$230k for Puerto Rico's postal history

Spink Shreves Galleries has concluded an important sale of Puerto Rican rare stamps. Perhaps slightly overlooked, following on so soon after the spectacular Bill Gross auctions, a number of interesting and attractive pieces were sold.

Not all the lots were stamps - one of the key lots was the study carried out by the Acevados of the postal service before stamps as we know them existed, which sold for $24,000.

It took them three decades to compile the study which includes 46 stampless covers and an original example of the 1811 Royal Order establishing the postal routes.

Mayaguez Agency 1876 Puerto Rico stamp
Mayaguez Agency 1876 cover

Amongst the other 167 lots, a particularly fresh and appealing piece is a Mayaguez Agency, 1876 cover to Genoa which makes use of an 1870 40c Orange on yellowish and an 1872 80c Rose on pinkish stamp, and has clear uses of octagonal datestamps. It sold for $7,250 (none of the prices here include premium).

A remarkably complex philatelic piece is an 1873 cover sent from France via Southampton to San Juan, Puerto Rico. An 1872 80c rose on pink stamp makes another appearance along with an 1870 5c yellow-green on pale blue and a 10c bistre on yellowish.

Puerto Rican stamp cover
France to San Juan cover

The postmarks and cancellations are what make this piece unique, however. It combines two dot hexagrams from Paris with a red London transit and boxed 'post paid' mark and a marking of '1' (for 1 lot of 25c due on arrival) with a 'windmill' killer. Nearly doubling its lower estimate of $3,000 it sold for $5,750.

Finally, one of the only two known covers from the Naguabo Agency, sent in 1875 to Trinidad using a pair of Great Britain 1865 4d Vermilion stamps, tied by an oval cancellation with additional Naguabo and Trinidad postmarks.

Naguabo Agency Cover Trinidad
Naguabo Agency Cover

The Naguabo Agency was only open from December 1875 to May 1877. Expected to sell for $15,000-20,000, the cover caused a little competition and was only won for $23,000.

A sale proving that desire for rare stamps doesn't subside even immediately after the hugely anticipated British North American and Confederate provisionals auctions.

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