'Finest and most attractive Penny Black cover in existence' brings $0.56m



We weren't lying when we reported that Spink's auction of the legendary Chartwell Collection is one of the most exciting philatelic sales of recent times...

One of the latest lots passed under the hammer was billed as nothing less than "the Finest and Most Attractive One Penny Black on Cover in Existence" - making this a landmark appearance on the auction markets for the world's first-ever adhesive postage stamp.

This is only the second time this cover has appeared in public. The last time was back in 1942. Incredibly, this piece was "discovered" in the 1980s hidden in a metal deed box wrapped in a newspaper, and could easily have been thrown away in the rubbish...

Behold, the Finest and Most Attractive One Penny Black on Cover in Existence

The cover bears a rare corner marginal plate stamp - similar to lots 1050 and 1051 which also hammered in London today - bearing the part inscription "...ove the cement" at the foot of its very large foot and right margins.

The stamp has been neatly tied on its centre with a complete pale reddish-orange Maltese Cross cancellation stamp (the difficulty of seeing these in the Penny Black's black ink would lead to the stamp's eventual extinction and replacement with the Penny Red in 1841).

According to Spink's lot notes, the envelope's flap bears a good strike of a circular datestamp indicating that the cover was posted from Wakefield, UK, on May 13 1840, to recipient William Bywater in Pontefract.

In addition to its lovely Maltese Cross, the stamp itself was described by Spink as "extraordinarily fresh and... in superb condition with such large margins... This iconic cover is, without question, one of the most important and most desirable covers British philately."

Other highlights in the Chartwell sale include this, the most valuable stamp ever auctioned in the UK (see our full report here)


Spink didn't call this "the Finest and Most Attractive One Penny Black on Cover in Existence" for nothing... Appearing in today's sale with an estimate of £150,000-200,000, according to Paul on the saleroom floor it today sold for £348,000 ($556,045), including Buyer's Premium.

Paul Fraser Collectibles will bring you further results from Spink's incredible Chartwell Collection auction as we get them - check back here for updates, or follow us on Twitter.


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