Stop! Hold the newspaper! Here is some breaking news for you.

There are valuable philatelic discoveries that are hidden in cupboards in our homes. And we’re not talking about small sums of cash. No. How would you react if we told you it was possible to find a whopping £359,600.00 in one of your cupboards? 

What would you do with all that money? Buy a house, go on holiday, take delivery of a brand new car, buy a rare penny black cover, or maybe retire? Perhaps all of those options. Doesn’t matter who you are, it’s a significant sum of money, and could be life changing. 

And we’re not  joking or even stretching a fact to grab your attention, because this is actually a true story, and demonstrates ‘it is possible’ to find a stamp rarity in an old tin box in a cupboard in your home. It also highlights that even old newspapers, destined for the rubbish bin, should be carefully checked before throwing out, just in case something valuable has accidentally been slipped inside a long, long time ago.

The featured cover, sent on 13th May 1840 from Wakefield to Pontefract, bears a spectacular corner marginal Penny Black with the plate number “2” lower right, which is extraordinary and unique. This rare stamp on cover, neatly tied by a superb upright strike of a red Maltese Cross, was recorded as being in the collection of a very eminent philatelist named ‘Louis Ernest Meinertzhagen’ (1887-1941), who as well as being a member of the Expert Committee of the Royal Philatelic Society London, was awarded a gold medal for his Sicily display at London International Philatelic Exhibition 1923, and was the author of ‘Les Planches de L’Emission de Bordeaux‘ (1925) for which he received ‘Tapling Medal’ in 1926. He also wrote the handbook ‘1849-75 section of France in Kohl’. And if all that wasn’t enough he signed the ‘Roll of Distinguished Philatelists’ in 1932. Now after his death in 1941 Meinertzhagen’s collection, which included this cover, was sold during 1942, and after that nothing was seen or heard of this spectacular cover, that was until the 1980s when it was ‘re-discovered’.

And here’s the exciting thing, would you believe it was found in an old metal deed box?

Even more startling, and remarkable, is that the cover was tucked inside an old newspaper that was covering the base (yes the base!) of the box, and couldn’t be seen unless you flicked through the newspaper. Scary because that newspaper was destined for the rubbish!

Upon re-discovery, inquiries were made and it was then sold by Private Treaty to Sir Humphrey Cripps (1915 to 2000), who you may have heard of because he was also an eminent philatelist, who’s collection raised millions of GBPs for his estate following his death. Well this cover was part of those sales which were known as the “Chartwell” Collection, and in 2011 this cover was an individual lot and sold for a staggering £359,600 including fees. So you see my point? It might be worth checking your cupboards – you never know what might be tucked away out of sight.

At time of writing this article, this unique cover is available once again, and can be acquired via Private Treaty through David Feldman SA International Auctioneers. So, if you haven’t already done so, go check those cupboards, maybe even the attic and any boxes. And don’t forget to ‘stop’ and look through anything that might be destined for the bin. As I said at the start of this, ‘hold the newspaper’, there might be £359,600 in it.