Invariably, Philatelists with an interest in South and Central Africa may extend their interest to certain Islands such as Mauritius in the Indian Ocean or Ascension, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha in the Atlantic.
As a Professional dealer I tend to accumulate rather than collect and should I see something I really like, I am inclined to buy it. Years ago, for a bit of fun, I decided to piece together a fine used set of Ascension KGVI definitives including all listed perforations and shades and this set of thirty five values is included in today’s display.
I bought and sold a Commonwealth KGVI collection that included an Ascension KGVI Specimen set which I kept.
As time went on I acquired oddments such as a 1934 set on cover plus a 2d Teardrop variety, KGVI Cylinder and Imprint blocks and a 1948 RSW FDC. It remained a modest accumulation.
Ascension, being a small country, means that a substantial holding of superb material is seldom on offer. Starting in October 2010, it became more serious, with Spink’s series of sales from Lord Vestey’s collection followed, by two Stanley Gibbons auctions in March 2013 and July 2014 which was rounded off by a Murray Payne sale in July 2014.
Over a period of five years I bought sixty five auction lots of Ascension which put a substantial dent into my bank account.
At a York Racecourse stamp fair I bought an unmounted mint collection of KGVI definitives on twenty plus pages.
Pre Stamp Era - From January 1867 British Stamps saw use in Ascension and early dates are rare. Once we reach the 1890’s there was use of the Queen Victoria 1d Lilac and Jubilee issue, which are scarce, but more common than their earlier counter parts.
Starting with a December 1899 date, this display includes a reasonable representation of the pre stamp era with cancellations on stamps and covers from the Reign of Queen Victoria, KEVII and KGV.
Ascension Stamps 1922 to 1963 - The strength of this display includes a reasonable number of Die Proofs (Thirty+ in total), all the listed Specimen sets. A complete set of the 1922 overprints used on three Wilson covers. The 1924 3/- top value plus the 1934 Pictorial set all in used blocks of four.
|The Commemorative Issues include all Specimens and an Imperforate set of the 1937 Coronation, ex De La Rue archives.
The KGVI definitives include an extensive range of thirty plus Imprint blocks of four that is almost complete as per the listed perforations and shades.
At some point in time, circa 1950, the Post Office in Ascension displayed the KGVI stamps available from ½d to 10/- on a card with each value handstamped SPECIMEN. This idea was repeated with the 1956 QEII Definitives, also handstamped Specimen. Both these unique cards have B.P.A. certificates and are included in the display.
My cut off point is 1963 and ends with the second QEII definitive in blocks of four plus a 1½d cylinder pair with cobalt omitted.
Specializing in any issue leads to page upon page of the same thing that invariably include a range of fly speck varieties that may only be observed using a powerful magnifier.
In the Stanley Gibbons Commonwealth catalogue Ascension includes a range of constant varieties that occur on the same design such as the 1924 - 27 Badge issue being a Broken Main Mast, Torn Flag and Cleft Rock. On the 1934 Pictorials there is the Tear Drop flaw on the 1d, 2d, 8d and 2/6.
KGVI definitives abound with minor, highly catalogued, fly speck varieties such as the ½d Elongated centre bar on an "E" in GEORGETOWN. The Mountaineer flaw, which resembles an ant on a hill, on 1d, 2d & 4d values. The Davit flaw plus the Cut Mast and Railings appear on all printings of the 1½d and 2/6, the latter is an insignificant flaw and difficult to see.
Double Frame - Finally the 2/6 offers SG 45a frame printed double, one albino, priced at £5000 mint. If my display included a block of four of the foregoing, sadly no one would notice, unless it was announced using neon lights!
A year or so ago a dealer offered me ‘the only known’ used example of this variety at a film star price. I declined and slightly deflated the man when I informed him that I know a chap who has the same variety on cover!
I am quite content in having a representative examples of the above varieties and excludes the 2/6 Double Frame.
Anyone who may be tempted to buy all the above listed items will have to forego a substantial deposit on a brand new top of the range Mercedes!