This Thursday, an exciting collection of postal history is to be sold which will fascinate philatelists and historians alike, especially those with an interest in Malta or the Napoleonic wars.
Grosvenor philatelic auctions is offering just under 500 lots of stamps, covers and essays based on the 'Victory' collection of Maltese stamps. Malta was once a part of the British Empire and thereafter the Commonwealth.
Those primarily interested in early postal history will be excited to see an 1841 Mulready caricature - the only one known to have been sent to Britain from overseas. Specifically it is Spooner caricature number 10, used from Malta to London, rated "1/-"and endorsed Per Oriental.
That shippicked up the mails at Malta on her return voyage from Alexandria to London, landed the mails at Falmouth on June 6 and continued to Portsmouth where the passengers and freight were ordered to undergo quarantineas the Plague was still present in Alexandria.
Malta and London circular datestamps appear on the reverse and the piece which is in fine condition, (some soiling notwithstanding) is listed at £8,000-10,000.
Napoleonic War enthusiasts will be interested to see several pieces of correspondence related to the conflict. These include a 1798 (June 24th) entire letter from Antoine Chariez with Napoleon's Army in garrison at Valetta (Malta's de facto capital) addressed to his family.
"We captured the Island of Malta with a loss of not even 30 men, which is a victory for us as it is an impregnable fortress. They surrendered as they did not have enough troops to guard the fortress."
The piece, complete with cover showing the unique loaf of bread MALTE handstamp is expected to sell for £10000-£12000 whilst one written by Lord Nelson on Nov 16th 1799 to the Prime Minister of Naples in which he worries about having to quit the island without more resources is listed at £3,000-4,000 (no cover is attached).
The expected top lot, however, is an imperforate plate proof of the 1919 10 shilling stamp in black on watermarked ungummed paper in a block of four. Extremely rare and attractive, it may be the only one in existence and is expected to sell for £15000-£20000.
Grosvenor's auction takes place in London on the afternoon of October 21.
- Click here for all the latest Stamps, Autographs and Militaria news