Spink Dec. 10 London auction features parts 7 and 8 of Hermione collection of France

Nov 25, 2020, 9 AM

By Charles Snee

The Spink auction firm will continue its ongoing series of sales of the Hermione collection of France Dec. 10 at the firm’s gallery in London.

Part 7 of the collection includes more than 300 lots of material, beginning with France’s classic issues and continuing through the post-World War II era. Part 8 features a specialized collection of the 1945-54 Marianne de Gandon issue.

In the introduction to the catalogs for each sale, Spink draws parallels between the Lafayette collection of France that was sold in 2003 and the Hermione collection.

Spink observes that the Hermione collection “was gathered patiently and discreetly during more than seventy years of searching, with passion, discernment, a taste for rarity and above all an eye for quality, which is so important in the current market.”

Among the desirable 1862-71 Empire items to tempt bidders in the part 7 sale is a tete-beche (French for “head to tail”) pair of the 1862 20-centime blue on bluish paper Emperor Napoleon III (Scott 26a) stamp used on a folded letter mailed Jan. 23, 1863, from Roubaix, France, to Lille. Each stamp is tied to the letter with a “3218” gros chiffres (large numbers) lozenge cancel of Roubaix.

Spink states the cover has been signed by noted France and colonies expertizer Roger Calves. The cover also has a horizontal filing fold that passes just beneath the stamps, according to Spink.

Against a 2021 Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 value of $2,250, Spink estimates this tete-beche pair cover at €600 to €1,200 (approximately $710 to $1,420 in late November). The cover is offered with a minimum bid of €420 ($500).

Collectors of production freaks will find eye-catching items scattered among the lots of normally printed single stamps and multiples.

One such dramatic freak is an unused single of the 1900 1-franc claret and olive green Liberty and Commerce (Scott 125) with a large paper fold that occurred before perforation, leaving the bottom right corner of the otherwise normally printed stamp without perforations.

This perforation freak, which Spink describes as “fine and spectacular,” is from the lower right corner of the sheet. It is offered with an estimate of €200 to €400 ($235 to $470).

Part 8 of the Hermione collection, the specialized collection of the 1945-54 Marianne de Gandon issue, is to be sold as a single lot in accordance with the owner’s wishes, according to Spink.

This particular Marianne issue is named after its designer, Pierre Gandon. In the catalog introduction, Spink describes the collection as being “arguably the most complete of this issue ever assembled.”

Various freaks and oddities abound in the collection, including a mint never-hinged block of 15 of the 1951 15fr ultramarine Marianne de Gandon (Scott 653) “with incomplete impression due to officially repaired paper,” according to Spink.

The repair, which was made before the stamps were printed and is still affixed to the front of the block, resulted in incomplete impressions of six of the 15 stamps. The block is signed by Roger Calves.

Spink estimates this specialized Marianne de Gandon collection at €40,000 to €60,000 ($47,370 to $71,055) and offers it with an opening bid of €40,000.

Separate catalogs for the part 7 and part 8 sales of the Hermione collection of France are available as downloadable PDF documents. Online bidding options are available after registering in advance with the firm.

The catalogs can be viewed on the Spink website. Click on “auctions,” then “by department” and then on “stamps” to locate the catalogs.

For additional information, contact Spink London, 67-69 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury WC1B 4ET London, England.

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