£96,000 cover from the famous Heard correspondence tops Singapore stamps sale

The extraordinary collection of philatelic items from Peter Stolz's collection of the postal history of British South-East Asia was sold at the weekend with some exciting results for those who invest in rare stamps and covers from the region.

Three lots in particular from the near 800 lot auction which auctioneer Spink held in Singapore stood out:

Firstly, there was an entire letter from Batavia to Greenock, bearing 4 1annas stamps (three of them touched or cut-into on one or more sides) and 1 4annas (cut to form an octagonal shape), all cancelled by circle of dots (Type K1, one of two recorded) which was applied in Singapore.

The piece which showed framed "india paid" and London Paid transit circular datestamp (22.1) with, on reverse, framed "singapore/Paid" datestamp in red for December and light arrival datestamp.

A museum-grade investment, it had been estimated at S$50,000-60,000, but keen bidders pressed it up to $80,000 (£38,536).

Secondly, an envelope marked "Via Singapore paid" to Nelson, New Zealand, which bears an Indian 1856-64 4annas black horizontal pair, each neatly cancelled with circle of dots (Type K1) with superb "labuan" circular datestamp (Type D1) in red below.

Lost Singapore cover
Singapore cover (mis-sent to Melbourne)

Showing framed "mis-sent to/melbourne.victoria" stamp in blue with Nelson arrival circular datestamp (30.1) alongside, the reverse with Melbourne transit circular datestamp (18.1) in blue.

An attractive and very rare early franked cover, it is one of only three items bearing Indian stamps used in Labuan, and performed particularly well against its estimate of S$40,000-50,000, achieving S$80,000 (£38,536).

There was no question about the top lot, however, which wasa Penang cover using 1854 4annas Indian stamps - the earliest to do so in the Straits Settlements - taken from the famous correspondence of New England businessman Mr Heard, with made use of adhesive stamps as soon as they were available.

The cover, addressed to Canton via Hong Kong bears a magnificent 4 annas second printing pair, both centrally cancelled by diamond of dots.

Penang 1854 Indian stamp cover
Penang 1854 Indian stamp cover

One of the finest pieces in South-East Asian philately, it was estimated at S$100,000-150,000, but finally left the stage for a stunning $200,000 (£96,340).

With interest in rare stamps and philately growing in Singapore, and even more so in India, it represents a strong investment. Collectors will now look ahead to the twin auctions of British Indian and Sri Lankan stamps taking place next month at Spink Shreves.


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