In the last 30 years, David Feldman has offered many important collections and rarities of Cyprus, and our June 30th-July 1st auction series will see this continue with the “Tatiana” collection of Cyprus. This section features 139 lots and is notable not only for its rarities but also for its multiples, from the very affordable to the highly sought-after and valuable.
One of the key rarities of Cyprus philately in the collection is lot 31217, the 1880 1d red pl.208 vertical pair from the top of the sheet with the “CYPRUS” overprint omitted on on the top stamp. Caused by a misalignment of the overprinter, the whole top row of one sheet had the overprint omitted, and of the twelve possible examples, only 10 have been recorded (according to Akis Christou’s website on Cyprus Victorian Stamps).
“Tatiana” had a keen interest in multiples, and in his Cyprus collection he has some extremely rare if not unique blocks. One of those is lot 31231, the 1880 1d red pl.218 with double “CYPRUS” overprint in a lower marginal block of four. In the key-type issues, there is lot 31261, a mint block of four of the very rare 1/2pi die I in emerald-green on watermarked Crown CA paper. Quite probably unique as such. One of my personal favourites is lot 31266, the 1882 “1/2” on 1/2pi block of 12, comprising of two rows of six if the complete setting of this overprint. Each pair of “1/2″s on a stamp varies slightly in appearance which allows their position in the setting to be identified. This includes the “spur on 1” variety that is listed by Stanley Gibbons, which is visible on both stamps in the third column.
Perhaps the most attention grabbing multiple however is lot 31316, the KGV £5 top right corner marginal block of four with plate number “1” and sheet number, which is estimated at £6’000-8’000 and I’m sure will be keenly fought over. High face-value stamps from the King George V period are very collectable. Just think, not many would have spent £20 in the 1920s on current issue stamps for their collection, which is more than £1’200 in modern day money taking inflation into account!
For those with a more modest budget, there are plenty of affordable and attractive 1880 1d red marginal multiples, including plate number blocks and pairs, ranging from £40 to £3’000. They would make an attractive addition to a GB collection of Penny Reds as well (especially if one could find matching blocks unoverprinted).
The most valuable single stamp in the collection is lot 31272, the 1886 “1/2” on 1/2pi with fractions approximately 6mm on watermarked Crown CC paper (SG.26). Before our auction in June 2018 which had a strong section of Cyprus, the stamp was catalogued at £22’000; and we subsequently sold an example in that sale for £37’200. The catalogue price has increased to £30’000 since but it’s always a tell-tale sign of how rare a stamp is when two or more people go head-to-head above and beyond the SG quoted catalogue value! The example in our sale at the end of this June is estimated attractively at £15’000-20’000 so I’m quite confident it will go beyond our top estimate because it deserves to.
Towards the end of the section there’s also a few spectacular errors and varieties from the KGV and QEII issues. Including the popular 1934 pictorial issue with imperforate betweens. Printed in sheets of 60 (6×10), only one sheet of each of these varieties existed, so that only ten of each imperforate between horizontal pairs possibly exist, and only six of each imperforate between vertical pairs. Although some were used and even split, presumably at the time, so less exist in reality.
For those interested, here are the PDFs (showing the Cyprus extracts only) of the important collections and rarities of Cyprus sold by David Feldman in the last 30 years, which we hope will be a useful resource to Cyprus collectors: