Siege of Mafeking cover rediscovered

A newly rediscovered Siege of Mafeking cover franked with a 1900 Cape of Good Hope three-pence Robert Baden-Powell stamp (Scott #180) more than doubled its estimate at a west-coast auction on April 2.

Last given as a 1951 Christmas gift to a King’s Scout by Westmorland Sheriff J.M. Danson, the cover brought $11,000 on a $5,000 estimate as Lot 123 of All Nations Stamp & Coin’s 1,355th weekly auction.

It drew 10 bidders, including some from the United States, Israel and Great Britain, according to auctioneer Brian Grant Duff. “A U.S.-based collector (and) phone bidder, who needed it for their collection, prevailed,” Duff said.

A 217-day conflict spanning from October 1899 to the following May, the Siege of Mafeking (now Mafikeng) took place in South Africa during the Second Boer War, fought between the British Empire and two independent Boer republics.

“Under the command of Robert Baden-Powell, a charismatic cavalry officer, the tiny British garrison managed to hold out for the next eight months. Their resistance became a powerful symbol of British resolve during the bleak early months of the war,” according to an online Canadian War Museum exhibition, “Canada & the South African War.”

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