Polar Auctions

Latest News

13 June 2018 - Grosvenor Auction, London

Grosvenor will hold their next specialised section of Falkland Islands & Antarctic material in their British Empire & Foreign Countries auction on June 13 th.  The Antarctic section includes postcards sent by Ernest Shackleton to his fiancée, Emily Dorman, whilst returning from the British Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04. You can find out more at  www.grosvenorauctions.com


28th April 2018  - Kjell Germeten, Oslo: Auction Results

One of the first Spring days in Oslo saw more of the collection of spitsbergen and arctic material from the collection of our late member Fred Goldberg (and other polar material) go under the hammer at Kjell Germeten auctions. There was a reasonable attendance in the hall and many bids had been placed online and with the auction house in advance. The Spitsbergen items seemed to attract mainly Norwegian bidders with expedition items attracting overseas bidders. All items from Fred's collection sold at good market prices showing yet again that items "fresh to the market" are always in demand. The final remaining items from Fred Goldberg's collection will be sold at the next Germeten auction later in the year.

The highest price went to lot 1844, a cover mailed from the Maud Expedition by Roald Amundsen featuring an “Amundsen North Polar Expedition Air Mail” label signed by Amundsen, US President Warren Harding and Postmaster General Hubert Work. This sold for NOK 17 000 (£1,560) which was NOK 3 500 (£310) more than a similar lot offered in Oslo in November last year. Prices are going up!  


Other interesting lots (lot 1937) included one of the ten covers known sent from the expedition led by Hubert Wilkins to search for lost Soviet flyers commanded by Sigimund Levanevsky in 1938. The lot went for NOK 3 400 (£310).

Soviet Search Expeditionjpg

Another interesting lot, 1804, was a proof cachet "Nordpolen 28.3.25". from the engraver Rui who had produced a hand stamp for the American explorer and sponser LIncoln Ellsworth who took part in Roald Amundsen's flight expedition with the N24 and N25 planes in an attempt to reach the North Pole in 1925. The expedition did not succeed in reaching the North Pole and the cachet was never officially used and is, therefore, very rare.Nordpolenjpg

Nobile 1jpg

Two fine covers from Umberto Nobile's Italia airship expedition of 1928 both made identical prices of NOK 2 800 (£255). One, lot 1828, was a registered cover on supply ship Citta di Milano stationery. The other, lot 1829, had a rare expedition cachet from Baia del Ra where the supply ship was based in Svalbard.

Nobile 2jpg

Two other unusual lots stood out in the auction. One was sold by the family of R. Untersteiner, a member of the Austrian Spitsbergen expedition of 1931, and contained approximately 200 privately made and unique real photo postcards documenting the expedition. The lot made NOK 9 000 (£820).

Austrian Spitsbergen Expedition 1931jpg

The other unusual polar lot, 1820, was an archive from the family of Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen, who took part in the 1925 attempt on the North Pole with Roald Amundsen, as mentioned above, and succeeded on reaching the Pole on the Norge airship expedition with Amundsen in 1926. The lot reached NOK 10 500  (£950) and included numerous documentation sent to Riiser-Larsen during his expeditions. Some examples below - a telegram sent from Amundsen advising tht he is arriving in Italy to sign an agreement for the Norge airship:

Scan_20180510 7jpgAn early original mining claim note from William D Monroe who was the agent for John Longyear who started the Spitsbergen mining industry and fpunded themain town Longyearbyen:

Scan_20180510 3jpg

and, finally, a congratulatory note with interesting content to Hjalmar Riiser- Larsen from the Royal Air Force after his N25 and N26 North pole expedition in 1925:

Scan_20180510 4jpg


Further Auction of Fred Goldberg’s Arctic Material in Oslo 28th April 2018

Remaining items from the Fred Goldberg collection will be sold at the next Kjell Germeten Auction in Oslo on Saturday 28th April 2018. Bids can be placed directly on the website here:


The auction catalogue can be downloaded here: http://germeten.no/pdf-filer/93-ktl-komplett05.pdf

Fred Goldberg Polar Auctions November 2017

November saw the first auctions featuring the polar collection from our late member Fred Goldberg. Saturday 18th November saw part of Fred’s collection of Spitsbergen and Arctic Expedition material being featured at Kjell Germeten in Oslo, while Wednesday 29th November saw Fred’s Antarctic material being offered at Grosvenor Auctions in London.

