In the end, the whole lot went to a lucky new owner for an impressive $190,000 at Spink Shreves Galleries' New York sale of The Rolfe E. Wyer Collection of French Colonies, earlier this week (May 25-26).
Even more impressively, the eight albums more than doubled their $50,000-75,000 pre-sale estimate. So what does the winning bidder get for their money?
Well, according to Spink Shreves lots notes, all of the French Colonies are represented in the albums excepting the French Southern & Antarctic Territories, which were offered separately, and the St. Pierre et Miquelon specimens, which sold some time ago.
Although most of the rarities were removed from the albums to be sold separately, Wyer's eight albums still offered bidders what you might call an "ultimate portfolio investment".
At Paul Fraser Collectibles, we often recommend that you form a portfolio of your collectibles to reinforce or boost their value. And that's certainly what happened with this lot at Spink Shreves...
The Wyer albums are actually made up of tens of thousands of stamps that would normally catalogue for €50 to €500 or more (according to Yvert or Maury). All of this added to the $190,000 sale price.
Yet there's more to this collection than just its size and significant value. In fact, Spink Shreves' experts billed the eight-volume collection as "certainly the largest and finest we have ever had the pleasure to offer."
According to the auction house's condition report, the "overwhelming majority" of the collection is mint with some used singles, with the used specimens mostly being from the 19th and 20th centuries.
While there is the occasional small fault or toned perforation, the majority of the stamps still have their original adhesive gum, have been lightly hinged or never hinged in albums, or are graded fine to very fine. In other words, it's a very nicely balanced collection.
In addition, the collection perfectly showcases many of the factors which makes collecting French Colony stamps so interesting. For instance, as well as being especially particular about what he added to the collection, Rolfe Wyer also had a penchant for both major and minor varieties and errors.
These are found in prodigious quantities throughout the collection, along with millesimes (one year) pairs and blocks, and a plethora of imperforates, proofs, trial colours and essays including the more desirable pre-1950 issues.
Spink Shreves recommended "A careful viewing, with pleasure" to interested collectors prior to the sale. And one buyer clearly needed no further persuasion, as the six figure sale price for this lot attests...
Watch this space for further results from Spink Shreves' sale - including our personal highlight, the 1914 "TOGO/Anglo-French/Occupation" overprint on 2M Blue with the overprint inverted.