Social History Preserved

The two day Stamp, Postal History and Postcards extravaganza comprising 873 lots reached a hammer total of £145,000, with 85% of the lots getting away; a very encouraging result with strong prices achieved across each discipline.

Bolstered by the final part of a private collection from the North East of England, Postcards were the hot topic on day one, with four collections coming in the top ten hammer prices of the whole sale. Lot 289 comprised 136 vintage and real photographic cards of Hartlepool’s historical shop fronts, parades, street scenes and transport etc. all depicting a time gone by when Hartlepool was two towns, Old Hartlepool (The Headland) and the more recent West Hartlepool, before they were merged in 1967. The cards sold for £2,000, which was not a surprise. Jane Wiltshire, Specialist cataloguer said that “the majority of cards in this sale will have been bought by dealers, who will spend large sums of money on postcard lots to split down and either add to their own collections, or to sell on via the internet. There has always been a strong following in old postcards as people are keen to curate and preserve the social history of local areas which are continuously changing”.  Other strong lots of cards included 312 on Saltburn by the Sea, 302 on Middlesbrough and 280 on Beckhole, North Yorkshire, which all sold above estimate for £1,400.

There was disappointment on day one for the underbidder of lot 196, who travelled from the Continent to bid on the W Poupard Postal Scales.  Circa 1850 in date, these rocker balance type brass scales are very rare as not many were produced. Competition was expected and again it was no surprise that the bidding surpassed the £1,200 estimate but having taken it to £2,500 our international friend conceded defeat and went home empty handed.

There was further interest in postal history on day two of the sale, with lot 826, a large collection of Free Fronts envelopes and ephemera reaching a hammer price of £500. Not the highest price of the sale granted, but an interesting one; buyers here would be looking out for varying postal markings and the signatures of Lords and Members of Parliament who had the privilege of sending their mail for free, up to and including the early years of the 1840's, even after the stamp had been invented. It was however found that some writers were taking liberties with the system and so was abolished.

Also on day two stamps from British countries and territories did well as one would expect, such as lot 396 on Cyprus and 428 on Gibraltar, which made hammer prices of £1,900 and £1,800 respectively. Continuing to sell well were the Great Britain 1840 1d Blacks and 2d Blues, even in varying condition, people remain interested in the first stamps and the origin of Uniform Penny Post. 
The top lot of the two day sale however was lot 385, an extensive collection of China related stamps ranging from 1866 to 2001.  Jane Wiltshire was pleased with the hammer price of £2,700 and commented that “even in the 1960s and 1970s China had limited printing of stamps and therefore they command a higher price than modern examples from other countries”.

We are currently accepting lots for the next Stamps, Postal History and Postcards auction, please contact us on 01969 623780 or for details.

Stamp from a collection of stamps from Gibraltar, 1859-1957 – Sold for £1,800
(top left) W Poupard Postal Scales c.1850 – Sold for £2,500