Stampless post to the Falklands and an Indian invert error lead London stamp sale

Spink is continuing the recent spate of auctions focusing on stamps from the British Empire/Commonwealth with a sale next week of British Empire Stamps and Covers from the Vestey Collection.

In an overlap with the Sapphire collection of British Indian stamps (upcoming at Spink Shreves), one of the key lots is a first printing 4 annas stamp. In this case however, the attractive example of the blue and pale red stamp is an invert error: the central head is upside-down.

Indian 4 annas Invert stamp

Cut to shape, the piece is just lightly cancelled with a diamond of dots leaving the image clear which is seldom the case with this error. Extremely rare in this condition, the piece is expected to sell for £18,000-20,000.

The two other chief lots in the sale, however, come from a source not recently covered in a major auction: the Falkland Islands.

Firstly, there is a stampless cover displaying a use of the 'Frank' handstamp in red, alongside a manuscript six and a circular date stamp. It bears light fox spotting, but is otherwise in good condition.

It is dated May 13 1878, which is the latest date for mail sent to be recorded before stamps were introduced. It was carried on the Black Hawk which departed Port Stanley on 15 May for Montevideo - the last known vessel carrying stampless mail from the islands.

1933 Falklands Centenary Block
£1 1933 Falklands Centenary Block

This is listed at £8,000-10,000 (though Stanley Gibbons catalogues it at £19,000). But the likely star of the show is a full set of 1933 Centenary Issue stamps in imprint blocks of four all the way from 1/2d to £1.

The mint stamps have fresh bright colours and are lightly mounted, and exceptionally rare; only a handful of them are known to exist in blocks or strips of four with the imprint. The little collection is expected to sell for £25,000-30,000.

Spink's auction takes place in London on October 13.


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