One decade ago, Christoph Gärtner held his first international auction at his headquarters in Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany.
In September 2007, following its fourth auction, his company joined the premier league of philatelic auction and trading houses and is now the largest of its kind in Central Europe and the second-largest worldwide.
This Oct. 11-14, Gärtner is slated to host its 35th international auction of stamps and postal history.
“The organization of such a great number of outstanding auctions requires us to be passionate and not spare any costs,” said Gärtner, adding: “We will continue to do our utmost to offer extraordinary auctions and to further improve services for suppliers and buyers, as client satisfaction is dearest to our hearts.”
Among the sale’s top highlights is Lot 9069, which includes 13 undivided double sheets (with gutter) of the square issues of Bavaria. This rare lot—described by auctioneers as having “museum character—has an estimate of €1.25 million.
Another “important and remarkable” highlight is a further portion of Jerry Kasper’s collection of worldwide aerograms; China (including “interesting covers, postal stationery and collections”); and India, with a section of lithographs, essays, proofs and reprints.
Among the more interesting items in Kasper’s collection is Lot 20,459, a collection of about 50 pieces of airmail sent between 1955 and 1979. Described as a “very interesting lot for the well-informed specialist,” the various pieces of airmail feature errors such as colour variations and positioning mishaps. It’s expected to realize€1,200.
The sale will also see some unique items cross the auction block: Lot 787 is the only recorded British India definitive on paper and with the watermark sideways. This unique stamps is described as a “major rarity” in British Indian philately and is accompanied by a 1990 Royal Philatelic Society of London (RPSL) certificate.
The stamp, which was discovered and described by Max Smith in Indian Post No. 105, page 106, in 1990. Although the RPSL certificate states “there is a block of four in the Royal Collection,” further investigation shows there are no further stamps, or blocks of four, in London’s Royal Collection. It has an estimate of €15,000.
In total, Gärtner is slated to offer about 1 million postcards; more than one million postal stationery items; and about philatelic 300,000 essays as collections and accumulations across virtually all areas of philately. To view the auction catalogue for the upcoming Gärtner sale, click here.
A DECADE OF SALES…
During his first auction, held June 28-29, 2006, Gärtner offered 5,700 lots and realized a total of €1.7 million.
A decade later—on May 30 of this year—he began his 34th auction during the World Stamp Show in New York City, where he was the show’s official auctioneer. The following month, Gärtner and his team described more than 31,000 lots, which were presented in 15 catalogues at the team’s headquarters in Bietigheim-Bissingen. It realized more than €12 million.
AVID LIFE-LONG COLLECTOR
Gärtner discovered his love for philately at a young age, becoming an avid stamp collector and selling and trading stamps while at school. Twenty years later, his business was regarded as a global leader in philatelic covers and postal history.
In 2005, he founded his second business, the Auction House Christopher Gärtner for Philately and Numismatics. Both the trading house and the auction house have shared the same location in Bietigheim-Bissingen since April of that year. The venture proved to be a success and is now the largest of its kind in Central Europe and the second-largest worldwide.
Throughout the past decade, Gärtner has regularly expanded his range of business.
The successful auctions of curious collections and cult objects—like a postcard sent by artist Pablo Picasso and accompanied by one his paintings, which set a world record for most valuable postcard—provided international headlines.
Since acquiring of the Auction House Pumpenmeier of Kirchlengern, Gärtner has invested more in the development of his company group. Last year, he took over the Auction House Mohrmann of Hamburg, the Auction House Rauss & Fuchs of Stuttgart and the old-established Detlef Hilmer of Munich. Since July, the renowned Auction House Schwanke of Hamburg (now Auction Galleries Hamburg) has been owned by the Gärtner team, which has more than than 60 employees and partners across the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia.
In addition to acquiring archives and philatelic libraries, to which he grants collectors access for research purposes, Gärtner has also shown a commitment to the hobby through youth philately. He has donated 15,000 albums of stamps with a total catalogue value of about €15 million ($22.1 million Cdn.) to schools and youth groups.
In 2013, he started the CG Award, which promotes philatelic periodicals and supports youth philately. The competition is open to working groups, societies, associations, clubs as well as publishers of philatelic magazines and newsletters around the world who publish at least one periodical a year. The price is awarded once annually.