Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

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Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

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https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-10-26/first-ever-postage-st ... /100570872

World's first postage stamp the Penny Black expected to sell for millions at auction

Postage stamp glued to a sheet of paper.

The world's first postage stamp, a Penny Black, will be auctioned in December.(Reuters: Hannah McKay)

One of the first postage stamps ever printed is going on sale with potential buyers expected to spend up to $11 million.

Key points:

The Penny Black was the first postage stamp made
Sotheby's will auction one of the stamps printed on the original sheet
The stamp was originally in the possession of Britain's leading postal reformer, Robert Wallace
The Penny Black was the world's first stamp and one from the first sheet printed will be auctioned by Sotheby's in London on December 7.

The adhesive stamp that features a profile of Queen Victoria is attached to a document dated April 10, 1840, from the archive of British postal service reformer Robert Wallace, a Scottish politician.

The Penny Black, which introduced a flat rate, was used from May 6, 1840.

Before that, the recipient paid the postage cost.

There are believed to be only two other examples of perfect, ungummed Penny Blacks from the first printing, both in the collection of the British Postal Museum.

The stamp and the Wallace Document is owned by philatelist and businessman Alan Holyoake.

As one of the world's leading stamp collectors, he has seen many rare items in his time.

But for Mr Holyoake, this one is exceptionally special.

"It is a world icon. It's a world icon because it actually is the very first stamp," he said.

"So, it's a stamp that came from the very first sheet of stamps that were printed."

Mr Holyoake bought the Wallace Document 10 years ago for less than 50,000 pounds ($92,000).

At the time, rumours circulated that the stamp was one of the first Penny Blacks ever printed.

It took three years of research to prove that was true and get official authentication from The Royal Philatelic Society, London, and the British Philatelic Association.

That certification has raised its value significantly and a recent stamp sale has stoked Mr Holyoake's hopes that The Wallace Document would fetch a record-breaking price.

Earlier this year, Sotheby's auctioned a British Guiana One-Cent Magenta for $US8.3 million ($11 million) and Mr Holyoake believes his stamp is worth even more.

"The value that's being put at the moment for the auction of the Wallace Document is in sterling between four and six million [pounds] ($7-11 million)," he said.

"I would be disappointed if it doesn't make far more than that because, unlike the One Cent Guianan, it is a stamp.

"Most people don't even know where Guyana is, whereas here you have a world icon, and I would submit already that that doesn't happen every day."

Also included in the Wallace Document is proof of the Mulready Stationary — an official printed envelope that was designed to be the primary method of prepaying postage, with the Penny Black stamp a top-up option for excess postage costs.

Mr Holyoake said he hopes whoever buys The Wallace Document appreciates its historical significance.

"I do hope that someone who buys it actually understands its importance as being a world icon," he said.

"A world icon, not as a stamp, but a world icon as being an important first when it comes to social history and communication."
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by ViccyVFU »



I'd be surprised if bids reached over £1M

....but if they do, it would appear Showpiece "are on the case, for their offer #2" :D

(They should know by 7th December whether "the masses want slivers", or not).

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

DreamerSeller wrote:
"The value that's being put at the moment for the auction of the Wallace Document is in sterling between four and six million [pounds] ($7-11 million)," he said.

"I would be disappointed if it doesn't make far more than that because, unlike the One Cent Guianan, it is a stamp.

"Most people don't even know where Guyana is, whereas here you have a world icon, and I would submit already that that doesn't happen every day."


What a Rolled Gold FROOT LOOP! What total GIBBERISH. BOTH are stamps you dill.

Amazed that Sothebys did not snootily kick him right out the door, if he had such price thought bubbles, Sounds like an Ebay dreamer, who went to the wrong place! :mrgreen:

A clearly foxed Mulready proof glued down, with a very tight margin unused no gum 1d black affixed alongside, also likely glued.

All very nice, no doubt about it. What he paid was about right then. After a decade, it might be worth about double that.

HOWEVER it will NEVER sell at this sale IMHO. NEVER!

Yes he is a well known UK collector, and certainly knows about 1d Blacks, but apparently knows nothing about the high-end stamp market prices, as we shall all soon see, I suggest. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Dream on. You have ZERO hope of this selling anywhere remotely near this price league. :!:


(ViccyVFU and I were typing at the same time. He is WILDLY ahead of my thoughts on value it seems!)
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by ViccyVFU »

Global Administrator wrote: 26 Oct 2021 22:42 (ViccyVFU and I were typing at the same time.
He is WILDLY ahead of my thoughts on value it seems!
.

If he paid £50k, and got all the right "proofs / certificates", then I could see maybe a 5x return "being about max".

But if Castelnau's BG flies out the door, there would be a shockwave, that could easily multiply that by four.

I don't track sales of penny blacks, but I thought that the previous record for a single stamp was this one, in 2016....

sg001_p001_world_record_89286q.jpg
GB sg01 plate 01 (Sold for world record £89286 in 2016)

In terms of "significant pieces of philatelic history",
....... I would rather, by a magnitude, own "a penny black, first day cover".

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

.
Mr Holyoake's memory seems to be as rubbery as his price expectations. :lol: :lol: :lol:

He did not buy it ''10 years ago'' as he tells the world, but just 8 years back.

https://www.davidfeldman.com/dfsa-auctions/2013-september-au ... the-earli/

''Mr Holyoake bought the Wallace Document 10 years ago for less than 50,000 pounds''


He paid only 25,000 Euros
plus fees from Feldmans in Switzerland, getting it for HALF the lower end of the estimate. Clearly the ONLY bidder it appears, and I'd go one step further to suggest there were zero bids at that sale, and this was likely an after sale cheeky offer the vendor accepted. Feldman is not known for selling big buck pieces at HALF lower estimate. :lol: :lol: :lol:

And there seemed little doubt at the time to anyone reading sale description, that it was from the first sheet/s printed. It is posted as a fact. It is ID'd as Plate 1, and it had 2 certs, one from BPA. Hardly a News Flash it was from the first sheets!

If Feldman offered it, the piece had a GLOBAL audience of top-level eyes. Both dealers and collectors and specialists. If 25,000 Euro was all it managed, the story is there for all to see. That was about the mark - half estimate. Game over.

Estimate: 50’000 – 60’000 EUR
Auction date: Tue 24 Sep 2013 at 10:00 (Europe/Zurich)
Auction: September 2013 Auction Series
Catalog: British Empire

Sold for EUR 25’000

Description:

THE FAMOUS WALLACE DOCUMENT The Earliest Dated Penny Black in Existence Unique document from the archive of Robert Wallace: die proof of the Mulready, without value tablet, printed in black on India paper, mounted on stout paper along with an unused 1d black from plate 1a, lettered AI, with endorsement in pencil by Robert Wallace MP:

“1st Proof of Penny Postage Stamp Cover(?), presented to Mr. Wallace by the Right Honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer, Francis Thornhill Baring, April 10th 1840.” along top, with “Universal Penny Postage Fly or Loose Stamp, presented to me as above (the 10th April). / These came into public use on the 6th May 1840”, below the Penny Black.

The Penny Black affixed comes from the plate completed on April 8th 1840, which was put into production on April 11th and officially registered on April 15th. Note: This stamp, from the first row of the sheet, quite probably comes from the first sheet printed. April 10th was also an important day for the Mulready, as it was the day that its design was shown to and approved by the Council of Royal Academicians.

Unique document of major historical importance in the story of the Penny Black. Expertise: certified by James Grimwood-Taylor (1992) and BPA (2009) Note: Robert Wallace (1733-1855), was one of the foremost Postal Reformers of the 1830s and 1840s. According to Rowland Hill’s autobiography, Robert Wallace was “One who was in the field (of Postal Reform) more than two years before I began my investigations.”

