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Penny Blacks

Penny Black postage stamps for sale
  • Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 4, SG2
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    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 4, SG2

    £375.00

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    Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 4, SG2.

    A fine used example with four good to large margins lettered FF, neatly cancelled by an almost complete orange-red Maltese Cross.

    An attractive example of the world's first postage stamp with a wonderful example of the orange-red Maltese Cross cancellation seldom seen so fine. The penny black represents a real landmark in British and worldwide history.

    The SG catalogue value is £400.

  • Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 8, SG2
    v

    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 8, SG2

    £450.00

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 8, SG2.

    A very fine used example with good to large margins lettered QH, cancelled by a crisp black Maltese Cross.

    A most attractive example of the world's first postage stamp. The penny black represents a real landmark in British and worldwide history.

    The SG catalogue value is £525.
  • Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 10, SG2
    v

    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 10, SG2

    £1,250.00

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 10, SG2.

    A very fine used example with four good to large margins lettered RI, cancelled by a crisp red Maltese Cross, showing re-entry and long-tailed R.

    An attractive example of this rare printing plate variety of the world's first postage stamp. The penny black represents a real landmark in British and worldwide history.

    The SG catalogue value is £1,500.

    GB Specialised Catalogue Number: AS66e/h.

  • Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 1b. SG2

    Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 1b, SG2.

    A very fine entire penny black cover sent from Manchester to Wigtown bearing a good to large four margin example lettered NB neatly tied by a red Maltese Cross, endorsed at top left in manuscript 'MISSENT TO' with a Wigton circular dated stamp alongside for AU.13.1840. Backstamped by a Manchester dispatch circular date stamp for AU.12.1840.

    A most attractive and unusual cover bearing the world's first postage stamp.

  • Great Britain 1840 1d Greyish black Plate 11 &1841 1d Red-brown Plate 11. SG3/7

    Great Britain 1840 1d Greyish black Plate 11 & 1841 1d Red-brown Plate 11, SG3/7.

    Very fine used four margin matched pair lettered EK, both neatly cancelled by black Maltese Cross.

    A very rare combination of the plate 11 printings.

    GB Specialised Catalogue Nos: AS72 & AS74.

    The SG catalogue price in the Great Britain Specialised Queen Victoria catalogue 2011 is £4,500 for the 1d greyish black and £130 for the 1d red-brown.

  • Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 10, SG2
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    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 10, SG2

    £3,950.00

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    Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 10, SG2 cover.

    An exceptionally fine used four margin example lettered LC tied to a clean entire by a crisp red Maltese Cross. Addressed to Sheffield and backstamped with a Lombard Street, London Maltese Cross date stamp for JA.04.1841. Examples of this plate cancelled in red used on cover are rare.

    A superior quality cover of exhibition quality and one of the most beautiful penny black covers I have ever had the privilege to handle.

    Provenance: Ex Daisy

    Accompanied with a Royal Philatelic Society (RPS) Certificate of Authenticity (1966).

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  • Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 11, SG2
    v

    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 11, SG2

    £3,950.00

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, Plate 11, SG2.

    A very fine used example with four good to large margins lettered HE, in the characteristic greyish black shade, cancelled by a black Maltese Cross.

    A good quality example of the holy grail of penny black collecting, the elusive last printing plate. Only 168,000 were printed from this plate, representing a mere fraction of the total number of penny blacks printed of 68 million. Very few have survived from this plate number, particularly in fine condition.

    The penny black represents a real landmark in British and worldwide history and this example is from the most sought after printing plate of them all.

    Accompanied with a Royal Philatelic Society (RPS) certificate of authenticity (2004).

    The SG catalogue value is £4,600.

     

  • Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 9. SG2
    v

    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 9. SG2

    £5,500.00

    Great Britain 1840 1d Black, SG2 Plate 9. A very fine used four margin example lettered IG, neatly cancelled by a crisp strike of "Poulton Penny Post" handstamp. Very rare in so fine a condition.

    GB Specialised Catalogue Number: AS56yb

    Accompanied with a 2003 Royal Philatelic Society Certificate of Authenticity.

  • Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 4, SG2
    v

    Paul Fraser Collectible

    Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 4, SG2

    £9,000.00

    Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 4, SG2.

    A very fine used close to large four margin example lettered OB, neatly cancelled by the distinctive violet Maltese Cross. Violet cancellations were from Market Street, Hertfordshire, Glasgow and Manchester only.

    A magnificent exhibition quality example of this lovely coloured cancellation, very rarely seen in so fine a condition. 

    Accompanied with a 1996 British Philatelic Association certificate of authenticity.

    The Stanley Gibbons specialised catalogue value (last published in December 2011) is £12,000. 

  • Great Britain 1840 1d intense black, Plate 1a SG1.
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    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 1d intense black, Plate 1a SG1.

    £9,500.00

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    Great Britain 1840 1d intense black, Plate 1a. Very fine used four margin example lettered SD, neatly tied to entire cover by a red Maltese Cross. Addressed to Warwick with a "TP/High Holborn Ec" receiving handstamp alongside adhesive and a superb London circular date stamp for MY.8.1840 on reverse. A magnificent early "May Date" cover accompanied with a clear 2008 British Philatelic Society (BPA) certificate of authenticity. Very rare and desirable early usage of the first printing  of the world's first postage stamp. SG1. 

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  • Great Britain 1840 1d, Plate 1b, June 11th 1840 the earliest date of use  SG2

    Great Britain 1840 1d, Plate 1b, June 11th 1840,  the earliest date of use. PB 'original re-entry' used on piece with "P/JU-11/1840" London Chief Office Evening Duty circular datestamp.

    This is the earliest known date of use of this printing plate and, as such, is a very important historical piece in early GB postal history.

