2001 Stephan Welz in Johannesburg Auctioned 193 lots that
comprised the Pre-Independence archive of Namibia Post including
original artwork and Proof material. The coverage was essentially
from the period 1972/1990 with some earlier oddments. Beside
the stamp issues it included Booklets,
1972 Postage Dues, Postal Stationery, Maximum cards and Revenues.
I made a specific appointment and viewed all
these lots on Thursday 11 October 2001, the estimates for
this material varied from R300 to R100,000 and to put the
prices into prospective the exchange rate was £1 = R13.88.
The highest estimate was for lot 16 being the 1971 Definitives,
sixteen values from 1c to R1 in imperforate proof sheets of
100 and Estimated at R80,000 - R100,000.
Danny Swart assisted me with the viewing and
I recall that the overall quantity was somewhat overwhelming
and the thought occurred ‘How in heavens name does one
dispose of all this stuff.’
I made several notes in my catalogue that varied from Possible,
Big Lot, No, Expensive, Don’t like. To Thematic Interest,
Interesting, OK, Quite like, Quite large pieces, Nice but
large, Large but attractive and on a more positive note: Not
bad, Average, Nice, Pretty and Very pretty.
After viewing I had almost two weeks to make
up my mind, by necessity I think the estimates were a stab
in the dark and to buy or not to do so would depend on the
prices on the day.
I arranged to bid on the telephone and sat in on the sale
for all 193 lots. My pre-sale review of the archive was that
the Essays, for the various issues, are all unique and that
I intended to concentrate my efforts on such lots. I also
decided not to buy any of the designs that did not appeal
11am, on Wednesday 24 October 2001, lot 1 kicked off with
me on the telephone. I had set myself an average value per
essay and found that the first few lots I had an interest
in sold for higher prices than my initial bench mark. Once
I raised my ceiling I bought every lot I fancied and after
lot 86 was knocked down to me another 21 lots followed.
Besides the hand painted essays I wanted the imperforate proof
sheets of 200 of the 1972 1c & 8c postage dues estimated
at R25,000 - 30,000. After fierce competition it was knocked
down to me at R130,000 excluding buyer’s premium. Today,
in hindsight, I wish I had not bought this lot and should
have spent the money on more of the essays. The final lot
I bought was No 188, the proof material for the 1954 6d Ostrich
Air Letter sheet and is probably the most interesting item
of the twenty two lots purchased.
The 1972 Postage Due proof sheets have been
cut up and some of the essays are arranged on album pages,
but the vast majority remained in their auction envelopes
and have occupied a shelf in my office for over twelve years.
Having offered to include this proof material in a display
at the South African Collectors Society at their Leamington
Spa weekend conference in May 2014, the time has arrived to
do some justice to this wonderful material.
Besides the display I have put together a power point presentation
and hope the audience enjoys it.
The Essays are individual paintings each with
an acetate overlay with the Country name and value on them.
Any essay that might look a bit grubby or damaged is fine
as such faults occur only on the overlay.