Wallace began the campaign in 1833 that led to cheap postage and the 1d black. He was a principal witness for the Commission of Revenue Enquiry into the Post Office from 1835 to 1836, and it was by his deciding vote as Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Postage in 1838 that the original proposals for cheap postage were recommended to Parliament. P

Probably the only known example from the first sheet of stamps ever printed anywhere in the world. Estimate: € 50’000 – € 60’000
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

.
And just to refresh Mr Holyoak's defective memory, as to what he paid, (and when he paid it!) happily the Sterling Euro rate in September 2013 was darn near today's rate.

So 25,000 Euro was about 21,000 quid.

Add-on all of Feldman's buyer fee gouges etc, and we get to around £25,000 paid to Feldman.

Rather different than the vague '£50,000' type level entry price, tossed out on the news feeds.

Yes £25,000 is ''Under £50,000''. It is also ''Under a Million.'' Why not be up front, and precise, and simply SAY it cost £25,000?

He is in his mid 70s, and some folks often forget fine details, but the internet does not! :D


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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

ViccyVFU wrote: 26 Oct 2021 23:16
....... I would rather, by a magnitude, own "a penny black, first day cover".


Well at the same Feldman sale as the new "$11 Million Whoppeee" and just 2 lots on, this FDC was UNSOLD! 4 large margins and BPA Cert etc.

https://www.davidfeldman.com/dfsa-auctions/2013-september-au ... of-usepla/

The vendor seemed in a generous mood that day taking half price offers - who knows, if you offered 10,000 or 15,000 Euro, it might have been your lucky day! :mrgreen:


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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by yellowduck »

MargoZ wrote: 26 Oct 2021 21:47There are believed to be only two other examples of perfect, ungummed Penny Blacks from the first printing, both in the collection of the British Postal Museum.

Mr Holyoake bought the Wallace Document 10 years ago for less than 50,000 pounds ($92,000).

At the time, rumours circulated that the stamp was one of the first Penny Blacks ever printed.

It took three years of research to prove that was true and get official authentication from The Royal Philatelic Society, London, and the British Philatelic Association.

That certification has raised its value significantly and a recent stamp sale has stoked Mr Holyoake's hopes that The Wallace Document would fetch a record-breaking price.

"I would be disappointed if it doesn't make far more than that because, unlike the One Cent Guianan, it is a stamp.

What research and supporting evidence can prove this is actually from the first sheet? Of course, it can be plated as a Plate 1, but how do we know this is the stamp given to Wallace from the very first sheet?

His comment that the One Cent Magenta is not a stamp is hilarious, and makes him look like a fool. You're a stamp collector, but apparently don't even know when a stamp is a stamp.

From "less than £50,000" (in fact about £25,000 as Glen shows) to 4 to 7 million in "value". Nice rate of return, if you can actually sell! People have made that kind of investment return with cryptocurrency, but that is still a niche market with a bigger audience than the niche market of philately.

I'm confused about the market for QV GB. (I don't collect it, for one thing because it seems too complicated.) It's popular, yet a lot of items fail to sell, like the Penny Black FDC at Feldman. Is it just because the estimates are too high?
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Number-O-Ne »



I never collected GB or British Commonwealth, but the opinions of the people who know the subject is clear: no serious collector would pay that much.

The article may be a marketing attempt directed to nonphilatelic investors. 🤔🤔

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

yellowduck wrote: 27 Oct 2021 03:23
I'm confused about the market for QV GB. (I don't collect it, for one thing because it seems too complicated.) It's popular, yet a lot of items fail to sell, like the Penny Black FDC at Feldman. Is it just because the estimates are too high?
.
Early GB is tricky. Rewarding, but tricky, and not for the newbies that is for sure! :lol:

Feldman sold it as likely being from first sheet. No-one can PROVE it, but it seems pretty likely. Or from the many sheets printed on the first day of production by Perkins Bacon - April 11. So no big newsflash really. Yet it only cost £25,000 and one bid only was made globally, that seems clear. Join up the dots. It had a current BPA cert when last sold in 2009, so both items were deemed authentic.

Talking MANY MILLIONS for it a few years later, shows Alan Holyoake is on Cloud Cuckoo Land, and Sotheby's are mega dumb to have touched it at that ebay dreamer type level, as it is just wasting their time and resources IMHO, and making them look foolish to many I am sure. :!:

Remember Sotheby's are largely CLUELESS about stamps in general. They fluked the Gawaiine Baillie wonder cave estate decades back, but art etc is more their thing. And they are good at it. Just not STAMPS!

Early GB can be very pretty I personally think. Cavendish had a sale of nice stuff this month - these 1840 imperfs have no varieties, are not from scarce plates, not from the first sheet, not owned by anyone famous, were not sold by Sotheby's, did not get silly figures, but just look GORGEOUS - don't you agree? It is not rocket science really. :mrgreen:

Glen


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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by JonEboy »

There's an interesting article in The Times here in the UK today. I reproduce it here in the knowledge that it's behind a paywall and the copyright remains theirs....
First Penny Black stamp offered for £6m at Sotheby’s auction

The Penny Black has acquired such legendary status among stamp collectors that it has become a byword for rarity and value.

Now a London auction house is offering the penny black of Penny Blacks.

The first Penny Black ever produced is being offered by Sotheby’s with an estimate of up to £6 million. This would match the world record for a stamp, set by the British Guiana 1c, which sold for $8.3 million (£6 million) this year and $9.5 million (£5.6 million) in 2014.

If the stamp, which marked a revolution in postal services by making the sender rather than the recipient pay the cost of postage, were to realise its estimate it would be a coup for its owner.

Alan Holyoake, 75, a British businessman and stamp collector, bought the stamp in 2013 for less than £50,000. It had been offered at auction in Geneva with an estimate of £42,000 despite already being described as “the earliest known Penny Black in existence”.

Sotheby’s said that the reason for the 143-fold price increase over eight years was because Holyoake had undertaken a three-year project to establish the stamp’s authenticity beyond doubt.

“[The research] culminated with the document being issued with certificates of authenticity from the Royal Philatelic Society, London (2016) and the British Philatelic Association (2015), and its subsequent exhibition at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington DC.”

Henry House, head of Sotheby’s Treasures sale on December 7, described the lot as an object “bursting with history” that was the earliest known example of a globally recognised design that had been “produced by the highest levels of technical excellence”.

“This is the first ever stamp, the precursor to all stamps, and unequivocally the most important piece of philatelic history to exist,” House said. “Though there are many hugely important stamps in collections both public and private around the world, this is the stamp that started the postage system as we know it.”

The stamp is affixed to a piece of paper known as the Wallace Document, named after the postal reformer and MP Robert Wallace. Dated April 10, 1840, it describes how Francis Baring, the chancellor of the exchequer, gave the stamp to Wallace in recognition of his contribution to transforming the postal service.

At the time, the stamp was thought to be a secondary innovation. People were expected to pay for postage by buying “Mulready Stationery”, designed by the artist William Mulready, and they would buy a Penny Black only to pay for excess postage costs. However, Penny Blacks could be produced much more quickly and were far more popular with customers.

The Wallace Document includes a proof of Mulready’s design. Wallace wrote on the document in pencil: “Universal Penny Postage Fly or Loose Stamp, presented to me Mr Wallace as above. These come into public use on the 6th of May.”

Wallace placed the document in a personal scrap album, which passed to the Caldwell family in Scotland in 1855. In 1991 Cavendish Philatelic Auctions sold it to an overseas buyer, who separated the Wallace Document from the rest of the album.

It was offered by the dealer David Feldman in Geneva in 2013.

Sotheby’s described the combination of the Penny Black and the Mulready proof as “the most precious relic in philately — and yet it is also an object whose significance extends far beyond the world of postage stamps”.

“The Wallace Document represents the very dawn of social communication, and this stamp was a game-changer, allowing people to communicate from all levels of society and business to flourish.”

The Penny Black, the first stamp to feature glue on its back, inspired tens of thousands of stamps around the world and created the template for a form of communication still in place today.