    The "Postage Stamps of Great Britain Part One" by J.B. Seymour & Gardiner-Hill and the Stanley Gibbons volume 1 specialised catalogue both state that "The earliest recorded use of Plate 1b for printing is 8 June 1840 (the believed date of the earliest repair to plate 1 was May 23rd) and the earliest known postal use is 12 June 1840. SG2. 

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  • Great Britain 1840 1d grey black, plate 1a, SG3
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    Paul fraser collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 1d grey black, plate 1a, SG3

    £17,500.00

    • Great Britain 1840 1d grey black, plate 1a, SG3

    Very fine used four margin example of the "Penny Black", neatly tied to entire contrary to regulations at the left hand side of the letter by a brownish red Maltese Cross. 

    Sent from London to Newmarket with a superb London Chief Office Evening duty circular date stamp for MY.7.1840. 

    Interesting contents concern the transport of new troops to Bombay for the East India Company, presumably as reinforcements for the troops that were stationed at Cabul following the first stage of the 1st Afghan war.

    A wonderful piece of postal history and on the second day of issue of the penny black and the birth of prepaid postage. The quality is quite exceptional and such early May date covers are rarely seen so fine. The item is accompanied with a British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate of authenticity.

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  • Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 9, Unmounted Mint 'Penny Black. SG2

    Great Britain 1840 Unmounted Mint "Penny Black", 1d Black Plate 9, SG2.

    Exceptionally fine and fresh unused original gum four margin example of the world's first postage stamp, lettered IG.

    A very difficult plate to find mint and an absolutely stunning example. Plate 9 accounted for only around 5% of the total number of penny blacks printed.

    Accompanied by a 2002 Brandon Certificate of Authenticity.

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  • Great Britain 1840 1d black (VR Official). SG V1
    v

    Paul Fraser Collectible

    Great Britain 1840 1d black (VR Official). SG V1

    £32,000.00

    Great Britain 1840 1d black (VR Official). Superb unused original gum four margin example lettered GH. A very fresh and attractive example of this are departmental issue with stunning colour and gum, a wonderful exhibition piece. Spec VR1. 1976 Royal Philatelic Certificate. SG V1
  • Great Britain 1840 1d black (VR official), SGV1var.
    v

    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 1d black (VR official), SGV1var.

    £48,000.00

    Great Britain 1840 1d black (VR official), SGV1var.

    Very fine and fresh unused imperforate imprimatur lettered NL from the second registration sheet (Before hardening). Very scarce, one of only 33 possible examples, many of which are included within institutional collections.

    Accompanied with a Royal Philatelic Society (RPS) 2010 certificate of authenticity.

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  • Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 1, 1a and 2d blue Plate.1. SG2/5 Pl1.

    Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 1, 1a and 2d blue Plate.1, SG2/5.

    Superb combination entire envelope bearing two 1d black plate 1a lettered GC and FK and a 2d blue Plate 1 lettered AC each neatly cancelled by a crisp red Maltese Cross. Sent from London to Manchester with a London circular date stamp on reverse for MY.28.1840 then redirected (as requested in the contents of the letter) without further postage to Ashgrove, Herts.

    A magnificent 4d combination franking, believed to be unique with a May usage. A very important piece of early British postal history of exhibition quality.

    Accompanied with a 1991 Holcombe Certificate of Authenticity.

    Provenance: Ex Sir Leonard Atkinson & GL.

  • Great Britain 1840 1d black, plate 1a, SG2
    v

    Paul Fraser Collectible

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, plate 1a, SG2

    £100,000.00

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, plate 1a, SG2. A superb example lettered 'BH' used on a neat entire lettersheet from London to Birmingham on May 6th 1840, the first day of use, tied by red Maltese Cross cancellation.

    A stunning quality first day cover of the world's first postage stamp marking the dawn of prepaid postage and spawning a communications revolution.

    Shows a fine circular date stamp for "MY 6 1840". A beautiful display piece of the ultimate trophy asset in philately.

    Accompanied with an independent certificate of authenticity from the British Philatelic Association (BPA).

    The Stanley Gibbons specialised catalogue lists a penny black 6th May cover at a price of £160,000.

    GB Specialised Catalogue Number: A1ta.

  • Great Britain 1840 2d Mulready envelope SGME4,2
    v

    Paul fraser collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 2d Mulready envelope SGME4,2

    £125,000.00

    Great Britain 1840 2d Mulready Envelope (Forme 1, Stereo a202).

    Very fine used example uprated to the 6d per 3oz rate with four additional 1d blacks from plate 8 lettered QA, SE, SG & SJ (SE & SG State 2 provisional printing) all neatly cancelled by crisp black Maltese Crosses.

    Sent from London to Dulwich with a "T.P./Cheif Office" handstamp and circulare date stamp on reverse for AU.19.1841.

    Some soiling nevertheless a spectacular uprated franking, one of only two recorded 6d frankings prepaid with four additional 1d blacks.

    Ex Yates & "Mayflower" Collections. Accompanied by a 1996 British Philatelic Association Certificate of Authenticity.

    One of the great rarities of Great Britain Philately.

    An ex Stanley Gibbons stock item.

