Rarity auctions in Sweden, Germany, offer Erivan material

May 20, 2019, 9 AM

By Michael Baadke

The Global Philatelic Network auction group is preparing three public auctions of philatelic rarities, with two of these sales to take place June 1 during the Stockholmia 2019 stamp show and exhibition in Stockholm, Sweden, and the third scheduled for June 8 in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Much of the material on offer is from the lifelong collection of German-born billionaire businessman Erivan Haub, who died March 6, 2018, at his ranch in Wyoming. He was 85.

The second auction in Sweden and the June 8 auction in Germany are the first to present items from the extensive Erivan collection.

Additional auctions are scheduled for June, and the collection altogether will be offered in more than 30 auctions over the course of the next five years, according to Dieter Michelson and Karl Louis, the managing directors of Koehler and Corinphila Holding.

The June 8 auction will take place at the Hotel Nassauer Hof in Wiesbaden, part of Germany’s Frankfurt Rhine-Main region, and home to the Heinrich Koehler auction house that is presenting the sale.

All 323 lots offer German States material: stamps and covers from the period when the independent German states were issuing their own postage.

A remarkable rarity in this sale is the Baden 9-kreuzer black erroneously printed on blue green paper instead of the intended rose paper (Scott 4b).

The auction catalog describes one other cover known franked with the error stamp, in the Berlin Postal Museum, plus “a cut out of a cover.”

The cover on offer was mailed from Ettenheim to Karlsruhe and was previously owned by three eminent figures in philately: Philipp la Renotiere von Ferrary, Alfred Caspary and John R. Boker Jr.

The 2019 Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 lists the error stamp on cover with a value of $2 million. Understandably, that figure is in italics to signal that the item can be difficult to value accurately.

The opening bid for the 9kr error on cover is €800,000, or just under $900,000 (in mid-May).

Another famous rarity in the German States sale originates from Bavaria (Bayern) and comes in the form of a block of 15 1849 1kr black stamp (Scott 1), including a tete-beche example at position 10.

The tete-beche pair was created when a single cliche was unintentionally inverted in the printing plate, so the printed stamp is upside down in relation to the remaining stamps in the block. The mistake was quickly corrected, but a few examples exist, and the tete-beche pair alone commands a Scott catalog value of $125,000 (in italics).

The two auctions taking place a week earlier in Stockholm are linked by time and place but have their differences as well.

The Stockholmia 2019 rarities auction leads off at 11 a.m. with 87 lots of British Commonwealth and worldwide stamps and postal history.

For this single sale, the Global Philatelic Network is donating 5 percent of the total hammer price to the benefit of the Stockholmia exhibition and the Royal Philatelic Society London, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary.

Early in the sale are two British 1-penny Mulready covers, the postal stationery issued alongside the famous Penny Black stamp in 1840.

One of the covers is postmarked by the London Chief Office in red on the day of issue, May 6, 1840. The other was mailed by a revered figure in the world of the stamp hobby, Rowland Hill, whose push for postal reform included the development of the postage stamp and its use to prepay mail.

This second Mulready envelope is addressed in Hill’s hand, including his signature as “R. Hill” in the lower left corner on the front.

The Stockholmia rarities sale is followed at noon by the Erivan collection worldwide rarities sale, which includes 81 lots.

The material comes from the British Commonwealth, Europe and South America, along with a small number of airmail and lunar mail items.

A complete pane of 18 of Brazil’s 1843 60-reis black Bull’s-Eye stamp, intermediate impression (Scott 2a) in this sale is described as being in almost flawless condition, lightly canceled, with “nice fresh color and large margins on all sides with outer framelines at top, right and bottom.”

This sale also offers an unusual example of Canada’s 1852-57 3-penny red Beaver stamp as a diagonal half used as 1½d on cover (Scott 4b). The cut stamp in this instance is attached to a whole stamp, used to pay postage on an entire letter dated July 16, 1855, and mailed to New York from the Port Hope branch of the Bank of Upper Canada.

Following these opening sales in the Erivan collection series, collectors can look forward to a June 14 auction of Austria and Lombardy-Venetia conducted by Corinphila Auction of Zurich, Switzerland; and United States material offered by H.R. Harmer, which recently relocated to New York City.

The U.S. sale boasts another on-cover stamp of immense rarity: the 1846 Alexandria, Va., black on blue paper type I postmaster’s provisional (Scott 1X2), the unique Alexandria “Blue Boy,” last sold at public auction in 1967.

To learn about the two Stockholmia auctions and to examine the auction catalogs, visit online at and scroll down to the rarity auction announcement.

The catalogs for Stockholm also can be viewed at, along with the catalog for the June 8 German States sale.

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