Stamp auction could pass $2.2m mark
An old, unused postage stamp with an estimated value of $50,000 is among items to go under the hammer at New Zealand’s largest stamp and coin auction in Wellington tomorrow and Saturday.
In total there is approximately $2.2 million worth of items, with 1434 lots of stamps and 552 lots of coins, medals and banknotes - varying in age, origin and rarity.
Auctioneer John Mowbray, of Otaki, said it would be the first such auction with sales expected to exceed $2 million, courtesy of buyers worldwide.
The stamp with the $50,000 price tag was a mint-condition HMS Vanguard, printed in New Zealand for the 1949 Royal Visit by King George VI.
Mowbray said that due to the King’s ill-health, the visit was cancelled and the stamps ordered to be destroyed, however one sheet was ‘‘liberated’’ before it could be burnt. There were only seven known.
Another rare stamp, picked to fetch around $30,000, was a mint 1906 penny claret, printed by New Zealand Post which hastily stopped production to change the end-colour to orange.
‘‘The story is that one sheet was accidentally sold at the Christchurch Exhibition, which is how they came onto the market,’’ Mowbray said.
Or, for around $80,000, bidders could vie for three post-marked versions on an envelope - the first time any used penny clarets had been offered for sale since 1999.
The coins ranged in value from $50 up to $7200 for an uninscribed gold stater from the Iceni tribe during its rise against Roman rule, around AD50.
Banknotes ranged from $50 up to $5000 for a 1940-1955 Hanna 50 pounds note. Medals ranged from $80 up to $7500 for a 57mm gold medal from 1965 to mark the death of Sir Winston Churchill.
‘‘We’re dealing with some fairly heavy dollar-figures and only a few collectors would seriously consider spending up to the tens of thousands of dollars,’’ Mowbray said.
Up to 100 people were expected at each lot’s auction, and a lot of absentee bidding.
Mowbray said the collectables business was as active as ever, with ‘‘a bubble of older people enjoying the hobby in their retirement - not everyone wants to windsurf at 60’’.
He felt fortunate that his hobby had become a 55-year career.
‘‘To think that an auction attracting such worldwide interest, and producing such sales volume, can be put together here in New Zealand, let alone our humble base inO¯ taki, is quite satisfying. Actually, it’s pretty exciting.’’
International stamp and coin dealer John Mowbray of Mowbray Collectables, Otaki.
The mint HMS Vanguard stamp worth $50,000.