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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

£7,500 for a letter tracking Scott & Shackleton's Antarctic expedition

A letter and cover marking the expedition which launched the British explorers' careers has sold:- Spink held an auction of 1,550 stamps and other philatelic lots ending Thursday, July 15 under the straightforward title of Summer Collectors Series.

The top lot proved to be a British 1840-2000 mint and used stamp collection housed in three printed albums which included 1840 Penny Blacks and Twopenny Blues, various 19th century crowns and commemorative sets up until the present date.

Estimated at £6,000-8,000, the lot excited bidders and sold for £12,500 inclusive of buyer's premium. Philatelists and collectors may wish to take a look at some other rare and valuable Great British stamps which are also on the market.

The lot with broadest appeal, however, was probably a 1904 (16 July) Discovery crested envelope containing a letter from Dr. Reginald Koettlitz at the Falkland Islands to his brother in Dover.

Antarctic Cover

This long letter begins with his thoughts on the news that that Discovery is being delayed and goes on to explain the overhaul and refitting that was required in New Zealand. It also includes a map.

The British National Antarctic expedition launched the careers of several Antarctic explorers including both Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton. The cover displays a 2d green marginal pair with fine double-ring. The pair is in beautiful condition.

Its £2,500-3,000 listing always seemed a little modest, and a keen bidding battle saw it finally sold for £7,500.

Collectors interested in heroic explorers may be interested to know that a photograph signed by Mount Everest's conquerer Edmund Hillary is currently on the market.