The results of both auctions showed that the demand for high quality polar material remains very strong, particularly for polar items that have not been seen on the market for many years. All 128 lots offered at Oslo sold with bids coming in by mail, by phone, on the Internet and in a packed auction room close to the Royal Palace. The final sales value of NOK 342 000 (£32,000) excluding buyer commission was over three times the starting prices.


Two arctic lots had been featured in the advertising for this auction in Polar Post. The first was lot 1990, a cover mailed from the Maud Expedition that was produced in small numbers by Roald Amundsen for selected dignitaries that had helped in the expedition preparation or Amundsen wished to impress. It featured an “Amundsen North Polar Expedition Air Mail” label on which regular US postage stamps were affixed. The cover had a one line “Maudexpeditionen” cachet and a green North Star Air Post cachet in which information was filled in. This cover had been signed by Roald Amundsen, US President Warren Harding and Postmaster General Hubert Work and sold for NOK 13 500 (£1,250).


The other featured cover bore the Kings Bay, Ny-Ålesund Post Office, Cancellation Type 1. 4-ring cancel no 742 that had been used during a short period from mid-October 1918 to mid-May 1919 after the Kings Bay Post Office received a new Schweizer-type canceller. The cover was cacheted Kings Bay Spitsbergen and had been sent by the office manager of the mining company in Kings Bay, Otto Eide, to his brother in Bergen. This is the only known cover with this type 1 cancellation and as a result produced strong competition between polar collectors and Norwegian cancellation collectors. The final sales total was NOK 20 000 (£1,850).

Other lots of interest were lot 1962 that featured a 30 øre Posthorn og 15 øre Svalbard on cover, cacheted "Ny-Ålesund 9.5.28" and "Esplorazione Polare :Nobile: Dirigible Italia". On the reverse it was stamped "Bureau d exchange d Oslo 21.9.28" and a French postmark "Paris Gare du Nord 22.9.28". This cover was produced by Roessler during a preparatory flight of the Italia Airship and only 20 covers were produced. The winning bid was NOK 9 000 (£825). A related lot, number 1999 was a cover cancelled "Sesto Calende Milano 10.6.28" and a line mark "Spedizione Aerea Di Soccorso Sesto Calende-Kingsbay" cachet and a "R.N.C.de Milano Sped.Artica 1928 18.6.28" in lower left corner. The envelope was signed by the radio operator "Albello Almerigo" during a rescue expedition sent to search for the missing airship after it had crashed.

Polar postcards also featured and achieved strong results. Postcard lot 1077 showing the Fram returning from Nansen’s expedition at Harstad in Norway fetched NOK 2 800 (£260), lot 1080 with the Fram returning from Otto Sverdrup’s expedition reached NOK 2 600 (£240) and a booklet of cards from the Prince of Monaco’s expedition to Spitsbergen in 1906, lot 1085, made NOK 2 500 (£230).


Two weeks later the attention turned South when the Antarctic material was on offer in London. Star item in the exceptional collection of Antarctica formed by Fred was the 1911 Roald Amundsen expedition envelope (lot 1163), the only known example to have travelled to Antarctica and sent on the return of the ship “Fram”. Determined bidders forced the price upward to £19,220. From the British National Expedition of 1901-04 and featured on the front cover of the auction catalogue, an attractive envelope addressed by Captain Scott and bearing the “NATIONAL ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION” label (lot 1139) climbed to £6,820.


Lot 1136 featured a postcard from the British National Expedition 1901-04 written and signed by Ernest Shackleton to his fiancée, Emily Dorman, in London, franked by Cape 1d. cancelled Simonstown Oct. 14 1901 en route to Antarctica. Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) was at this time third lieutenant on the ''Discovery'', in charge of holds, stores, provisions and deep sea water analysis. Shackleton married the future Lady Shackleton on Apr. 9 1904. It is said that her solicitor father did not approve of the match and Shackleton ''only signed up to win his bride. He wanted to impress her, and it was the only way he could think of impressing her enough that she would marry him''. This fine postcard reached £5,200.

