Stage 4 lockdown makes stamp auction tough going

The coronavirus pandemic is making life tough for businesses in Australia and twice as hard during Victoria’s Stage 4 lockdown.

The antiques, decorative arts and collectables industry is no exception as Leski Auctions found for online its Stamps, Coins & Postal History two-day auction on August 22 and 23.

Only 59 per cent of the listed 986 lots (or 582) sold – and even the top selling item, a 5d Australia King George V head block of four stamps (lot 128), at $18,000 was below the catalogue $20,000-$25,000 estimate.

The second item, an historic postal flight cover carried by Australian pioneer aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith in the Southern Cross on the first United States  to Australia Pacific flight crossing May 31, 1928 and signed by the entire crew, also failed to reach the lower $15,000 estimate – but was still knocked down to the successful buyer for $12,000.

Better luck was achieved with lot 291, a flight cover from Fiji to Australia – also signed by the entire crew – on the last leg of the journey June 8 to 9, which sold for the upper estimate of $10,000.

This also was the price achieved for lot 920, a rare October 11, 1926 flight cover carried by Group Captain Richard Williams internally to Port Moresby during a Pacific Islands survey flight. The flight cover’s rarity is assured because it is one of only six of the 50 carried to bear Papua frankings.

Successful collectors paid $9000 for each of two lots, 855 and 856, 1914 New Guinea G.R.I. overprints 31/2-4mm spacing on Marshall Islands ‘2S’ on 2MK blue and ‘5S’ on 5MK carmine and black stamps respectively.

A rare 1851 New South Wales 2d sold well above its $5000 estimate for $8000 (lot 377), while a Cocos Islands 1963 die proof stamps with a variety of denominations (lot 683) brought $6000.

An 1854 New South Wales 3d yellow green stamp (lot 378) changed hands for $5000 and two flight covers, lots 797 and 799 – respectively earmarking the evacuation of Kabul in November 1928 and the April 21, 1932 Peshawar to Quetta aerophilately flown with Viceroy Lord Willingdon – each sold for $4600.

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