'Crown Jewel' of Saudi Arabian Philately brings $112,700 at Spink

On Wednesday this week, Spink completed its fascinating Pearls of Arabia series of auctions, which offered stamps and covers from Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Algeria amongst other locations including sale of the 'Crown Jewel' of Saudi Arabian stamp collecting.

It's very difficult to summarise an intense two day auction series like this, but two of our favourite lots are as follows:

A natural collection centrepiece with great eye-appeal was a Sudanese 1948 Arab Postman and Camel 10m. rose-red and black stamp with the centre inverted. In used condition, with a small central tear at the top which just touches the design, this is otherwise a very fine piece with bright colours.

Specifically it is the unique discovery example - a great rarity and an important stamp for Sudan collectors as well as collectors of inverted centres.

1948 Arab Postman Camel centre inverted stamp
1948 Arab Postman Camel centre inverted stamp

A part of the celebrated multi-million dollar Robert H Cunliffe collection until it was sold at Spink Shreves in 2009, this beauty sold within its listed range at €30,525 ($42,000).

Invert errors remain a constant source of fascination for stamp collectors, as demonstrated most recently by the Mahendra Sagar collection. We have a fantastic Newfoundland surcharge invert error of our own in stock at the moment which collectors won't want to miss.

We also comment on the relative appeal of stamp error and perfection on our blog.

The star of the show however was certainly an 1867 (1 July) entire letter to Suez bearing an Egypt 1866 first issue 1pi. claret horizontal pair tied by 'poste vice-reali egiziane/gedda" datestamp of 1 August 1867.

The Egyptian Post Office in Jeddah letter
The Egyptian Post Office in Jeddah letter

Obviously this was the wrong month slug and there is another strike repeated alongside. A strike of "poste vice-reali egiziane/suez" arrival mark of 6 July appears on the reverse with the vertical filing fold well clear of the adhesives.

In fine and unique condition, this is the most important cover of the Egyptian Post Office in Jeddah and without doubt the 'Crown Jewel' of Saudi Arabian Philately. Indeed it appears as the front cover illustration of The Early Postal History of Saudi Arabia by Baron Jakon von Uexkull.

As a result it easily doubled its €25,000-30,000 to sell for €82,005 ($112,700).

Dominic Savastano, Philatelic Specialist at Spink, told us:

"We're really pleased with the way the sales went. The hammer prices almost doubled the lower estimates, with very few lots left unsold, and it's exciting to see many new clients joining alongside our existing ones."


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