There are times when a story doesn’t really need telling, it speaks for itself. And to a certain extent that is the case with our June Spring 2021 auction series, which successfully concluded just over a week ago, and this article could quite easily be distilled into just fifty-five words as follows: “Six catalogues, six days, five million Swiss Francs in sales, four thousand lots sold, estimates exceeded by 170%, 96% of China sold and prices 385% of expectations, 72% of Russia sold, one cover sold for €170k, one stamp sold for £144k and another stamp sold for £72k, with an entourage of shining results and realisations.” That’s it really, job done. No need to say any more, you get the picture. However, we did say ‘to a certain extent’ and as is the case in such frenetic frolicking auction action there are sideshows which would best be displayed on the big-screen if they didn’t always tend to end up on the auction room floor. So having given you all you need to know above, and prepared an exposé on the week’s events, as well as an informative report on the bustling and record breaking China and Japan, here’s an empirical insight into the untold auction stories of our tantalising auction week.
Tale of Two Auction Lots
Firstly, what you never get to feel when you read the raw data surrounding an auction is the goose bump inducing atmosphere that throngs the star performers who are the ones who deservedly get all the limelight. As we know the two pre-eminent thespians of these auctions performances were the China French Post Office cover which sold for €170’800, and the Cape of Good Hope 1d Woodblock sold for £146’400, and whilst they both took to the rostrum and went through the auction conveyor belt in the same outward manner, the ambience and events surrounding them were very different indeed. The China cover was elevated to that exclusive six figure auction club in a cacophony of raucous noise, amidst frantic shuffling and jostling from all communication quarters, fraught with tension and anticipation. Just when you thought it was over, another bid came in, which generated further waves of commotion and clamour. Then you thought it was all over again, but for another bid to come in, and then a further tsunami of hullabaloo would hit the speakers. Even when they were all done the voices and the phones and the chatter was set on high, with a crescendo of a bang on the hammer to finish the lot if not the noise. In short, it was a racket and an incredibly exciting affair.
On the other hand, when the Cape stamp stepped onto the platform to join in the six figure assumptions, there was an air of peace and stillness. Not a clatter or cough could be detected and to borrow someone else’s phrase and give it a philatelic touch, you could have heard a pair of tweezers drop. The price was announced in a gentle whisper which hung in a tranquil air longer than it was in reality, but all the time, which held its breath, not a murmur was made, until the bid came in, which it did in an understated mutter on the phone. The moments prior to the conclusion of this lot were dreamlike and whilst words were uttered they floated up into the sky like vapour and even when the hammer came down it seemed to land on a pillow which must have been placed in front of the auctioneer to soften the resonance of the knock. It was a serene scene. The contrast between the lots, despite the similar money involved, was deafeningly different.
A Sea of Success
Secondly, what will happen in these victoriously vivacious auctions is the headlines and the main talk drown-out the smaller successes. We can put this right here on a bijou basis because the Martino Laurenzi Collection of Seahorses, which was an offering of 191 lots, all beautifully and expertly presented, and which received marketing and promotion that to most auction houses defied the size of the consignment – but it has to be said that an exceptionally thorough job was undertaken and executed by the David Feldman SA team – and as a result it represents a heartwarming novella, if you care to read it. Because 90% of the lots sold for 162% of the estimates. It was a rip roaring riot of an auction that should encourage anyone with a similar selection of stamps. Here, for fun, are a few examples to embody the characters in this tumultuous tale. Lot 70652, a British Levant 1921 Registered cover sold for a lionhearted £1’464, Lot 70693, a block of Seahorses with the Ireland Thom Overprints made a heroic £2’928, with a bigger block of the same, Lot 70695, a bold and brave £6’710.00. And what about this 1927 composite dates overprint, Lot 70729 which achieved a fearless £3’660. Seahorse after seahorse swam to the top of an ocean of other lots, far exceeding the surface levels set on the outset of this particular auction voyage.
The Story Ends
Lastly, conclusions are often avoided in these moments, writers preferring to let you make your own mind up, or at least absorb the subliminal messages. But what if we were to take all these successes, signs, stars, shining performers, with the Swiss Francs, across the six catalogues and six days of this spring series, what would we get? That’s obvious. A simply splendid signal sent sensationally sizzling straight into the philatelic market’s scrumptious stratosphere. Or remembering that some stories don’t need telling. It went really well.
For more information on our most recent auctions please read the following articles: