Spink is honoured to announce a
very special series of sales to look forward to. Over the next 18
months, through a series of 9 auctions, Spink will sell the most
valuable collection of stamps ever to come up for auction in modern
times. The Chartwell Collection, formed by the custodian of the
collection Sir Cyril Humphrey Cripps, consists of some of the
finest material for Great Britain and the British Empire ever seen
before and it is all material that is fresh to the marketplace.
Currently held in just over 80 stamp albums, The Chartwell
Collection is estimated to fetch well in excess of £20,000,000
before the last lot is sold in December 2012. This is a collection
that will undoubtedly rewrite the book for auction records and
bring in collectors from around the globe. The auction catalogues
alone will become essential reference materials for every true
collector. It is with great pleasure that we share the story of the
man behind the collection and the collection itself.
Extraordinary Collection Lies An Extraordinary
Sir Cyril Humphrey
The Chartwell Collection was
formed by one man with a great passion for collecting, Sir Cyril
Humphrey Cripps. Sir Humphrey, the custodian of the collection, was
both a great English businessman and philanthropist, but also an
Educated at Northampton Town and
County Grammar School, it was during this period that Sir Humphrey
first displayed a passion for collecting. After his death, his
children found a shoebox in the back of his wardrobe. Upon opening
the lid they discovered thousands of train tickets bundled and
carefully placed in the box. Sir Humphrey had kept every train
ticket from his time at school and kept them hidden away in perfect
chronological order. These were memories of his past and a clear
indicator of the true collector he would become.
After graduating, Sir Humphrey
continued his education at St John's College, Cambridge, where he
read Natural Sciences. After completing his education, he joined
the family firm, Pianoforte Supplies Limited. However, as we have
learned from his family, Sir Humphrey's education was never
complete. "Dad had an incredible mind," says Robert Cripps, son of
Sir Humphrey. "He had a photographic memory and was constantly
absorbing information. He was also a workaholic." His fantastic
memory and personal drive would see Sir Humphrey rise to Managing
Director of his family's company in 1960 and Chairman in 1979.
Along the way, Sir Humphrey also
picked up several other passions. First and foremost, he was a
charitable man and at every turn in his business progression he
would channel funds regularly into the family charitable
foundation. The Cripps Foundation was established in 1956 by the
Cripps family and has made huge gifts to universities, colleges,
schools, churches, hospitals and museums. Many Cambridge Colleges
have benefited from this generosity, as well as the Fitzwilliam
Museum. Residential Courts at St John's College, Magdalene College,
Selwyn College, Queen's College and the University of Nottingham
are named after the Cripps family. His former school also
benefitted. The construction of many facilities were made possible
through its generous donations. Sir Humphrey was knighted in 1989,
having been High Sheriff of Northamptonshire in 1987 and then
Deputy Lieutenant of the County. Sir Humphrey began this stamp
collection in the 1950s and it was actually his son, Robert, that
can be credited for flaming his father's collecting habits. At a
very young age, Robert inherited a stamp album from an uncle. The
album contained a number of stamps from the 1920s and 1930s and
several pieces from George V that peaked Robert's interest. Sir
Humphrey indulged his son's new interest and
brought him to London where he
hoped the interest could become a hobby. Robert shared with us, "I
remember Dad and I going to London to visit Stanley Gibbons on the
Strand where he bought me a standard catalogue, tweezers, stamp
hinges, the works. I came home after that trip and fiddled with the
stamps for about a week.
I left them at home in my wardrobe
when I returned to school. When I came home around eight months
later the album, which I had pretty much forgotten about anyway,
was gone. Dad had become a stamp collector."
From that point on Sir Humphrey was
insatiable with his collecting. He worked tirelessly to learn all
that one could about philately and the marketplace that existed,
focusing firstly on Great Britain and The British Empire. Having a
photographic memory definitely came in handy at this point. Robert
told us that Sir Humphrey "wasn't just driven by monetary value,
but was also motivated by the desire to put something together that
was a perfect collection." It was his incredible knowledge that
would lead Sir Humphrey to enviable purchases such as the moment in
1972 when he bought the finest "Post Office" Mauritius 2d. blue
(pictured on previous page) in private hands for £29,000.
Apparently, just days after this item was purchased, an offer of
£39,000 was made for this item. It was rejected!
Sir Humphrey took great pleasure in
this collection over the course of his life and would often come
home from work and go straight to his study where he would become
absorbed in the collection until he was called to dinner with his
family. Such passion for the collection is what made it one of a
kind. Sir Humphrey travelled frequently on business and his
interest in stamps went with him. For example, Sir Humphrey
travelled often to Bermuda and began collecting Perots as a result.
He was also fascinated by proofs and seemed to be, often at times,
more interested in the proofs than the stamps themselves.
"The collection, made
up of both fine rare stamps and proofs so extensive, covering
entire reigns at times, it ishard to believe it was all put
together by just one dedicated collector."