Holyoake, whose businesses interests have included seafood and property development, said he had been unwilling to buy the stamp even when Feldman, his friend, was offering it for £42,000.

“What hadn’t happened was there wasn’t the confidence,” Holyoake told The Times. “People just couldn’t believe that this could be what it was. They could read what it was, but the confidence wasn’t there.

“At the time I bought it, I’d already turned it down three times. I thought, is it really that? It was a reluctant purchase.”

Holyoake agreed to his staff’s insistence that he buy it on the condition that they sought proof. This came when they obtained records of a meeting at the Royal Academy that discussed the stamp’s design.

“I think it’s worth a lot more than Sotheby’s is willing to sell it,” he said.

The price of stamps has tumbled in recent years as rich hobbyists turn their attention elsewhere, but Holyoake believes that communications companies such as Facebook will pay millions to have the historic stamp on their boardroom wall.
Adds a bit more to why they think it's worth a premium but....nothing to justify £6m. Unless it is delivered by Steve Austin (1980's humour...) :D

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by satsuma »

Imagine if PSE graded it before the sale. :!:

Grading supposedly greatly inflates the value at auctions.

All the Americans who know the price of everything and the value of nothing would be elbowing each other out of the way to make their bids.

Then after initialling the back, in dayglo colour they could donate it to the Smithsonian to show their munificence :!:

(Not to mention the tax breaks)
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by GB 789 »

yellowduck wrote: 27 Oct 2021 03:23
I'm confused about the market for QV GB. (I don't collect it, for one thing because it seems too complicated.) It's popular, yet a lot of items fail to sell, like the Penny Black FDC at Feldman. Is it just because the estimates are too high?
GB QV is not really that complicated to collect on a basic level, even where the different plates are concerned. Most issues, except a few high values, are within reach of an average collector.

The problem lies with the ridiculously high SG catalogue value of these stamps. Many QV lower value stamps are, in the real world, worth only a few £, such as 1d plates, lower value surface printed to 1/- etc etc. Yet anyone using SG will think they are worth far more than this. An example - 1881 2.5d blue plates 21-23 fine used - SG catalogued £35 but in reality easily picked up for less than £5.

Even better high value stamps are over catalogued - take the famous £5 orange, the highest GB denomination until 1993! Catalogued at over £5000, even the finest examples consistently only get around £2500 at auction (often far less). I don’t know what justification SG uses to price these stamps but it’s not market reality.

A comprehensive GB QV collection is not particularly difficult to put together, the difficulties lie when specialising in a certain issue as that is where the fun starts with the endless avenues that will take you down.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

Holyoake and others must be getting "Guano Fever". :lol:

This is just a Mulready proof with maybe a presentation copy of the 1d Black stuck on. Early proofs do not get big bucks compared to things like the largest mint multiple of the issued stamp etc. There are plenty of essay and proofs items around relating to the Penny Black.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

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Full Sotheby's press release:
https://www.sothebys.com/en/press/sothebys-to-offer-the-worl ... enny-black

______________________________________________________________________________________________




Press Release Oct 26, 2021

By Sotheby's

Sotheby's to Offer the World's First Postage Stamp: The First Penny Black

Part of a Unique Document from the Archive of Leading British Postal Reformer, Robert Wallace, Dated April 10th 1840

– The Most Important Piece of Philatelic History in Existence –

Auction in London, in the Treasures sale: 7 December 2021
Estimate: £4 – 6 Million


penny1.jpg


Sotheby’s is set to offer the earliest securely dated example of the very first postage stamp – one of the most significant inventions in human history, the precursor of mass and global communication as well as the keystone and lynchpin of one of the world’s most popular collecting disciplines.

Dating to 1840, this small Penny Black – a pristine impression, unused, and from plate 1a (the very first printed sheet) and lettered A-I – represents the birth of a device that would be central to the birth of mass communications across the globe for more than a century and a half and that still has not been completely supplanted by newer technologies.

Rediscovered nearly three decades ago but not fully recognised until much more recently, the stamp’s identification began when British businessman and philatelist Alan Holyoake came into the possession of The Wallace Document, to which the stamp is attached, almost ten years ago (more details below).

Holyoake was to instigate a three-year research project – which culminated with the document being issued with certificates of authenticity from The Royal Philatelic Society, London (2016) and The British Philatelic Association (2015), and its subsequent exhibition at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington DC. It will now be offered at Sotheby’s in London on 7 December 2021, with an estimate of £4 – 6 million, as part of a sale of ‘Treasures’.

Henry House, Head of Sotheby’s Treasures Sale, said: “This is an extraordinary opportunity for a collector to acquire an object bursting with history; an object that is the earliest known of an iconic design; an object produced by the highest levels of technical excellence; and an object that is the progenitor of mass and global communication.

“This is THE FIRST ever stamp, the precursor to all stamps, and unequivocally the most important piece of philatelic history to exist. Though there are many hugely important stamps in collections both public and private around the world, this is the stamp that started the postage system as we know it. The Wallace Document represents the very dawn of social communication, and this stamp was a game-changer, allowing people to communicate from all levels of society and business to flourish.”


penny2.jpg


The History of The Penny Black

Before 1840 it was the recipient who paid the cost of postage but, in a complete reversal of thinking, a competition was held to determine the best method to provide proof that the sender had paid. The eventual front runners were the Mulready and the Penny Black. Designed to be complementary, the public infinitely preferred the Penny Black.

The progenitor of tens of thousands of other stamps from numerous countries around the globe, the Penny Black is known the world over. Its design is simple: a small and now iconic portrait of the young Queen Victoria’s head in profile with the words Postage One Penny and a pair of check letters on handmade watermarked paper with gum on the back. The idea of an adhesive postage label was revolutionary at the time.

Central to these reforms during the preceding decade was Member of Parliament Robert Wallace, who was successful in setting up a commission responsible for postal reform, eventually working with Rowland Hill.

The Wallace Document

penny3.jpg


‘The Wallace Document’, which will be offered for sale at Sotheby’s, is considered the most important piece of philatelic history in the world. Dated April 10th 1840, it comes from a now dispersed personal scrap-album assembled by leading British postal reformer and MP Robert Wallace, and brings together two highly important philatelic artefacts: the Penny Black and a proof of the ‘Mulready Stationery’ that had been commissioned by the government as an alternative means to prepay postage. Both were given to him in thanks by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Francis Baring, for everything that Wallace had done to overhaul the postal system and bring these new innovations to fruition.

Written on the paper in Wallace’s own hand are notes reading:

“1st Proof of Penny Postage Stamp Cover, presented to Mr Wallace by Mr The Right Honble The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Francis Thornhill Baring — April 10th 1840.”

“Universal Penny Postage Fly or Loose Stamp, presented to me Mr. Wallace as above.”

“These come into public use on the 6th of May.”


The resulting display of the two complementary inventions, dated and endorsed by Wallace in pencil, became known as ‘The Wallace Document’, which today is regarded as the most precious relic in philately – and yet it is also an object whose significance extends far beyond the world of postage stamps.

The Wallace correspondence subsequently passed to the Caldwell family in Scotland in 1855. In 1991 it was consigned to Cavendish Philatelic Auctions who sold it to an overseas buyer in its entirety. It was then broken up and the three major pieces, including the Wallace Document, were separated.

The Mulready stationery

penny4.jpg


Commissioned by the government in tandem with the Penny Blacks as part of the postal reform, these official envelopes and covers, with designs by artist William Mulready R.A. were originally conceived as the best and primary way for the public to prepay postage. At the time, the Penny Black was seen as secondary to the stationery – as simply a means of paying excess postage on the Mulready envelopes and wrappers. However, the scale of the stationery production versus the small stamps proved untenable, and the Penny Black prevailed.

