Volcanoes, Catapults and a Gash in the Queen’s Ear
SPINK LONDON | With over 1,400 lots of fine stamps and postal history coming under the hammer, July 26 and 27 will be a busy two days with something to interest most stamp collectors. This sale boasts not only some of the finest philately, but some of the most interesting stories too. This sale even has items that have been caught between the devil of a volcano and the deep blue sea!
First and foremost, lot 1215 deserves centre stage as one of the star lots of the auction. It's a Rhodesian £1 scarlet and reddish mauve upper left corner pair, with a distinguishing long gash in the Queen's ear. This marks it as a monumental rarity, with only one other recorded example of an error Gash in Queen's ear item known. This is a great showpiece of Rhodesian philately we're sure will set the auction room furiously bidding.
Lot 1215, estimated: £20,000-25,000
Not far behind is lot 1255. A 1961 Tristan Relief fund set in unmounted mint blocks of four, 5c. + 6d. and 10c. + 1/- from the corners of the sheets. An extremely rare set in blocks. S.G. 172-175, £32,000+. These stamps are particularly interesting as they were issued in 1961 in Tristan da Cunha and locally surcharged for St Helena. This was done so they could be put on sale to provide aid for the refugees of the 1961 volcanic eruption which forced the evacuation of the entire population of Tristan via Cape Town to England, where they eventually settled on an old military base.
What is most interesting about these stamps is that the charity surcharge is in Sterling, the currency of St Helena despite the fact that the currency of Tristan had just changed to South African Rand and Cents. The issue was only on sale for a week between the 12th and 19th October and only 434 sets were sold. Their rarity is reflected in the exceptional price Spink predict they will make at auction.
Lot 1255, estimated: £12,000 - 15,000
Another item that has an interesting historical twist is lot 683. Lot 683 is an 1928 Air "Ile de France" 10f. on 90c. rose-carmine (signed Brun and Calves) and a 10f. on 1f.50 blue. They are fine and great Air Mail rarities. S.G. 464-465, £17,250. Maury €21,800.
What makes these two stamps so interesting is the way they reached the United States from France. They derive their name from the ship they were transported on. The Ile de France was not the fastest vessel in the world, but it briefly pioneered the quickest mail-system between Europe and the United States. In July 1928, a seaplane catapult was installed at the ship's stern for trials with two CAMS 37 flying boats that launched when the ship was within 200 miles, which decreased the mail delivery time by one day. This practice proved too costly, however, and in October 1930 the catapult was removed and the service discontinued. It's incredible that catapulting air mail was a legitimate postal technique for a brief time!
Lot 683, estimated £3,000-4,000
For more information, please contact Dominic Savastano:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7563 4094 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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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.