Annotated Rainbow Trials sheet achieves $101,000 in Chartwell sale


An exceptionally rare annotated sheet from the historic Rainbow Trials has been sold as part of the Chartwell Collection sale in London today (July 5).

Rainbow Trials Fugitive Ink Sheet Chartwell Collection
A spectacular fugitive ink sheet featuring annotations by Perkins Bacon

The third part of the ground-breaking series of auctions featured line engraved essays, proofs, stamps and covers from early British philately, with examples from the 1840 Rainbow Trials leading bids.

Following the proposal of Sir Rowland Hill to create an adhesive stamp to indicate pre-payment of postage in 1837, the Rainbow Trials were initiated as a series of experiments to test colour, ink and paper types before the final design was issued.

The top lot of today's auction demonstrated the "fugitive ink" stage of the trials, which was named due to the temporary ink used to prevent stamps from being removed from envelopes by soaking. Featuring 20 stamps, the sheet is one of only seven known, with one example currently housed in the Royal Philatelic Collection.

The value of the superb sheet was further enhanced by annotations in the hand of Perkins Bacon, who created and printed the resulting Penny Black. It sold for £65,000 ($101,159).

Paul Fraser Collectibles is pleased to offer our customers the chance to own a magnificent sheet of six stamps from the fugitive ink trials, also featuring the handwritten notes of Perkins Bacon.

Highlighting the anticipated Penny Black section of the sale was a spectacular block of six in an intense shade, featuring a brilliant margin inscription. Taken from Plate V of the issue, the important positional block sold for £55,000. 

We are also currently offering our own single penny black, which is a fine mint example featuring all four margins. See our full collection of British rarities here.


Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock