A forthcoming Spink sale is sure to bring an early Christmas to some lucky collectors of King George VI stamps.
The Graham Cooper Collection of King George VI Stamps—the product of many decades of avid acquisition and careful curation—will be offered in two sessions on Dec. 14 (Lots 1-802) and Dec. 15 (Lots 803-1138).
Cooper, who joined the Leicester Philatelic Society (LPS) in 1947 (at age 15), enjoyed a life of philatelic adventure. From 1958 until his death in 2015, he was based in Nassau, Bahamas; however, he was a familiar face in U.K. philatelic circles, attending many society meetings and travelling internationally for the hobby. He was also one of 25 members of The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada posthumously honoured with a moment of silence at this year’s Royal Convention, held Aug. 19-21 in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont.
Cooper was also the longest-standing member of the LPS, and until recently, its only Honorary Member. He joined the King George VI Collectors’ Society in 1969 and The Royal Philatelic Society of London (RPSL) in 1976. He became a Fellow of The RPSL in 1984 as well as its Special Representative for the West Indies from 1990-1997.
He had a major display of one-tenth of his collection at the RPSL on Oct. 17, 1991, with an exhibit entitled “King George VI – Modem Classics or Wallpaper?,” attended by 71 Fellows and members of the society. The display filled all 52 frames and was remarkable for the “very great number of proofs which were shown together with errors”.
One unusual frame was noted to contain the Roberts proofs for the Falkland Islands with foreign and other colonial stamps included to suggest the colour of the new stamps.
According to auctioneers, Cooper collected King George VI from all areas of the British Empire and applied a philatelic knowledge acquired over many years to hone his acquisitions into an exceptional collection widely known and much appreciated worldwide. He spent many hours working on his collection at home and his hallmark black Indian ink writing is evident across many pages of the collection.
He also wrote a number of articles and pieces for GEOSIX, the King George VI Society’s Journal, between 1970 and 1991, on various King George VI subjects including albino printings and overprints, Colonial die proofs, double prints, errors, hand-painting, and oddments.
According to auctioneers, Cooper “worked very hard, not only to further his own collection, but to further the philatelic passion in others; so much so that he offered to donate a trophy for George VI entries to the British Philatelic Exhibition or Stampex (the U.K.’s major National Exhibitions).”
He did this “to encourage members to exhibit to attract attention to the King George VI period and to show exhibit authorities that there is sufficient interest to justify a special award”.
WELL-KNOWN GEORGE VI COLLECTOR
By the end of his collecting life, Cooper was well known for possessing “an example of virtually every George VI rarity with the exception of the Indian States and Japanese Occupation issues,” being particularly proud of Lot 482, his Hong Kong eight-cent imperforate pair, and Lot 1001, his mint St. Vincent 10-shilling inverted watermark, “still one of only two mint examples known” to exist.
Auctioneers also noted some of the sale’s “truly exciting items that are sure to set the Spink auction room furiously bidding.”
Among these exciting highlights is Lot 1088, a Southern Rhodesia two-penny block of 20 stamps. It consists of the complete bottom two rows of a pane with imprint, variety double print, one albino with most showing traces of inking of the double impression, fine unmounted mint.