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    Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

    Australia Kangaroo issue, 1913-14. (est. £15,000-20,000)(click on image to enlarge)

    RARE stamps of distinction will come under the hammer at Sotheby’s next September. The Philatelic Collection of the Northern Irish peer Lord Steinberg is unique as it contains only mint blocks of four or larger multiples from 74 countries of the British Empire. Highlights include Australia with many rare Kangeroo blocks; the British Solomon Islands block; classic Ceylon; Falkland Islands with the 1933 Centenary set in marginal blocks of four; Hong Kong; India; Newfoundland with the unique 1927 De Pinedo airmail block of four and the 1932 DO-X airmail block of four with the surcharge inverted, and a selection of Rhodesian Double Head issues.

    They will be offered in a series of sales on September 6-8 and on September 21.  The three day sale is of British Empire multiples, the sale on September 21 will feature Great Britain exclusively.  Altogether 2,068 blocks will be offered in a sale expected to realise £4 million.

    Lord Steinberg was the grandson of immigrants who turned a single unlicensed betting shop at the back of his father’s Belfast milk counter into the Stanley Leisure Group, a chain of 640 betting outlets and 45 casinos which employed 7,000 people. He became a peer, deputy treasurer of the Conservative Party and president of Lancashire County Cricket Club.  The business was founded in Belfast in 1958, but Steinberg moved to Liverpool in 1977 when he refused to pay protection money to either republican or loyalist paramilitaries. He was shot in 1977 by the Provisional IRA.  Proceeds are for causes and charities associated with Lord Steinberg, who died in 2009. This includes the fund he started with the aim of helping to rebuild Old Trafford, home of Lancashire County Cricket Club.
    UPDATE:  The four day sale brought in £2,648,652, the one day auction comprised of Great Britain Mint Multiples realised £1,134,924.

    Hong Kong 1863-71 at 30 cents. (est. £10,000-12,000) (Click on image to enlarge)







    1840 1d. black. (est. £150,000-250,000)  (click on image to enlarge)  UPDATE: This sold for 




    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.