CEO's Top Auction Recommendations

The Stamp Man

The Stamp Man

2020-10-30 10:32:08

Incredibly rare lockdown stamp buying opportunities

Normally at this time of year, with the bleak winter months approaching, many of you would naturally turn to your stamp collections for a source of comfort and warmth. 

This year, we have the added dimension of coronavirus meaning most of us will be spending even more time at home than normal.

There is a silver lining…

The online stamp world is blossoming at last and we have a much wider range of online stamp buying opportunities than ever before.

The online stamp auction I present to you today is one of the best opportunities you will have to secure major stamp rarities this month.

Our online stamp rarities auction running from October 22nd to November 12th offers you the opportunity to:

  • Add some key rarities to your collection
  • Which are in the finest condition you could ever hope to find
  • With low reserve prices giving you the chance of securing such gems at artificially low prices (all subject to competition from other bidders of course!) 

There are 116 lots in total in our auction, heavily weighted to major British stamp rarities, although it also includes some key rarities from British Commonwealth countries and China.

The last 16 lots in the sale comprise a range of stamp collections, all with incredibly low starting prices and reserves.


The British stamp rarities featured in the sale, broadly split into three categories:

  1. Important early British postal history 
  2. The classics in superb condition 
  3. Extremely rare Queen Elizabeth II stamp errors 

Some of the philatelic items featured in the sale have not appeared on the market for many years. Such is their rarity, this could be a once in a generation opportunity. 

Six of the best

As always, I like to make my own personal recommendations on the lots you should be chasing.

When I am handling and describing auction lots, there are always a few which evoke a reaction from me above the others.

This can be because I have never handled them before, including unique items I am never going to see again.

Or it can be items where the quality is above any other example I have seen before. 

These are the six lots I think are the stars of the show…

Important early British Postal History

My first item is one of those heavenly philatelic pieces which exceed all expectations when handled up close.

Unquestionably, the gold medal winner in the auction…

Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 1, 1a and 2d blue Plate 1, SG2/5 

Starting bid required: £16,000


  • A superb quality combination entire envelope bearing two penny blacks from the first printing plate (1a) and also a two penny blue from the first printing plate
  • Each stamp is neatly cancelled by a crisp red Maltese Cross bringing perfection to the piece 
  • Interesting postal history being sent from London to Manchester with a London circular date stamp on the reverse for May 28, 1840, then redirected (as requested in the contents of the letter) without further postage to Ashgrove, Herts 
  • A magnificent 4d combination franking, believed to be unique with a May date usage 
  • This is a very important piece of early British postal history of exhibition quality and belonging to the highest echelon of philately 
  • It is also accompanied with a 1991 Holcombe Certificate of Authenticity
  • Key provenance as it once formed part of previous award winning stamp collections 
  • This key piece pf philatelic history was last valued by Stanley Gibbons at £65,000

When it comes to important postal history, what can be more important than something posted at the dawn of postal history, on the very first day on 6th of May, 1840…

Great Britain 1840 1d Mulready Envelope Forme 2 Stereo A148, SG ME2 

Starting bid required: £4,000


  • A very fine used example of the competitor to the penny black in May 1840, the controversial Mulready envelope
  • Despite its undeniable artistic appeal, unfortunately, the public hated it. They thought it was impractical and looked ridiculous. Within two months it was scrapped and almost all examples were destroyed. 
  • This was sent on the same day the first penny black was posted on May 6th, 1840 
  • It was sent from London to Torquay with a London dispatch circular date stamp on the top flap for MY.6.1840, the first day of issue, which opens out well for display 
  • It is a fine quality example neatly cancelled by a crisp strike of an orange-red Maltese Cross with a blue T.P Charles St West handstamp at the lower left 
  • A very rare and highly important piece of postal history 
  • The Stanley Gibbons specialised catalogue value for a 1d Mulready sent on 6th May is £18,000 

The classics in superb condition 

This is the first time I have handled this famous stamp for many years…

Great Britain 1840 1d black (VR Official), VR1 

Starting bid required: £6,000


  • The penny black VR Official was issued in May 1840 exclusively for use on official correspondence between government departments. The design is the same as the penny black in all respects other than the letters “VR” at the top of the stamp.
  • Because the Mulready was so disliked by the general public, it ended up being used by the government instead of the VR Official stamp. As a result, the stamp was abandoned and nearly all the supplies which had been printed were destroyed on 25th January, 1843. 
  • Only 21 sheets survived and some of those were used for postage and by Rowland Hill for experimentation with cancellation techniques. As such, it is both rare and highly sought after. 
  • This is a superb mint example with original gum and four good-sized margins. I am most impressed by its stunning colour and the quality of the gum, which makes it a wonderful exhibition quality example. 
  • It is also accompanied with a 1976 Royal Philatelic Society (RPS) Certificate of Authenticity. 
  • The current Stanley Gibbons catalogue lists a value for this, the first British Official stamp, of £20,000. However, it was previously listed at a value of £32,000 and I believe would represent an excellent long term investment for the lucky winner if secured anywhere near our auction estimate realisation of £10,000.

