If you’re going to cut a Empire Laureate 80c postal adhesive into four equal parts and be left with one of those parts I guess it’s better to have the top left-hand corner as the piece you have on a cover. That way you have the forehead and part of the profile, an eye and a decent proportion of the stamp with the all important word ‘Empire’ heading it up.

Certainly that’s the rather fortunate case with the featured letter fragment, which has that exact portion of an 1871 Laureate Empire 80 centimes pink (Yvert 32) tied by the ‘1854’ numeral of Clerval sent to Montpellier. It’s a very rare piece which has only recently been discovered and is thought to be the oldest example of this quartered use of the 80c – the example once in the Ferrari collection (Lot 198 10th sale) was dated 13th April, whereas this is dated 12th. It’s a superb example and one of the great rarities of French philately, and comes with a Scheller expert certificate.

It is one of the iconic items availble for sale in the upcoming David Feldman SA spring auction on Wednesday 15th June from 2pm, Lot 40109, estimated at 4,000 to 8,000€ and given the previous earliest known use mentioned above, which was a full cover, sold for 80,000€ it offers an excellent opportunity to acquire a spectacular showpiece for the discerning collector of French postal history at possibly a very affordable price. It certainly represents an exciting chance to bid on a historical quarter of a postage stamp, which depending upon your view point is probably the very best quarter of an 1871 Empire Laureate 80c you could end up with on a piece,if your bid was successful.


2022 Spring Auction Series