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Mayfair is part of the Scholium Group Plc, an AIM listed company who specialise in Rare Books, Works on Paper and other Fine Arts.

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Lingfield Park Racecourse


Whether the dawn of the new decade has you celebrating Boris ‘banging a Big Ben bong for Brexit’ or nervously crawling back out from behind the sofa, a very Happy New Year to you all! If the gratifyingly large amount of bid forms we are wading through in advance of our January Postal Auction is anything to go by, many of you spent your time sitting in front of the fire, sipping from a glass of something nice from the cabinet, whilst perusing our catalogue. It certainly seems that the good old stamp market is proving as resilient as ever. This is reassuring for a number of reasons, not least of which is my recurring nightmare (one of them) when every stamp collector awakes on New Year’s Day wondering what on earth possesses them to collect silly little pieces of paper!

So it is with pleasure that I introduce our March Public Auction, held at our popular Lingfield Park racecourse venue.

As usual we can offer our customary 100 or so boxes (where do they all come from?), a fine range of world and one country collections and, to the delight of many of you and giving into popular demand, 40 ‘room’ lots (an increase from 30 previously).

GB features a fine selection of ‘blacks’ and ‘blues’, 3 ‘Rainbow’ Colour Trials, an interesting little section of ‘Underprints’, mint QV including the spectacular 4d ‘Large Garter’ blk of 4 (front cover), £1 SG 212a ‘Framebreak’ and two examples of mint 2/- brown. Also a 4d sage plate 17 ‘Abnormal’ (28 recorded only), some Die Proofs including £1 SG 185, Ed VII including two 1 1/2d Colour Trials and a superb section of Seahorses (mint, u/m, blks of 4 etc). Those of you who have been with us for a while will know of my fondness for inverted wmks (which is why I seldom receive invites to dinner parties). We have one of the very rarest here, the 1883 5/- rose used (believed to be one of only three known), also 1887 10d Jubilee used and Ed VII 2/6d o/pt Specimen (another major rarity). Also QE2 errors including a nice group of Machin imperf pairs and 1967 Xmas SG 757b, Officials including SG O63 and O110, with one of the best ranges of booklets we have offered in several years.

A strong Commonwealth section (with some foreign dotted here and there) includes particularly fine Ceylon and KUT (with the superb 1922 high values featuring the £25 and £50 o/pt Specimen), New Zealand missing colours, Zanzibar high values, an India SG 50, Gibraltar £5, Sierra Leone SG 67 and the unique Nigeria 1935 Jubilee Master Die Proof. One item in particular to draw to your attention, the Papua Postage Due double surcharge u/m, SG D1a. 

One aspect of philately to which I’m sure many of you can relate is the making of a ‘find’ or ‘discovery’ whilst looking through a collection. This could, for instance, be manifest in a scarcer shade or perforation type, unusual postmark or a constant variety. In my experience, certain varieties stick in the mind. For example, I will always check if any 1d red imperf lettered ‘LK’ shows the ‘Union Jack’ re-entry, whether 1841 2d blues lettered ‘BH’ have the ‘Spectacle’ variety, or ‘KD’ 1/- greens show the ‘K’ in circle. Some, however I forget immediately. I still have to check the difference between Die 1 and 2 on Commonwealth QV and GV issues at regular intervals. Mind you, I can remember the name and car registration of a chap I worked with for 2 weeks during a summer job whilst still at school (Dave Checkley, AOA 161K) but struggle to remember my mobile phone number or Mayfair’s address in Vauxhall. A recent ‘find’ (which I will remember) was the delightfully named ‘Slug’ flaw on the Straits Settlements 6c lilac SG 13b. This produced in Sadie a level of excitement not seen since I returned from a buying trip with 2 Aland Island ‘Feather’ letters (to be found in this catalogue). I do worry about Sadie. My daughter is of a similar age and I’m pretty sure she does not discuss slug flaws and feather letters whilst on a night out with her cronies.

In May this year we have the London 2020 Exhibition (is it really 10 years since the last one? Good grief!). Mayfair have a stand (67) and it is to be held at the traditional Stampex venue, the Business Design Centre in Islington. To mark this significant event (Rick has promised to wear long trousers), we are preparing a public auction to be held on May 22nd (in our St. Georges Street Gallery) and will have the lots on view at the show. Do come and see us to view, offer us stamps or collections (to sell or consign) or just to say hello! With no Stampex this February (because of the May show), we have viewing for this auction at the Strand Stamp Fair on Feb 14th and in ourauxhall Offices (details within).

Squeezed between the two auctions, in late March, I shall be taking a short break in India (not been before), to hook up with my son, currently traversing the subcontinent during 6 months of travelling (the lucky so and so). Some hiking and a safari is the plan. Enjoyable though the world of stamps may be, it is nice to get away and switch off once in a while (how would you know the difference Rick and Sadie would ask?).

Tim Francis