SPINK LONDON | On the 20th of April, Spink is delighted to be selling the Arthur Gray Collection of Queen Elizabeth II Pre-Decimal Issues. Arthur Gray is a name that requires very little in the way of introduction when it comes to Australian philately. Over a lifetime he has amassed a collection that holds many of the rarest recorded items from this portion of philately. This sale abounds with some of the most delightful die proofs, issued stamps, extremely rare errors,  hand-drawn and annotated essays exhibiting stunning artwork and vivid depictions of Australian wildlife, and of course, Queen Elizabeth II.

This sale contains a rare opportunity to acquire a real swathe of material detailing the production and evolution of Australian philately from this period. A good example of this can be seen in lots 85 and 95, and lots 86 and 97. Lot 85 is a watercolour essay of the iconic Blue Wren 5d. in black, blue and brown tones, a visually pleasing piece on its own. However, this item is also being offered with an additional preliminary pencil sketch of the same bird reversed and executed on the reverse of an envelope, both drawn by Betty Temple-Watts. Lot 95 is then the plate proof of the 2/5d. Blue Wren design on white wove paper mounted in sunken card frame. There were only nine die proofs prepared for presentation purposes and lot 95 makes up number "7".


Lot 85, estimated: £700 - 900


Lot 95, estimated: £800 - 1,000

Similarly, lot 86 is another series of drawings by Betty Temple-Watts. They are the undenominated Scarlet Robin colour pencil sketch in a design similar to the issued 2/6d., executed on wove paper offered with and a similarly designed undenominated watercolour sketch but with "AUSTRALIA" added and a grub in the beak. Then in lot 97, there is a very interesting error on the issued stamp. 2/6d. Scarlet Robin with red omitted, neatly tied by G.P.O. Sydney c.d.s. on 1965 (8 Sept.) envelope to Brazil, fine. The only recorded used example and one of the great rarities from this Elizabethan period. S.G. 368a, unpriced used; BW 421c, unpriced used.


Lot 86, estimated: £800 - 1,000


Lot 97, estimated: £8,000 - 10,000

Spink also predict that lots 118 and 119 will prove to be exceptionally popular on the 20th April. Lot 1955 (Aug.) Y.M.C.A. Centenary 3 ½d. die proof. A very important detail is that it bears the hand-painted red triangle. Eight such die proofs were produced for presentation purposes. Interestingly, lot 119, a 1955 (Aug.) Y.M.C.A. 3 ½d. has this red (emblem) omitted! It is one of the great rarities of Australian philately. R.P.S. Certificate (1974). S.G. 286a, £26,000; BW 328c, $50,000. Only two examples of the missing triangle error have ever been reported. This mint example was purchased at a Sydney post office. The second example is used on cover, cancelled by a Caufield South machine postmark, 20 September 1955, and is defective. It is believed that in both cases the error has been caused by a paper fold during printing.


Lot 118, estimated:  £800 - 1,000


Lot 119, estimated: £15,000 - 20,000

For more information, please contact Nick Startup:

Nick Startup: Tel: +44 (0)20 7563 4073 | Email: [email protected]

SPINK LONDON | 69 Southampton Row | Bloomsbury | London | WC1B 4ET

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.