Rare Archer Roulette pair hits the target at Spink's British postage stamp auction

Spink's sale of Great British stamps has just been completed in the past hour or so, and here are some results hot off the printing plate.

As we expected, an excellent Penny Black block was one of the highlights. Penny Black stamps are not necessarily valuable as so many were issued, but blocks of them in good condition often are, and so it proved today (September 20).

In this case it was a Plate V block of eight running from II-JL positions. It boasted clear to large margins all round and has very light red Maltese Cross cancellations. The IJ and IL positions have pinholes and the IJ has a thin.

Of fine appearance, it is a rare and desirable multiple and was listed at £12,000-14,000 ($22,400). Collectors agreed, and it sold for its high estimate of £14,000.

But this was not the top lot. A collection sold for £28,000, but the block was not the highest priced single philatelic item either.

That honour went to one of only two surviving pairs of the 1848 Archer Roulette. (Rouletting is the application of small horizontal and vertical cuts to help the stamps separate - an alternative to perforation.)

1848 Archer Roulette stamp pair
Worth taking a chance on... The Archer roulette stamp pair

The 1d. red-brown, TH-TI, horizontal pair, with part of its original gum is attached to a piece of paper with the manuscript:

"These stamps were given by Mr. Archer to Mr. Rowland Hill who gave them to his son Mr. Pearson Hill who in turn gave them to Mr. Hastings Wright from whom I bought them. With superb colour and in very fine condition, the pair sold for £16,000 ($25,100).

Collectors interested in British stamps should take a look at those we have for sale, including a Tyrian Plum and 1911 6d Bright magenta. The former qualifies for our 120% guarantee.


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