Around the world in 57 days: 'a postal history rarity of the highest order'

Following on from our article about the rare and unique 90c Carmine & Black six-block, two more lots from Siegel Auctions' anticipated sale of the Gordon Eubanks Collection are worth highlighting.

Lot 181 is an incredibly rare cover with two bright 30c stamps in Ultramarine and Carmine, with wide margins.  This extremely fine example is one of only four recorded covers sent to Hong Kong or China with the 30-cent 1869 pictorial issue, and has been described by the auctioneers as "a postal history rarity of the highest order".


The cover, sent from New York in 1869, was carried by boat to Liverpool, then onto Marseilles and Alexandria, and across the Middle East via the Suez Canal to Hong Kong, where it arrived after 57 days of travel.

The cover also provides a unique insight into the global postal service of the time.  The recipient carefully detailed the cover's travel time as well as calculating how long it would've taken had it been sent an alternative route, namely via California and Yokohama.  He concluded the cover would have arrived 17 days sooner, primarily because of the newly opened transcontinental railroad.


30c Ultramarine and Carmine stamps
Cover with 1869 issue stamps

Siegel's estimate that the lot will sell for between $75,000-100,000 - a staggering price for a fascinating philatelic artefact, that would undoubtedly make an exceptional and historic investment for a collector.

Another item of note is an extremely fine and very rare 30c Ultramarine & Carmine 1869 Pictorial Invert.  This single stamp is one of only five inverts with wide-spaced top and bottom margins, is crisp and radiant in colour, and very well centred.  In addition it has an unusual circular French Calais date stamp, in blue.

Again, Siegel's predict that this lot will greatly attract the attention of collectors, listing an enormous estimate price of $110,000.  This item, alongside the cover described above and the six-block detailed in our previous article, look set to be genuine highlights for stamp collectors looking to buy remarkable examples of 19th Century postal history.

Siegel's auction of the Gordon Eubanks Collection of the 1869 Pictorial Issue takes place on March 1 in New York and, from the pedigree of the lots for sale, will no doubt be an extraordinary event for collectors and alternative investors.


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