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Friday, May 14, 2010

Two penny stamp 'error sheet' to sell for £20,000

A set of proofs used to illustrate the points on a printing in need of repair heads a London auction

On May 19, Bill Gross is selling a selection of classic rare European stamps, including a French tête-beche pair and a German/Chinese cover at Spink Shreves in New York.

However, Spink in London is also offering quite an impressive selection of philatelic pieces the same day as its sister company. Specifically: The "Alvarado" Collection of NSW, the Perkins Bacon & Co., Plates in Association with Millennium Philatelic Auctions.

The auction includes several uses of the imperforate 5d dull green and others sent from Australia to England including an 1863 (21 October) envelope from Sydney to London, bearing a 5d dull green horizontal pair.

Dull Green Pair Cover.
Dull Green Pair Cover

It is a superb cover, illustrating the new 10d rate via Marseilles, and bearing one of only four or five known pairs of the dull green, and the only recorded pair on a cover. Previously part of the collections of C L Pack and V P Manwood, it is estimated at £12,000-15,000.

The expected top lot, however, is a complete sheet of proofs printed from a Two Penny Blue plate. The sheet has been hole punched at several points (positions 11, 12, 24, 36, 73, 97, 104 and 105), puncturing 'stamps' to indicate where the plate needed repairs.

In fact, that message is handwritten on the back of the paper, signed Thomas Richards and dated 13 Sep 1860, confirmed with a Treasury handstamp.

Hole Punch Two Penny Blue Sheet
Hole Punched Two Penny Blue Sheet

Despite some creasing, the lot is extremely desirable. It has been part of the collections of Dr H Osborne and John S White. In fact the piece is mentioned in the Robson Lowe Encyclopaedia (pp37-39, vol 4).

Collectors of rare stamps wishing to own a classic British rarity may be interested to know that a Tyrian Plum is currently on the market.