£5k for a block of Maltese 1/2d stamps

On December 9, Spink will be auctioning 305 lots from Clive Smith's collection of Maltese stamps, based around a selection of proof, unused and specimen examples of the 1860-1884 Maltese Halfpenny.

The largest known block of the orange-brown 'supply 9' version from 1867 is estimated here at £2,500-3,000. The right hand corner set of 18, with the text 'Malta_One Half-Penny' above the stamps, still has most of its original gum.

From right at the end of the stamp's run is a complete sheet of the deep orange yellow 'supply 28' version, with the same text for each of four panes of 60. In fine condition, except for minor wrinkling, the sheet is valued at £2,500-3,000.

Three proofs are all expected to sell for around £3,000. These are a fine black die proof on card with the date 21/6/59 marked on it - one of just two known to exist - and a slightly scratched and rubbed bright yellow die proof on card, thought to be unique.

The third is a December 1860 slightly blued plate proof, imperforate with good margins. It is an unmounted single, though without gum, and one of just three of its kind in the world.

Malta Halfpenny proposed colour change
A handwritten note proposing a Malta Halfpenny colour change

Another fascinating piece of philatelic history in the sale is a handwritten card, dated July 31 1983, proposing that the Malta Halfpenny stamp be changed from yellow to green. Attached are two example stamps, in beautiful condition. The card is valued at £2,500-3,000.

A collection of fine specimens of Malta's '85-90 stamps including the green 1/2d is estimated to sell for £2,000-2,500.

The top lot, valued at £5,000 is another set of specimens: one of only two blocks of six 1860 brown-ochre Maltese 1/2d stamps in existence, with most of the original gum.

No blocks larger than six are known to exist, and this is in beautifully fresh and appealing condition.

For philatelists, the sale offers an excellent opportunity to own fascinating pieces of early stamp history from this tiny part of the British Empire.


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