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Cavendish March 2021 Catalogue Results

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The recent two-day Worldwide & GB auction (10 & 11 March) at Cavendish House proved to be another unqualified success with nearly 90% of the lots selling on the day, at a total close to £100,000 over pre-sale estimates. Despite a global pandemic and lockdown regulations the results indicate that it is an excellent time for collectors to sell, achieving higher prices than previously. It is also a good time for buyers to obtain difficult to find items or to begin new collecting interests. More than half of our online bidders were successful in purchasing at least one lot, almost certainly at less than retail price.

Cavendish’s next auction is on June 2 & 3 when the Dr David Ball Collection of Malta Stamps & Postal History and the John Loraine Collection of Devonshire Postal History will be offered. This is followed by another of our popular specialist Literature sales in July which promises the usual mix of highly sought-after volumes and more general boxed lots, including many offerings from the Royal Philatelic Society London.

Read more below to find out how different sections of the catalogue performed:
Hammer Prices / Realisations do not include Buyers Premium.


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On the first day of the sale, 874 lots of worldwide stamps and postal history were offered. Miscellaneous collections were extremely popular with all of the first seventy lots being sold. Highlights in this section includes lot 40 (a four volume collection of British Commonwealth) realising £1700 (est. £1000), lot 70 (a Balkans collection) making £1100, lot 77 (a carton of Iraq and Lebanon) fetched £600 (est. £100), and lot 80 (an early range of Peru and Uruguay) peaked at an over three times estimate of £440.

The A-Z countries section produced some spectacular results including lot 192 (a pre-decimal QEII Australian cover accumulation) soaring to an over double estimate £650, lot 220 (an unused collection of Barbados Britannias) reaching a heady £950 (est. £500), lot 239 (Belgium) making a double estimate £400 and lot 248 (two albums of Canada, est. £140) selling at £550.

The particularly strong section of China included many collections and these notched up some impressive realisations including lots 317 (Provinces), 318 (Central & South China), 320 (East China/Shandong), 323 (North China), and 327 (North-East China), all well above estimate. Thereafter things continued to be lively with lot 410 (a two volume French collection) selling for £1200 and lot 417 (a French airmail collection) flying high at £1100 (est. £300), and two Germany collections realising over double estimate hammer prices (lots 484 at £700 and 488 at £800). The undoubted biggest surprise of day one came when the 1868 opened out envelope from Pest in Hungary to the Pope in Rome (lot 558) sold for an incredible £4400 against an estimate of £100.

India was again highly popular with two collections of particular note (lots 571 and 603) finishing at £1600 and £800 respectively. The Malayan section was competitive and included an airmail range selling for an impressive £420. The first day continued with a Polish collection (lot 730) realising the treble estimate price of £1200 and lot 761, a Seychelles collection, attained £1400 against an estimate of £1000.

On day two 677 lots of entirely Great Britain material were offered, including a specialised collection of Maltese Cross and Numeral cancellations. The auction began with a general section and amongst the collections lot 888 sold for £900 (est. £460), lot 893 realised £600 (est. £240), and lot 897 (a mint collection of KEVII-KGVI issues) made a splendid £850 (est. £360).

Lot 913, an 1845 envelope from Sherrington to High Wycombe with a green Anti-Graham wafer seal depicting a lobster sold for an amazing £1400 as opposed to an estimate of £500 and the 1d black section saw some more remarkable realisations. Lot 975, an 1841 entire letter from Market Harborough to Macclesfield bearing a plate 11 example sold for three times estimate at £900, and the Howard Hughes collection of Maltese Crosses saw lot 997, an 1841 envelope to Ludlow with a 1d red cancelled with the solid centre cross of Welshpool fetching £800 (est. £500). The subsequent section of the Professor David Rockoff Reference Collection of Maltese Crosses featured some strong bidding including a distinctive Kelso Cross on cover (lot 1034) making £340, a combination use of the Kirkwall Maltese Cross and numeral receiving £400, three off-cover 1d reds with Tadcaster Maltese Crosses making £500 and a group of Welshpool Maltese Crosses on cover attaining £400.

Later Queen Victoria lots continued to excel with lot 1189 receiving £750 (est. £300) and 1190 £550 (est. £260), an 1878 £1 brown used (lot 1195) was knocked down at £700 (est. £500), an 1882 £1 brown (lot 1198) fetched a near double estimate £1300 and lot 1199 (a fine used example of the 1882 £5 orange) sold for £1600.

Twentieth century Great Britain remains popular with lot 1233 (a 1919 £1 Sea Horse fine used) peaking at £460 against an estimate of £300, a 1924 2d orange without watermark unmounted mint selling for £850, and a 1924 10d turquoise-blue unmounted mint inverted watermark realising a staggering £1500 (est. £1000).

Postal History was as strong as ever with lot 1329 setting the trend. The item in question is a c.1836 folding linen-mounted map by Wyld depicting the coaching, riding and foot post routes of England & Wales selling for an outstanding £1600 (over ten times estimate). This highlight was followed by a "LIVERPOOL/EXEMPT SHIP" on an 1847 entire ex New York (lot 1339) sailing away to £650 (est. £300).

A fascinating section of hand-drawn pictorial covers was illuminated by lot 1374 ( a unique hand-made envelope in the shape of a fish with fins, scales and eyes) sent locally within Taunton and dated February 1843 swimming up to £1800 (est. £400). Another outstanding item was a 1665 Bishop Mark cover to Samuel Pepys (lot 1463) which realised a heady £2000, double pre-sale estimate.