Rare GB Postage Going Under The Hammer

Sunday 9th May 2021 - Belle Gait


Rare GB Postage Going Under The Hammer

We have a look at the upcoming Richard Winterton Auctioneers Stamps & Postal History Sale

Whether you are brand new to stamp collecting or a devoted long-time philatelist, then the upcoming Richard Winterton Auctioneers sale may be of interest to you. The auction house will hold an international philately auction on Thursday, May 13th. The sale will include many rare GB postage stamps. 


British stamp collecting became popular in the 1850s when the young Queen Victoria ascended to the throne. There are several rare and unusual stamps from this era, some valued at more than £80,000!


Some examples of sought-after postage stamps will be going under the hammer in the Lichfield auction on Thursday, which will be broadcast live. The collection includes many rare and unusual examples of Great Britain issuances, illustrating how a coincidence can turn a material object into a highly coveted prize.  


One of the main highlights is this 1840 Twopenny Blue – the world's second official postage stamp - housed in its original wrapper; this purchase is sure to be a prized addition for any collector. 


The letter that was sent with it bears a cancellation from 1844 and suggests that the original purchaser kept it unused in their drawer for four years before sending out their first letter. The original 2d blue was only printed for a few short months in 1840 and had long been replaced by an upgraded design before it could be franked. The design of the 1840 stamp matches that of the Penny Black with the exception of the denomination. However, copies are significantly rarer than those made on 1-penny stamps due to their rarity.


"When you have a rare stamp with the wrong postmark on an attractive wrapper complete with back-stamps and seal, all the elements have come together to create a rare beastie indeed," said philately specialist Phil Ives. "It is part of a wonderful early GB collection with an emphasis on quality."



There are also more than 20 examples of the world's first adhesive postage stamp, the 1840 Penny Black. The stamp, which was printed for less than a year, came in imperforate sheets, which then had to be hand-cut with giant scissors. These factors mean it is rare to see examples with four clear margins.


Just 168,000 of the 68 million Penny Blacks printed were produced from the 11th – and final – plate. Lot No 11 in the sale is such a stamp coming complete with Brandon certificate of authentication; it's estimated at £600.


"This is a particularly nice example of a Penny Black – all its margins are complete, and the paper is bright and fresh," said Mr. Ives. "If you want a plate 11 Penny Black, there aren't many opportunities to acquire one."



The Lichfield auction also includes Mulready stationery named after the artist commissioned to illustrate it, William Mulready. 


The Mulready stationery was essentially an intricate frank indicating that postage was paid. The stationery was issued at the same time as the Penny Black in 1840 and was projected to be more popular than the stamps. However, the elaborate design was ridiculed, which lead to its early and embarrassing termination.





There is also a stunning example of a £1 1929 stamp, which would have paid for airmail at the time.


"The 1929 £1 is a real beauty – a stunning design, and this example is fresh and clean," added Mr. Ives.

"What's incredible is that somebody paid all that money for it and then did nothing with it."


We are proud, as always, to be hosting the Richard Winterton Sale and their impressive selection of stamps – you can view the entire catalogue here and bid live on the day across the whole sale.