Auction preview: Arthur Gray Collection of Queen Elizabeth II Pre-Decimal Issues

On April 20, Spink will present the Arthur Gray Collection of Queen Elizabeth II Pre-Decimal Issues.

When it comes to Australian philately, Arthur Gray is a name that requires “very little in the way of introduction,” according to auctioneers.

“Over a lifetime he has amassed a collection that holds many of the rarest recorded items from this portion of philately. This sale abounds with some of the most delightful die proofs, issued stamps, extremely rare errors, hand-drawn and annotated essays exhibiting stunning artwork and vivid depictions of Australian wildlife, and of course, Queen Elizabeth II.”

LOTS 118, 119

Among the highlights of the 191-lot sale are Lots 118 and 119, which auctioneers predict will be “exceptionally popular.” Both lots relate to Australia’s 1955 three-and-a-half-pence YMCA World Centennial stamp.

The first lot is a grey-green and red die proof on white wove paper mounted in sunken card frame measuring 92 mm by 80 mm.

Lot 118 is this die proof with a pre-sale estimate of $1,335-$1,665 Cdn.

“A very important detail is that it bears the hand-painted red triangle,” reads the auction catalogue. “Eight such die proofs were produced for presentation purposes. This is No. ’20’ presented to W.L. Russell of the Stamp Advisory Committee.”

It has a pre-sale estimate of £800-£1,000 (about $1,335-$1,665 Cdn.).

Interestingly, Lot 119, is an example of the three-and-a-half-pence YMCA World Centennial stamp with the red triangle omitted.

“It is one of the great rarities of Australian philately,” according the auctioneers. “Only two examples of the missing triangle error have ever been reported. This mint example was purchased at a Sydney post office. The second example is used on cover, cancelled by a Caufield South machine postmark, 20 September 1955, and is defective. It is believed that in both cases the error has been caused by a paper fold during printing.”

This lot, which is accompanied by a 1974 Royal Philatelic Society London certificate, has an estimate of £15,000-£20,000 (about $25,000-$33,350 Cdn.).


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