It is perhaps ironic that the Mulready design was conceived on Friday the 13th and the first completed proof was delivered on April Fools’ Day. Offered for sale to the public on May 1st the ill-fated Mulready was immediately ridiculed by the public and almost immediately caricatures appeared lampooning the design.

The presentation of the Mulready proof, together with the Penny Black, in the Wallace Document, commemorates the first time it was possible to see how the finished articles complemented one another.

The History of the Postal Service

Prior to the establishment of the mails, the only systems for delivering letters resided with messengers in the employ of either the King, the Church, or the Universities. The first Master of the Posts was created by Henry VIII around 1512, responsible for overseeing the King’s messengers and the transportation of all official mail in and out of the country. Although it was expressly forbidden, these messengers began to carry private letters and, by the end of the century, the growing merchant class had created their own private services. To counter this Queen Elizabeth I proclaimed all mail had to pass through official channels —in essence this meant that all letters could be opened and read.

In 1635 the first internal service was set up by Charles I to deliver mail between the major cities of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Later named the General Post Office by Oliver Cromwell in 1657, the government still retained the right to open any letters in defence of “plots against the government.”

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the mail was carried by relay up and down the country by teams of carriers on foot and horse from one point, or post, to another. At first, letters were only transported between post offices. Upon arrival they were collected and paid for by the recipient, the cost depending on the Treasury who regulated the postage rates and changed them regularly.

Until the dawn of the Victorian era the General Post Office would remain a staid yet profitable bastion of the Treasury and was such a good source of revenue that whenever the government needed money, the public was made to pay through higher postage rates.

CONTACTS:

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London | Matthew Floris
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

satsuma wrote: 27 Oct 2021 07:08
Imagine if PSE graded it before the sale. :!:

Grading supposedly greatly inflates the value at auctions.

All the Americans who know the price of everything and the value of nothing would be elbowing each other out of the way to make their bids.

Then after initialling the back, in dayglo colour they could donate it to the Smithsonian to show their munificence :!:

(Not to mention the tax breaks)


PLEASE do not go giving them any more Barnum and Bailey ideas. :lol: :lol:

Sotheby's are already doing enough of that for everyone!

Stuart Weiztman has all those Gibbons millions burning a hole in his pockets from the GUANO sale, aching for more headlines! :!:

I repeat, Sotheby's know as much about stamps as I know about selling Van Goughs - near zero. They have sold the GUANO twice. As it is basically an ugly piece of Banksy or Picasso art. Absolutely ZERO stamp knowledge needed to sell it - just lots of impulsive billionaires on the mailing list and a busy PR Department. But Sotheby's do not have regular stamp actions.

This current 1d Black owner Holyoake has got into someone's ear there it appears, and convinced them this is the new GUANO, and well worth 100 times what he recently paid from an informed global stamp auction. Well done to him. I might make him my agent. :mrgreen:

"The value that's being put at the moment for the auction of the Wallace Document is in sterling between four and six million [pounds]. I would be disappointed if it doesn't make far more than that" - even the ebay Dreamers do not think on this loopy scale!

Maybe some Arab Sheik with more money than sense will pop his head up - who knows? But my money is on an embarrassing total flopperoo, with zero bids.

Oops - Sotheby's already got bitten by an Arab Sheik who bought a $A30 MILLION watch and never paid - and the same Sheik bought an entire sales of British Guiana stamps worth mega millions from David Feldman in same era, and also did not pay.


https://www.glenstephens.com/snfebruary15.html


Sotheby's at times look like a glittering casino for well-heeled ''colourful identities''. :roll: :roll: :roll:



In 2012 Sheikh Al-Thani allegedly defaulted on a $US19.7 million purchase of a group of coins from the so-called “Prospero Collection”.

At the time, representatives for the dealers involved in the sale told the “Daily Mail” that the Sheikh was like an "inveterate gambler" - in other words alleging that he was addicted to the very act of bidding, and spending large sums of money.

"He bids, wins, then doesn't pay"

"He bids, wins and then doesn't pay" said the dealers' legal representative, Jeffrey Gruder. “One can only conclude that this is a person acting dishonourably and disreputably. He is bidding when he knows he's not going to be able to pay."

Gruder claimed that, among other lesser debts, Sheikh Al-Thani owed $US42 million to Sotheby's and £4.3 million to Bonhams Auctions in the UK. Much more here - www.tinyurl.com/SheikhSaud

BBC arts editor Will Gompertz said: “When he was in town - so the rumour goes - art dealers and auction houses would dust down their best stuff, add a nought or two, and await his visit."



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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by ViccyVFU »

MargoZ wrote: 26 Oct 2021 21:47
(Extracted from the Sothebys Press Release)

Earlier this year, Sotheby's auctioned a British Guiana One-Cent Magenta for $US8.3 million ($11 million) and Mr Holyoake believes his stamp is worth even more.

"The value that's being put at the moment for the auction of the Wallace Document is in sterling between four and six million [pounds] ($7-11 million)," he said.

"I would be disappointed if it doesn't make far more than that because, unlike the One Cent Guianan, it is a stamp.

You get the impression he's been studying the Fraser / Hall "Handbook of BS"

..... "I can't bear to part with it, but if someone stumped up £5M" .....


It all hinges on Sothebys using their contacts network "to find a bigger fool than Holyoake".

If they pull that off, they've earned every penny of their fees!
(One call, to Channon or Shircore, should do it :D ).

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by emason »

I may be missing the obvious, but what I don't understand is from which printed sheet of 1d blacks this stamp 'A-I' is taken to justify the claim that it is the 'first'.

The first sheet is usually the imprimatur sheet and is ungummed, but that sheet still exists (at the National Postal Museum?), and the position 'A-I' is still intact.


Part of the imprimatur sheet showing position A-I
Part of the imprimatur sheet showing position A-I


Holyoake's stamp has no gum, so it cannot come from any sheet of stamps which were issued for distribution, unless the gum has been removed.

The stamp has its check letters so it is not a plate proof.

So, it is neither a plate proof, nor an imprimatur nor an issued stamp; so from which sheet was it taken? The claim to be the 'first' looks decidedly tenuous to me.

The certificates should be an interesting read.
Best wishes,
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by ViccyVFU »

emason wrote: 27 Oct 2021 23:32 I may be missing the obvious, but what I don't understand is from which printed sheet of 1d blacks this stamp 'A-I' is taken to justify the claim that it is the 'first'.
I always thought that imprim sheet with blurred "letter", (and AJ with "a mole on her neck"), was plate 1b?

Not that it would change your query, as both the "pre hardening" and "plate 1" imprims are still intact, for that position (Also at the NPM).

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

.
I am not a FRPSL but foolishly would assume the Imprimatur sheets were the first taken from any plate. Printed before any PO issued sheets?

Not so it seems, if this lettered position is still on the Imprimatur sheets. Eight years on, this bog obvious reality has not occurred to Alan Holyoake, FRPSL, RDP.



''The Penny Black, the first stamp to feature glue on its back, inspired tens of thousands of stamps around the world''

Even accepting Sotheby's know near nothing about stamps, it was the first postage stamp, with or without glue on the back, and actually Sotheby's it was the forerunner of MILLIONS of stamps not 10,000s, but why bother doing any research?!
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by emason »

ViccyVFU wrote: 28 Oct 2021 01:06 I always thought that imprim sheet with blurred "letter", (and AJ with "a mole on her neck"), was plate 1b?
It is definitely plate 1a.
The 5 o'clock ray is shorter than the 7 o'clock ray.
The 'wooly' appearance of the letters, and the general impression are plate 1a features. Plate 1b letters are generally thinner due to the transfer roller used to re-enter having blank letter squares.
Best wishes,
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by ViccyVFU »

emason wrote: 28 Oct 2021 03:18
ViccyVFU wrote: 28 Oct 2021 01:06 I always thought that imprim sheet with blurred "letter", (and AJ with "a mole on her neck"), was plate 1b?
It is definitely plate 1a.
The 5 o'clock ray is shorter than the 7 o'clock ray.
The 'wooly' appearance of the letters, and the general impression are plate 1a features. Plate 1b letters are generally thinner due to the transfer roller used to re-enter having blank letter squares.
Thanks Bill ... all the letters on the imprim sheets I've seen have looked wooly, (but that was enough info for me to work out where my error crept in :D ).

