Thursday 25 November 2010

Lady Mairi Bury's stamp collection to fetch £2.6m at auction / Half a stamp sells for £221,000

Two postage stamp stories in one day is a pleasant surprise for us philatelists but to avoid overwhelming you, dear readers, with two consecutive posts on the same subject I shall condense them down into one.

Lady Mairi Bury's stamp collection to fetch £2.6m at auction

This main story is fascinating, and not just from a collectors point of view. Granted, her collection sounds fantastic and is certainly one of the best I have come across in my time; the cultural value of the letters, as well as the stamps themselves, must be immense. However it also seems that, by all accounts, Lady Mairi was an incredible character and I'm surprised not to have heard of her before this either in philatelic circles or elsewhere. She certainly lead an eventful life and sounds like the most positive definition of an eccentric.

It seems almost a pity to see such a remarkable collection - literally of a lifetime - broken up but the sheer variety, condition and rarity of so many of the items means this was always likely to happen. At least they will go towards enhancing the collections of others and be assured of a safe future

Half a stamp sells for £221,000

Not the Royal Mail's new postage pricing strategy, but a bizarre stamp (or should that be sta...?) from 19th Century Germany, which got round a supply problem by being cut in half before being issued(!). Such an oddity was bound to be of some value in itself, but a short production period (and likely little used because of the actual shortage of stamps) has led to a great amount of money changing hands for this example. This is yet another intriguing historical facet of postage stamps that keeps me interested in the pasttime and once again we see rarity value and a bidding war between collectors push the price up. I would not be in the least bit surprised if the new owner hails from the same area where this stamp was first issued. I hope he enjoys it!

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