On Thursday, Spink Shreves carried out its sale of Joseph Hackmey's celebrated collection of New Zealand rare stamps.
Hackmey, who sold an even more valuable collection of US stamps earlier this week at David Feldman's auctioneers, has previously received an International Award for the Commonwealth rarities.
Of all the pieces on offer it was an early cover which most impressed bidders. The cover dated October 4, 1855 bears a horizontal pair of imperforate 1d carmine stamps.
New Zealand only issued its first stamps in July 1855, over 15 years after Britain had initiated their use, with the Penny Black and Two Penny Blue. The cover is addressed to Alnwick, Northumberland from Nelson.
What is particularly interesting about this is that pre-paying for New Zealand mail to leave the country was not allowed until 1857. Indeed the 2d worth of stamp payment is to take it on the start of its journey, and a 6d charge was paid by Mrs Moffatt, the recipient.
The cover has neat '14' cancellations on its stamps, is one of only three covers bearing a carmine 1d pair, and is altogether a highly attractive and collectible piece, as well as a strong investment.
Some keen bidding from the assembled New York audience brought the final price up to $28,000 - near the top of its estimate range.