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  • Great Britain 1840 1d Black (V.R. Official), Unmounted Mint SGV1
    Great Britain 1840 1d. Black (V.R. Official), V1. An exceptional unmounted mint top marginal inscription example. Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the British Philatelic Association (BPA). A Great Rarity and Exceptional condition. Provenance: Ex Karl Louis.
  • Great Britain 1840 1d Black (V.R. Official), Cover SGV1
    v

    Paul fraser collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 1d Black (V.R. Official), Cover SGV1

    £550,000.00

    Great Britain 1840 1d black (V.R. Official), V1. July 3, 1840 - The famous “Largentiere” cover, first recorded in 1899. Sent from London to Tetbury, Gloucestershire. With the stamp having four large margins, this is considered the finest known cover. Accompanied by certificates of authenticity from the Royal Philatelic Society (RPS), British Philatelic Association (BPA) and Alberto Bolaffi; also signed by Eno Diena. Excellent provenance, Ex Largentiere, Maximus, Wills, Shaida collections. Without a doubt, one of the most important items in GB philately.
  • A magnificent mint block of 12 Penny Blacks
    v

    Paul fraser collectibles

    Great Britain 1840 Penny Black mint block of 12 - SG2

    £695,000.00

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, plate 3, SG2 mint block of 12.
    This mint block of 12 Penny Black stamps is the largest known multiple from Plate 3 in private hands. 
    • Provenance from the esteemed Chartwell Collection.
    • Accompanied by a 2012 British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate.
    • One of the crown jewels of Great Britain philately.
    The magnificent unused original gum, bottom marginal block of 12 is lettered SD-TI, with rare full deckle edge selvedge, four good margins and sheet inscription.
     
    Vertical creasing in "D" and "I" columns does not detract from this being one of the great mint multiples of this issue.

    This is an extremely rare opportunity to own a sizable, mint condition multiple from the original stamp issue, which continues to be one of the most widely collected in the world.

    Plate 3 was the first to be hardened before being put into press, resulting in stamps that were notably stable in printing, with even colour, and showing the deepest shades of black.

    Providing some of the finest stamps of the issue, it soon became worn and was the first plate of the issue to be destroyed. As such, good quality stamps from this plate are a rarity.

    Free global shipping. 28-day returns. Certificate of Authenticity and our Lifetime Moneyback Guarantee of Authenticity included. 


     

  • Great Britain's Rarest Stamps Collection
    v

    Paul Fraser Collectibles

    Great Britain's Rarest Stamps Collection

    £2,000,000.00

    We are delighted to be in the privileged position to present you the defining collection of the rarest philatelic treasures from Great Britain. 

    Building the collection took years of effort and searching, made particularly challenging by our adherence to strict quality controls in that only the finest examples in existence were permitted into the collection. 

    The collection in its entirety undoubtedly has a premium value to its component parts. 

    The collection tracks the first 100 years of the British prepaid postal system from its birth on the 6th May, 1840 with the issue of the penny black. 

    The collection comprises some of the most elusive and valuable classic rarities and, as a complete collection, represents a work of miniature art in its own right, not to mention a museum quality preservation of our postal history. 

    Whether you are a collector or motivated by wealth preservation from owning a rare and portable tangible asset with a pricing mechanism detached from all other traditional investments, this collection presents you with a once in a generation opportunity to own some of the most important and rarest stamps from British philately. 

    The history of price appreciation of the collection can be tracked back to 1954 and shows an average annual compound growth rate of 9% over the past 66 years. 

    Illustrating the non-correlating qualities of rare stamps, in 2008, during the last major recession, the stamps in the collection increased in value by 40%. 

    Most stamps in the collection are accompanied with independent certificates of authenticity from the most prestigious philatelic societies in Great Britain, including the Royal Philatelic Society and British Philatelic Association. 

    All items are also sold with our lifetime moneyback guarantee of authenticity as a standard term of sale. 

    Section 1 

    The world’s first postage stamp – the 1840 Penny Black 

    The Penny Black was the world’s first adhesive postage stamp and marked the beginning of a communications revolution that changed the world. It was first issued on 1st May, 1840, but was not valid for use until 6th May. As the world’s first, it is the stamp all collectors aspire to own and is without a doubt the most famous stamp in the world. Featuring a portrait of Queen Victoria, its beauty rests in its classic simplicity and fine engraving. 

    Prior to its introduction, postage was very expensive and was paid by the recipient not the sender. Delivery was charged based on the miles travelled and the number of sheets of paper used. The recipient would typically be stung by a charge of several pounds. It was not unusual for delivery to fail because the recipient could not afford to pay. 

    The penny black changed all this and made sending letters affordable to everyone. It revolutionised worldwide communication. At the time, many Victorians were illiterate. The penny black incentivised an entire generation to want to read and write. The result was an increase in postal traffic from 75 million to 410 million in under 10 years. The penny black represents a real landmark in British and worldwide history. 

    Simple facts which make the penny black a strong investment proposition: 

    Declining supply – Although approximately 68 million were printed, there were no collectors in 1840 and most were simply thrown away after use. As a fragile item, the number available must diminish over time. 

    Rising demand – We are seeing a heightened interest in demand, thanks to market dynamics including: 

    1. Ageing worldwide population and “baby boomer” generation taking up hobbies on retirement 
    2. New demand from China. More penny blacks have been sold to China than in the UK over the past seven years 
    3. The new middle class Chinese buyers see the “black penny” as an aspirational purchase 
    4. The growth in the middle-class bracket of society with 2 billion further people expected to enter that bracket by 2030, according to Goldman Sachs 

    The collection includes four very important philatelic pieces marking the dawn of the prepaid postal system: 

    1. A beautiful quality entire first day cover letter sheet postmarked on 6th May, 1840 the very first official day of use being the ultimate trophy piece in philately 
    2. The magnificent unused with original gum, bottom marginal block of 12 being the largest block of mint penny blacks in existence from plate 3 
    3. A very fine and fresh unused with original gum, four margin block of 4 being a very rare and desirable block in exceptionally fine condition 
    4. An exceptionally fine unmounted mint with full original gum example of the penny black from a very difficult printing plate to find in mint condition 

     

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, plate 1a, SG2. A superb example lettered 'BH' used on a neat entire lettersheet from London to Birmingham on May 6th 1840, the first day of use, tied by red Maltese Cross cancellation.

    A stunning quality first day cover of the world's first postage stamp marking the dawn of prepaid postage and spawning a communications revolution.

    Shows a fine circular date stamp for "MY 6 1840". A beautiful display piece of the ultimate trophy asset in philately.

    Accompanied with an independent certificate of authenticity from the British Philatelic Association (BPA).

