1882 Straits Settlements cover auctions for $46,000

A cover showing a unique combination of the Straits Settlements 2c and 8c stamps has been sold as part of a January 25 philatelic auction in Germany.

Unique Straits Settlements cover
This is the only cover in existence that shows the 8c and 2c stamps

In total, the auction realised over $10.4m, with the Straits Settlements cover standing as the most valuable single lot. It sold for an impressive $46,107.

From 1854, the Straits Settlements - a group of former British territories in Southeast Asia - used the postage stamps of India, as the Settlements were considered part of the "Bengal circle". However, in 1867 the Settlements became a crown colony and began to issue their own stamps, printed by De La Rue.

Issued in a set of nine values from 2c to 96c, like many colonial issues, the stamps were beset with shortage problems, causing various surcharges to be applied.

The cover at auction is dated 1882, and was sent from J. Grassi & Brothers in Bangkok to a professor of meteorology in Rome, Italy. It is franked with a unique combination of the Straits Settlements 2c brown and 8c orange-yellow, with a red "SINGAPORE PAID AP 30 82" circular date stamp alongside the Rome arrival date stamp. It also bears the "BRITISH CONSULAT/BANGKOK" oval handstamp as an obliterator.

The stamps were in fine condition, though the cover itself had been carefully restored at the lower left corner.

Straits Settlements Stamps
The cover's journey from Singapore to Germany, via Marseilles, resulted in a rare usage

Also from the Straits Settlements was an 1880 cover sent from Singapore to Leipzig, Germany via Marseilles. Sold for $33,897, it featured an 1867 2c brown, 1879 5c on 8c vertical pair as well as two copies of the 1880 10c on 30c - an extremely rare franking.

Paul Fraser Collectible has an outstanding selection of stamps for sale, including incredibly rare examples from Great Britain and the Commonwealth. For more of the latest philatelic news, sign up to our free weekly newsletter.

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