Auction News:
Both the Samir Fikry sale at Feldman's (December 3) and the Robin Bertram collection at Grosvenor (December 8) surprised us all, with many lots going for several times their estimated prices

There were 17 members of the ESC in the room for the Robin Bertram sale in London on December 8, including several from overseas, and many went home empty-handed and disappointed. The majority of the lots went to telephone bidders, even though, because of the sheer mass of material, Grosvenor was forced to lot mainly as selections/collections rather than single items, leaving much for the specialist to discover in the mixed lots - thus making the fierce telephone bidding all the more astonishing. The company is reporting a total realisation of 210,045.

We illustrate some examples of individual lots: Lot 1424 illustration, estimate 150-200 realised 1,350 even though it was noted that some of the stamps were faulty; Lot 1425, a collection of 121 early covers and cards, estimate 300-400, realised the top price of the day at 11,500; Lot 1476, collection of military mail, Estimate 250-300, realised 1,900; Lot 1489 illustration, 1913 OHHS overprint with inverted commas, used in strip of three with one .S spaced out from H, Estimate 400-500, realised 1,400; Lot 1601, small Army green used on cover Oct 23 1940, Estimate 150-200, realised 820.

There was fierce bidding throughout, but especially for early and Foreign Offices material. Lot 1435, an 1861 envelope to USA bearing the Crowned Circle "Paid at Cairo" in red, went for 1,930 (estimate 1,200-1,500), and Lot 1447, an 1879 1pi letter from Scio to Galatz via the French PO in Constantinople, realised 1,150 (estimate 200-250). The three mixed lots of French Office material each sold for over 1,400; a comprehensive lot of Second Issue stamps fetched 3,200 (estimate 1,500-2000); and similarly the 1874-75 issue collection went for 2,900 (estimate 700-900).

Robin's range of collecting interests was extensive in the extreme, and though there was strong bidding on stamps, the interest shown in the postal history in particular reflected those interests, with Instructional Markings going for 1,000, Cancellations 1,850, Cairo-Baghdad Air Mails 2,300, two lots of Officials fetched 3,200 and 3,500 against estimates of 400-500, Consular stamps for 2,600 against 600-700, AR markings 1,150 (against 600-700).

Undoubted star of the Fikry Nile Collection sale Part II was Lot 30036 illustration, the unique combination cover from the Italian Post Office to Genoa bearing a First Issue 10pi in combination with Egyptian and Italian stamps, ex Antonini (Peter Smith, page 152), which opened at 30,000 and went for 65,175. Another unique former Antonini cover, Lot 30077 illustration, the only one known bearing both 5 and 10-para 1879 provisionals, estimate 10,000-14,000, which realised 19,000.

Lot 30012, the 1834 folded letter to Napflion bearing the seal of the Consul of Greece in Egypt, which represents the earliest Foreign Post Office document, realised 7,000, while two covers with Egypt Second Issue 1pi values used from Greece, and showing Greek 20 lepta values added as postage dues, brought 3,800 and 4,000 respectively.

For a full list of Prices Realised, go to (Bertram at Grosvenor); and
(Fikry at Feldman).