    GB Specialised Catalogue Number: A1ta.

    £160,000

     

    Great Britain 1840 1d black plate 4, SG2

    Very fine and fresh unused original gum four margin block of four lettered AD-BE. A very rare and desirable block of the world's first postage stamp.
    Provenance: Ex. Lea, Tes. 
    Accompanied with a British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate of authenticity. 
    GB Specialised Catalogue Number: AS23
    £150,000

     

    Great Britain 1840 1d black, plate 3, SG2 mint block of 12.

    This mint block of 12 Penny Black stamps is the largest known multiple from Plate 3 in private hands. 
    • Provenance from the esteemed Chartwell Collection.
    • Accompanied by a 2012 British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate.
    • One of the crown jewels of Great Britain philately.
    The magnificent unused original gum, bottom marginal block of 12 is lettered SD-TI, with rare full deckle edge selvedge, four good margins and sheet inscription.
     
    Vertical creasing in "D" and "I" columns does not detract from this being one of the great mint multiples of this issue.

    This is an extremely rare opportunity to own a sizable, mint condition multiple from the original stamp issue, which continues to be one of the most widely collected in the world.

    Plate 3 was the first to be hardened before being put into press, resulting in stamps that were notably stable in printing, with even colour, and showing the deepest shades of black.

    Providing some of the finest stamps of the issue, it soon became worn and was the first plate of the issue to be destroyed. As such, good quality stamps from this plate are a rarity.
    £695,000

     

    Great Britain 1840 Unmounted Mint "Penny Black", 1d Black Plate 9, SG2.

    Exceptionally fine and fresh unused original gum four margin example of the world's first postage stamp, lettered IG.

    A very difficult plate to find mint and an absolutely stunning example. Plate 9 accounted for only around 5% of the total number of penny blacks printed.

    Accompanied by a 2002 Brandon Certificate of Authenticity.

    £21,000

     

    Section 2 

    The romantic notion of postal benefits – the 1840 Mulready Postal Stationery 

    Mulready stationery letter sheets were introduced as part of the British Post Office postal reforms at the same time as the Penny Black. They went on sale on 1 May 1840 and were valid for use from 6 May 1840. 

    William Mulready was a well-known Irish artist at the time and was commissioned to design the illustrations on the face of the letter sheet. The social reformer, Sir Rowland Hill was responsible for the reform of the postal system based on the concept of prepaid postage with a uniform Penny Post. He expected the Mulready stationery to be more popular than postage stamps but, as we know, the postage stamp prevailed. 

    Within two months, the decision was made to scrap the Mulready stationery with the Penny Black becoming the clear winner with the public. Rowland Hill famously said at the time “I fear we shall have to substitute some other stamp for that design by Mulready... the public have shown their disregard and even distaste for beauty.” 

    The design was a romantic conception of what the worldwide benefits of cheap postage would bring. The design features Britannia, with shield depicting the Union Flag and with the British Lion at her feet presiding over the ocean and despatching a winged messenger to each of the four points of the compass. Below the messengers there are sailing ships on the left, and on the right a Laplander on a sleigh drawn by a reindeer. To the left were oriental groups: Chinese with pigtails, laden camels, elephants, someone writing a letter and a child apparently reading some bad news to a bed ridden parent. To the right were a group probably representing William Penn negotiating with some native Americans, women and children under a palm tree, a planter supervising the heading up of two casks and finally a mother reading a letter of good news to her children. Artistically, the design is undeniably genius, although questionable in terms of being practicable for its purpose. 

    The collection includes two very important examples of the short-lived Mulready postal stationery: 

    1. A very fine used example of a 1d Mulready envelope date stamped on the 6th of May, the very first day of issue 
    2. A very fine used example of a 2d Mulready uprated with 4 penny blacks to the 6d per 3oz rate representing one of the great rarities of British philately 

    Great Britain 1840 1d Mulready lettersheet (Forme 1, Stereo A9). A very fine used example sent from Market Drayton to Deptford neatly cancelled by a red Maltese Cross with a matching Market Drayton dispatch circular date stamp alongside for MY.19.1840. Backstamped by a London transit datestamp for MY.20.1840.

    A very scarce and attractive "May date" cover. Provenance: Ex. "Mayflower" Grand Prix Collection.

    Accompanied with a 2010 British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate of authenticity. SGME1.

    £18,000 

     

    Great Britain 1840 2d Mulready Envelope (Forme 1, Stereo a202).

    Very fine used example uprated to the 6d per 3oz rate with four additional 1d blacks from plate 8 lettered QA, SE, SG & SJ (SE & SG State 2 provisional printing) all neatly cancelled by crisp black Maltese Crosses.

    Sent from London to Dulwich with a "T.P./Chief Office" handstamp and circular date stamp on reverse for AU.19.1841.

    Some soiling nevertheless a spectacular uprated franking, one of only two recorded 6d frankings prepaid with four additional 1d blacks.

    Provenance: Ex Yates & "Mayflower" Collections.

    Accompanied by a 1996 British Philatelic Association Certificate of Authenticity.

    One of the great rarities of Great Britain Philately.

    An ex Stanley Gibbons stock item.

    £125,000

     

    Section 3 

    10 times rarer than the penny black – the 1840 Two Penny Blue 

    The two penny blue was contemporary with the penny black and therefore shares the distinction of being one of the world’s first two postage stamps. Both stamps were first valid for postage from 6th May, 1840. Whilst the penny black is the jewel in the crown of many collections, any collector interested in Queen Victorian stamps will also want to secure a two penny blue. It is however much rarer and more difficult to find in pristine condition. As a result it is no surprise, as an investment, the two penny blue has delivered very strong double-digit annual growth rates over history. 

