Spink's sale offers stamps 'you couldn't imagine in your wildest dreams'

We've already looked at a couple of highlights from Spink's upcoming sales of the Chartwell Collection - and assemblage so vast that it will be spread over multiple auctions, continuing into 2012...

As compiled by the legendary philatelist Sir Cyril Humphrey Cripps, we've reported on highlights including the 12 Nissen reconstructions of the 1d black plates, as used to produce the legendary Nissen plate reference book of 1922.

But the unique and rare examples for sale don't end there. The collection also offers Sir Cyril's King Edward VII and King George V volume - the latter Monarch being otherwise unofficially known as "The King of Philately".

Among the Edward VII volumes is nothing less than one of the most celebrated stamps of Great Britain, the 2d Tyrian Plum. The stamp needs no introduction for keen philatelists. But, for the uninitiated, why is the stamp so rare and valued?

The Great Britain 1910 2d Tyrian Plum was first produced by Great Britain in 1910, intended as a replacement for the bi-coloured 2d stamp of King Edward VII which was in use at the time. The Tyrian Plum had just one colour in an effort to lower the costs of stamp production.

The new stamp was intended to satiate the then-avid public interest in stamps, and care was taken over the new stamp. Many colour trials were proposed and produced - including various shades of blue, green, brown, red and orange - until Tyrian Plum was chosen as the stamp's colour. 

One-hundred-thousand sheets of 240 stamps each were produced by the printers De La Rue. These stamps were delivered to the post office stores for distribution to Postmasters. The decision was then take to hold back the new stamps until the old stocks of Edward VII 2d had been used-up.

A small piece of Great British history:
the 2d Tyrian Plum stamp

So far, so good... That is, until King Edward VII then fell seriously ill. Despite a period of apparent recovery, Edward died suddenly on May 6 1910. Afterwards, almost the entire stock of 2d Tyrian plum stamps were destroyed.

Today only 12 examples of the 2d Tyrian Plum  are known to exist. Three are in the Royal Philatelic Collection, including a the single-known used example once owned by George V himself.

Consequently, the stamp is very rare. One example was auctioned by Sotheby's on September 20, 2010 for £54,000. Meanwhile, the philatelic publisher Stanley Gibbons values the 2d Tyrian Plum at £95,000++ in its catalogue.

And another is presently for sale on the private market at £75,000 (pictured above).

Meanwhile, the George V section of the Chartwell Collection promises a number of exceptional Seahorses with many from the legendary Shaida sales (from the Grand Prix-winning collection of noted philatelist Hassan Shaida).

Undoubtedly, the sale will be sure to attract budding Shaidas. Spink recommends the occasion as "truly... an amazing opportunity for collectors, whether novice or advanced, to acquire elusive items missing from some of the greatest collections in the world today."

"Our expert team was discovering page after page of blocks and covers you couldn't even imagine in your wildest dreams," said Olivier Stocker, Chairman and CEO of Spink. "I'm sure the markets will be amazed by pieces that are about to come to light. What a treat for a the GB market."

The treat begins on June 28-29 in London, with the sale of Sir Cyril Humphrey Cripps' British Empire/Great Britain Line-Engraved Proofs, Essays, Stamps & Covers.

Watch this space for upcoming news on Spink's mammoth sales.

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