 There is also a chance in the auction for you to secure a lovely example of the stamp which is considered the one every collector of British stamps aspires to own…

Great Britain 1885 £5 Orange Plate 1 (White paper), SG137 

Starting bid required: £600


  • The £5 Orange is big, bold and bright and a true emblem of British philately
  • It is hard to imagine that a stamp was issued at the face value of £5 in 1882. That would be like issuing a stamp today with a face value in excess of £500! 
  • This is a very fine used example, which also shows the distorted frame line variety at the left, neatly cancelled by a crisp Registered/Threadneedle Street London oval date stamp. 
  • Its quality as a used example is most appealing with its lovely fresh stark orange colour and the cancellation leaving a clear profile 
  • The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £3,500 

Extremely rare Queen Elizabeth II stamp errors

Finding an error on a stamp is the “raison d'être” for some collectors.

With modern printing processes and stringent quality controls, there’s no excuse for such errors to exist.

Yet, mistakes are still made, but naturally most are spotted and destroyed nowadays, meaning modern stamp errors are usually extremely rare and valuable.

They don’t come much rarer or valuable than my top pick from the modern stamp errors featured in our November auction…

Great Britain Queen Elizabeth II 1997 20p Royal Golden Wedding, SG2011b 

Starting bid required: £3,200


  • This Royal Golden Wedding Anniversary commemorative stamp of 1997 contains an obvious error turning a stamp worth no more than its face value of 20p into one of the most important British Royalty stamp errors in existence and almost priceless
  • The intended gold face value of 20p is completely omitted in this error and the “Frame” is partially omitted 
  • It is one of the rarest modern British stamp errors in existence. Only one block containing two vertical strips of four stamps was discovered with the top two stamps both showing the face value omitted. 
  • The error was caused by the gold frame (and value) stopping at the base of the second stamp 
  • The quality is superb being unmounted with full original gum and a top marginal example 
  • As you would expect for such a rare and important stamp error, it is accompanied with a 2010 British Philatelic Association (BPA) Certificate of Authenticity 
  • It is no longer priced in the Stanley Gibbons GB Concise catalogue, presumably because of its excessive rarity and absence of any realised market prices to base a value on. It was, however, previously listed in their catalogue at a value of £25,000.

My final recommendation is perhaps slightly premature with still two months to go until Christmas…

Great Britain 1988 Christmas 13p error of value, SG1414a 

Starting bid required: £1,600


  • This error of value should never have entered the public domain. It was the result of a scrooge-like price rise by the government in the middle of production for the 1988 Christmas stamp issue. They increased the price from 13p to 14p and the 13p stamps were all to be destroyed. 
  • A small number of the 13p stamps escaped as they had already been sent out in the 1988 yearbooks of commemorative issues to collectors. 
  • Few survived though and the recognised authority on modern GB stamp errors, Pierron record only 10 known surviving mint examples 
  • The example in our auction is in pristine unmounted mint condition with full original gum and is offered with the normal 14p value for comparison 
  • It is also accompanied with a 1990 Royal Philatelic Society (RPS) Certificate of Authenticity. 
  • The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £9,750. Despite being one of the most well-known and sought after modern GB stamp errors, I think the current catalogue value remains modest compared to its peers.  

Place your opening bids now 

To bid on any of the above featured lots, simply click on the link underneath each stamp. This will take you through to the online bidding platform.

You can also download the full auction catalogue in the link below:


Again, all you need to do is click on the links underneath each lot number to bid. 

If you would rather avoid the hassle of bidding online, just send us details of the lot numbers and your maximum bids and we will bid on your behalf.

Remember, the auction closes on 12th November at 7pm (GMT).

You will need to place your bids before that deadline, or you miss your chance.

To take advantage of this opportunity or for more information on any lots, either:

  1. Email us at
  2. Call us on +44(0)1534 639998
  3. Message us to +44(0)7700702962

Remember these are top quality rarities at very low reserve prices. Good luck in winning your lots!

Kind regards 

Mike Hall

CEO, Just Collecting

PS. PLEASE BE AWARE!!! If you intend to place bids above £7,000 in value, to comply with recent regulatory changes in the European Union, you will need to go through an online verification process. You can go through this simple verification process in advance by verifying your account in the page within the link below:

Alternatively, we can complete this verification process for you on your behalf, if you let us know.Enjoyed this email? You may also like:

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