The next question that springs to mind, based on this, is "where are the other 239, from this ungummed sheet", (and surely somewhere it was recorded)?

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by ViccyVFU »



It did occur to me that maybe Sothebys are promoting this item "Solely to push their own agenda".

They already have a virtual trading platform / showroom for NFTs ... Look up "Sothebys Metaverse".

It would appear to be in direct competition to the Showpiece / SG platform, (and Sothebys is a far more bankable name).

So, feed off "the buzz" (/ press coverage) of the Guano, and whether this Penny Black sells, or not, you have "a far more flexible sponge", to soak up all the loose investor cash out there "For slivers".

Its a crazy world at present, coming out of lockdown.

Take this example ....

sothebys.jpg
Sothebys sell shredded Banksy

Sothebys actually made more commission on the second sale "than Banksy made on the original artwork sale",
(even allowing for Artists Resale Rights commissions).

"Too much money, chasing too little of value"

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

ViccyVFU wrote: 28 Oct 2021 05:03 It did occur to me that maybe Sothebys are promoting this item "Solely to push their own agenda".
Bingo. The reality is that Feldman, having eventually unloaded it, wouldn't want it back. Spink wouldn't want it over the last sale price. So, what is the solution - send it to a non-philatelic auction and market it as a "Treasure".

ViccyVFU wrote: 28 Oct 2021 05:03 "Sothebys Metaverse"... It would appear to be in direct competition to the Showpiece / SG platform
This is like saying Harrods appears to be in competition with a greasy fish and chip shop down the road. :lol:
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

The Times wrote: Holyoake believes that communications companies such as Facebook will pay millions to have the historic stamp on their boardroom wall.


But will Facebook be interested? Last time I looked they have an open plan office with no walls.

A communications company having a collection of "the history of communication" does make some sense, but Holyoake is really flying kites and spinning plates.

If Facebook were interested in such a thing, then why not buy the earliest piece of writing they can find, such as clay tablet.

Kushim Clay tablet.jpg
‘The earliest known record of any personal name in history’: Kushim
The ‘Kushim’ tablet, a Sumerian clay tablet recording beer production in Uruk c.3100BC, estimate £70,000-90,000 at Bloomsbury Auctions on July 8 2020. Sold for £140,000 + Buyer's Fees (total £175,000)
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8635405/5-00 ... 5-000.html

Why buy a Penny Black proof item rather an early letter actually sent between two people? All of these things are much cheaper and more pertinent.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by ViccyVFU »

MJ's pet wrote: 28 Oct 2021 09:52 This is like saying Harrods appears to be in competition with a greasy fish and chip shop down the road. :lol:

Maybe ...

Except, of course, PAMPL are much slippier than "a grease fried slice of oily wet fish, served with extra olive oil" :D

The (unregulated) legal documents will show they probably have "more legal experts, than stamp experts" on the case, suitably kippering punters, from their offshore offices.

I've not read the Sothebys Metaverse details (yet), but they seem to be making a mint out of traditional stamp auctions this year, whereas SG "doesn't seem to be the go-to brand of choice", anymore.

Metaverse sells art via NFT's, but could easily dabble in stamps, whereas Showpiece will start with "a stamp", but has "wider art / collectibles" aspirations.

This whole sale, of a piece that wasn't even on anyone's radar a month ago (let alone "the most important document philately has ever seen"), just seems like "an April Fools hoax", but in the wrong month.

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

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ViccyVFU wrote: 28 Oct 2021 04:46
The next question that springs to mind, based on this, is "where are the other 239, from this ungummed sheet", (and surely somewhere it was recorded)?


Do we know this stamp affixed had no gum? Or is this simply being guessed at?

IMPRIMATURS have no gum, and we know it is not from there, as that sheet exists, and this position is on it.

What we DO know is, It was glued on in 1840, as was the Mulready proof - via a large glob of glue that is very evident in scans above - which also has a huge foxing patch, that will sadly, get worse each year.

The Mulready proof on India Paper lacking ''POSTAGE ONE PENNY'' wording is really not a big deal - nice ones are catalogued in SG as MP4 at £3,000, and heavily glued down, and foxed, sold on it own - what £300-£500 on a very good day?

Being on cigarette paper thin India Paper it cannot even be carefully teased off to restore it, and treat the foxing - it is stuck there forever.

This Mulready is stated in the pencil notes to be - 1st Proof of Penny Postage Stamp Cover(?)' - well no it is not of course -- SG clearly shows us MP2 which has zero lettering along base. As well as MP3. THOSE are the First Proofs of the Mulready. And MP3 examples are priced by SG, and certainly are in the market. This is SG MP4, later still, and SG cat for fine condition £3,000.

So lets gets back to a few FACTS from this Grimm Fairy Tale!

The feint notes on the piece were clearly written during MAY, as ''These came into public use on the 6th May 1840” is obviously past tense, and clearly no-one in early April would have a clue about a precise future issue date. This obvious observation is CRUCIAL and Sotheby's and Holyoake have not reflected on it. It does not accurately "date" the piece at all.

So we have a recollection a month or so later being written here in pencil. PRESUMABLY written by Wallace, but even that is not certain - wording says -

We have in the same note - ''presented to Mr. Wallace'' and then ''presented to me as above'' - who refers to themselves in a private dairy (as this essentially was) as "Mr Wallace"?

It is unsigned and undated. And who then wrote such things in PENCIL - near all notations of this nature were in ink pen.

So lets get back to these pencil notes, clearly written a month or so after the sheet was received,

SG tells us "Plate 1 of the Penny Black was put to press on 11 April, and Registered on 15 April".

I am not a Rhodes Scholar, but it seems to me a plate put to press 11 April means the FIRST business sheet of 1d Blacks was also printed 11 April. And many sheets were printed that day. The RPS owns the General Accounts Ledger from Perkins Bacon, that accurately records daily printings. 11 April will be in there of course showing the number of sheets printed on DAY ONE.

Are Gibbons and all other specialist literature wrong about 11 April as being the first date the 1d Black stamp went to Press? I'll bet the HOUSE they are right. Or is this unsigned pencil note, made about a month later, being wrong in recollection by a day, with the "April 10" stated date? Easy to understand it might have been. If you ask me what I had for lunch on a specific day in September, I have zero idea.

And nothing confirms this 'A.I.' stamp had no gum before it was glued on, and even if it did, where are the other 239 allegedly ungummed copies? And the ''April 10'' receipt date was guessed at a month or so later.

It is all a clutching at straws Fairy Tale to suggest this stamp was from the FIRST sheet ever printed. There is ZERO evidence of that at all.

It may well have been from ONE of the sheets of 240 printed April 11, but 3,329,280 stamps were also printed from Plate 1A, and 1,000s of them were printed on April 11.

So, interesting as it is, we have a glued down unused 1d black with very tight margins, value alone 2,000 quid or so, (maybe) and a foxed, heavily glued down Mulready proof, in a known and listed later proof state, real value a few 100 quid sold solus in this state - both being together on one dairy page with some feint pencil scratchings added sometime later.

So multiply those figures a few times for quirkiness, and for the name of original owner, and we get to what Holyoake paid as the sole bidder - £25,000. Indeed it seems it was actually unsold at the Auction, and Feldman badgered him (several times) into buying it later on, according to Holyoake himself, which he did buy very reluctantly he admits.