    The 1840 two penny blue was issued for just one year and was used to cover postage on packages weighing over half an ounce. Sending letters was a new enough concept at the time, let alone parcels. With only two printing plates being used compared to 12 for the penny black, the 2d blue is 10 times scarcer than the penny black. Consequently, examples of the 2d blue are much rarer and significantly more valuable than the penny black. 

    The design of the two penny blue is exactly the same as the penny black and was struck from the same die. The first 2d blue stamp differs from all subsequent 2d issues in having no white lines above the value and below “POSTAGE”. 

    The collection includes four stunning quality and exceptionally rare examples: 

    1. A most elusive very fine and fresh colour mint example of the two penny blue with large part original gum 
    2. A superb combination 4d franking entire envelope include two penny blacks from the first printing plate and a two penny blue from the first printing plate, believed to be unique with a May usage. An exhibition piece. 
    3. Unique piece including document signed by poet William Wordsworth with a cover featuring the two penny blue with large margins placed diagonally (perhaps suggesting a kiss) and tied by a superb example of the red Maltese Cross in orange vermillion shade 
    4. A superb mint quality example of the rarest shade of the 2d blue, the “2d violet blue” where there are only 20 known surviving examples 

    Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 1, 1a and 2d blue Plate.1, SG2/5.

    Superb combination entire envelope bearing two 1d black plate 1a lettered GC and FK and a 2d blue Plate 1 lettered AC each neatly cancelled by a crisp red Maltese Cross. Sent from London to Manchester with a London circular date stamp on reverse for MY.28.1840 then redirected (as requested in the contents of the letter) without further postage to Ashgrove, Herts.

    A magnificent 4d combination franking, believed to be unique with a May usage. A very important piece of early British postal history of exhibition quality.

    Accompanied with a 1991 Holcombe Certificate of Authenticity.

    Provenance: Ex Sir Leonard Atkinson & GL.

    £65,000

     

     Great Britain 1840 2d Blue, Plate 1, SG5.

    A very fine and fresh unused large part original gum example lettered RE from the first printing plate of one of the world's first two postage stamps. The two penny blue is 10 times rarer than the penny black.

    Despite the thin margin on the bottom right of the stamp, it is very scarce in such fine condition, particularly benefiting from wonderful colour.

    The SG catalogue price is £38,000.

    £30,000

     

    Great Britain 1840 2d Blue (MK) Plate 1 on Post Office Form from William Wordsworth SG5

    Great Britain 1840 2d Blue plate 1, lettered MK, with large margins placed diagonally (perhaps suggesting a kiss) and tied by a superb red Maltese Cross in an orange vermilion shade on printed invoice headed Postage Stamps in the hand and signed by William Wordsworth.

    The letter was posted in Amble on Christmas Eve 1840 to Mrs. Hannah Backhouse Postmistress of Kendal. Features a blue Ambleside circular date stamp on reverse.

    William Wordsworth (1770-1850) Poet Laureate (from 1843) was distributor of stamps for the County of Westmorland until 1842.

    A stunning and unique piece of philatelic history.

    £10,000

     

    Great Britain 1851 2d Violet blue (Thicker lavender tinted paper) Plate 4, SG15aa.

    Superb unused original gum example with four very large to enormous margins lettered SE. Unmounted Mint.

    The best quality example we have ever seen of this beautiful and very difficult stamp to find.
      
    In 1851 a few sheets of the new Twopenny Blue were printed and something went wrong…
     
    The printing ink reacted with a bleaching agent in the paper creating the rarest shade of the 2d Blue – “The 2d Violet Blue”.
     
    There are less than 20 known surviving examples of this very rare stamp.

    Accompanied by a 2001 British Philatelic Association (BPA)  Certificate. 

    £30,000

     

    Section 4 

    The stamp which really did change the world – the 1841 Penny Red 

    Whilst the penny black enjoys the accolade of being the stamp that changed the world, it did have one serious failing. It became apparent that the red cancellation used might be cleaned of the black stamp, allowing it to be reused. This failing was identified in the first month of issue of the penny black and trials began to find a better combination of stamp and cancellation colours. The end result was a decision to swap the colours around and introduce a red stamp with a black cancellation. 

    In February 1841, nine months after the issue of the penny black, it was replaced by the Penny Red. The imperforate penny red covered the standard letter rate in Great Britain until the arrival of perforated stamps in 1854 and consequently was the stamp most used during the Victorian Communication Revolution which changed the world. 

    The penny red is widely considered in philatelic circles as the poor man’s penny black. There is a truth to this label since standard penny red stamps cost a fraction of the equivalent penny black. This is because the penny black was on sale for only nine months, whereas the penny red proved a success and lasted for 13 years. During this period, both literacy and letter-writing grew at unprecedented rates. 

    The collection would not be complete without including an example of the penny red, thus featuring the world’s first three postage stamps, not to mention the need to include the actual stamp which opened up letter writing to the world. 

    The collection features an exhibition showpiece from an early printing plate in the rarer red-brown shade. The first printings of the 1d in red-brown were made from the same printing plates used for the penny black. The major rarity featured in the collection is a four margin bottom left hand corner marginal plate block of ten with full deckle edge selvedge, including sheet inscription and plate number “10” and is both exceptionally rare and of the highest quality. 

    Great Britain 1841 1d red brown Plate 10. A superb unused original gum four margin bottom left hand corner marginal plate block of ten lettered SA-TE, with full deckle edge selvedge, sheet inscription and plate number '10', SG7, plate 10.

    A magnificent and very rare exhibition showpiece of the highest quality.

    Provenance: Ex Manzi. 

    £100,000

     

    Section 5 

    The failed stamp experiment – the 1847-54 Embossed Issues 

    The Embossed postage stamps from Great Britain were issued during the reign of Queen Victoria between 1847 and 1854. They were a very important part of the communications revolution taking place at the time. 

