SPINK LONDON | Collectors are ready and waiting for the next instalment of the David Pitts Collection after the inaugural sale in October 2016 which featured his extensive British Africa section. The wait will not be long for more of David's top quality material as the next sale will take place in London on the 24th January 2017. The catalogue is already available online and in print for our avid stamp collectors. This is the second in a series of auctions dedicated to the remarkable collection of British Empire postal history and stamps of the British Empire, but is the first of two sales centred on the Caribbean. 

This first sale offers a wonderful range of early letters and handstamps for the postal historians, together with Great Britain stamps used in the islands, with strong sections of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Virgin Islands. Rare handstamps abound in these sections. 

David Pitts is a lifelong collector, buying his first stamp at the tender age of eight. As he advanced in his professional career he became a serious philatelist, focusing on the British Empire. His interests have always been limited to used stamps and postal history; believing unused mint material, while frequently attractive works of art, are not as interesting as "cancelled" stamps. 

His goal over the years has been to collect every issued stamp, used, and, their pre-adhesive postal markings, from each component of the entire British Empire through to 1966. David has always been particularly interested in Bermuda. His exhibit, "Bermuda: Crossroads of the Atlantic", met with considerable acclaim in presentations before the Royal Philatelic Society and the Collectors Club of New York, and is the only Bermuda exhibit to ever win an international Large Gold medal. There will be two sales dedicated to his collection of Bermuda, the first will be in April 2017, and the second in October 2017. 

The most important item in this auction, and arguably in the whole of the Pitts collections, is the British Guiana 1851 "Cottonreel" 2c. rose on medium wove paper, considered by many to be among the world's greatest philatelic rarities.

The example offered in the Pitts sale is by far the finest of the four recorded singles of this stamp, the other copies being three pairs which are known on covers.

The history of these fascinating stamps can be traced all the way back to June 1850 with a Post Office notice stating that stamps of 4c., 8c. and 12c. were to be issued, but it was not until February 1851 that a further Post Office notice made mention of a 2c. value being issued. This value was to be used for the delivery of mail within Georgetown. The new 2c. rate was to commence on 1 March and any mail not bearing the new 2c. value was to be charged 8c. upon delivery.

All stamps from this "Cottonreel" issue were produced at the office of the Royal Gazette. The frames by pieces of printer's brass rule, bevelled at one edge and blunt at the other. After each piece was bent it was soldered at the junction so as to make a tube. Pieces of printer's type were fitted to form the inscriptions and value. The nickname "Cottonreel" is derived from their resemblance to the well-printed labels which appeared at the ends of wooden reels of cotton.

When the stamps were issued most were cut to the design of the circular surround, a quite common Victorian way of cutting to the design shape, and when posted they were initialled by various members of the postal authorities, the example offered here being "J.B.S.", those of J.B. Smith, Clerk Imperial Department of Post Office.

The example offered in the forthcoming auction has a wonderful pedigree having once resided in the Count von Ferrary collection. It was then in the Champion collection before being owned by an American collector who offered it for sale in Spink's 2006 Washington International Stamp Show auction, where it sold for the phenomenal price of $365,000.

The stamp is offered in the Pitts sale catalogue with an estimate of £200,000-250,000


Lot 61, estimated: £200,000 - 250,000

The second, which will follow later in 2017, will be the Windward Islands group, most noticeably Trinidad, together with Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Falkland Islands.

Following on from this auction will be the first of two sales , scheduled for April 2017, of Bermuda which will feature Provisional surcharges, Queen Victoria varieties, Handstamped Datestamps, Dock and Caravel issues, King George V and VI Keyplate issues and other miscellaneous categories. The second Bermuda sale will take place in October 2017 and with feature the international award-winning display collection which will include the earliest recorded cover from Bermuda in 1617. There are also wonderful postal history covers and handstamps, no less than five of the 1848-61 Postmasters' Stamps, the famous "Moncrieff" cover and much besides.

Clients interested in finding out further details about the sale should contact David Parsons:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7563 4072 | Email: [email protected]

 About SpinkSpink 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.