Chronology : 1840-1849 1850-1859
1843 Brazil Stamps
2008 SOLD for $ 1.9M before fees by Robert A. Siegel
1847 The Bordeaux Cover
1993 SOLD for CHF 6.1M including premium by David Feldman (worth US $ 4.1M at that time)
narrated in 2020
The issue of 500 stamps of each denomination is ready just in time to be used for an invitation to a costume ball at Government House. The postal rate is 1 penny for a delivery in Port Louis and 2 pence for the rest of the island.
The stamps are inscribed POST OFFICE on the left edge, which corresponds to the marks previously used by this post, and also to the first US stamps issued in the same year. This first release is unique. A few months later, new plaques are prepared for multiple printing. The two editions differ in the text, which becomes POST PAID.
The POST OFFICE version of the Mauritius stamps is extremely rare. Four lots were sold by David Feldman on November 3, 1993 : two unused stamps and two covers.
The only known unused copy of the 1 penny was sold for CHF 1.4M before fees. One of the four unused copies of the 2 pence was sold for CHF 1.5M before fees. One of the four surviving covers mailed for the invitation to the ball was sold for CHF 1.4M before fees.
A cover sent from Port Louis to a wine merchant in Bordeaux has been stamped at the overseas rate and includes a copy of each denomination. Discovered in 1902 by a schoolboy who was consulting the recipient's archives, it is kept with its letter. It was sold for CHF 5M before fees, CHF 6.1M including premium.
The images are shared by Wikimedia.
1847 The Post Office in Mauritius
2016 SOLD for € 1.23M including premium
Two denominations are issued : 1 penny and 2 pence. The printing plate is made in intaglio by a local engraver in imitation of the stamps then applicable in Great Britain with the profile of Queen Victoria.
They are extremely rare : the printing was stopped in the following year when the administration decided to put the wording Post Paid instead of Post Office on the left edge. 500 'Post Office' stamps of each value had been edited. A cover that circulated with each of the two stamps was sold for CHF 6.2M including premium by David Feldman in 1993.
The printing plate surfaced in 1912. It is unique in its kind. A single example of each denomination appears on this small piece of copper 81 x 61 mm. Because of this rudimentary configuration, the stamps had to be printed individually.
Considered as an outstanding philatelic treasure, the plate enters around 1930 in the collection of Maurice Burrus but will not appear in his succession. The mystery is lifted in 2013 when the family finds it by chance in the inventory of a further deceased estate : a niece of the collector had kept it in his memory inside a small cover without ever imagining its inestimable value as a witness of the pioneering era of the postage stamp.
The plate is estimated in excess of € 2M for sale on December 1 in Geneva by David Feldman, lot 1. Here is the link to the website of the auction house. The image below is taken from the press kit. Please watch the video shared by David Feldman explaining in details this rediscovery.
1852 The Cover from Hawaii
2013 SOLD 2.25 M$ including premium
Three values are released, corresponding to the three postage rates: 2 cents for a newspaper, 5 cents for a letter to the Western United States and 13 cents to the East. Printed on thin paper, these fragile stamps poorly survived.
These 13 cents enabled to pay 5 cents for the sending country, 2 cents to the boat and 6 cents to the destination country. They were paid to the post office of Hawaii which ensured the sharing of the fee.
In 1905, somewhere in the United States, a worker cleans a factory disused for about 35 years. The previous owners had not checked the incineration of their archives. The worker discovered in a stove, almost intact, one of the wonders of the history of philately: the Dawson cover.
Shipped from Hawaii to New York on October 4, 1852, the Dawson cover did not use the stamp of 13 cents but a combination from the two involved countries : 2 cents and 5 cents of Hawaii and two stamps of 3 cents each of the United States. This is the only known copy with this mixed postage.
It was sold for $ 2.1 million including premium by Robert A. Siegel in New York in November 1995. It is now estimated $ 2M, for sale by the same auction house on June 25.
POST SALE COMMENT
Sold for $ 1.95M before fees, this prestigious piece of philately remained in the region of its lower estimate.
The file is shared by Wikimedia :
1856 British Guiana One Cent Magenta
2014 SOLD for $ 9.5M by Sotheby's
The first stamps issued by the British Guiana in 1850 are made in black ink by woodcut printing on papers of various colors depending on the face value. The work is done by the printer of the local newspaper. They are so rudimentary that each sold stamp is authenticated by the handwritten initials of the postmaster or of one of his clerks.
These first stamps of 4, 8 and 12 cents are not rare because they have attracted the interest of collectors from the 1870s. These circular or roughly octagonal stamps are nicknamed the cottonreels. An additional cottonreel of 2 cents was issued in 1851. This low value only applied for the local mail inside Georgetown and this variety is extremely rare.
In 1852 the government takes control of operations. Stamps for British Guiana are now lithographed in England. In September 1855, it is a disaster. British agents had misunderstood the order and printed a quantity of stamps ten times lower than needed. Faced with the shortage, Dalton released in 1856 a new series of locally printed British Guiana stamps, with the same rudimentary process as in 1850.