    They included three stamp values - 6d, 10d and 1 shilling. The 1-shilling rate was for postage to the USA, the 10d to Europe, including France and Italy and the 6d covered the rate to Belgium. These higher value embossed stamp issues opened up postal communication worldwide. It brought about staggering growth in international trade as the perfect partner to the steamship and railways of that time. 

    Embossed British stamps are particularly interesting as they include three features that are unique to British philately – the method of die production, the method of printing and the use of silk thread paper. 

    Britain’s experimentation with embossed stamps only lasted seven years when they were replaced by new surface printed definitive postage stamps. The embossed printing process was ridiculously laborious. Stamps were printed one at a time on silk thread paper. The design was raised and recessed to create a rough surface. The working die had to be used to apply each impression individually to the printed sheet by hand. As a result, the impressions were usually poorly spaced, either being too close together or too far apart. It was quite common for stamps to overlap. 

    Postal workers would then often cut around the octagonal design before they were sold. In short, the process was totally ineffective. Few quality examples were produced from the printing process in the first place and most were used for postage. Because of this, good quality mint examples are very desirable to collectors, but difficult to find. Finding a mint, clean square-cut example with four clear margins is extremely difficult. 

    The collection includes two key examples from this period in the form of rarely seen vertical pairs: 

    1. A very fine and fresh four margin unused vertical pair with original gum of the 1854 1 shilling green, which was valid for postage to the USA 
    2. An exceptionally fine and fresh unused four margin vertical pair with original gum of the 6d dull lilac, which covered the rate to Belgium. The 6d stamp is quite unusual in that it has tinted gum. This was the result of a printing made in error on the gummed side of the paper. 

     

    Great Britain 1854 1s Green (Die W.W.2), SG55 plate 2.

    Very fine and fresh four margin unused original gum vertical pair lightly mounted on top stamp only. Tiny insignificant split along silk thread at very top not detracting from this magnificent and very rare multiple.

    Embossed postage stamps from Great Britain were issued during the reign of Queen Victoria and were only in issue for a short period between 1847 and 1854. The 1-shilling rate was for postage to the USA.

    The printing process for embossed stamps was laborious. Stamps were printed one at a time on silk thread paper. The design was raised and recessed to create a rough surface. The working die had to be used to apply each impression individually to the printed sheet by hand.
     
    As a result, the impressions were usually poorly spaced, either being too close together or too far apart. It was quite common for stamps to overlap. Postal workers would then often cut around the octagonal design before they were sold.

    Few quality examples were produced from the printing process in the first place. Most were used for postage. Because of this, good quality mint examples are very desirable to collectors, but very difficult to find.

    Mint, clean square-cut examples with four clear margins are rare. Finding this quality in a pair is quite exceptional.

    GB Specialised Catalogue No: H1(2). 

    £50,000

     

    Great Britain 1854 6d Dull lilac (watermark reversed), SG59.

    Exceptionally fine and fresh unused original gum four margin vertical pair. Lovely fresh colour and greenish gum.

    Embossed postage stamps from Great Britain were issued during the reign of Queen Victoria and were only in issue for a short period between 1847 and 1854. The 6d stamp covered the rate to Belgium.
     
    The 6d stamp is quite unusual in that it has tinted gum. This was the result of a printing made in error on the gummed side of the paper.

    The printing process for embossed stamps was laborious. Stamps were printed one at a time on silk thread paper. The design was raised and recessed to create a rough surface. The working die had to be used to apply each impression individually to the printed sheet by hand.
     
    As a result, the impressions were usually poorly spaced, either being too close together or too far apart. It was quite common for stamps to overlap. Postal workers would then often cut around the octagonal design before they were sold.

    Few quality examples were produced from the printing process in the first place. Most were used for postage. Because of this, good quality mint examples are very desirable to collectors, but very difficult to find.

    Mint, clean square-cut examples with four clear margins are rare. Finding this quality in a pair is quite exceptional.

    A very rare multiple accompanied by a 2003 Brandon Certificate of Authenticity.

    GB Specialised Catalogue No: H3(2)g.

    £40,000

     

    Section 6 

    The Victorian Golden Era of Stamps – Surface printed issues 1855-1901 

    Surface printed stamps from Great Britain were first produced in 1855, and this printing method was used for all definitive stamps above the 2d denomination. As demand for stamps rapidly expanded during the Victorian postal communications revolution, it outstripped the capability of the line-engraved printing methods deployed by Perkins, Bacon and Petch where the printing plates were rapidly worn in the attempts to produce the millions of stamps demanded by the public. The new surface printed method of printing represented a triumph of the printers Thomas De La Rue & Co being faster, relatively inexpensive and with the plates holding up better to wear. 

    The surface printed stamps of Great Britain cover a lengthy period of production yet include some of Britain’s rarest stamps. They are widely sought after by collectors and include some of the most beautiful stamps ever produced. 

    This was a period of stamp experimentation providing collectors with a range of design changes, printing plate numbers and watermarks. 

    Surface printed stamps, particularly the higher value issues, are renowned for their rarity. Finding quality examples is challenging as they are usually poorly centred and regularly show signs of damage. In many cases, very few examples became available to collectors and consequently they require a substantial financial investment to build a comprehensive collection. 

    The collection includes seven famous Queen Victorian surface printed rarities, including the finest known examples in existence providing a premium value: 

    1. One of the finest examples of the iconic and rare 1878 £1 brown-lilac 
    2. The finest quality mint example in existence of the rarer imperforate variety of the 1880 2 shilling brown, plate 1 
    3. A superb mint example of the 1882 5 shilling from the rarer printing plate 4 on blued paper 
    4. A pristine mint example of the 1882 £5 orange, (plate 1), “Britain’s boldest stamp” and one of the most iconic stamps ever issued 
    5. A superb mint example of the 1884 10 shilling ultramarine on blued paper. No more than six in existence, most of which have condition defects. 
    6. The finest quality example in existence of the 1884 10 shilling “Cobalt” on white paper, known as the notorious missing stamp in most British Queen Victoria stamp collections. 
    7. A very fine and fresh well centred mint example of the first renowned “Long One Pound” stamp, the 1884 £1 brown-lilac, widely adored amongst collectors 

     

    Great Britain 1878 (26 September) £1 Brown-lilac (Plate 1), Watermark Maltese Cross, Perforation 15½ x 15., SG129. 

