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    Seahorse ‘Registration’ sheet (click on image to enlarge).

    Seahorse ‘Registration’ sheet (click to enlarge).

    AN extraordinary range of stamps from The British Postal Museum & Archive will come up at Sotheby’s in London on July 11. The auction will comprise material duplicate to the archive collection. Stamps from ‘Registration’ or ‘Imprimatur’ sheets are among the most highly prized items among stamp collectors. Only two of these special sheets were ever produced for each stamp in this sale. The BPMA is to retain the original sheet which, due to its protected status, will never be sold; Sotheby’s will present for sale elements of the duplicate Registration sheets. No other examples of these items will be made available. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event for collectors.
    In the July sale collectors will have a choice of selected issues from the reigns of King George V (Seahorse issues), King Edward VIII and King George VI (definitive issues). A total of 191 lots is estimated to bring in excess of £5 million. A second sale takes place in February 2014. Proceeds go to the new home of the archive at Calthorpe House at London’s Mount Pleasant due to open in early 2016.
    Richard Ashton, Sotheby’s Worldwide Philatelic Consultant, said: “Now in my 50th year as a professional philatelist, I have never seen such an important sale of its type. Many are the only examples of their kind ever to come on to the market. Quite aside from their rarity, these extraordinary stamps are also of great beauty – engraved to the highest standard by leading masters of the day. There are magnificent sheets of the ‘Seahorse’ stamps of King George V, and important blocks with Registration Certificates on the reverse of the reigns of King Edward VIII and King George VI. Collectors will never again have such an opportunity to purchase such rare and beautiful items.”

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