£180k for Malta's postal history
180k for Malta's postal history
The famous Smith collection beats estimates
Stamp collectors often focus in on particular projects, trying to complete a set of stamps with a very particular theme. This might be a set of stamps with a particular sort of error, such as the Pierron collection of colour omissions which sold this week.
Alternatively, they might focus in on a particular island, such as the error-strewn stamps of Prince Edward Island or, if they're really ambitious, Mauritius.
Clive Smith concentrated on Malta, and the 1860-1884 1/2d stamp in particular. Yesterday 305 philatelic lots themed on the 121 sq mi island sold for 179,780, often improving significantly on their expected sale value.
Of the lots we looked at, the 1867 'supply 9' block of 18 orange-brown stamps doubled its lower estimate to be taken home for 5,000 (excluding buyer's premium), and the fine black die proof on a glazed card, marked 21/6/59 went for 6,500 against the same estimate.
1860 Maltese Letter
The surprise performer of the sale was a complete letter sent in December 1860 with a brown-ochre 1/2d stamp neatly cancelled by an 'M' obliterator. This is the earliest known use of the stamp, not to mention the only use of the cancellation which can be tied to a date. Bidders ignored the 1,000-2,000 listing, and it sold for 5,800.
The expected top lot, the block of six brown-ochre specimen overprints, the largest block known to exist, also improved on its expected price of 4,000-5,000 to go under the hammer for 6,500.
Maltese halfpenny colour change
However, one lot topped this: the 1883 proposed colour change which presented a green sample 1/2d alongside a 1/2d of the existing colour. Valued at 2,500-3,000, the attractive lot proved of great interest to bidders, and finally sold for 7,000.
A very encouraging auction for anyone investing in stamps, perhaps showing the effect of the increasing numbers of stamp collectors in recent months. Anyone investing in rare stamps should take a look at our Tyrian Plum.