Oh You Pretty Things

The Collection of 10 Miniature Works of Art

David Bowie fans out there will probably recognise where I got this week’s headline! 

I would like to share with you today 10 glorious stamps.

I chose them for you because they are oh so pretty.

Not only are the designs works of art in their own right…

The quality of their production is of a very high standard.

And, they have all been preserved with great care over the years, meaning they remain as vibrant and crisp as the day they were printed.

Discounts are offered wherever possible, depending on the price I had to pay to secure the finest quality.

Bear in mind exceptional quality examples should, in theory, command a premium to catalogue values.

Quite simply, they are masterpieces of stamp production…

The most beautiful British stamp ever issued

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Great Britain 1929 £1 Postal Union Congress, SG438.

A very fine unmounted mint example with full original gum, widely regarded as one of the most striking stamps ever issued. 

The PUC £1 managed to encapsulate everything that defined English pride at the time. The elaborate design depicting the patron saint of England, Saint George, slaying the dragon is an image designed to command attention.

It was printed using the line engraved technique by Bradbury Wilkinson & Co, using printing plates they also manufactured.

The watermark is unique to this stamp, comprising a large format GvR with crown over single cypher. 

The print run was very low compared to most other stamps at the time. Only 61,000 were ever printed. Compare this to the 68 million Penny Black stamps issued!

Although the PUC £1 does have a high survival rate, unmounted mint examples in perfect condition are not common. As such, I have always considered this stamp undervalued by the market.

Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £1,100. 

Price: £950 (14% discount)


Exceptional design and quality at a bargain price

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Australia 1937 2d scarlet "150th Anniversary of Foundation of New South Wales", lower marginal horizontal pair, the right-hand stamp with printing variety "PANTALOON FLAW AT LEFT RETOUCHED" (State II: R10/2), SG193var.

A fine unmounted mint positional pair with full original gum and fresh colour.

A rare printing variety and most attractive as a pair in this positional form and in such fine unmounted mint condition.

An attractive commemorative stamp featuring the first governor of the Colony of New South Wales, Admiral Arthur Phillip.

Australian Specialist Catalogue Brusden-White (BW) No: BW175fb, listed with a catalogue value of $1,500.

Price: £495 (43% discount)


The very handsome King George VI

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Saint Lucia 1949-50 12c claret, perforations 14½x14, SG153a.

A fine unmounted mint example with full original gum.

A very scarce and handsome King George VI stamp in such exquisite unmounted mint condition.

Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £800.

PRICE: £750 (6% discount)


A King Edward VII showpiece

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Great Britain 1911 5s carmine, SG318.

A superb unmounted mint block of four with full original gum, printed at Somerset House. 

Lovely quality and a wonderful King Edward VII showpiece.

GB Specialised Catalogue No: M52(2).

PRICE: £4,000


An Australian Iconic Landmark

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Australia 1932 5s blue-green 'Sydney Harbour Bridge' lower right corner example, SG143.

A very fine unmounted mint positional example with full original gum. Some minor wrinkling. Most attractive example with particularly good perforations.  

The ‘Sydney Harbour Bridge’ stamp is considered one of Australia’s most popular stamp designs.

It was issued on 14 March 1932, commemorating the opening of the iconic landmark, Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The bridge took eight years to build using 53,000 tonnes of steel.

The design features the bridge from the South-East with a large liner, R.M.S Orford, passing beneath to provide a perspective of size.

The opening of the bridge was a momentous occasion. It is estimated that up to 1 million people gathered around the harbour to witness the grand opening.

The task of designing the stamp to commemorate this epic moment in Australian history was given to the Note Printing Branch. The bridge was only partly constructed at the time and they were expected to come up with their design based on drawings of the proposed bridge.

The stamp designers became avidly interested in monitoring the bridge’s construction, ultimately enabling them to come up with a design capturing the spirit of the new bridge.

The accolade of the ultimate chosen design went to R.A. Harrison and the engraving by F.D. Manley.

It truly is a stunning stamp, and a masterpiece with incredible complexity encompassed within a tiny piece of paper.

Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £425.

Price: £395 (7% discount)


Released from the printer’s archives

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Canada 1935 Silver Jubilee 10c and 13c Proof, SG339/40.

