Today Spink London achieved a spectacular price during their sale of Western Australia from The Vestey Collection. The sale was predicted to achieve very high prices, but one lot exceeded Spink's highest estimates and expectations.

Lot 96, a single 4d. blue stamp with variety frame inverted, with very clear margins on three sides but touched along the left, cancelled by a black void obliterator though the variety is clearly visible. Only fifteen examples of this variety are recorded of which one is in the Royal Collection and five are in institutions.


Lot 96, realised: £ 122,400

This stamp is a unique example of a rare and valuable stamp, however its very irregular aesthetics offer an interesting insight into the printing process of philately. The 4d. value was prepared using a transfer of 60 positions from the Perkins, Bacon engraved 1d. plate design. The frames were then painted out and individually replaced by transfers taken originally from a drawing of the 4d. frame directly onto the stone. Four transfers were then taken from this intermediate stone to construct the printing stone of 240 impressions. The intermediate stone had carried transfer errors; the most prominent was the "T" of "POSTAGE" sliced at foot, which of course then appeared on four positions of Printing Stone 1. Printing Stone 1 was used for 100 sheets printed by Samson in July 1854 and for 3 sheets printed by Hillman in January 1855. However, Printing Stone 1 was considered unsatisfactory due to all of the irregularities. Hillman returned to intermediate Stone 1, which was still available, but noticed that on two impressions, Nos. 34 and 36, the frame had been damaged. He removed the frames from these positions and replaced them with two new ones. This produced intermediate Stone 1A, i.e. intermediate Stone 1 with two impressions altered. However, of the two replacement frames, one was tilted and the other inverted. Each error then occurred four times on Printing Stone 2, as did the other transfer errors, such as shaved "T", present on the intermediate. Printing Stone 2 was used for 97 sheets printed by Hillman in July 1855.

Lot 96 is from Printing Stone 2 and bears the combined amendments and irregularities of the first three printing stages. A very rare occurrence.

In December 1942 lot 96 was bought by Lord Vestey for the princely sum of £850 by Private Treaty from Robson Lowe - and today, after 73 years, it achieved a World Record price of £ 122,400, a spectacular result for a very special stamp. Not many stamps bear their printing history so proudly and Spink is delighted to have sold such a rare and beautiful example today.

For more Information, please contact Nick Startup:

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 ( or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.