Holyoake gets Gold Medals for his early GB - and wrote a hard bound book on the 1d black in 2013, and yet needed to be repeatedly badgered into buying it by Feldman in that same year. If it was allegedly ''the most important stamp piece on earth'' - why did he not see that in 2013 when he wrote his thick handbook? And far more importantly - why did no-one else bid at Feldman? Why? Because it is utter NONSENSE. 8-) 8-)

https://www.ebay.com/itm/393131727135



s-l1600rr.jpg



Certainly it was around fair value then, 8 years back. Maybe a bit more today, but a HUNDRED AND FIFTY TIMES MORE?????? Pure ebay dreamer land. As we will all see, soon enough.

The Royal Academy note re April 10 is surely irrelevant to this piece, and was added by Feldman for reasons unknown. They will surely have approved the FINAL Mulready design, not this partly complete design? SG page 26 tells us Rowland Hill took proofs to them on April 10. SG shows us MP9, the final design endorsed ''PROOF'' in black pen by Rowland Hill, or his clerk John Ledingham. Full SG on that is only £1,500 oddly.


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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

ViccyVFU wrote: 28 Oct 2021 11:59
This whole sale, of a piece that wasn't even on anyone's radar a month ago (let alone "the most important document philately has ever seen"), just seems like "an April Fools hoax", but in the wrong month.


Bingo. :lol: :lol:



give-that-man-a-cigar.jpg



I can visualize the snooty auction call now. It will be like an episode of ''Flog It'' -

Ladeez and Gentlemen, can you please start us at a mere £6 million?

No? Then just 4 million to start us away.

2 million then please?

One million?

£500,000?

£250,000?

£50,000?

For GAWDSAKES someone - just give us £25,000 to roughly get Mr Alan Holyoake his ''investment'' back! (And he will DIE when he sees our vendor fees on such piddling amounts in here.)

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

Glen Stephens wrote: It is unsigned and undated. And who then wrote such things in PENCIL - near all notations of this nature were in ink pen.
For what it is worth, it is impossible to forsensically date pencil. If the annotations were in ink then that could be investigated. Which does not help the Holyoake case.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Allanswood »

I look forward to reading the 2 new certs, it should explain much about the provenance.

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

ViccyVFU wrote: 28 Oct 2021 11:59 Metaverse sells art via NFT's, but could easily dabble in stamps, whereas Showpiece will start with "a stamp", but has "wider art / collectibles" aspirations.
When it comes to NFT's I think "jumping on the bandwagon" is the appropriate expression.

Looking at Sotheby's Metaverse, they are basically auctioning newly-created digital art from "established artists" in the field (a bit of a contradiction). But anyway, they are getting some bids at around the 1 million+ mark, so it is seems viable for digital art.

But whether this translates to stamps, is another question :roll: It is a bit like strapping a 90 year old granny into a Elon Musk rocket ship and saying : "Enjoy your flight".
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by CMJ »

Global Administrator wrote: 28 Oct 2021 12:56
SG tells us "Plate 1 of the Penny Black was put to press on 11 April, and Registered on 15 April".

I am not a Rhodes Scholar, but it seems to me a plate put to press 11 April means the FIRST business sheet of 1d Blacks was also printed 11 April. And many sheets were printed that day. The RPS owns the General Accounts Ledger from Perkins Bacon, that accurately records daily printings. 11 April will be in there of course showing the number of sheets printed on DAY ONE.

RPSL do, indeed, hold the Perkins Bacon archive, and in 2018 published an absolutely magnificent book (two volumes) by Alan G. Druce FRPSL

RPSL_Book_Cov_DruceAlan_PB.jpg


Amongst other things, it records the number of sheets printed on any given day, the press they were printed on and the name of the printer/person overseeing the task.

Plate 1 was first put to press on Saturday 11 April 1840 and 12 sheets were printed on that first day; a further 15 sheets were printed on Tuesday 14 April 1840 (none on the Monday).

On 15 April 1840, production started at more normal levels with both a day shift and a night shift being in operation, possibly to catch up on the previous days' low numbers; 487 sheets were printed on that day.

It also records, on a daily basis, the number of sheets of paper issued to Perkins Bacon and the number of finished sheets of stamps returned. Paper was initially provided on 11 April and on 15 April the Registration sheet was sent to the Commissioners of the Stamp & Taxes Office.

A second such sheet was provided to the Commissioners on 18 April which was for Sir Rowland Hill.

It was not until 21 April that a regular (daily) supply of gummed sheets of stamps started from Perkins Bacon; 800 sheets were sent on that day.

At best, if the stamp attached to this document came from this source (it can't be earlier) it is a stamp from one of the first 800 sheets printed. Hardly a rarity !

Anyway, the first of these stamps (about 20 sheets in total) were probably destined to be attached to the Postal Notices issued to all Postmasters towards the end of April before they went on sale on 1 May 1840.

PO_Sec_Edinburgh_April_1840_notice_'To_all_postmasters'.jpg

I, too, will be very interested to see the new certificates together with the new proof that the stamp comes from the first sheet printed.

Chris.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

CMJ wrote: 28 Oct 2021 19:54
At best, if the stamp attached to this document came from this source (it can't be earlier) it is a stamp from one of the first 800 sheets printed. Hardly a rarity !

Thanks Chris, exactly as I speculated.

The pencil written notes on them a month later has clearly noted the WRONG date that he was given this sheet, (''April 10'' - was clearly impossible, as Perkins Bacon records confirm) and also wrongly states the Mulready proof was the first one - it is not.

This story so far has more holes in it than cheap Swiss Cheese. 8-) 8-) 8-)

Wallace got his receiving date, and items received wrong, and Holyoake got his purchase date and his Feldman cost badly badly mixed up too.

Holyoake might actually be pushing to get his original 25K back! That bad foxing patch on the glued down Mulready will certainly get worse and worse.

I certainly would not spend big money on such a piece.

''the most important stamp piece on earth'' - my eye!
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by ViccyVFU »

Global Administrator wrote: 28 Oct 2021 12:56
ViccyVFU wrote: 28 Oct 2021 04:46
The next question that springs to mind, based on this, is "where are the other 239, from this ungummed sheet", (and surely somewhere it was recorded)?


Do we know this stamp affixed had no gum? Or is this simply being guessed at?

IMPRIMATURS have no gum, and we know it is not from there, as that sheet exists, and this position is on it.

What we DO know is, It was glued on in 1840, as was the Mulready proof - via a large glob of glue that is very evident in scans above - which also has a huge foxing patch, that will sadly, get worse each year.

Well, the source is Alan Holyoake and the experts at Sothebys.....

MargoZ wrote: 26 Oct 2021 21:47
.
(Extracts of O.P.)

Postage stamp glued to a sheet of paper.


There are believed to be only two other examples of perfect, ungummed Penny Blacks from the first printing, both in the collection of the British Postal Museum.


"So, it's a stamp that came from the very first sheet of stamps that were printed."

I mean, technically, the two in the BM are the only remaining ungummed ones ....
(This one may have started out like that .... allegedly).

Are the two in the BM from an imprimatur sheet?
.... Or am I only now just looking "for 237 others", to validate this story :D

As people note:
"The certificates will make interesting reading, when they are put on public viewing with this lot".

(Can RPSL members get an early peek at it?)

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by steevh »

Years ago In Cambodia I met an old guy who had made it his business to expose fraud in the world of art house auctions.

He was a bit of an eccentric, but he certainly got me thinking about the whole 'authentication' business -- and a business it certainly is, with all the baggage that comes along from having such vested interests.

I don't see anything in this story that would me convince me that what they have on sale can be categorically identified as the 'world's first ever stamp'. But its certainly great publicity, and the whole thing cost a fraction of what Gibbons' chucked at the British Guano.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

steevh wrote: 29 Oct 2021 06:38 he certainly got me thinking about the whole 'authentication' business -- and a business it certainly is


Now to see the actual certs. People will also want to see this:

Holyoake, Alan. 'The World's Earliest Known Postage Stamp and the Wallace Archive', The London Philatelist. Vol 125 Iss: 1435, May 2016, pp.190-195
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

CMJ wrote: Anyway, the first of these stamps (about 20 sheets in total) were probably destined to be attached to the Postal Notices issued to all Postmasters towards the end of April before they went on sale on 1 May 1840.
Great work CMJ. I don't see how it can excluded that the Wallace stamp is from the 800 sheets printed on 21 April 1840 - the first "normal" supply.

