Auction preview: Penny Black first-day cover expected to highlight upcoming Spink sale

A first-day cover of Great Britain’s iconic Penny Black—the world’s first postage stamp—will be offered at auction next week by England’s Spink and Son.

The cover, dated May 6, 1840, is expected to hammer down for between £25,000 and £30,000 (upwards of $49,725 Cdn.) at the July 25 sale of Great Britain Stamps and Postal History Sale featuring the Charles Hamilton Collection.

The Penny Black franked to this cover is described by Spink as “grey-black shade, slightly worn plate, just touched a (sic) right, good to very large margins other sides and showing a portion of the adjoining stamp at left, tied by a crisp red Maltese Cross cancellation of entire letter dated 6 May 1840 (first Official day of use) to Doctors Commons, red ‘T.P. /Cornhill’ on front and octagonal “6ev/pd/6my/1840/6ev” datestamp on reverse and opening well for display.”

Lot 2148 is another Penny Black cover (shown above) that’s expected to bring between $66,296 Cdn. and $82,870 Cdn.


The sale includes another Penny Black cover, this mailed on March 22, 1841, as Lot 2148. According to auctioneers, it’s believed to be one of only two known examples bearing a Penny Black to originate from China.

The cover is accompanied by a 2013 M. Jackson certificate. It’s expect to bring between £40,000 and £50,000 ($66,296 Cdn. to $82,870 Cdn.).

Both Penny Black covers are from the Charles Hamilton collection of covers.

For more information or to make a bid, click here to visit the Spink website.

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