Rare Stamps Up For Auction For Charity
PIMCO Founder Bill Gross or as I call him, the philanthropic philatelist, is at it again selling off more rare and valuable postage stamps for good causes. The latest auction being held by Spink Shreves Galleries of New York City and Dallas features stamps from France, Germany and China. The auction on May 19 in New York City is conservatively estimated to bring $1 million or more. All proceeds from the sale will be donated by Gross and his wife, Sue, to the Emergency Relief Fund of the nonprofit organization, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The historic stamps, including some dating back to the earliest days of French postal history, will be displayed in London, England and New York prior to the sale.
The stamp above overprinted "CHINA" and postmarked in Shanghai is a rare three Pfennig denomination stamp from 1898 was used for German offices in China. It has a catalog value today of $23,000.
"Through their generosity, Bill and Sue Gross already have donated over the past three years a combined total of over $15.5 million to charities and non-profit organizations from five previous auctions of stamps from his collection. The May 19th auction will offer some of the most famous and valuable French and French colonial stamps and covers (stamped envelopes), special stamps issued for German overseas offices and colonies, early 20th century stamps from China as well as rare stamps of Italy, Spain and Turkey," said Charles Shreve, president of Spink Shreves.
"The auction includes France's rarest stamp, an exceptional mint condition, vermilion-colored one Franc denomination from 1849, the first year France issued postage stamps. It's a world famous, classic rarity and is expected to sell for $75,000 or more."
A pair of 1849 French one Franc carmine-colored stamps with one of them printed upside down has a pre-sale estimate of $125,000. "The 'tệte-bệche' (face-to-face) pair is one of the greatest of all French philatelic rarities. Only four such pairs are known in mint condition," explained Shreve. The pair of postage stamps, shown above, are expected to sell for $125,000.
Other highlights include dozens of rare 19th and early 20th century Reichspost (German Postal Service) stamps used for mailings from German government offices in China and other countries, each with a bold counter-mark indicating the name of the specific country where the office was located.
The stamps will be displayed at the London 2010 International Stamp Exhibition, May 8 – 15, and at the New York City offices of Spink Shreves Galleries, May 17 and 18.