This is the fifth extract in a series of articles about philatelic rarities taken from the Encyclopaedia of Rare and Famous Stamps, vol.2, pp.21-26, by L. N. Williams, published by David Feldman in 1992, with updates since its publication.

The compilation of biographies of the ten recorded examples of the British Guiana 2 cents of 1851 was first undertaken by Edward Denny Bacon from personal inquiries and was published in The London Philatelist vol.9 pp.34-38 February 1900. No further example has been discovered. In Les Premières Emissions de la Guyane Anglaise by Dr. Georges Brunel, appeared a simple list of owners. Some notes on the subject of the 2 cents Cottonreels by Charles J. Phillips were published in the Collectors Club Philatelist vol.19 p.45 January 1940. Adopting the numbering system of the stamps initiated by E. D. Bacon in 1900 we brought the biographies up to their contemporary state in the first edition of Famous Stamps.

I

BGUsed, cut round, the stamp has a piece of paper added between the final “A” of “GUIANA” and the “B” of “BRITISH”. Initialled “J. B. S.” and mounted on card.

1877: Acquired by N. R. McKinnon (1)

1877: Bought by T. Ridpath (1)

1877: Bought by Ferrary (2)

1878 (Oct): Ridpath obtained No.I in exchange for No.IV (2)

1879: Bought by Pemberton, Wilson & Co. (2)

1879: Bought by Captain J. D. Cameron for £25 (2)

1883: Bought by James Botteley for £30

1887 (Feb): Maurice Giwelb bought Botteley’s collection for £1’700 (2)

1893: W. W. Blest obtained No.I in exchange for some European stamps (2)

1895: Bought by W. B. Avery (2)

1900: W. H. Peckitt bought from Avery (3) for £345 (4)

?: Acquired by E. Mors

1920 (May 18): Auction: Gilbert “Me. M…” sale, lot 352, bought by Theodore Champion (4)

1920s: Champion sold to King Fuad I of Egypt (5)

1954 (Feb 17): “Palace Collections” sale in Egypt, lot 1231, £700

?: Bought by Ernest Hunt

?: Stanley Gibbons Ltd. bought Ernest Hunt’s collection (6)

197(?3): Bought by collector in the USA (7)

197(?4): Changed hands in the USA (7)

1977 (Jun 7-9): Auction: David Feldman SA, lot 696A, SFr66’000 (£13’953), bought by René Berlingin (8)

1984: Sold to John du Pont (8)

2014 (Jun): Auctions: David Feldman SA

References:
(1) British Guiana Philatelic Journal no.31 p.5 December 1921
(2) The London Philatelist vol.9 p.34 February 1900
(3) The Avery Collection by H. W. Peckitt 1909 p.18
(4) Postage Stamps vol.2 p.13 6 June 1908
(5) T. L. S., T. C. to L. N. & M. W. 16 February 1940
(6) The Postage Stamps and Postal History of British Guiana by Townsend & Howe 1970 p.27
(7) S. K.
(8) J. H.

II

Used, cut round but good margins. The stamp is faded, initialled “J. B. S.” and mounted on rose-coloured paper.

1877: Acquired by N. R. McKinnon & Co. (1)

1878 (Mar): Bought by Alfred Smith & Co. (1)

1878 (Mar): Bought by F. A. Philbrick for £20 (1)

1881: Philipp la Rénotière von Ferrary bought Philbrick’s collection for £8’000 (2)

1881-87: Bought by M. and G. Caillebotte (1)

1887: Pemberton, Wilson & Co. bought the Caillebotte collection (1)

1888: Bought by F. de Coppet for £70 (1)

1893 (Apr 4): Auction: J. W. Scott, de Coppet sale 2, lot 358, bought by R. F. Albrecht for F. W. Hunter for £210 (3)

1900 (Jan 12): Auction: Scott Stamp & Coins Co., Hunter sale 3, lot 1593, bought by W. H. Peckitt for £345 (1)

1900s: Acquired by the Reichspost Museum, Berlin,where this and seven other stamps were placed in a wall-mounted, glass fronted, lead display frame (5)

1943 (Aug): The frame was removed to the safety of the Recihbank’s vaults in Berlin.

