One of the most special pieces of postal history I have ever handled

Unique, with exceptional provenance, and at a very good price

The unique relic I share with you today is special. 

It exemplifies the excitement I get from a rare find.

It emanates from British East Africa.

The history of the “Scramble for Africa” by European powers, which started in 1885, is a highly-charged subject today.

The postal systems which evolved as a result represent one of the most interesting hunting grounds for philatelists and postal historians.

The remarkable piece of postal history I share with you today is very special because:

  1. Not only is it unique to its own area of postal history, it is also a remarkable piece in the context of postal history in the entire world
  2. The stamps on the cover are exceptionally rare in their own right
  3. Its provenance greatly enhances its value
  4. I secured it for you at a good price 

Take a moment to admire how amazing this cover looks…

No alt text provided for this image

Technical description

British East Africa 1891 (JY 2) large part cover (with embossed royal arms on flap) from Mombasa to “H. L. Churchill Esq, H. M. Vice Consul, Zanzibar”. 

The cover includes NINE EXAMPLES of the 1891 (May) “½ Anna/A.B.” on 3a black/dull red MANUSCRIPT PROVISIONAL, all emanating from the lower right corner of a sheet.

It comprises a lower marginal single, a right marginal horizontal strip of 3, a lower marginal block of three and the lower right corner horizontal pair.

Each stamp is tied by individual strikes of “MOMBASA/A” circular date stamps, with a further superb strike at foot, SG24.

On the reverse, despatch circular date stamp and the arrival circular date stamp of the following day.

The cover is reduced at the right (where a further pair was removed, leaving one of the remaining stamps with trimmed perforations) but remains spectacular. 

A unique and extraordinary franking which represents the only known cover with this rare provisional, the only surviving multiples and indeed a large proportion of all the recorded examples!

Provenance: Ex award winning collection of George T. Krieger, Andy Reynard (Spink 2009) and Donald R. Hunt (1966).

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value of the nine stamps is £24,750. The value of this unique piece of postal history would be expected to be far greater.

Price: £17,500


The surcharged stamps on the cover are extremely rare…

A brief history of the stamps

The area known as British East Africa was created from the “Scramble for Africa” and control was given to the British at the Berlin Conference in 1884.

The Imperial British East Africa Company received its Royal Charter on 3 September 1888. The first post office set up was in Mombasa, with the first stamps being issued on 23 May 1890.

The design selected featured a symbolic sun and crown, inscribed “IMPERIAL BRITISH EAST AFRICA COMPANY”.

This was important because it represented the first time a company holding a Royal Charter was permitted to use their company name on their stamps for both local and international mail.

They were also the first to create a series of surcharged stamps with authorising initials.

Severe shortages of some values between 1891 and 1895 resulted in a variety of surcharges being produced.

Unfortunately, the British East Africa Company was under-funded, leading to financial difficulties. It was eventually wound up in July 1895 and taken over by the British government.

The stamps of British East Africa were issued in extremely small numbers during its short period of independent administration and are very rare.

The surcharged stamps were issued in tiny amounts and are exceptional rarities.

How this remarkable unique cover came to be

The history of this remarkable unique cover can be traced back to its origin.

Mr Churchill was the British Vice-Consul at Zanzibar in 1891.

When visiting Mombasa on July 2nd in that year, he went to the Post Office to get some British East African stamps.

He asked for the ½a stamps. When he saw there were only about a dozen on hand, he bought them all.

He then put them on an envelope and addressed it to himself at his address in Zanzibar.

In 1893, the authenticity of the cover was vouched for by the Postmaster of Mombasa as having been issued in May 1891.

Mr Churchill wrote to the Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal to describe the circumstances under which he had sent the cover to himself.

A full description (of the cover in its present state) followed in the December 1899 Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal.

Premium value provenance

A philatelic rarity which can be traced back to its very origin provides the highest level of provenance possible.

As you would expect for such an important rarity, this cover has graced some of the best collections ever assembled…

Its ownership record included the collector Donald R. Hunt, with his collection being sold in 1966.

We had to wait another 43 years before the next owner, Andy Reynard, sold it at auction in 2009.

It was at that time purchased by the eminent philatelist, George Krieger.

The George Krieger award-winning collections of British East Africa and Uganda are amongst the finest ever formed, including many rare and unique items.

The George Krieger collection was sold in September 2013.

And just recently…

We purchased it!

Secured for you at a good price

For obvious reasons, unique postal history is difficult to place a value on.

When an item like this becomes available, collectors need to realise: this is probably the only chance they will have in their lifetime to purchase it.

In 2009, when this cover appeared at auction, it realised £9,500.

Four years later in September 2013, it was auctioned, where the auctioneer estimated its value at between £15,000 and £18,000. When you add the auction buyer’s premium of 24% to the higher estimate, this gives a potential valuation of £22,320 at that time.

The break-up value is £24,750, based on the current Stanley Gibbons catalogue value for the nine stamps in used condition.

You can purchase it today for just £17,500, a 29% discount to its break-up value (but PLEASE don’t ever do this; it’s called philatelic vandalism)!

I secured this unique treasure of philately at a good price for you.

The true value of this unique piece of postal history is much greater.


A Strong Area of the Market

Postal history has proved one of the strongest growth areas of philately in recent years.

East Africa, in particular, has attracted a large number of specialised collectors, being such a varied and interesting area of study.

The East Africa Study Circle was founded in 1978 and remains very active today, with more members than ever before.

To recap:

  • A unique piece of postal history from one of the most passionately collected areas of philately
  • The highest level of provenance: tracked back to its origin
  • A showstopper in any collection of East Africa
  • Secured for you at a very good price


Call me immediately on +44(0)1534 639998.

Or email me today at

This is one of those opportunities to buy something truly special.

Kind regards


Mike Hall, CEO

PS. I would be happy to discuss with you a suitable payment plan over extended terms if needed.

P.P.S. Are you following us on social media? Find us here:

Facebook |  Twitter |  Instagram |  Pinterest |   Youtube

Want to talk collecting? Join our Discord community today

+44 (0) 117 933 9500 |

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock