Auc­tion may stamp $2.2m mark

The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE - KELVIN TEIX­EIRA

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.

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