At the end of last week, collectors of and investors in rare British Commonwealth stamps were offered a bonanza by Spink Shreves with not only two auctions devoted to British North American stamps offered - one for the famous Black Empress alone - but also one of the great collections of Jamaican stamps going under the hammer.
Joseph M Mahfood, a successful businessman in Jamaica, and one of the country's most prominent philatelists, spent decades building what is considered to be one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of Jamaica ever formed.
The Collection featured: Pre-stamp and stampless covers, Great Britain used in Jamaica, specialised Jamaica general issues both on and off cover, extensive essays & proofs , original artist's material for modern stamp designs, numeral obliterators and temporary rubber date stamps.
One spectacular sale was a 1922 6d Port Royal stamp in 1855 original ink and wash drawing on art board. Measuring 258x195mm the stamp is very fine; highly attractive and well suited for framing.
The design replaced the famous 1921 6d Abolition of Slavery stamp, which was withdrawn prior to issuance, and was estimated at $1,000-1,500. In the event, bidders set their sights a little higher and it eventually sold for $14,000.
The highest price for a single stamp was achieved by an especially choice used example of the famous 1920 1/- orange-yellow and red-orange, frame inverted stamp error. With vivid rich colours on fresh white paper, almost perfectly centred, and a partial Manchioneal double circle datestamp, this lot was always going to attract keen bidding.
One the rarest errors of Jamaica, as well as being one of the key rarities for the Inverted Centres of the World collector, it sold for almost exactly its Scott catalogue listing at $22,000.
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