The analogy with the "TO ALL POSTMASTERS" circular is a good one. It is not surprising at all that Wallace was sent a normal stamp as a sample.

Although there must be numerous examples surviving, what do the "TO ALL POSTMASTERS" circulars sell for?
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

MJ's pet wrote: 29 Oct 2021 09:26

Although there must be numerous examples surviving, what do the "TO ALL POSTMASTERS" circulars sell for?

LOTS.

£75,000 for the one above headed Edinburgh, and £80,000 for the similar one without it. (Different signatories on each.)

All are illustrated and priced in SG Specialised pages 17-19. Unlike the ACSC superb volumes here, that enumerate known copies existing of all rare pieces, SG annoyingly have never done that for anything much at all, from any era, but there will not be ''numerous examples surviving'' as you suggest!

There are several different types, and one type even has an imperf horizontal 1d Black "VR" and a 2d Blue mint pairs affixed, that also went to all postmasters dated on May 7. Following up on the earlier ones as 2d Blues were not printed then. That one is unpriced in SG as PN5, although I assume some will exist in collector hands?

Odd that so few were retained at the time as curios etc - clearly many postmasters later on used the stamps to quietly mail letters, and charged someone for them!

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by GB 789 »

A possible reason why so few of those early postmaster items exist could be to do with how obsessed the post authorities of the time were with saving every last penny.

Maybe there was a subsequent request to postmasters a few months after the new stamps were introduced to return the original form containing these 1d stamps to prevent their reuse? These would then have been officially destroyed, in similar fashion to most of the ‘VR’ official 1d blacks.

This would explain why so few exist now as if they had been kept by postmasters it would surely be the case that a good number would be around on the market today recovered from old family records/documentation that had been kept and passed on down the generations from the original recipients.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

GB 789 wrote: 29 Oct 2021 10:28
Maybe there was a subsequent request to postmasters a few months after the new stamps were introduced to return the original form containing these 1d stamps to prevent their reuse?

And Maybe the Moon is made of Green Cheese?

I have no proof of the latter - do you have any PROOF of such a letter re mailing back the pairs of normal 1d blacks - seeing that SG illustrates, and lists, and prices, a long list of similar letters sent to all Postmasters in 1840 and 1841, attaching new stamps and postal stationary - it clearly makes sense SOMEONE has retained and recorded one of your imaginary April ''recall'' PO letters surely? They also would surely be listed and priced in SG IF they ever existed of course?

You DO own a SG Specialised I assume, to assist in forming your next dreamy thought bubbles?? :lol:

We are talking two letter rate stamps - a dollar or two of relativity value even today - the time and Bureaucracy to do write to do this, time both ends, and to note and administer it, would have cost 20 to 50 times that. Not to mention the mooted letter to PM, and the letters from PMs, were 2d nominal cost ANYWAY! :!:

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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

Some key quotes:
Alan Holyoake wrote: "The fact that Wallace signed, dated and issued his note ... gives support to the fact that this is the very first example of a postage stamp," owner Alan Holyoake, a businessman and philatelist, told Reuters.
https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/penny-post-8-million-world ... 021-10-26/

Sotheby's wrote: "Sotheby's is set to offer the earliest securely dated example of the very first postage stamp", read the Sotheby's statement.

This treasured stamp is one of three Penny Blacks believed to have survived from the very first sheet of printed stamps, while the other two are part of the collection at the British Postal Museum, adds the Reuters report.


It should also be added that the Royal Philatelic Society began publishing key extracts the Perkins Bacon Records in 1953, in two volumes of around 800-900 pages. The basic information about press dates etc. has been out there for a long time.

Perkins_Bacon_Records_by_Percy_de_Worms.jpg
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

MJ's pet wrote: 29 Oct 2021 13:12 Some key quotes:
Alan Holyoake wrote: "The fact that Wallace signed, dated and issued his note ... gives support to the fact that this is the very first example of a postage stamp," owner Alan Holyoake, a businessman and philatelist, told Reuters.
https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/penny-post-8-million-world ... 021-10-26/

Sotheby's wrote: "Sotheby's is set to offer the earliest securely dated example of the very first postage stamp", read the Sotheby's statement.

This treasured stamp is one of three Penny Blacks believed to have survived from the very first sheet of printed stamps, while the other two are part of the collection at the British Postal Museum, adds the Reuters report.



All totally wrong. Alan Holyoake, FRPSL, and RDP, was possibly blinded by the 6 million quid hopeful payday in his mind, and did not realise the bog obvious - the feint pencil notes were clearly made a month AFTER Wallace got these freebies. That reality went right over his head it seems.

They PROVE nothing re the date he got it - and of course 1d Blacks were not printed until a day later than Wallace's rubbery recollections of receiving it.

Simple as that. This guy exhibits this material, and has a Gold Medal for it - surely he KNOWS that 1d Blacks were FIRST printed April 11? The de Worms 2 volume book is 70 years old, and the recent RPSL 2 volume book confirms it all in minute detail.

Presumably Holyoake used his annual freebie member RPSL Cert to get favourable views from his old mates there - this reality likely went right over their heads too. Will not be for the first time!

You cannot know something ''came into public use May 6' unless you wrote that AFTER May 6. Wallace was no stamp collector. His pencil notes on the Mulready proof were also quite wrong of course.

Global Administrator wrote: 28 Oct 2021 12:56

So lets gets back to a few FACTS from this Grimm Fairy Tale!

The feint notes on the piece were clearly written during MAY, as ''These came into public use on the 6th May 1840” is obviously past tense, and clearly no-one in early April would have a clue about a precise future issue date. This obvious observation is CRUCIAL and Sotheby's and Holyoake have not reflected on it. It does not accurately "date" the piece at all.

So we have a recollection a month or so later being written here in pencil. PRESUMABLY written by Wallace, but even that is not certain - wording says -

We have in the same note - ''presented to Mr. Wallace'' and then ''presented to me as above'' - who refers to themselves in a private dairy (as this essentially was) as "Mr Wallace"?

It is unsigned and undated. And who then wrote such things in PENCIL - near all notations of this nature were in ink pen.

So let's get back to these pencil notes, clearly written a month or so after the sheet was received,

SG tells us "Plate 1 of the Penny Black was put to press on 11 April, and Registered on 15 April".

I am not a Rhodes Scholar, but it seems to me a plate put to press 11 April means the FIRST business sheet of 1d Blacks was also printed 11 April. And many sheets were printed that day. The RPS owns the General Accounts Ledger from Perkins Bacon, that accurately records daily printings. 11 April will be in there of course showing the number of sheets printed on DAY ONE.

Are Gibbons and all other specialist literature wrong about 11 April as being the first date the 1d Black stamp went to Press? I'll bet the HOUSE they are right. Or is this unsigned pencil note, made about a month later, being wrong in recollection by a day, with the "April 10" stated date? Easy to understand it might have been. If you ask me what I had for lunch on a specific day in September, I have zero idea.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by Global Administrator »

.
RPSL Certs in modern times are like the Curate's egg. Often good only in PARTS. :mrgreen:

They claimed the totally genuine Victor Hugo Plate 77 1d Reds x 3 on cover had the plate numbers GLUED ON in all 6 cases! Truly.

A half blind nine-year-old could have advised them that was utter gibberish nonsense. They recently needed to tear that one up, officially void that quite insane Certificate, and apologise, when 3 later Expert Committee Bodies all stated it was 100% genuine, and was totally unaltered, and all gave it clear Photo Certificates of Genuineness.