There were less lots at this auction, but the quality was extremely high. The pre-sale total estimate of £34 000 was well exceeded with a final sales total of £56 000 being reached. The small number of unsold polar lots from this auction with be featured in a future Grosvenor auction later in the year.
29 November 2017 - Grosvenor Auction, London

The catalogue of the late Fred Goldberg’s collection of material from Antarctic Expeditions is now available to view at the Grosvenor Auctions website: http://www.grosvenorauctions.com/auctions/sale-detail?id=161

17-18 November 2017 - Kjell Germeten International Auctions A/S, Oslo

Website: The auction of PPHSGB late member Fred Goldberg’s arctic items in Oslo on 19th November has now been finalised: http://www.germeten.no/frimerkeauksjon-htm/auksjon-92-01.aspx

The auction catalogue is now online if you would like to view it: http://www.germeten.no/pdf-filer/92-ktl-komplett-www06.pdf

Fred Goldberg is featured on page 131 and the philatelic items can be seen on pages 131 to 143 and the polar postcards on pages 13 to 19.

Potential bidders can also bid directly online on the "Fred Goldberg Polar Collection" here: http://auction.germeten.no/no/Auction/100011/Category/101002100010091003

And the polar postcards here (starting at lot 1063): http://auction.germeten.no/no/Auction/100011/Category/101000 

29 November 2017 - Grosvenor Auction, London

Website: http://www.grosvenorauctions.com/auctions
The late Fred Goldberg’s collection of material from Antarctic Expeditions will form part of this auction. For the online catalogue please consult the above website from about a month before the auction.

Grosvenor_Catalogue2jpg Two of the important items in the auction are shown at the bottom of page 83 of the September issue of Polar Post. The lot numbers are not yet known. The cover shown to the left was sent by Captain Robert F. Scott to Lady Evans. It was carried by the relief ship S/YMorning to New Zealand and postmarked on the arrival day at Lyttleton March 25th, 1903. The cover also bears the special expedition vignette in the upper left hand corner and the ship name Discovery was inserted by hand.


The right-hand cover was sent from Roald Amundsen to his brother Gustav and was postmarked Buenos Aires 22 April 1911 when S/Y Fram returned from Antarctica. This cover is the only one known that has been in Antarctica from the Amundsen expedition.

17-18 November 2017 - Kjell Germeten International Auctions A/S, Oslo

Website: http://www.germeten.no/frimerkeauksjon-htm/om-oss-eng.aspx

The late Fred Goldberg’s Collection of Spitsbergen and Arctic Expeditions will form part of this auction. For the online catalogue please consult the above website from about a month before the auction. Two of the items (lot numbers known yet known) are shown in colour in the middle of Page 83 of the September issue of Polar Post.

The left-hand cover from the Maud Expedition is one of the special covers which were made for dignitaries helping Amundsen. He had a special “Amundsen North Polar Expedition Air Mail” label on which the regular postage stamps were affixed. The covers also had a one line “Maudexpeditionen” cachet and a green North Star Air Post cachet in which information was filled in. This cover is signed by Roald Amundsen, US President Warren Harding and Postmaster General Hubert Work.

The right-hand cover is from Spitsbergen/Svalbard. It bears the Kings Bay, Ny-Ålesund Post Office, Cancellation Type 1. 4-ring cancel no 742 was used during a short period from mid-October 1918 to mid-May 1919 when the post office received a Kings Bay cancellation of Schweizer-type. The cover is also cacheted Kings Bay Spitsbergen on the stamps and was sent from the office manager of the mining company Otto Eide in Kings Bay to his brother in Bergen. The same cancel no 742 was also temporarily used during September 1918 at Östervaag-Björnöy. This is the only known cover with this type 1 cancellation.

9th March 2016 (not before 2pm): Cavendish Auctions, Derby UK: The Martin Evans Collection & Library: Martin was for many years Treasurer of the PPHSGB but this auction contains only a few lots of interest to Polar Collectors. Attention is directed to lots 500 to 509 and Lots 885 & 886. The catalogue is available at: http://www.cavendish-auctions.com/

4th March 2016: Argyll Etkin Auction - The Auction catalogue will be available on the following website from around 4th February 2016 http://www.argyll-etkin.com/ : This Worldwide stamp and Postal History Auction includes two lots which may be of interest to members. Lot 217 comprises three postally used Entire letters written from the South Shetland Islands in 1820 and 1821, the three earliest recorded letters from the Antarctic Continent. They were written by Capt. Charles Winship of the Sealing Ship O’Cain of Boston to his father Abiel Winship, a merchant in Boston, Massachusetts. One is from New South Shetland Clothiers Harbour and two are from Potters Cove Livingston Island. Lot 396 is a very fine Falkland Island Dependencies King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stamp Collection with a most comprehensive study of the varieties.

