CHAT: Eastern promise

Every now and then I get an auction catalogue which is just so full of beautiful and wonderful items that I don't know where to start looking. Usually, they are all out of reach financially speaking, so it's just a matter of wishing for the moon (or a lucky lottery ticket).

As was the case with the catalogues for the Eastern Auctions Ltd sale of November 2018. I had only got to page 18 and there it started. Two lots of an unissued set of stamps for Poland, engraved by Karl Seizinger in 1944. One of the lots was the full set of three values, and the other lot comprised two of the three die proofs of that set.

But it got better: On page 198 there was this absolutely stunning engraving of Queen Victoria, engraved by Alfred Jones, dating from around 1867-1868. Although a mirror image of the eventual Canadian stamps of 1893, this particular engraving is thought to be the model used for that stamp series, which, again, was engraved by Jones.

What followed was a range of signed proofs which I won't show you here because I wouldn't have enough room left for a disoncerting item: on page 314 there was this lot of the 1954 15c gannet stamp of Canada. A photographic proof even, which is something I would normally never go for or look at twice. But this particular proof was from an archival page and it was annotated with an order number and: Engraved by: Warrell Hauck. The item had also been signed by Hauck on the reverse.

What's disconcerting about that? Only that I've always thought and written that this particular stamp was engraved by Silas Robert Allen! Based on the information from the Canadian Postal Archives Database! So who to believe?

And it went on. Page 320. Nine (!) progressive proofs of the 1975 Canada set depicting ships, engraved by Charles Gordon Yorke. No ambiguities with this lot, just sheer beauty and so out of reach...

Finally, moving on to the special catalogue which featured 'The Highlands Collection of British North America', there were still more gems to come. Most interesting of those were the die proofs for the Newfoundland 1937 Coronation issue. They showed the amount of work Charles Minett had to do on the tiny portrait of King George VI. Two die proofs of the 1c show how the first portrait of the king was rather crudely done and how on the second proof it had been improved no end.

All in all, as you can see, the catalogues were a sight for sore eyes. So maybe I should get that extra lottery ticket in....



  1. You have to wonder why Jones did all that work on the Queen Victoria proof and then redid it for the stamp. If you reverse the image it is easy to see that it is a completely different engraving. It's hard to say from a photograph but it also looks like it is a larger image so was possibly intended for a banknote rather than a stamp. I'm with you. This week I'm buying a lottery ticket!


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