Probably the world's best collection of Kingdom of Poland stamps will go under the Warwick and Warwick hammer on May 5.
The collection, formed by Vladimir von Rachmanoff (Wladimir Rachmonow in Polish) is without doubt the very finest ever formed of The Kingdom of Poland.
It far exceeds in importance those formed by Philipp La Renotière von Ferrary, Agathon Fabergé or even M. A. Bojanowicz.
Wladimir Rachmanow served on the Grand Jury at Gdansk in 1929 and Berlin in 1930. His collections were awarded many high honours such as at the exhibitions in Cassel 1914, Anvers 1930, Bruxelles 1935 and Warszawa 1938.
Though the greatest accolade was a Gold Medal at FIPEX New York in 1956. This was an international exhibition and only collections of high status could garner such a prestigious award.
He was also awarded the "Académie de Philatélie" (16 January, 1929) medal, and was a member of a number of philatelic societies included the Polonus Philatelic Society of Chicago.
In 1952, Rachmanow updated W. Polanski's 1920 handbook, "Poland no. 1", based on his own philatelic collection, and in 1952 he published his own "Poland No. 1" which continued to be the standard work of reference on this issue, until M.A. Bojanowicz published his later handbook in 1979.
Rachmanow died in New York in 1968 and since then his collection has remained locked in a safe by his family and has not seen the light of day for more than 40 years.
By now it is quite likely that there are no collectors alive who had access to, or had ever seen, this remarkable holding.
Indeed, when writing the Bojanowicz handbook published in 1979 it is clear that the author had not had access to the Rachmanow collection, and could only make reference to it from information in previous publications.
Its existence has been largely forgotten by the collectors and the sale will represent the first opportunity to acquire exhibition class items since the Bojanowicz sale, 10 years ago.