Auctioneers get stuck into stamps

First Day Cover - Silver Jubilee

First Day Cover – Silver Jubilee

As the posting public reels from the price of stamps going up to 60p – or 50p if you don’t really mind how quickly your letter gets to its destination – auctioneers at Cirencester’s Moore Allen & Innocent getting stuck into a large collection of First Day Covers.

The 200-odd examples, ranging in date from the late 1960s to the mid 1980s, are a colourful reminder of some of Britain’s commemorative stamps from days gone by.

Subjects range from the highly-prized Concorde maiden flight cover from March 1969 to the niche Modern University Buildings cover of 1971, which celebrates the kind of modern architecture that would have Prince Charles bristling.

Bidders will note that the face value of a stamp in September 1971 – the year of decimalisation – was 3p, or 5p if you were in a hurry.

First Day Cover - Information Technology 1982-style

First Day Cover – Information Technology 1982-style

In this Diamond Jubilee year it’s fitting that several copies of the First Day Cover from May 1977, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, are included in the collection – exactly 35 years to the day after the First Day Cover was issued.

Meanwhile, the Information Technology First Day Cover from September 1982 – produced to celebrate the launch of Intelpost, the Royal Mail’s high-speed fax transmission service, which enabled communications to be sent worldwide via satellite – will raise some smiles from a generation raised on Facebook.

Bids of £30 to £50 should secure the lot, which includes two copies of the £1 coin First Day Cover from 1983, which come with a mint £1 coin and a £1 stamp.

Victorian microscopes

Victorian microscopes

Britain’s beautifully-designed commemorative stamps are so intricately detailed, you might wish you had something to study them more closely. Good news, then, for anyone who wants to look at anything in minute detail – a collection of six antique microscopes will be going under the hammer.

Dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the microscopes are made in brass by renowned London optical manufacturers including W Watson & Sons, Henry Crouch and F Davidson & Co, and come housed in their original wooden boxes. Each is expected to achieve £100 to £200.

And what would these fine antique microscopes look good sitting on? Antique desks. Lucky, then, that the auctioneers are offering for sale a couple of small, excellently presented Victorian desks and a writing table, each with leather tops and estimates of £200 to £300.

For offices with much more space there’s a reproduction Georgian style partners’ desk – a desk with a bank of drawers front and back, enabling two colleagues to work facing each other – which should make £100 to £200.

An Art Deco cantilever desk

An Art Deco cantilever desk

And perhaps the most interesting desk is a 1930s cantilever desk in the Art Deco taste. The desktop is supported a bank of drawers on the right hand side, but on the left side the supporting drawers are set well back, giving the illusion that the top is unsupported on one side.

It’s solidly built and completely sturdy, though, and could be snapped up for a bid of £100 to £150 – not much more than a modern flatpack.

The sale takes place on Friday, May 11. Log on to for an auction catalogue.

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