Tag Archives: Post Office Mauritius

Royal Philatelic Collection podcast

We have just uploaded a new podcast featuring Michael Sefi speaking at the BPMA about the Royal Philatelic Collection. Michael Sefi has been Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection since 2003 and he, along with several assistants, cares for and describes the collection, as well as enabling public access to it.

Bermuda ‘Perot’; one of only 12 surviving examples of this locally-produced stamp.

Bermuda ‘Perot’; one of only 12 surviving examples of this locally-produced stamp.

The Royal Philatelic Collection is Queen Elizabeth II’s private collection and includes material collected by her ancestors over the past 120 years. The majority of the holdings were collected by King George V, aka the philatelist king, but since his death the collection has been added to. It is considered to be the finest collection of its type, and consists almost entirely of British and Commonwealth material, including stamps, covers and stamp artwork, some famous errors and oddities, and a number of unique and highly valuable items.

‘Post Office Mauritius’. This item from the Royal Philatelic Collection is considered to be the finest of the four surviving examples of this stamp.

‘Post Office Mauritius’. This item from the Royal Philatelic Collection is considered to be the finest of the four surviving examples of this stamp.

In his speech, given here in February, Michael Sefi described the history of the Collection and discusses some of its highlights. These include George V Silver Jubilee covers from almost all Commonwealth Countries, stamp artwork from the era of Edward VIII (some of which was repurposed for George VI), and the rarities illustrating this blog.

2d Tyrian Plum on a cover sent to the Prince of Wales the day before he became George V. The Tyrian Plum was never issued, and this is the only used example.

2d Tyrian Plum on a cover sent to the Prince of Wales the day before he became George V. The Tyrian Plum was never issued, and this is the only used example.

Items from the Royal Philatelic Collection are often shown publically. Upcoming displays include Masterworks Museum, Bermuda – 19 to 28 April 2012, Planète Timbres (Stamp Planet), Paris – 9-17 June 2012, and Australia 2013 World Stamp Exhibition, Melbourne – 10-15 May 2013. In 2010 the British Postal Museum & Archive and the Royal Philatelic Collection collaborated on Empire Mail: George V & the GPO at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

Download the Michael Sefi podcast from www.postalheritage.org.uk/podcast or subscribe to the BPMA podcast on iTunes.

Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection to speak at BPMA

Marking The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, Michael Sefi, the Keeper of the Royal Philatelic Collection introduces and discusses aspects of this famous collection at The British Postal Museum & Archive. In his talk on Thursday 23 February he will cover the history of the collection, illustrate some highlights from it and outline the current structure and operation of what is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest stamp collections.

Waterlow’s accepted design for the Colonial Silver Jubilee omnibus (Image reproduced by gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen)

Waterlow’s accepted design for the Colonial Silver Jubilee omnibus (Image reproduced by gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen)

Highlights featured in the talk include the Post Office Mauritius, the development of the colonial design for King George V’s Silver Jubilee, stamps and artwork from the British Empire, high value stamps, and famous errors such as the Cape of Good Hope “woodblock” error of colour and the stamp commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Falkland Islands, featuring HMS Glasgow instead of HMS Kent.

An example from the British Empire can be seen below. The hand-painted, stamp-sized watercolour was created as artwork for the 1848 Courbould Britannia design. Underneath the image, the painter has written: ‘The engraver, with a magnifying glass (such as I have not) can finish the toe nails rather more’.

1848 Courbould Britannia design

1848 Courbould Britannia design (Image reproduced by gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen)

For further information and bookings please see our website.

What would you do with £1,053,090?

… Buy a stamp, of course! This phenomenal price tag is how much an anonymous telephone bidder paid on June 28, 2011 for the coveted ‘Post Office Mauritius’ two penny blue stamp during a sale at Spink Auctioneers, making it the most valuable stamp ever sold in the UK. The stamp hails from the impressive Chartwell Collection, which contains over 80 stamp albums, collected by Sir Cyril Humphrey Cripps.

Example of the 'Post Office' Mauritius in the Royal Philatelic Collection

Example of the 'Post Office' Mauritius in the Royal Philatelic Collection

Sir Humphrey (1915-2000) was a successful English businessman and philanthropist. He began collecting stamps almost by chance in the 1950’s, picking the hobby up from his son, Robert. Robert eventually lost interest in stamp collecting as he returned to school, but his son’s fleeting interest in the hobby transformed itself into a life-long passion for Sir Humphrey. He studied philately and the existing marketplace, focusing on Great Britain and the British
Empire. In 1972, he purchased the ‘Post Office Mauritius’ 2d. blue for £29,000, which was quite expensive at the time. He was later offered an even greater sum for the stamp, but Sir Humphrey rejected it—proving that his love was the act of collecting and the collection itself, rather than the monetary value of what it contained. This extraordinary stamp became a part of his British Empire Collection, which contained stamps from primarily Bermuda, Mauritius, the Virgin Islands, as well as Canada, New Zealand and theTurks Islands.

