Spink is holding an impressive sale of rare stamps on Tuesday May 11. The most exciting piece for British collectors and some others will be one which pre-dates philately as we know it: a competition entry for the design of Britain first stamp, which turned out to be the Penny Black.
However, there are several other exceptional pieces in the strong sale.
The other major draw for collectors and investors in British stamps is a re-constructed irregular block of seven green imperforate £1 stamps from the 1887-1900 Jubilee issue. The stamps are overprinted 'specimen'.
The block consists of four joined stamps IC-JD, with JC being of the "Broken Frame" variety, with full selvedge at right and large part selvedge at foot, plus three singles FD, GD and HD, all with full selvedge at right.
The whole is endorsed in the right margin Selected sheet 18 Nov 1890. It has been given a guide price of £38,000-40,000.
For collectors specialising in Asian stamp, the most exciting piece will be a pale blue single from Hong Kong, 1880. The 12c stamp has a double surcharge of '10 cents'. It is neatly cancelled by a large part Hankow D29 obliterator.
The newly discovered rarity is the only one of its kind known so far, and has been given an estimate of £30,000-40,000.
The most exciting cover in the sale is from 1843, and features two black on yellow-green 5c stamps which are interventi (incorrectly cut) and tied by crisp red Rosette cancellation on entire to Vernier (as part of a famous correspondence of Madame Naville Arnold).
The piece, datestamped GENEVA/20/JANV./45 has a guide price of £42,000-45,000 - not a particularly high price for a great example of a world rarity.
However, the top lot is expected to be a large piece of the Messaggere di modena newspaper for April 13, 1853 bearing 1853-57 Newspaper Postage Due 9c. black on pale blue.
The stamp is cancelled with a box of crossed lines cancellation of Piacenza, thought to have occurred on the first day of issue (April 15). The fine piece is expected to sell for £40,000-50,000.