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Valentine Cover with Penny Black could bring $7,500

The 1841 piece is the first possible combination of a valentine with Britain's first stamp

At the end of the month, Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries is selling The Louis Grunin Collection of Illustrated Covers, which is one of the greatest collections of British illustrated covers ever formed.

It includes Mulready Caricatures, Social Reform Movements, Advertising, Hand-Drawn designs and Valentines.

The pick of the 265 lot sale might be an 1841 piece: a lettersheet with a heart image composed of a woman surrounded by roses with poetry above and below it.

1841 Valentine Cover with Penny Black
1841 Valentine Cover (Penny Black on reverse)

The Maltese Cross cancel matches the datestamp of February 13, 1841 (the sender did not leave any time to spare, obviously). With little soiling, the piece is both attractive and a very rare combination of a Penny Black with a Valentine - in the first year this was possible.

A good centrepiece for a collection, the cover is expected to sell for $5,000-7,500.

Also in the collection is fine cover promoting the Chartist movement (which ran from 1838-1850). The Chartists were pioneers in electoral reform, demanding that all men aged 21 or over outside jail be allowed to vote, and that representatives need not own property, amongst other things.

Chartist Cover
Chartist Cover - an early Reform Cover

The carefully designed, very fine piece here is marked '1' as if it were intended to be the first of a series, but no others  in the series are known, and three with this design have been seen at auction in total. It has been given a guide price of $4,000-5,000.

The sale takes place in New York and online on Tuesday, April 27, and we will bring you the results here.


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Image: Robert A Siegel

Last updated: 16 April 2010