The stamp collection also included the Great Britain Collection, from which hails other big items in Spink’s ongoing auction of Sir Humphrey’s stamps, which included several examples of 1840 Penny Black plates and an accepted die proof for the ‘One Penny Stamp’. You can see some related items from the BPMA collection: lantern slides of a proof sheet of the 1840 Penny Black and the original die used for the 1840 Penny Black’s production.

‘Proof Sheet of the 1840 Penny Black’ – Lantern Slide (2010-0411)

‘Proof Sheet of the 1840 Penny Black’ – Lantern Slide (2010-0411)

The Original Die Used For Production of the 1840 Penny Black (BPMA collection)

The Original Die Used For Production of the 1840 Penny Black (BPMA collection)

Sir Humphrey’s collection is said to be one of the finest British stamp collections in private hands, a statement only reinforced by the estimated £20 million that the collection is expected to bring in over the course of its auction within the next 18 months. But what is possibly more fascinating than the price that the Mauritius stamp fetched and the value of the objects within the collection is Sir Humphrey’s evident love of stamp collecting, a passion that has assisted with the preservation of Britain’s postal heritage.

If you’d like to have a further look at the above items from the BPMA Collection, feel free to have a look at our website or catalogue. For Spink Auctioneers and Daily Mail articles on the sale of the Mauritius stamp, you can find them here and here.

- Sarah Cooper, Intern

Empire Mail: George V and the GPO

by Jennifer Flippance, 2010 Exhibitions & Project Manager

Empire Mail: George V and the GPO, hosted by Guildhall Art Gallery, in the heart of the City of London, is the BPMA’s flagship exhibition for the London 2010: Festival of Stamps, produced in conjunction with the Royal Philatelic Collection.

King George V riding his horse, Anzac

King George V riding his horse, Anzac, a gift from the Australian government. This photograph was later used as the basis for the Australian Silver Jubilee stamps, issued in 1935.

The exhibition explores the reign of King George V (1910 – 1936), an era of conflict, change and innovation. Investigate the passions of the ‘philatelist king’, alongside the extraordinary period of design and creativity in the General Post Office during the period.

Displays include some of the rarest and most valuable stamps in the world alongside vehicles, pillar boxes, posters and pioneering works from the GPO Film Unit. Empire Mail: George V and The GPO will explore themes from the King’s reign such as innovations in mail transportation, the first Atlantic air crossing, the rise of graphic design in the 1920s and 1930s, and the impact of conflict.

The items on display are sourced from the unique and complementary collections of the BPMA and the Royal Philatelic Collection. These include a sheet of unused Edward VII Tyrian Plum stamps plus the only one known to have been used – sent on an envelope to George V on 5 May 1910 when he was Prince of Wales and arriving the day he became King following the death of his father.

'Post Office' Mauritius: The most famous stamps in the world?

'Post Office' Mauritius: The most famous stamps in the world?

There are many gems from King George V’s own collection, including two examples of the famous Post Office Mauritius stamp, among them an unused 2d, bought by the King when Prince of Wales in 1904 for the then record sum of £1,450.

Other highlights include: items and original film footage from the 1911 Coronation Aerial Post; original stamp artwork for the first ever UK commemorative stamp produced for the 1924/5 Wembley Empire Exhibition; the only Victoria Cross won by the Post Office Rifles during the First World War; mail carried on pioneering (successful and unsuccessful) transatlantic air crossings; and objects and images from the Post Office Underground Railway.

The BPMA’s fully restored blue airmail pillar box will be seen in public for the first time, alongside other pillar boxes of the period and vehicles, including a 1945 Morris “Red Van” in George V livery and a 1933 BSA motorcycle.

As an added attraction, between 8–15 May, there will be regular demonstrations by staff from the security printers Enschedé, who will be printing reproductions of the 1929 PUC £1 on an intaglio press.

A series of free lunchtime talks will also take during the exhibition’s run.

For further information on Empire Mail: George V and the GPO please see the BPMA website. An online taster of the exhibition has also been produced.