Highlight #10 — Unique Worldwide Lots

The prospect of adding a unique item to a collection or exhibit always gives a special thrill. There are less than a handful of issued stamps which are truly "unique" AND listed by the major catalogues. Each would cost a fortune to acquire. There are more opportunities to acquire a one-of-a-kind item which is unique by virtue of being a one-off error during printing (for example a fold-over which results in a missing colour or missing surcharge). These are often listed in major catalogues and they are usually very expensive. Fortunately for collectors there are opportunities to add legitimate philatelic material which is more affordable while at the same time being unique.

It is reported that Queen Elizabeth personally approves the stamps of Great Britain which bear her portrait, and that the same is true in many of the Commonwealth countries. If one had the good fortune to acquire a sheet of issued stamps signed by Queen Elizabeth, it could possibly be called "unique," but the item would have no philatelic importance in an Exhibit. On the other hand, a proof sheet of the same stamp with the Queen’s initials or signature (indicating her approval of the design) and presumably other ancillary markings would have significant philatelic importance.  It is even possible they might be valued about the same in an auction.

We illustrate three lots with unique items (one estimated at only $50) in our seventh auction.

Lot 1154 — Azores E/P Collection of Archival Proofs, total of 163 stamps (27 items) from the 1920s including imperforates, multiples and perforated blocks. Several have printer’s or Post Office notations and corrections either in selvedge or on the stamps. Some are missing denominations, have printing errors, etc. A wonderful addition to an exhibit. Fine-very fine. Estimate $1500.

Lot 1273 — Israel E/P Original Artwork for 1961 Airmail issue #C24 by Friedl Stern, accepted design is essentially the same, but has Israel on right, framing tree at left and Jerusalem is horizontal. Sold by Argyll Etkin of London for over £290 in 1996. Example of #C24 included for comparison. Estimate $50.

Lot 2022 — Portugal Collection of Archival Proofs, with a total of 120 proofs from the 1920s-1940s on 23 items including imperforate multiples and perforated blocks. Several have printer’s of Post Office notes either in selvedge or on the stamps. Some are missing denominations. All stamps have archival punch holes. A rare offering and a must have for the exhibitor of these issues. Fine-very fine. Estimate $1000.

Highlight #9 — Worldwide Local Issues

In Highlight #4 we featured nineteenth century Canadian local stamps — most of them bogus.  In the worldwide sections there are many lots of both local issues and propaganda stamps which come from the era during and after World War II.  Sometimes these two categories overlap as in Lot 1152 from Austria.  Many of these are carefully described, numbered, and valued in the Specialized Michel Catalogues.

Among the propaganda items are Lots 1248, 1249, and 1899.

Lot 1249 —  Michel #28II 1943 British Propaganda forgery, on which the typical Hitler head has been replaced with that of Heinrich Himmler, Type II narrow line variety, mint never hinged, fine-very fine, signed on reverse. Michel €400.

Lot 1899 — World War II Propaganda and Occupation Issues. An interesting selection of 63 stamps including Azad Hind (Free India), apparently complete (21 stamps), both imperf and perforated, French Volunteer Legion of the German Army (9 stamps), German Occupation of Lithuania (12 stamps). All mint, some never hinged and fine-very fine. The key Azad Hind set of 3 imperfs is never hinged but with light gum bends. Estimate $500.

Other issues either offered a local service, made an attempt to do so, or were overprinted for that purpose. Examples are the issues of Fredersdof, Saverne, Gorochow, Labomi, and Zara in Lots 1253-1258.  Larger lots of locals etc. are found in Lots 1869 and 1874.

Lot 1874 — World War II and Post-War Local issues accumulation. An interesting grouping of over 150 stamps issued during or immediately following the German occupation of various territories. Note Memel, Estonia, better Ukraine and Lithuania, Russia, Bohemia & Moravia, Plebiscites, Laibach. Also British Propaganda forgery of 1938 Winter Help issue depicting Himmler (small fault). Several stamps bear expert markings. Inspection may prove rewarding. A lovely accumulation containing a wealth of seldom seen material. Estimate $500.

Highlight #8 — Specialization in collecting

Many people (and especially those who Exhibit competitively) have a favorite stamp issue and extend their collecting interests well beyond the basic listings in the Scott or Unitrade catalogues.

The Canada "Medallions" of 1932 are just one example of a stamp issue where this auction offers to go beyond the scope of the catalogue. We offer 10 individual lots (571 to 579 followed by a booklet as Lot 660). These are all good and will delight new buyers, but two are of special interest.

Lot 574 — Canada #199a 1932 5¢ dark blue KGV Medallion, horizontal pair imperforate vertically, mint never hinged and very fine. Accompanied by 2009 Richard Gratton AIEP certificate. A rare error to locate in any quality, let alone in this lovely never hinged quality. Unitrade CV$3500.

This is the key item of the issue as listed in the catalogues.

To go with the five cent value error, there is another lot which offers distinctive colours which you will not find referenced in the basic catalogues.

Lot 573 — Canada #199 1932 5¢ KGV Medallion dark, deep and slate blue shades, five blocks in five distinct shades: darkest deep blue (9 F-VF), dark blue (24 F-VF plate No. 1 LL – damage to selvedge), blue (24 F-VF plate No. 1 UL – hinge remnants in selvedge), slate blue (16 fine plate No. 2 LL) and light slate blue (35 mostly VF, partial plate 2, light crease in 2). All stamps never hinged, fine-very fine. Unitrade CV$2940.

This lot was originally in the huge King George V never hinged Lot 1611, which has a massive Scott catalogue value of $42,567.

Lot 1611 — 1897-1949 Large stockbook of mint never hinged from an old-time accumulation. All stamps never hinged, mostly in part panes, blocks and large multiples (such as blocks of 9 or more). Strength in KGV era. Some multiples have inscriptions in the selvedge. We note: 1897 1¢ orange Jubilee strip of 4, 1911 7¢ red brown Admiral in four blocks of 4, 1930 50¢ dull blue Grand Pré single and pair, large blocks (including plate numbers) of the 1931 10¢ green Cartier, blocks of the 1932 Medallion series, large blocks of the 1932 13¢ dull violet Quebec Citadel, half pane (folded) of the 1934 3¢ Jacques Cartier, a number of large blocks of the 13¢ blue Britannia, large blocks of the 1935 1¢-8¢ KGV series, large blocks (including some of 20) of the 1935 10¢ Mountie. Overall centering of this selection is typical with better items to be found. Scott CV$42,567.

This might be quite a bargain but it will take a big budget to add so many Medallion blocks to your collection.  On the other hand it might be possible to buy the lot and sell off much of it to cover the whole cost, leaving some great items at no cost but your time and expertise.