Friday, 26 November 2010

Lady Mairi's Stamps

A stamp that belonged to the late Lady Mairi Bury has sold for more than £43,000 at Sotheby's. The unused 2d blue issued in 1840 went for more than five times its £8,000 guide price. The complete collection is expected to fetch at least £2.6m by close of business today.

Lady Mairi lived at Mount Stewart estate in County Down.

Lady Mairi is recognised as the world's greatest ever female philatelist and her collection is regarded as one of the finest to be auctioned in the last 25 years. It includes examples of every variety of the Penny Black ever produced.

One such stamp, which was prepared for official use in 1840 but never used, sold for £36,000 on Thursday. In addition to thousands of stamps, the sale includes early examples of printed envelopes and letters relating to another of her passions, Victorian sensations and scandals.

Among them is a letter posted on 13 June, 1840, using a Penny Black, which refers to the attempted assassination of Queen Victoria three days previously by Edward Oxford in London. It fetched £1,140.

Richard Ashton, Sotheby's philatelic consultant, told the Daily Telegraph: "This collection is one of the finest to have been formed in recent years. Lady Mairi not only acquired items of considerable worth because of their rarity, but also a whole host of more humble stamps and covers that are in immaculate condition ... something for £50 gave her as much pleasure as something that was £5,000."


Gavin Bamford said...

Timothy, surely HM The Queen has to currently the world's greatest ever female philatelist? Gavin

Timothy Belmont said...

That sounds most plausible to me. I expect Lady Mairi must have been close, though!