Corinphila May-June auction series features Besancon, Erivan, other name collections

May 17, 2022, 8 AM

By Charles Snee

Corinphila, a Swiss philatelic auction house, will present stamps and postal history from the Besancon, Erivan and other important collections May 27 and May 30-June 4 at its Zurich gallery.

The seven-day auction series will feature seven separate catalogs offering the following material: part 3 of the Besancon collection of the British West Indies (May 27); part 1 of the Besancon collection of British West Africa (May 30); part 4 of the Besancon collection of Great Britain 1840-1940 (May 30); more than 2,200 lots of Europe and overseas stamps and postal history (May 30-June 2); part 4 of the Ing. Pietro Provera collection featuring Italy, France, European countries, and South and Central America (June 2); stamps and covers from Switzerland and Liechtenstein (June 3-4); and part 4 of the Erivan collection of Switzerland (June 4).

Included in the May 30-June 2 sale are part 2 of the Guayaquil collection of Ecuador 1865-1872, the Besancon collection of Kuwait, part 2 of the Alpaca collection of Peru, part 1 of the Svein Arne Hansen collection of ballon monte covers, and part 2 of the Alfred Scherb collection of Boy Scouts postal history 1907-57.

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

One of the highlights of the offerings from the Besancon collection of the British West Indies is a well-known error from Jamaica: an unused 1920 1-shilling bright orange and orange Statue of Queen Victoria stamp with the frame inverted (Scott 83a).

The stamp has a minor gum wrinkle and a large part of its original gum, which is slightly browned, according to Corinphila.

Just 10 examples of this error are known in unused condition, one of which is in the Royal Philatelic Collection held by Queen Elizabeth II.

In March 1922, examples of this error stamp were purchased at the post office in Manchioneal, a small village in Jamaica that had received a half sheet of 30 1sh stamps.

According to Corinphila, the Manchioneal post office had not received an invoice for a complete sheet of 60. “Some stamps from the same sheet had already been sold, unnoticed, in Kingston,” Corinphila said.

Additional details about the 1920 1sh Statue of Queen Victoria invert are provided in Stamps of Fame by L.N. and M. Williams and Philatelic Gems by Donna O’Keefe.

The Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 values Scott 83a unused at $40,000 in italics to indicate an item that can be difficult to value because it trades infrequently in the philatelic marketplace.

Corinphila is offering this 1920 1sh Statue of Queen Victoria invert with a starting bid of 15,000 Swiss francs, approximately $15,200 in early May.

Among the more than 400 lots of Great Britain and British Commonwealth in the May 30-June 2 Europe and overseas sale is a May 7, 1840, folded letter franked with a Great Britain 1-penny black Queen Victoria stamp (Scott 1). The world’s first adhesive postage stamp, it is known to collectors far and wide as the Penny Black.

Cherrystone notes that the stamp is an early impression from a plate 1A printing. It bears the check letters “E” and “B” in the bottom left and bottom right corners, respectively. These letters indicate the stamp comes from the second position in the fifth row of 12 stamps in the 240-subject sheet.

A bold strike of a red Maltese Cross cancel ties the stamp to the cover, which is addressed to “Mrs. Taylor Gaydon St. Barnstaple Devon.”

Of particular interest are the contents of the letter, which describe the stamp and the new method of prepayment of postage. Corinphila provides the following excerpt from the letter:

“London 7th. May 1840, Dear Madam, to show you the new system of postage, I send you a line with one of the new stamps which avoids the trouble of paying. The stamps I understand are at present only available in London, but I hear that you will have them very shortly in the country ... [signed] Henry Spring.”

The writer’s focus on the Penny Black is understandable because it was issued May 6, the day before the letter was written and mailed.

Mike Jackson, in his 1999 book May Dates, illustrates the cover and provides a detailed description. The cover is signed by noted expert Enzo Diena and accompanied by his 1995 certificate. A 2021 Giacomo Bottacchi certificate is also included.

Corinphila lists this handsome May 7, 1840, Penny Black cover with an opening bid of 5,000fr (approximately $5,083).

Details of these auctions are provided on the Corinphila website, including online listings for the material in all seven 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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