Bermuda Part 1, the David Pitts Collection


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Bermuda Part 1, the David Pitts Collection Mar 07 2017 Stamps

Spink is delighted to be auctioning the David Pitts Collection in its entirety over the course of 2017. The 19th April will see the third in a series of sales dedicated to the remarkable collection of postal history and used stamps of the British Empire formed by David Pitts. It is the first of two sales focusing on Bermuda, his favourite and most important collection. The sale spans the period from 1796 to 1965 and encompasses a range of postal history and stamp issues, cancellations and unusual postal history subjects. 

David Pitts is a lifelong collector, buying his first stamp at the tender age of eight. As he advanced in his professional career he became a serious philatelist, focusing on the British Empire. His interests have always been limited to used stamps and postal history; believing unused mint material, while frequently attractive works of art, are not as interesting as "cancelled" stamps.

His goal over the years has been to collect every issued stamp, used, and, their pre-adhesive postal markings, from each component of the entire British Empire through to 1966. 

David has always been particularly interested in Bermuda. His exhibit, "Bermuda: Crossroads of the Atlantic", met with considerable acclaim in presentations before the Royal Philatelic Society and the Collectors Club of New York, and is the only Bermuda exhibit to ever win an international Large Gold medal. There will be two sales dedicated to his collection of Bermuda, the first will be in April 2017, and the second in October 2017. 

April's sale of David Pitt's first auction of his collection of Bermuda commences with a range of Early Letters and Handstamps with mail to and from the island and includes Military Mail with a fine 1851 soldier's cover from Bombardier Chapman of the Royal Artillery stationed at Ireland Island.

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Ship Letters with 1845 and 1882 letters showing different strikes of the rare "BERMUDA/SHIP LETTER" handstamp, the latter in blue.

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There then follows a fine range of Packet Letter covers carried on the various routes by the Admiralty, Cunard and Royal Mail Packet Company. Although a little late for this year the pre-stamp era concludes with two Valentine envelopes, the first made from pierced lace paper and sent in 1851 to Miss Godet at Paget, the second being an embossed type sent to A Ponsomby  Esq. at Hamilton. Both these delightful items would grace any important collection of Bermuda.

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The stamps are represented by many fine sections. Queen Victoria issues offer the 1865 1d. rose-red imperforate and the perf. 14x12½ 1/- green vertical pair imperforate between and neatly cancelled at Ireland Island. 

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In 1874 the island the stock of 3d. stamps became exhausted, and until new supplies could be obtained from London it was found necessary to resort to a provisional. 1d. rose-red stamps were surcharged "THREE PENCE" in fancy capitals.

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With few of these known it has been suggested that they may have been an essay and that the issued stamps were actually meant to be surcharged on the 1/- value. The collection contains an extremely rare used example cancelled "B/1" at St. Georges. 

In 1875 the island ran low on 1d. stamps and a decision was made to surcharge some existing stocks of 2d., 3d. and 1/- values "One/Penny". Rare varieties offered  include the 1d. on 2d.  and 1d. on 1/- values with no stop after "Penny" and 1d. on 1/- with surcharge inverted of which few are recorded

There is an 1891 envelope, complete with letter, written by Prince George, later King George V, to Sir Henry Blake, Governor of Jamaica, whilst he was in command of H.M. Gunboat "Thrush" from 1890-91. The Price mentions having received stamps (his favourite hobby) from Turks Islands, and goes on to discuss his stay in Bermuda and proposed trip to Halifax. 

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1918 saw the introduction of the well-known Keyplate design and the collection features a range of the various printings including a selection of the head plate flaws and some covers. The highlight of this section is the Revenue 12/6d. which was brought in to postal service in 1937 due to a lack of the Postage stamps.

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The collection contains a fabulous block of four with central Hamilton datestamp, a used single and another example, used with 10/-, on locally addressed Hamilton cover.

Other items of note during the reign of George V include a 1921 Tercentenary Issue 6d. block of four with variety substituted Crown in watermark and 1935 Silver Jubilee 1/- block of four containing the variety kite and  horizontal log. 

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At the outset of the reign of King George VI the Keyplate was again introduced and is represented by a remarkable range of over 100 lots offering ranges of  printings, scarce multiples, head plate flaws and covers. 

In 1901 an agreement was made between the Imperial and Bermuda Governments whereby a number of Boer War Prisoners of War were sent to Bermuda for interment. The collection offers a range of covers from and to prisoners who were kept on small islands within the Great Sound. Several different censor marks were used on mail from Bermuda and these are well represented

During both World War I and World War II Bermuda was a centre for censorship and used a variety of different handstamps and labels during these times. The Pitts collection offers a fine range of covers from both these campaigns. 

The sale concludes with a selection of early Numeral and Datestamp cancellations, Airmails, Incoming Mail, Instructional handstamps, Maritime, Official, Postage Due and Registered Mail

This fine sale offers a range of lots to suit all pockets and we feel sure that collectors will not be disappointed in the range of items on sale.

Part 2 of the Bermuda collection with be offered in London in October and will comprise the outstanding award-winning exhibit collection  which includes five of the Postmasters' stamps, together with a fine offering of Bar Cancellations.

Clients interested in finding out further details about the sale should contact David Parsons: 

Tel: +44 (0)20 7563 4072 | Email: dparsons@spink.com

About Spink: Spink is the world's leading auctioneer of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books and wine.  Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holder of royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offers an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide.  Headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland, Spink holds over 70 auctions a year.  Catalogues can be accessed through the Spink website (www.spink.com) or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.