1944: The frame was to have been moved to Dresden. However, because of heavy bombing there, it was sent instead to a potash mine near Eisleben, which later became East Germany

1976 (May 29): Dennis Sweeney, former U.S. Army Captain, offered the frame and contents for sale to Robson Lowe at Interpex ’72. Sweeney, allegedly, had been given the frame in 1945 in return for help in enabling a husband and wife to escape from advancing Russian troops (6)

1977: Sweeney surrendered the frame to U.S. Customs Official Robert J. LaRatta, and it was kept in custody by the U.S. Customs Service. Frame was claimed by both the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic. Request by Customs Service to be relieved of custody of the frame was not acted on by the U.S. State Department (7)

1990 (Oct 18): U.S. Commissioner of Customs (Sweeney having died in 1980 and Germany having been united on 3 October 1990) handed over the frame to the German Ambassador at Washington, U.S.A. The frame was then returned to Germany and placed in the Post and Telecommunications Museum in Bonn.

References:
(1) The London Philatelist vol.9 p.34 February 1900
(2) Le Timbre-Poste (Moens) vol.37 p.88 June 1899
(3) Stanley Gibbons Monthly Journal vol.3 p.107 June 1892
(4) Postage Stamp (London) vol.2 p.112 6 June 1908
(5) Reichspost Museum by H. Hoffman 1938 p.40
(6) Stamp Collecting vol.129 pp.1157-1159 24 November 1977
(7) Linn’s Stamp News vol.63 issue 3234 pp.1 & 20, 29 October 1990 and vol.63 issue 3235 p.2 5 November 1990

III

Used, cut round and slightly damaged, initialled “J.B.S.”

1877: Acquired by N. R. McKinnon (1)

1878 (Jul) Bought by Alfred Smith and Co. (1)

1878 (Jul) Bought by W. E. Image for £20 (1)

1882: Thomas Keay Tapling bought Image’s collection (1)

1891: The British Museum received Tapling’s collection as a bequest.

1973: The collection was transferred to the British Library (2)

References:
(1) The London Philatelist vol.9 p.34 February 1900
(2) Philatelic Collections, The British Library (revised edition 1989) p.1

IV

Used, cut round, postmarked JU 23 1851, initialled “J.B.S”, mounted on card.

1877: Bought by N. R. McKinnon

1878 (Oct 2): Thomas Ridpath bough McKinnon’s collection through the agency Wylie Hill for £120 (1)

1878 (Oct): Bought by Ferrary in exchange for no.I (2)

1924 (Jun 18): Auction: Gilbert Ferrary 10, lot 169, sold for bought by Theodore Champion for Fr58’750 (£740) (3)

196(?): Changed hands privately together with other items from the Champion collection

1996: Offered for sale by B. Behr in private treaty catalogue at Anphilex ’96

2006 (Jun 1): Auction: Spink USA, lot 43, sold for $310’000 plus commission (the vendor was the purchaser of the stamp from Behr at Anphilex ’96) (4)

References:
(1) The London Philatelist vol.9 p.34 February 1900
(2) British Guiana Philatelic Journal no.32 p.4 June 1922
(3) T.L.S., T.C. to L.N. & M. W. 16 February 1940
(4) Spink 1 June 2006 Auction Catalogue

V and VI

Vertical pair used on entire letter addressed to “Mr Job Collier, Victoria Village, East Coast”, postmarked Demerara OC 24 1851. An early illustration of the letter shows that there is a large wedge-shaped piece missing from the right-hand stamp and a smaller piece from the left-hand stamp. That illustration was made from a copy of a photograph taken for E. C. Luard in 1890. Since that date the gaps in the stamps have been filled in with coloured paper and the missing portions of the designs have been painted on it.

1851 (Oct) Job Collier received the letter

1888 E. C. Luard bought the letter (1)

1890 (May) E. C. Luard exhibited the letter at the London Philatelic Exhibition 1890 in Block B No 4. In the catalogue his initials are incorrectly stated as “E. B.” (2)

1890 Pemberton, Wilson & Co. bought Luard’s collection (1)

1890 Bought by Ferrary for about £175

1921 (Oct 13) Auction: Gilbert Ferrary 2, lot 176, bought by Theodore Champion for Fr70’500 (£1’330) (3)

19(??): The letter passed into the Royal Collection (3, 4)

References:
(1) The London Philatelist vol.9 p.34 February 1900
(2) London Philatelic Exhibition 1890 Official Catalogue p.41
(3) T.L.S., T.C. to L.N. & M. W. 16 February 1940
(4) The Royal Philatelic Collection “British America” p.11 and plate 3

VII and VIII

Vertical pair used on entire letter addressed to “Miss Rose, Blankenburg”, postmarked Demerara AU 5 1851. The stamps are cut around the outside so that part of the frame lines are missing. Initialled “E.T.E.D.”

