Auction preview: ‘Essays galore’ in Foxley Collection of Barbados

On April 19, Spink’s London auction house will host The Philatelic Collector’s Series Sale featuring The Foxley Collection of Barbados.

Among the sale’s highlights are “amazing” early letters and handstamps; Britannia proofs and covers; 1882-86 keyplate issues; and some “truly fascinating” hand-painted essays. According to auctioneers, it will be one of the most exciting sales of 2017 for collectors of Barbados.

One of the most intriguing items is Lot 537, a one-shilling blue colour error with a “small printer’s guide mark at top centre, wonderfully fresh appearance and arguably the prettiest of the fifteen examples so far recorded.” The lot is accompanied by a 1987 Royal Philatelic Society London Expert Committee Certificate.

In 1863, the printers of the one-shilling issue—Perkins, Bacon and Co.—sent a supply of 50,000 stamps to the island of Barbados, which is located in the western North Atlantic Ocean, in the Lesser Antilles. Upon their arrival, the stamps were found to be printed in blue (the colour of the one-penny denomination) instead of black. A new supply was produced, and the blue colour errors were not to be sold; in fact, before being disposed, some of the stamps were defaced in ink with a cross, which has subsequently been cleaned off.

According to auctioneers, Lot 537 is “a perfect example of this.” It has a Stanley Gibbons catalogue value of £18,000 but is expected to cross the block for £5,000-£6,000 (about $8,250-$9,900 Cdn.).

Lot 704 is this artist’s sketch that’s expected to bring £1,000-£1,200.


Two consecutive items—Lots 704 and 705—relate to the 1906 Nelson issue.

Lot 704 is an artist’s sketch of the one-penny denomination measuring 110 mm by 159 mm. The sketch was done in ink and black wash in a design similar to one drawn by G.W. Goodman with the palm trees added by Lady Carter. It’s marked “Enlarged drawing to show features of the statue” at the bottom. The lot is described by auctioneers as a “very attractive item showing wonderful artistry,” and has a pre-sale estimate of £1,000-£1,200 (about $1,980 Cdn.).

Lot 705 is another artist’s sketch, this measuring 30 mm by 37 mm, of the accepted design by Goodman in pencil with simulated perforations, pink colour wash on frame and green crayon on palm trees. This sketch was done on paper measuring 132 mm x 122 mm and is marked “(Mrs. Goodman’s design for Nelson Issue). (Accepted)” alongside suggestions of colours for other values. It has a pre-sale estimate of £800-£1,000 (about $1,650 Cdn.).

Lot 705 is another artist’s sketch, this with an pre-sale estimate of £800-£1,000.

Another “attention-grabbing item” is Lot 722, a watercolour, pen and ink sketch for a six-penny value with the effigy of King Edward VII as King George had not yet approved his likeness. This sketch was done on thin card measuring 113 mm by 168 mm and is marked at foot, “To be reduced to size of the Nelson stamp”. This lot is one of five essays submitted by the Crown Agents to De La Rue, who replied they would have to omit the flying fish since they “could not adequately represent them on such a small scale”. It’s expected to cross the auction block for £1,000-£1,200 (about $1,980 Cdn.).

Lot 722 is a watercolour, pen and ink sketch expected to bring £1,000-£1,200.


Rounding out the highlights is another pair of essays, Lots 811 and 812.

Lot 811 is a hand-painted essay on card measuring 59 mm by 45 mm and showing King George V at centre with a street and house scenes at either side. This essay—for the one-penny value—was Bradbury, Wilkinson and Company’s initial essay; however, it was rejected for lacking historical relevance. Lot 811 is expected to bring £800-£1,000 (about $1,650 Cdn.).

Lot 811 is expected to bring £800-£1,000.

Bradbury, Wilkinson was an English engraver and printer of stamps, banknotes, and share certificates founded in the 1850s by Henry Bradbury, who previously worked as a publisher. The company began printing banknotes in 1856; however, Bradbury commit suicide four years later. In 1873-74, the company built a six-storey workshop for engraving printing plates in Holborn, a district in the west end of London, at 25-27 Farringdon Rd. The company was acquired by the American Bank Note Company in 1903.

Lot 812 was the winning design, which was hand-painted by E. Cox and touched up by Bradbury, Wilkinson artist E. Jackman. Cox received a gratuity of £5 for her design, which was used as the basis of the one adopted. Lot 812 has a pre-sale estimate of £1,000-£1,200 (about $1,980 Cdn.).

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