    Very fine unused example with large part original gum.

    A great rarity of GB philately and in very fine condition for this exceptionally rare stamp.

    One of the finest examples amongst the very small number that exists in mint condition.

    Accompanied by a Brandon certificate of authenticity. 

    The Stanley Gibbons catalogue price is £90,000. 

    £75,000

    Great Britain Queen Victoria Surface Printed 1880 2s brown, plate 1, SG121a.

    Very fine and fresh example of this great rarity unused and with full original gum. Imperforate example lettered PJ. A beautiful and rare stamp.

    The normal 2 shilling brown stamp issued in 1880 included perforations and is a key rarity of British philately. This rarer imperforate variety is all but unobtainable in the market. It is the first time we have handled one.
     
    It is the best quality example we know of with fresh colour, unused and with all the original gum in-tact. Quite remarkable!

    Accompanied with a Brandon certificate of authenticity.

    It also enjoys distinguished provenance, once residing in the collection of the famous and charismatic Scottish collector, Dr Douglas Latto.

    SG catalogue price is £30,000.

    £25,000 

     

    Great Britain 1882 5 shilling (Plate 4) On Blued Paper, SG130.

    A superb mint example of this very rare stamp. Exceptional Quality for this stamp. The quality in terms of freshness, perforations and centring makes this one for the “philatelic connoisseur”. 

    The 5 shilling rose epitomises the golden era of the Victorian postal revolution. 

    This rare printing plate on blued paper is an incredibly elusive stamp to find in mint condition. 

    Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the British Philatelic Association (BPA). 

    £40,000

     

    Great Britain 1882 £5 Orange (Plate 1) On White Paper, SG137. A superb, well centred unmounted mint example with lovely vibrant colour, lettered “AC”.

    Exceptional quality rare example with full original gum. 

    Most attractive example of one of the most iconic and desired stamps in GB philately, rarely seen in such pristine condition. 

    £14,500

     

    Great Britain 1884 10 shilling Ultramarine On Blued Paper, SG177.

    A superb mint example of this very rare stamp. Exceptional Quality with outstanding colour and well centred. The finest quality example in existence.

    In 1883, the parcel post began and there was a need for higher value stamps.
     
    The 1884 10 shilling is very rare for the obvious reason that it had a high face value. When you consider the average take-home pay at the time was under £1 a week, 10 shillings represented more than half a week’s wages.
     
    Due to being so expensive, few stamps of this value were purchased by collectors at the time. Almost all were used for postage.
     
    These stamp designs also had a comparatively short lifespan and came from only 2 printing plates. This 10 shilling was originally released on 1 April, 1884 in the ultramarine shade on blued paper.

    There are no more than six examples in existence, most of which have condition defects. 

    Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the British Philatelic Association (BPA). 

    £40,000

     

    Great Britain 1884 10 shilling "Cobalt" on white paper, SG182.

    A superb mint, perfectly centred example of this very rare stamp. The finest quality example in existence.

    The 10 shilling “Cobalt” is one of the most famous surface printed issues of Queen Victoria’s reign. It is so rare, it is known as the notorious missing stamp in most British Queen Victoria collections.

    Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the British Philatelic Association (BPA).

    £50,000

     

    Great Britain Queen Victoria Surface Printed 1884 £1 brown-lilac, SG185.

    Very fine and fresh well centred unused example with original gum and lovely deep shade, lettered KD. Very light gum bend at right, otherwise a very attractive example of this scarce and highly sought after high value stamp in a lovely deep shade.

    The £1 brown-lilac stamp is a heavyweight of British philately. The Long One Pound stamp is a stunning feature of Great Britain’s postal history. They are widely adored amongst collectors, but outside the financial reach of many because they are so rare and valuable.
     
    The unique horizontal format caused a great stir at the time when it was first issued in 1884. These surface-printed stamps were produced by the printers, Thomas De La Rue.
     
    It has an ornate style with corner letters which are different for each stamp in the sheet, typical of the stamps in the reign, to deter forgers.
     
    The £1 brown-lilac was only in circulation for a very short time in 1884 as it was soon re-issued in a green colour.
     
    It is an elusive stamp missing in most collections and thus highly desirable, particularly in mint quality condition.
     
    SG Catalogue price is £28,000.

    £24,000

     

    Section 7 

    The Government’s Stamps – King Edward VII Departmental Officials 1902-1904 

    King Edward VII was only on the throne for a relatively short time yet this short period provides an eminently collectible subject area. The King came to the throne on the death of his mother, Queen Victoria on 22 January 1901 and he died on 6 May 1910. 

    An area of particular interest to collectors is the high value Official stamps issued for the sole use of essentially autonomous Government departments. Despite their value, they were not used for large heavy parcels, but rather to cover the composite postage on large bundles of letters. 

    None of these “OFFICIAL” overprints were supposed to be sold, or otherwise made available to the public in unused condition. At one time the possession of mint Official stamps was even deemed a criminal offence. An underground trade still persisted although on a very small scale. In September 1903, a senior Inland Revenue employee, and A.B. Creeke, a well-known philatelist, were convicted and imprisoned for the illegal supply of I.R. Official overprints. 

    Because of the evident trading in departmental overprints, the Treasury withdrew all departmental overprints on 13 May 1904, which is recognised as the last day of authorised usage. 

    As a result, mint examples of such stamps are renowned for their scarcity and highly sought after by collectors. They have proved a very strong investment over the past 20 years as specialised collectors have become more interested in acquiring these elusive rarities. 

