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Monday, August 23, 2010

Rare Twopenny Blue and Penny Black multiples lead British rare stamp sale

Appearing at Spink next month, the only combination of its kind known goes under the hammer

As we've reported, Spink are holding a spectacular pair of sales of rare stamps in Singapore late next month including the Stolz collection of the postal history of British South-East Asia.

But ahead of that, they've managed to slip in an interesting sale of Great Britain's stamps and postal history, for which some details are now available.

Comprising nearly 300 lots, the auction includes a remarkable collection of early newspapers (Smith's Currant Intelligence, True Domestick Intelligence and others) noting some details of the post at the time (including a messenger extorting extra pennies for the delivery of pre-paid mail).

However, the most exciting lots for philatelists are three Twopenny Blue multiples - one used but separate and two on covers.

The former is a CG-DH block of four in dull blue, margins generally good to large but just cut into at lower right, cancelled by fine strikes of 1844-type Irish numeral "317" of Macroom Lusk in blue.

Despite a vertical crease on the right and a scissor cut between left pair, this is a remarkable block of this very rare combination and certainly not overvalued at its listing of £10,000-15,000.

First of the two covers has an HG-HL strip of six Twopenny Blues in a pale blue shade, all of which have margins all round. These are close in places at the foot but very large at the top, even showing a portion of one additional stamp on the fifth across.

Twopence blue strip cover
Twopence blue strip cover

Every stamp was tied on 1841 (14 Dec.) on its way to its destination HMS Gorgon in Malta by black Maltese Cross. This rare and beautiful example of an overseas destination cover, unusually crease-free, is listed at £15,000-18,000.

Finally, an HE-IF block of four Twopenny Blues in a vivid, bright blue shade, used with an 1840 Penny Black Plate VI NE-NF pair on 1840 (28 Aug) cover from Inverary to Edinburgh is the star of the show.

Twopence blue block and Penny Black pair cover
Twopence blue block and Penny Black pair cover

With large margins all round and dull red Maltese Cross cancellations, this is believed to be the only block of four used with a Penny Black on a complete cover to either an inland or foreign destination, including Mulready covers and is therefore listed at £15,000-20,000.

The auction takes place on September 9. Investors who can't wait that long may wish to take a look at these Great British stamps which are currently on the market.