British East Africa stamp sells for $19,000 at UK auction

An extremely rare three anna provisional stamp from British East Africa has sold with excellent results as part of the Collector's Series sale in London yesterday (November 14).

British East Africa stamp 1895 provision 3 anna
The stamp sports the sun and crown logo of the Imperial British East Africa

The stamp brought an impressive £12,000 ($19,025) as one of the top lots of the auction. It is one of just five unused examples of its kind in existance and is undoubtedly among the finest, despite its poor centring.

Printed in 1895, the stamp originates from the Imperial British East Africa Company's administration in the area that is now Kenya. The company was the first to hold a royal charter that allowed the operation of a postal system using the company name on its stamps, as well as the first to have a series of surcharged stamps with authorising initials.

The stamp at auction is one such surcharge, sporting a one anna "TECR" initialled overprint. Originating from a provisional issue in February 1895, the surcharge was presumably added due to a shortage of one anna stamps at the time - a problem that affected the region's postal system from 1891 to 1895.

The 3 anna was issued just a few months before the Imperial British East Africa Company's administration in the area was brought to an end in July 1895, and the remaining stamps were overprinted with British East Africa. The following year, a series of stamps with the familiar image of Queen Victoria were issued and the protectorate joined the Universal Postal Union.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has some of the finest stamps from the British Commonwealth currently available, including the legendary Black Empress - a unique example from Canada.

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