Tasmanian business icon's stamp collection to be auctioned

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 13th February, 2014

Sir Henry Somerset was synonymous with economic development in Tasmania. An industrial chemist, his name was inextricably linked with Burnie and Associated Pulp and Paper Mills (APPM), Goliath Cement at Railton and Australian Titan Products (Tioxide) at Heybridge.

As APPM’s CEO, Sir Henry oversaw the company’s rise to one of Australia’s leading industrial entities and also served on CSIRO’s advisory board.

Awarded a CBE in 1961 and knighted in 1966, Sir Henry was appointed Chancellor of the University of Tasmania between 1964 and 1972, during which time the Schools of Agricultural Science and Medicine were established and enrolments trebled.

Besides his work commitments, Sir Henry had plenty of other interests – one of them being philately.

Over 60 years, he painstakingly amassed an extraordinary collection of Tasmania’s colonial heritage, with a level of knowledge that has surprised even the most dedicated philatelist.

Tasmanian philatelist Malcolm Groom said the collection was assembled with an eye for shades, varieties, multiples and usages.

“There are many items that would grace the best exhibits,” he said.

Stamp auction specialist Mossgreen has been asked to dispose of the collection, from 2.30pm on Tuesday February 18 at 926-930 High Street Armadale, and director and auctioneer Charles Leski is enthusiastic about its importance.

“The Sir Henry Somerset Collection is one of the most significant of Tasmania’s colonial era and, unless sold as a single lot, its like may never be seen again,” he said.

The collection of more than 130 lots contains rare and iconic offerings including an 1856 sixpence Lilac on Star Watermark paper in a block of 21 (the largest recorded multiple), prepared for use but not issued.

Another interesting item is the 1865-71 one penny Van Diemen’s Land stamps (in a 44 block) in fresh condition showing a variety of shades.

The collection includes items from the Amundsen and Burrus 1962 sale and the quality of the material reflects the care with which it was selected and assembled.


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