1851 (Aug): Miss Rose received the letter

1896: Miss Rose presented the letter to Christ Church, Demerara

1896: E. C. Luard bought the letter for $1’005 (£205)

1896: Stanley Gibbons Ltd. bought the letter for £600

1896: H. J. Duveen bought it for £650 (1)

1922: Arthur Hind bought the letter through Charles J. Phillips for about $5’000 (3)

1934 (May 7): Auction: H. R. Harmer Hind sale 2, lot 94, bought by Theodore Champion for £1’300 for his own collection

19(??): Acquired by Mrs. John Denny Dale

1969 (Feb 17): Auction: H. R. Harmer incl. Dale-Lichtenstein collection part 3, lot 401, bought by Stanley Gibbons Ltd. for $34’000

19(??): Bought by Claude Cartier

1977 (Apr 21): Auction: Stanley Gibbons Classics from the Claude Cartier Collection 5438, lot 23, bought by a South American collector for £70’000 (5)

1989 (Jan): Stanley Gibbons invited private offers in excess of £150’000 for the letter (6)

1990 (May 11): Auction: Stanley Gibbons sale 5686, lot 17, £161’000

1996 (Nov 28-Dec 2): At Anphilex ’96, New York, as Aristocrat of Philately No.8, it was exhibited on loan from an anonymous collector (7)

2006 (Jun 1): Auction: Spink USA, lot 44, $340’000 plus commission

References:
(1) The London Philatelist vol.9 p.34 February 1900
(2) British Guiana Philatelic Journal No.31 p.6 December 1921
(3) Collectors Club Philatelist vol.19 p.45 January 1940
(4) T.L.S., T.C. to L.N. & M. W. 16 February 1940
(5) The Times 22 April 1977 p.4 cols 6-7
(6) Gibbons Stamp Monthly vol.19 no.8 p.5 5 January 1989
(7) Exhibition catalogue p.18

IX and X

Vertical pair used on entire letter addressed to “Edward Gordon Esq., Plantn Good Hope”, postmarked Demerara NO 26 1851. The stamps are cut unevenly and the frameline of the right hand stamp is just infringed at the top, initialled “E.D.W”.

1851: Edward Gordon received the letter (1)

1861: His son, T. M. Gordon inherited his father’s papers (1)

1897: E. C. Luard bought the letter from T. M. Gordon (1)

1897: Stanley Gibbons Ltd. bought the letter for £650 (2)

1897: Carl Willadt, of Pforzheim, bought it

1897: Paul Kosack, of Berlin, bought it (2)

1897: Baron Otto von Transehe-Roseneck bought it for 20’000 marks (2, 3)

1899 (Dec): Paul Kohl bought von Transehe-Roseneck’s collection (2)

1900 (Feb): Bought by Stanley Gibbons Ltd.

1901: Bought by Ferrary for £1’000 (4)

1921 (Jun 23): Auction: Gilbert Ferrary 1, lot 32, bought by Maurice Burrus for Fr246’750 (£5’250) (4)

1963 (Nov 26): Auction: Robson Lowe Burrus sale, lot 15, bought by Raymond H. Weill Co. on behalf of Frederick T. Small for £25’000 (6)

1964: Acquired by Mr. P (7)

1969: Bought by Raymond H. Weill Co. (7)

1970 (Mar 26): Auction: Robson Lowe “Great Collection”, lot 4, £75’000

1975 (May 1): Auction: Robson Lowe, Geneva, lot 3, bought by Raymond H. Weill Co. for SFr450’000 (£75’000)

1989 (Nov 22): Auction: Christie’s Robson Lowe Zurich “Rarities of Maritius and British Guiana from the Weill Brothers’ Stock”, lot 1, SFr520’000 excluding buyer’s commission (£206’350)

1990 (May 3-13): Exhibited at Stamp World London 90 in Class 2B by Simon Greenwood (8)

1996 (Nov 28-Dec 2): At Anphilex ’96, New York, as Exhibit no.56, it was shown by J. S. Greenwood (9)

References:
(1) British Guiana Philatelic Journal No.31 p.6 December 1921
(2) The London Philatelist vol.9 p.34 February 1900
(3) Der Philatelist (Dresden) vol.18 p.406 December 1897
(4) Collector’s Club Philatelist vol.19 p.45 January 1940
(5) Philately in Scotland vol.12 p.140
(6) T.L.S., R.H.W. to D.F. 22 February 1985
(7) Auction catalogue p.7 22 November 1989
(8) Exhibition catalogue p.67
(9) Exhibition catalogue p.56