    The Official stamps, because of their value, can be found with forged overprints and collectors must be on their guard when buying. Some of the more sophisticated forgeries require the use of highly specialised equipment. It is therefore recommended that these stamps should only be purchased when supported by a certificate of authenticity from either the British Philatelic Association (BPA) or Royal Philatelic Society (RPS). 

    The collection contains two very fine examples of these major rarities, both accompanied with appropriate certificates of authenticity: 

    1. A very fine and fresh mint example of the 1902 10 shilling Ultramarine (I.R. Official), recognised as one of the key rarities of GB philately 
    2. A superb unused example of the 1902 £1 dull blue green (I.R. Official), a very rare departmental issue printed by De La Rue 

    Great Britain 1902 10s Ultramarine (I.R. Official) - 29.4.02, SG O26.

    A very fine and fresh original gum example of this rare departmental issue and one of the key rarities of GB philately.

    Perforations at top are slightly trimmed and a couple of light gum wrinkles. Nevertheless, a magnificent GB rarity with superb colour.

    These stamps were used by revenue officials in the provinces, mail to and from Head Office passing without a stamp. The London Office used these stamps only for foreign mail.

    Only the 2nd time in 20 years we have handled this extremely elusive departmental official.

    Accompanied with a 2002 British Philatelic Association Certificate of Authenticity.

    Provenance: Ex Minoru. 

    £85,000

     

    Great Britain 1902 £1 Dull blue green (I.R. Official), SG O27.

    Superb unused original gum example of this very rare departmental issue printed by De La Rue.

    These Official stamps were for the sole use of essentially autonomous Government Departments. None of these Departmental overprints were supposed to be sold, or otherwise made available to the public in unused condition.

    Accompanied by a 1942 Royal Philatelic Society & 1995 British Philatelic Association Certificates of Authenticity. 

    £62,500

     

    Section 8 

    The Stamp King’s Issues – King George V 1911-1936 

    King George V is widely regarded as the all-time most famous stamp collector in the world. History has given him the title “The Stamp King” by virtue of the fact he started building the Royal Philatelic Collection, which is, today, the Queen’s most valuable personal asset and believed to be the most valuable stamp collection in the world. 

    The stamp issues of King George V’s reign reflect his passion for stamps as he was often heavily involved in the approval of the designs of new stamps. He was also involved in the print process and was obsessive about quality. Because of this, stamps from the reign of King George V are considered by many to represent the golden era of British Empire stamp designs. Issues from this reign are highly desirable, with a large and avid collector base. 

    Stamps during the King George V era were responsible for many of the “firsts” for British stamps. This included Britain’s first commemorative stamp, issued to mark the opening of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition. 

    The period included the issue of, arguably the most beautiful stamp ever designed, “the Seahorse”, first issued in 1913. The Seahorse stamps represent a miniature piece of propaganda on the eve of the Great War. They portray Britain’s image of herself screaming imperial power, might, tradition, pomp and circumstance. The Seahorse stamps were also the most successful British stamps ever issued. They were in circulation longer than any other British high value stamp for 26 years from 1913 to 1939. 

    Probably the most famous stamp issued during King George V’s reign is the 1935 Silver Jubilee 21⁄2d Prussian Blue, which is the most iconic error of colour in British philately also known as “the King’s error”. When King George V was asked to choose the colour for a new commemorative stamp between “Prussian blue” and “blue”, he opted for the latter. 

    However, things didn’t go entirely to plan and the printers, Harrison & Son, printed some sheets in the “Prussian blue” colour by error. They realised their mistake and quickly destroyed the erroneous sheets, except six sheets sent to the Post Office Stores for inspection. The Superintendent Warehouseman was asked to destroy the six sheets apart from a block of four to be retained for reference. However, a further mistake was made and only two sheets were destroyed. The other four were accidentally placed with the correct colour sheets by a busy worker. Three of these sheets were sent to the Edmonton Post Office in North London. The other sheet was issued to an unknown Post Office. As a result, we know that only 480 of these stamps survived. 

    The collection includes three iconic rarities from King George V of quite exquisite quality: 

    1. The famous King George V Profile Head Issue set of two in control blocks of six, being one of only three control blocks known 
    2. A remarkable half sheet of 20 Seahorse stamps in mint condition from a very rare printing shade and of stunning appearance 
    3. A superb unmounted mint example of the iconic Prussian Blue stamp from the top right-hand corner of the sheet 

     

    Great Britain King George V "The Profile Head Issue" 1913 ½d Bright green & 1d dull scarlet, SG397/8.

    Very fine and fresh unused original set of two in 'C13' control blocks of six (½ d Perf and 1d Imperf). A wonderful pair of exhibition pieces with only three control blocks of each value known.

    The SG catalogue price is £36,000.

    £35,000

     

    Great Britain King George V 1915 5s Pale carmine (worn plate), SG410.

    Pristine unused original gum half sheet of twenty printed by De La Rue complete with full sheet margin, lightly mounted on two stmps only. A magnificent exhibition piece of the highest pedigree

    Provenance: Ex Hassan Sharda gold medal collection.

    £35,000

     

    Great Britain 1935 Silver Jubilee 2½d Prussian Blue, SG456a.

    A superb unmounted mint with full original gum example from the top right-hand corner of the sheet. An exceptional example of the unissued colour being the most iconic error of colour in GB philately, known affectionately as "the King's error".

    Accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from the British Philatelic Association (BPA).

    £20,000

    How to secure the £2 million rarest stamps collection

    As you will appreciate, there can only be one owner of this collection, which took a decade to build.

    If you would like to be that owner, please contact us today at info@paulfrasercollectibles.com. Alternatively, you can call our office on +44(0)1534 639998 and one of our experts will be on the other end of the line to speak to you.

    If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask.