Grosvenor’s November auction included modern British errors

Dec 29, 2014, 5 AM

In London, Grosvenor held sales of British and worldwide stamps Nov. 18-20.

The highlight of the Great Britain section was a Queen Victoria 10-penny stamp of 1865-67, erroneously printed on paper watermarked with heraldic emblems instead of the intended “spray” of rose (Scott 47).

Only 14 examples of this rarity are known, of which nine are postmarked in Constantinople, presumably after a sheet of the errors was sent to the post office maintained by Britain in the Ottoman capital (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey) from 1857 to 1923.

The stamp offered by Grosvenor, fairly well-centered and lightly canceled, was described as “almost certainly the finest known.” It was hammered down for £35,000, or about $67,000, including Grosvenor’s 22.8 percent buyer’s premium.

Modern Elizabethan errors continued to shine as well. A 1963 Red Cross 3d phosphor stamp with the red cross symbol absent (Scott 398pa) fetched $47,000, while a 1964 International Geographical Congress 8d stamp with one of the green inks missing (412a) went for $27,800.