Chartwell Collection of Great Britain and British Empire stamps



2015-06-26 11:22:30

The Chartwell Collection of Great Britain and British Empire stamps is a legendary collection of stamps formed by the philatelist Sir Cyril Humphrey Cripps.


Sir Cyril Humphrey Cripps

A managing director and later Chairman of the family firm, Pianoforte Supplies Limited, Sir Humphrey is remembered for his special dedication to the family philanthropic fund the Cripps Foundation, which has made great donations to universities, schools, churches, colleges and museums.

He is also remembered by his family as having an incredible mind with a photographic memory which proved invaluable in his collecting passion. Cripps enthusiasm for stamps actually developed from indulging his son Robert in his stamp collecting hobby.

Cripps went on to amass some of the finest material for Great Britain and the British Empire.


Collection highlights

Some of the greatest highlights of the collection include:

The finest 'Post Office' Mauritius 2d blue

Cripps picked it up in 1972 for £29,000. He was almost immediately offered £39,000 for the rare stamp, but refused.

Tyrian Plum

A remarkable corner marginal example of a Tyrian Plum also features in the collection.

Main article: Great Britain 1910 2d Tyrian Plum

12 Nissen reconstructions

The original 12 Nissen reconstructions of the 1d black plates were used to produce the Nissen plating book of 1922, regarded as one of the greatest philatelic masterpieces ever constructed.

Notable sales

In April 2011, it was reported that the UK auction house Spink and Son would offer the Chartwell Collection of Great Britain and British Empire stamps in a series of sales beginning in June 2011 and continuing into 2012.

Prior to the sale, the collection was expected to bring over £20m ($32.6m).

During the sale of the collection, several stamps were sold for record prices including:

  • An 1867 One Shilling British Virgin Islands error stamp with its image of the Virgin Mary missing, sold for a record price of £144,000 (including buyer's premium).

  • A Mauritius 1847 Post Office 2d Blue, which doubled its high-end estimate of £500,000 to sell for £1.08 million (including buyer's premium) making it the most expensive stamp ever sold at a British auction.

  • An 1853 example of Perot’s First Issue Bermuda Post Office Stamp, created by postmaster William Bennett Perot to prevent mail fraud, sold for £114,000 (including buyer's premium).

  • A rare cover featuring Perot’s Second Issue Bermuda Post Office Stamp, sold for £132,000 (including buyer's premium).

The sale also included a number of notable examples of the Penny Black, including:

  • A 'TA' stamp from the Penny Black first registration sheet sold for £216,000.

  • The Pontefract Penny Black cover, described as "the finest and most attractive one Penny Black cover in existence", dated May 13 1840 and featuring a single stamp with a reddish-orange Maltese Cross cancellation stamp, sold for £348,000.

  • A mint condition Plate block of four Plate Seven Penny Blacks (the only plate block from Plate Seven known to exist), with the margin inscription "PRICE 1d. Per Label, 1/- Per Row", sold for £300,000.

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