Spink London is excited to be selling one of the most thorough and complete collection of the stamps and postal history of Swaziland, formed by Peter van der Molen, FRPSL, RDPSA, on the 20th May 2015. Few in the world of philately have the opportunity of not only forming a significant collection but also of being the driving force behind the standard book of the subject. Peter van der Molen is such a person.

The sale commences with a copy of the superb 2013 handbook written and signed by Peter van der Molen, the definitive work for which he was awarded the 2014 RPSL Crawford Medal.


 Lot 1001, Estimated £80-100

The sale includes a vast array of postal items from the period 1889 - 1968. Within this broad expanse there are a few truly extraordinary items which offer an exciting insight into the postal history of a turbulent time for this country.

Early on in the "Swaziland" Overprint issue section, there is a phenomenal cover which dates back to the known 'Staatscourant' of 1882 (July), which was issued to quarantine the plague to Swaziland. The proclamation was published to contain the plague by prohibiting the travel of 'coloured' persons and their goods from Swaziland to the Republic until further notice. Only the conveyance of mail would be allowed, and that was subject to regulations. However, the smallpox kept spreading and an extraordinary "Staatscourant" was issued on the 29th July 1892, extending the travel prohibition also to 'white' persons. This cover is one of very few surviving examples from the period of smallpox containment.   


Lot 1082, an envelope from Bremersdorp to Cape Town, 15 August 1892.

Estimated: £800 - 1,000.

In addition to this, the sale also includes items that originate from the deep seated unrest of the Anglo-Boer War period (1898 - 1902). Lots 1103 and 1105 are excellent examples. Lot 1103, is an 11th August 1898 halfpenny green card from Bremersdorp to Pretoria cancelled by fine double ring datestamp. The text on the reverse confirms the principal reason for the extreme unrest amongst the natives of Swaziland at the time and refers to the 'hut' tax imposed by the Z.A.R. government on the natives. The rationale behind the tax was that it would force natives to enter the labour market and offer their labour to earn money to pay for their taxes. However, these external infringements clashed with the natives' desire to govern themselves and that their internal affairs should not be imposed on by the Z. A. R. government, causing much unrest and many other issues.


 Lot 1103, estimated: £800 - 1,000.

Lot 1105 is a perfect example of the further issues that arose during this time in Swaziland. It dates back to the 24th August 1898. April, 1898 had seen the Swazi king Bhunu implicated in the murder of a senior chief. Bhunu fled to Zululand and was handed over to the Z. A. R. police to be tried in Swaziland. During this period the populace of Swaziland became extremely agitated to the point where Z. A. R. troops had to be deployed to guard the border. Lot 1105 is a beautiful example of an unstamped envelope from Bremersdorp to Pretoria. It is extremely rare, being only one of four known covers recorded from this unrest campaign.


  Lot 1105, estimated: £800 - 1,000

However, the excitement doesn't end in the 19th century with this collection. The star of the auction, lot 1155, a set of four comprising of a ½d. green, 1d. carmine, 2d. brown and 6d. bright purple is an enigma wrapped in mystery. These stamps are very interesting because in 1934 the administration of Basultoland and Swaziland arranged for a ½d., 1d., 2d. and 6d.duties of their own current issue to be overprinted "OFFICIAL" by the Union Government Printer in Pretoria for use on official correspondence. When the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London heard about these issues which had not been authorised, instructions were given to withdraw those stamps. However, it was rumoured that four sets of the Swaziland overprints had escaped destruction. Of the Basutoland overprints a block of four of each was presented to King George V for his collections, however he did not receive a similar set of the Swaziland issue. The corner examples of the stamps in this lot are in wonderful condition and are a thrilling piece of a philatelic jigsaw no one can piece together.


Lot 1155, estimated: £30,000 - 50,000

For more information, please contact David Parsons:

Tel: + 44 020 7563 4072 | Email: [email protected]   


About Spink

Spink is the world's leading auctioneer of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books and wine.  Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holder of royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offers an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide.  Headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland, Spink holds over 70 auctions a year.  Catalogues can be accessed through the Spink website (www.spink.com) or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.