names.

The gripping story of this philatelic material is told in the 2006 book The Dublin Find by Don Madden and Karl Louis.

Corinphila is offering this marvelous block of four of the 1840 1d Queen Victoria Official with a starting bid of 40,000 Swiss francs, approximately $45,000 in early May.

Details of these auctions are provided on the website, including online listings for the material in all 10 auction catalogs, as well as PDF catalogs that can be individually downloaded. Online bidding options are available.

Collectors can also contact Corinphila Auctions AG, Wiesenstrasse 8, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland, for additional information.

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