The first major result is in from today's (June 28) Spink sale of the Chartwell collection of British Empire stamps - the greatest collection of its kind to come to auction in a generation.
Among the auction's leading lights is this unused version of William Bennett Perot's first issue. Perot was the Postmaster of Bermuda, who created this now-iconic stamp in order to combat mail fraud.
In Bermuda in the early 19th century, the postmaster was able to keep any money paid for postage. When he was not in his office, the money and mail was pushed in through a slit.
Consequently, it became impossible for Perot to tell which money was for which letter.
To solve the problem, Perot created stamps by using his datestamp on pieces of paper with the dates (bar the year) removed, written alongside his signature and 'one penny'.
Only 11 of these stamps are known to exist in total, including five stamped with black ink and six later examples with red.
The Chartwell example is considered to be the finest of the red stamps, which explained the £60,000-80,000 ($129,300) listing for the 1853 single.
What's more, its provenance can be traced back as far as Frances Trott of Bermuda, whose papers yielded five examples in 1918.
It was later bought by stamp collecting legend Alfred H Caspary in 1922, and sold as part of his collection in 1957. After passing through the hands of two more collectors, this stamp became part of the Chartwell collection sometime after 1969.
With such a great story and illustrious ownership it's no surprise that it smashed its estimate to sell for £114,000 ($181,908), including buyer's premium, today.
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