The collection, made up of both
fine rare stamps and proofs so extensive, covering entire reigns at
times, it is hard to believe it wasall put together by just one
dedicated collector. It is with great pleasure that we would like
to now share with you details of what is to come...
The Collection and Auctions to Come
This truly is an amazing
opportunity for collectors, whether novice or advanced, to acquire
elusive items missing from some of the greatest collections in the
world today. Many pieces are unique in private hands and
comprehensive enough for any new collector thinking of building a
Great Britain Collection to create a potential Grand Prix winning
exhibit at an international level.
Olivier Stocker, Chairman and CEO
of Spink, comments: "In my eight years with Spink, I must say I
have never seen my team of seasoned experts, who have seen so many
of the best collections in the world, coming back to 69 Southampton
Row with such sparklesin their eyes. I find it's not dissimilar to
school boy collectors finding a rare Edward VII tyrian plum or
George V prussian blue stamp in an old family album. I knew from
the outset that this collection was very special. Our expert team
was discovering page after page of blocks and covers you couldn't
even imagine in your wildest dreams (and we, collectors, are often
subject to such dreams). I am sure the market will be amazed by
pieces that are about to come to light. What a treat for the GB
market. It will make many of our advanced collectors toy with the
idea of starting a new collection.
As a father myself, I am also
deeply touched that it is not a father taking his son to
collecting, but a son inspiring his father. The storyof this
collection is absolutely amazing and so unusual in so many ways. We
are all so proud and excited to have been appointed forthis
landmark assignment. We can't wait to share this excitement with
our friends and collectors from all over the world!"
The British Empire Collection is
made up of great rarities of Bermuda, Mauritius, Virgin Islands and
to a lesser extent Canada, New Zealand and Turks Island.
The Bermuda portion contains three
Perots, two on covers Ex Sir Henry Tucker and the off cover example
Ex Claude Cartier. Also from the Tucker Collection is the
extraordinary 1874 3d on 1d rosered mint block of four.
The Mauritius comprises of a large
range of imperforate stamps with important multiples, including one
of the crown jewels of the British Empire, a superb used example of
the 2d blue Post Office Mauritius acquired for the Collection in
The Virgin Islands Collection
contains a fine example of the famous "Missing Virgin" Ex Donne
Collection acquired in the early 1970s.
The Great Britain
The Great Britain Collection is
housed in some 83 volumes and is without doubt the most important
collection in private hands. Itcovers all aspects of Great Britain
philately from Queen Victoria to Early Queen Elizabeth II.
The Queen Victoria section
commences with essays and proofs concerning the origins of the
adhesive postage stamps and the essays, dies proofs, colour trials
and reprints of the Line-Engraved stamps is very comprehensive with
many items purchased from Stanley Gibbons in the mid 1970s
following SG's purchase of the Charles Nissen Company. There are
also several 1d black imprimaturs includingplate number examples.
The issued stamps are represented by important unused and used
multiples and covers including earlyMay dates.
Also present are the original 12
Nissen reconstructions of the 1d black plates as used to produce
the Nissen plating book of 1922, one of the most amazing philatelic
masterpieces ever produced. The Surface Printed issues are
represented by die proofs and issuedstamps with numerous multiples.
Included in this section are virtually all of the high values mint
and used with blocks, die proofs andimprimaturs of the same, also
most of the abnormal plates are represented mint and used, the
overall quality being superb, the emphasison this section is unique
and rare pieces.
The King Edward VII volumes contain
some fine essays, proofs and issued stamps including a corner
marginal example of the TyrianPlum.
The King George V collection
contains exceptional Seahorses with many from the Shaida sales
including essays, die proofs and issuedstamps, the strength of this
section is in the proofs and essays with many unique in private
The balance of the collection is
replete with numerous essays, proofs and many of the rarer issued
stamps, equally well representedby the more common issues which
truly demonstrates that there is certainly something for everybody
across the board.
The Great Britain Collection will
be sold in a series of nine auctions from June 2011 until December
The auction schedule for 2011 is
shown on right. Auctions for 2012 include: Great Britain
Line-Engraved proofs, essays, stamps and covers Part II (16
February); Great Britain King George V including Seahorses (3 May);
Great Britain Line-Engraved proofs, essays, stampsand covers Part
III (5 July); Great Britain King George VI, Edward VIII and Queen
Elizabeth II proofs, essays and stamps (19 September); Great
Britain Line-Engraved proofs, essays, stamps and covers Part IV (12
Spink will offer a limited run of
hard bound full colour auction catalogues for this prestigious
series of auctions. Every collector onour extensive mailing list
will receive a soft bound copy of the catalogue free of charge,
however there will be a numbered limitededition hard bound edition
of each sale available for purchase.
For further information on these
amazing sales, please contact our Stamp Department.