As all philatelists will surely know by now, Spink is holding its opening auctions of the Chartwell collection of British Empire stamps later this month, and it is a truly incredible collection, one unlikely to be matched any decade soon.
However, Spink has decided that that is not enough for them to be getting on with this month (even after the sale of the Robert Towers collection) and have scheduled a significant sale of Islamic stamps and postal history to follow on almost immediately.
This auction is based on the Pasha collection, and two highlights stand out from the Turkish section.
The first is one of the most important items of Turkish Philately, according to Spink. It is a thin paper 20pa vertical tête-bêche block of six from 1863-5 showing the red control band in the middle and at the foot, used on a cover from Samakov (Bulgaria) to Istanbul.
Used blocks of the first issue are exceedingly rare and only one other similar block of the 20pa is known to exist. It carries an estimate of €40,000-50,000 ($70,800).
The other highlight is a piece of Maritime Mail from Bell's Asia Minor Steamship Company, 1868. It was previously a part of the Julius Steindler collection.
The cover sports a 2pi black on green glazed paper stamp, taken from the foot of the sheet with 4mm margin and ornaments complete on the other sides, tied by blue four line cachet to the cover.
Dated March 19, 1871 and addressed to Samos, there are some faults as always with this issue but this is by far the finest of the three recorded covers.
The intriguing piece is expected to sell for €45,000-60,000 ($84,900) in Spink's sale which takes place on June 30 in London.