Stamp-size trial colour die proofs on card, respectively in olive and violet, the 10c being a progressive state with some shading lines missing from the sky and water. 

Minor marks at corners from archival mounting, and hand stamps on reverse, but an attractive and very rare pair.

The 1935 Silver Jubilee issue commemorated the 25th anniversary of King George V’s accession to the throne, released on May 4, 1935. They were the first stamps produced by the Canadian Bank Note Company after regaining the contract.

The 10c stamp features Windsor Castle and the 13c the Royal Yacht Britannia. They are the most attractive of this very high quality, well designed set.

Price: £850


Rare colour printing variety presented in showpiece form

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Falkland Islands 1938-50 5s indigo and pale yellow-brown, "Southern Sea Lion", SG161b, 1938 second printing, upper marginal BLOCK OF 4 (folded horizontal perforations).

A fresh unmounted mint positional block with full original gum. The lower right stamp with small corner crease (barely detectable), but a rarity in this form and condition. 

A beautiful multiple of this popular King George VI stamp issue in a rare colour variety.

Accompanied with a 2018 British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate of authenticity.

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £4,400+.

Price: £3,950 (10% discount)


Unique philatelic piece from the very first pictorial series

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New Zealand 1899-1903 2s blue-green, Waterlow plate proof from the "colonial" plate, imperforate block of 4 on ungummed wove, no watermark, from R11/12/3-4 on the sheet and showing the R12/3 re-entry (at lower right corner), SG269.

A very fine mint block. Traces of toning at foot (and R12/4 with a tiny natural paper flaw), but remains still very fine. 

Probably a unique block with the re-entry (Campbell Paterson New Zealand Specialised Catalogue No: EV20e).

Provenance: Ex Michael Burberry, the recognised authority on varieties of the New Zealand pictorial stamps.

One of the most attractive designs from what was the first pictorial series from a major British colony. The design of Milford Sound is home to some of the most impressive waterfalls on Earth.

Stanley Gibbons catalogue value: £640+.

Price: £450 (30% discount)


A rare printer’s proof of the defining pictorial stamp of Gibraltar

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Gibraltar 1931 'The Rock of Gibraltar' 1½d, die proof in bright blue on unwatermarked wove paper (45 x 30mm).

A very fine quality die proof. 

The 1½d stamp of this issue was eventually issued in red-brown.

A rare and most attractive proof of this most famous of Gibraltar's stamps, featuring the island's historic landmark. The defining pictorial stamp of Gibraltar.

Price: £950


$25 for a stamp in 1904!

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Malaya - Federated Malay States 1904-22 $25 green and orange, watermark MCA, SG51.

A well-centred mint example with good colour and large part original gum. Despite a minor bend and tiny surface mark, it is still a really fine example of this key high value stamp, being the highest value in the set. 

A classic design of British Empire philately featuring elephants with the Howdah (the ornate carriage on the elephant’s back).

Provenance: Ex Sir Gawaine Baillie (Sotheby's 16 Nov 2006, lot 754).

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £2,250.

Price: £1,750 (22% discount)


A collection of pretty things

I think these miniature works of art can stand alone as a collection. They showcase some of the finest quality stamp designs ever produced within the British Empire.

They deserve to be admired and treasured.

If you would like to own the complete collection, you will need to contact me quickly so I can reserve them all for you.

The collection has a catalogue value of £16,290.

Our total retail price on the collection is £14,540, a discount of 11%.

However, I am willing to extend this even further and you can purchase the entire collection from me today for £14,000, a discount of 14%.

Please let me know straight away if you want to secure the collection. Otherwise, it will break up as collectors snap them up online.

Please e-mail us at info@paulfrasercollectibles.com.

Alternatively, call us on +44(0)1534 639998.

I am away this weekend visiting my parents in Scotland but, never fear, my team remain on hand to assist you with your purchase.

Kind regards from cold and wet Scotland.


Mike Hall

CEO, Just Collecting

PS. As an interesting aside, we are receiving an increasing number of requests from the media just now. They are writing about the benefits of buying rare stamps in a high-inflation environment and are asking for our opinions.

Last time I saw this level of interest from the media was in 2008 after the collapse of major financial institutions. What followed was a year which saw the highest increase in rare stamp prices in 30 years.

Watch this space…

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