COVID-19 delay doesn't stop the flock of Australian stamp and sports auction collectors

A two-week delay caused by staff forced to isolate because they contracted COVID-19 didn’t stop buyers flocking to Melbourne-based Abacus Auctions comprehensive and wide-ranging Stamps & Postal History, Picture Postcards, Medals & Militaria, coins & Banknotes, Cigarette & Trade Cards, Sporting Memorabilia and General Collectables auction from August 3-5.

With more than 2700 items on the table and given the enthusiasm of collectors, it is not surprising that more than 80 per cent found new homes for a total sale price of just under $1.5 million including buyers premiums.  

Australian stamps – the rarer the better – are always popular with a propensity to attract high prices.

So the top seller was a First Watermark 5/- ‘CA’ Monogram single kangaroo stamp (lot 161) that sold for $22,420 against a $15,000 catalogue estimate. The stamp is only the second recorded mint example with the monogram in the attached margin in private hands.

Many collections and accumulations sold for multiples of their pre-sale estimates but particularly notable was an extensive single-volume of kangaroo stamps that jumped from a $5000 estimate to $18,880 in realised value and a collection of King George V heads that doubled their catalogue listing to change hands for $15,930.

Australian baggy green Test cricket caps are always hotly contested and Norm O’Neill’s, part of former Australian Test wicketkeeper the late Barry Jarman’s collection (lot 2582), proved to be no exception – bringing $11,200 on a $6000 estimate.

The cap, from O’Neill’s 1959-60 Pakistan tour, was a favourite for the player who from 1958-1965 played 42 Tests including the renowned 1961 tied Test against the West Indies in which he made a career high 181 in the first innings.

The auction’s coins and banknotes section included a strong selection of Australian material with the most rewarding lot being a 1966 decimal banknotes specimen set that sold for $12,900.

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