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    Monday, November 8th, 2010

    ONE of the finest postage stamp collections to appear on the market in the last quarter of a century comes up at Sotheby’s in London over three days from November 24-26.

    The sale of the Great Britain Philatelic Collections of Lady Mairi Bury will afford serious collectors the opportunity to acquire sought-after stamps from a renowned collection. Associated throughout her life with Mount Stewart, her ancestral home in Country Down, Northern Ireland, she was the doyenne of female collectors in the Royal Philatelic Society. Lady Mairi Bury died in 2009 aged 88. Comprising 2185 lots, the auction is estimated to bring in excess of £2.6 million.

    UPDATE: THE sale brought in £3,045,924. The top lot was ‘The Balance of Lady Mairi’s collection of King Edward VII’ stamps, mounted on 91 pages to the highest exhibition standard and housed in two exhibition boxes. Comprising an exceptional comprehensive collection arranged by order of value from ½d. to £1, this lot more than tripled the pre-sale low estimate to sell for £66,000. An exceptional unused 1840 Two Pence Blue, Plate 1, sold for £43,200.  A complete sheet of 120 2d. blue stamps, unique in this configuration made £30,000. The Penny Black which achieved the highest price was an Imprimatur from the Second Registration Sheet, known as the ‘VR’ Official Penny Black; it made £36,000. This stamp was prepared for Official use in April 1840 but remained unissued. A Plate 1 Two Shillings Brown, the very finest of the few known pairs, and exceptionally rare, brought £36,000.