The 4 cents stamp of 1856 to be used for mail is printed on colored paper in four variants, magenta, carmine, blue and double sided blue.
The 1 cent for the postage of newspapers is a lower denomination that had no reason to be kept by users. Only one survived. In poor condition, almost indecipherable, it is magenta in the same shade as one of the 4 cent variants. Collected in 1873 by a schoolboy in the archives of his uncle, it was formally authenticated by an expert in 1891.
This 1 cent magenta 29 x 26 mm British Guiana stamp is the only British variety that escapes the royal collection. Its reverse bears eight marks of prominent owners. Sold for $ 935K by Siegel in 1980, it was already at that time the most expensive stamp in the world.
It was sold twice by Sotheby's : for $ 9.5M on June 17, 2014 and for $ 8.3M on June 8, 2021, lot 3. The image is shared by Wikimedia. Please watch a video shared in 2008 by psychediva.
In June 2014 the other lots from the DuPont collection of British Guiana stamps were sold by David Feldman. The top results before fees were € 160K for a 4 cents from 1850-1851 on a cover, € 190K for a 2 cents from 1851 and € 240K for a blue 4 cents on a cover from 1856.
1857 The Only 3-Skilling Yellow
1996 SOLD for CHF 2.9M including premium by David Feldman
narrated in 2010 before a private auction sale (see below)
No other copy will never be found, making this stamp the rarest and most desired piece on the philately market. Its story is told on the Treskilling Yellow page of Wikipedia, where it is illustrated. It was canceled in 1857.
It is a mistake and not a fake. This sample has all the characteristics of an 8 Skilling stamp, yellow, unless it bears the engraving of the 3 Skilling, which is green for all other known copies. The hypothesis to keep is that one of 100 clichés of a printing block of 8 Skilling was damaged, and the operator has inadvertently changed it by a 3 Skilling cliché. Nobody went aware of the error, and there is no way of knowing how many wrong copies were produced.
It was sold in 1996 2.9 MCHF including premium by David Feldman.
A scoop of the Telegraph has just announced its forthcoming sale without giving details, and it took me a few navigation tips to find the source: the 3 Skilling Yellow comes on May 22 in Geneva at private auction by David Feldman, with a specific catalog. You are now part of the happy few: here is the link to the catalog shared by the auction house.
David Feldman has done a quick calculation. Reduced to its weight, this small artefact of 26.75 milligrams is valued $ 70 billion per kilogram! Who says better?
POST SALE COMMENT
The Treskilling was sold for over $ 2.3 million to a group of buyers who required that the exact amount was not disclosed . I remind that it was a private auction.
Shared by Wikimedia :
1869 The Two-Colored Errors
2013 SOLD for $ 920K including premium
Another innovation is technical. Four of these values are printed in two colors, the first step towards the modern polychromatic stamp: 15c, 24c, 30c and 90c Lincoln.
The printing is done in two stages. When the sheet is presented in reverse to its second pass, the two elements of the image are one another inverted. This error of image position did not prevent the stamps to be used.
The controls were not strict enough. Similar errors of the 1901 Pan American issue were certainly better filtered, and only a single sheet escaped the controls of the 1918 Air Post.
Coming back to the Pictorial Issue of 1869. Survivors of uncirculated inverts are very rare: their total for the three usual values is estimated at 14 units. On February 9, 2008, Philip Weiss sold for $ 1.27 million including premium one of the four 24c, sound but unevenly centered and without gum.
On October 9 in New York, Robert A. Siegel sells the best known inverted example of the two other usual values. Each one is the only specimen in its category to have retained its original gum. The 15c stamp, whose colors are very fresh, is estimated $ 1.25 M. The 30c, perfectly centered, is estimated $ 1M.
The Grant administration, which has made this release, had reluctantly inherited this project from Johnson and did nothing to promote it to the users. After a few months, the traditional figuration returned to the US stamp, explaining the scarcity of the Pictorial issue and of its errors.
POST SALE COMMENT
Very rare and beautiful in their class, both stamps remained however below the expected price. Before fees, the 15c stamp was sold for $ 800K and the 30c stamp for $ 600K. The auction house charges a buyer's premium of 15%.
1918 Inverted Jenny
Plate Block of Four
2021 SOLD for $ 4.9M by Sotheby's
May 15, 1918 is a historic date for the civil aviation : the first regular airmail service is inaugurated in Washington DC by President Wilson. It connects New York to Washington and return, with a change of plane in Philadelphia.
Mail shipping was set at 24c and the two-color stamp was available since the day before. The blue center features the biplane model selected for this service, a Jenny, nickname for the Curtiss JN-4. The preparation of the stamp was made in a hurry. The die for printing the plane had been completed only six days earlier. The engraver added in the picture the serial number of the aircraft scheduled for the official inaugural flight, 38262.