Now THERE is a 7 figure item that Sotheby's might have been far smarter punting on, to the Bunnies? SG cat £600,000 quid per used SINGLE. Addressed in hand by Victor Hugo from Guernsey, to his publisher in Belgium, the only examples ever recorded on cover etc, etc. Never offered before etc. Anything connected with Victor Hugo has a strong global following on its own.

This British Guiana cover below was just invoiced this month for near $A ONE MILLION.

Michel Chipperfield presumably used his annual RPSL Freebie Cert on it, and the good old chappies made NO mention of the very heavy and obvious crease right through the stamp, and the chopped off pieces of the adhesive!

You can't make this laziness up -- on a MILLION dollar type item. Talk about SLOPPY and unprofessional. :roll: :roll:

A cert for a 7 figure type item is EXPECTED to carefully detail and IMPARTIALLY outline ALL structural faults and alterations etc. If RPSL can't be bothered to do that - toss in their knitting and abandon Certs altogether seems wise.

Naturally Feldman sold it with this Cert! No sign that the RPSL tore up that Cert, and this is the issue - the absolute howlers that get through, often via the Old Mates Act, sadly stay out there most times.





195417_0002_full.jpg
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

This item has more certs than Opal Tower in western Sydney.

Expertise: certified by:-
James Grimwood-Taylor (1992)
BPA (2009)
British Philatelic Association (2015)
Royal Philatelic Society, London (2016)

Literature:
Holyoake, Alan. 'The World's Earliest Known Postage Stamp and the Wallace Archive', The London Philatelist. Vol 125 Iss: 1435, May 2016, pp.190-195

One would want to see all of them.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by yellowduck »

“I think it’s worth a lot more than Sotheby’s is willing to sell it,” he said.

The price of stamps has tumbled in recent years as rich hobbyists turn their attention elsewhere, but Holyoake believes that communications companies such as Facebook will pay millions to have the historic stamp on their boardroom wall.

Holyoake thinks even £6 million is too low? He only paid £25,000 for it in the first place. Even if hired a team of consultants to do the research at a cost of 1 million, he can earn millions in profit from this sale.

And the idea that a company would hang this on their boardroom wall. I doubt it. It doesn't mean much to non-philatelists. Companies would want something that stands out - a van Gogh, a giant painting by whoever is 'hot' at the moment (Michaelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel; Diego Rivera did a giant mural somewhere). A stamp on a foxed sheet of paper, too small to have a visual impact, too much of a niche topic to be exciting for most people.

Things from pop culture have sold for millions. Like "the dress" Marilyn Monroe wore on the subway grate got $4.6 million, but those are objects that "everyone" knows. Not many stamps in the 7 figures.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

yellowduck wrote: 30 Oct 2021 00:43 And the idea that a company would hang this on their boardroom wall. I doubt it. It doesn't mean much to non-philatelists. Companies would want something that stands out


Hoping that a Facebook will buy it really is the last throw of the dice.

The Wallace document has no visual impact at all and is rather ugly actually. Not in the same league of things a company would want to buy.

In 1994, Bill Gates purchased Leonardo da Vinci’s “Codex Leicester,” a manuscript that dates back to the 16th century. He paid $US30.8 million for the journal at auction, a price that made it the most expensive book ever sold. Many many consider it da Vinci's most important journal.

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/look-inside-the-codex-lei ... ?r=US&IR=T
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

If someone really wanted to splash out on the key Penny Black item, it would be IMHO one of the larger mint blocks of which there are few pieces remaining in private hands. Cost about $1M.




Mint Block of 24 (block 18 + strip of 6 rejoined) sold by Spink

Penny Black largest mint block.png




Mint block of 18 displayed at London 2020 by PTS

Penny Black mint block 18 PTS.jpg
To celebrate this prestigious anniversary, The PTS will be showing two of the largest Mint Blocks of Penny Blacks. These blocks are both held in a private collection and are worth an estimated £1 million each. The Karl Louis Index states that there are only three blocks recorded. Two from plate 1b and one from plate 4. We will be displaying one block from Plate 1b and one block from Plate 4. These are amongst the most valuable Great Britain items in the world.
https://www.thepts.net/blog/the-pts-will-showcase-the-largest-mint-blocks-of-penny-black




Mint block of 12 for sale by Paul Fraser/SG :o

Penny Black Paul Fraser mint block 12.png


Great Britain 1840 1d black, plate 3, SG2 mint block of 12 - known as The Black Dozen.
The largest known multiple from Plate 3 in private hands.
Provenance: 2012 (BPA) certificate; Chartwell Collection.
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

Post by MJ's pet »

Link to one of the 1d Black Imprimatur sheets in the NPM (thumbnail):

1d Black sheet NPM.png
Imprimatur sheet 1d Black - NPM

https://www.gbps.org.uk/information/sources/registration-sheets/

(Interestingly, this sheet from Plate 1 has some units lopped off. The state is described as 'before hardening').

Imagine a single stamp cut from an Imprimatur sheet. Is there any realistic way of distinguishing an Imprimatur stamp from a normal mint stamp from the same plate?
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

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penny black plates.jpg
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Re: Sothebys to auction Penny Black with $A11 million estimate

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https://www.euronews.com/culture/2021/10/26/a-4-million-piec ... s-worth-it

A €4 million piece of paper: Why the world's first postal stamp is worth it

By Shannon McDonagh • Updated: 29/10/2021 - 11:50

The world's first-ever stamp will go up for auction in a few weeks' time.

An unused Penny Black is part of a document that's expected to sell for between €4 and 7 million.

The Penny Black was the world's first stamp - and this one is from the very first sheet of them ever printed.

It's part of a paper known as The Wallace Document, which came from the scrapbook of leading British postal reformer, MP Robert Wallace.

It was created in 1840 but is still in absolutely pristine condition.

One of three stamps from the world's first sheet

There are believed to be only two other examples of perfect, ungummed Penny Blacks from the first printing, both in the collection of the British Postal Museum.

The Wallace Document is owned by philatelist and businessman Alan Holyoake.

As one of the world's leading stamp collectors, he's seen many rare items in his time. But for him, this one is extra special.

"It is a world icon," he says. "A stamp that came from the very first sheet of stamps that were printed."

How did a British businessman find and purchase the world's first stamp?

Holyoake bought the Wallace Document ten years ago for less than £50,000 (€59,368).

At the time, rumours circulated that the stamp was one of the first Penny Blacks ever printed.

But it took three years of painstaking research to prove that was true and get official authentication from The Royal Philatelic Society, London and the British Philatelic Association.

That certification has raised its value significantly.

And a recent stamp sale has stoked Holyoake's hopes that The Wallace Document will fetch a record-breaking price when it's auctioned later this year.

Earlier this year, Sotheby's auctioned a British Guiana One-Cent Magenta stamp for over €7 million.

"The value that's being put at the moment for the auction of the Wallace Document is in sterling between four and six million. So, it's a bit different to the price I paid," he explains.

The beginning of mass communication

Holyoake believes says he'll be disappointed if it doesn't reach similar figures to the Guyanan sale. He believes his treasure represents the "beginning of mass communication".

Also included in the Wallace Document is a proof of the 'Mulready Stationary'.

Essentially an official, printed envelope, it was designed to be the primary method of prepaying postage, with the Penny Black stamp simply a top-up option for excess postage costs.

But it was the little Penny Black, rather than the ornate Mulready, which proved a success, and the rest, as they say, is postal history.

Holyoake hopes whoever buys The Wallace Document appreciates its historical significance.

"I'm a philatelist, so I would hope a philatelist would buy it. I don't believe that will happen, because few philatelists could afford what we're now talking about," he says.

"I do hope that someone who buys it actually understands its importance as being a world icon. A world icon, not as a stamp, but a world icon as being an important first when it comes to social history and communication."

The world's first Penny Black and The Wallace Document will be auctioned by Sotheby's on December 7.
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