After the inverted images in bicolored US stamps of 1869 and 1901, philatelists hoped that the inverted error would also affect that new bicolor issue. In the morning of that first day, May 14, the administration is informed that a full sheet with the upside-down plane has been sold to a customer in a post office of Washington DC.
The discoverer, William T. Robey, had rushed at the opening of the post office while one of his friends was doing the same in Philadelphia. Warned after the transaction when Robey was asking for another similar sheet, the employee had not been in position to prevent it.
In the afternoon of the same day, the sale to the public is suspended for two hours in Philadelphia, New York and Washington for an inspection of the stock and the scrap of the defective sheets. In order to standardize the shipment, the production process included a trimming of the top edge where both plate numbers, 8493 for the blue and 8492 for the carmine rose, had been printed. The error sheet was an exception where the blue plate reference was left untrimmed, on the opposite edge.
We are still in the heroic time of aviation. The President is upset : he is wasting his precious time. 38262 takes off southward instead of going toward Philadelphia. The pilot tried to land in the countryside and bogged down in a swamp this plane carrying the first mailbag of the new service. Fortunately in the opposite travel on the same day the first north-south transfer is successful.
The reaction of the administration after the Inverted error discovery had been extremely rapid. For the following runs, the word TOP is added at the top edge of the sheet and is checked in a specific production control. On May 21, when the dealer Eugene Klein buys for $ 15,000 from Robey this Inverted Jenny sheet paid for $ 24 six days earlier, it already appears that the additional checks have been effective and that this example will remain unique.
A few hours later, Klein sells the complete sheet to the rich and eccentric collector Colonel Green. The unpleasant trimming had intentionally removed the top and right margins and damaged he perforations in their adjacent stamps. Green does not want to keep the whole. He will only accept the best positions for his collection and entrusts the sale of the rest to Klein. It is at this point that Klein numbers each stamp from 1 to 100 on the reverse of the sheet to record the original position of each stamp before dividing the sheet into singles and blocks.
The blue plate number is printed in the otherwise blank element below position 97. One of the elements kept by Green is a block of eight, 85-88 and 95-98, with its sheet margins, therefore including the plate number.
The quality of the eight stamps was uneven. In 1944 a new owner removed individually the four stamps on the left, which had gum defects and thinning. This rework was judicious. The remaining block, consisting of positions 87, 88, 97, 98 plus the two sheet margins including the plate number below the 97, is extremely fine for the paper, colors, perforations, thickness, original gum and centering.
The unique Inverted Jenny plate block was sold for $ 1.1M by Christie's on October 12, 1989, for $ 2.97M by Robert A. Siegel on October 19, 2005 and for $ 4.9M by Sotheby's on June 8, 2021, lot 2.
The image is shared by Wikimedia.
Take a closer look at three pocket sized treasures from the collection of famed shoe designer & fashion entrepreneur Stuart Weitzman. On offer in a live sale on 8 June, the historic auction features the world's most rare & valuable coin & stamp specimens. https://t.co/M9FTbFdy2X pic.twitter.com/3kMSIUUYdE— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) May 27, 2021
Positions 45, 46, 55, 56
2019 SOLD for $ 1.45M before fees by Spink
After the Green sale, the block of eight is separated into a very fine block of four, retaining the inscribed bottom margin, plus four single stamps.
On September 27, 2019, Spink sold for $ 1.45M before fees as Lot 1 one of the blocks of four from Green's selection, consisting of the central positions 45, 46, 55 and 56 of the original sheet. This block is in very fine condition with a small disturbing to the original gum which is common in the Green collection.
2018 SOLD for $ 1.6M by Robert A. Siegel
The mapping of the original separation is now complete. The last missing position, 49, surfaced in a bank vault. From the region of the sheet that displayed the best centering, this stamp had been hoarded as soon as it was purchased.
Found by a descendant of the original investor, Position 49 had never been handled during these one hundred years of storage away from light. It has very fresh colors and never had a hinge. It is the best specimen with an intact gum, graded Mint Never Hinged Extremely Fine 90 by the Philatelic Foundation. It was sold for $ 1.6M by Robert A. Siegel on November 15, 2018, lot 644.
The grading of Position 49 did not overcome the best specimen from that sheet, Position 58, graded 95 Between Extremely Fine and Mint - Previously Hinged.
It should be noted that all of the best specimens come from the six lower rows and the four right columns of the original sheet.
2016 SOLD for $ 1.35M by Robert A. Siegel
The best Inverted Jenny is Position 58. It is graded by PSE XF-Sup 95 Mint OG, meaning between extremely fine and superb, not canceled, keeping its original gum (with minor hinging traces). Its centering with wide full margins contributes to its grading at 95. Very fresh, it has the most beautiful front side. A trace of hinge prevents it from reaching the top grade.
Robert A. Siegel sold it for $ 580K on June 3, 2005 and for $ 1.35M on May 31, 2016, lot 275.