23rd February 2016 at 9am: 33rd Christoph Gärtner Auction – Session Thematics/Overseas: Lots 3003 to 3056, 5047, 5048, 5048A and 5048B relate to classic Antarctic covers and postcards with the emphasis on the Swedish South Polar Expedition 1901-1904 and the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition 1902-1904. There are also lots from other expeditions including Lot 3034 which is a postcard from the French Antarctic Expedition 1908-1910 bearing the rare “Pourquoi Pas? Label (start €15000). Lot 3037 (start €7000) is a German South Polar Expedition card with the hand stamp “Paid at South Georgia” tying the Expedition label to the card. Full details can be found at: www.auktionen-Gaertner.de  Please note that the auction location is: Steinbeisstrasse 6+8, 74321 Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany.



20th November 2014 - 2pm - Session 3 of the Grosvenor London Auction: If you would like to see or even buy some classic Antarctic material, go to:


Lots 3685 to 4199 are mainly from the collection of the late Harry Evans - amazing material! You are never likely to see such excellent material in one auction again! There are also some great Falkland Islands lots 3535 -3684.


3946 ✉ “Fram-Expeditionen” printed envelope and rare autograph letter written on June 7 1910 at Horten, Norway by expedition leader Roald Amundsen to his brother Leon at Kristiania, sent the following day franked by 10ø. Posthorn and with June 9 machine arrival on reverse, some creasing and small tears but rare. The letter written on board the “Fram” in Bundefjorden inlet just prior to the ship’s departure, Amundsen’s brother being one of the privileged few who were aware that the true destination was not the Arctic but an attempt on the South Pole. Estimate £1,200-£1,500


4007 ✉ Autograph short letter to New Zealand schoolboy written on exhibition letterhead by expedition leader Douglas Mawson during the return voyage on the Aurora on “15th Feb. 1914”, the envelope with damage at top, bearing Australia 1d. Kangaroo (scarce franking for expedition mail) cancelled by Adelaide Feb. 26 1914 c.d.s. with “LOOSE SHIP’S LETTER/(penguin)/S.Y. AURORA/A.A.E.” cachet below. Estimate £1,000-£1,200

19th August 2014: Harry (H. E. J.) Evans, 25th July 1925 to 5th August 2014: The founding father of the PPHSGB died on 5th August at the age of 89. Harry founded the Society in December 1952 and served on the Committee as Secretary, Treasurer and Cover Sales Coordinator from 1952 to 1992. He became President in 1987, a position that he held for the rest of his life. He also continued to deal with cover sales until the end of 2006. His extensive collection of Antarctic Material including some nice little items from the Heroic Age has been consigned to Grosvenor Auctions, London, and at least part of the material is expected to be included in the Grosvenor Sale planned for 19th/20th November 2014. An obituary is included in the September 2014 issue of Polar Post.
27th/28th November 2013: Grosvenor British Empire and Foreign Countries Sale 86 at 399-401, The Strand, London, UK: The fourth session of the sale on Thursday 28th November starting at 2pm comprises lots 1899 to 2342 forming a specialised section of Falkland Islands & Antarctica including the Trevor Barnes collection of South Georgia and fine material from the collection of Dr Carlos Garcia-Moral. The catalogue is available online at:


5th June 2013, 2.30pm : Grosvenor British Empire and Foreign Countries Auction, Third Session, Lots 1190 to 1567: The third session is dedicated solely to items from the Falkland Islands and Dependencies, and Antarctica. The sale includes items featuring newly discovered early letters, the Clive Perkins collection of Falkland Islands Postcards, and lots including rare items from the Swedish South Polar Expedition 1901-1904, the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition 1902‑1904 and the two French ‘Charcot’ Antarctic Expeditions 1903-1905 and 1908-1910. There are also items from other Antarctic Expeditions from 1901 to 1995 including both Scott Expeditions (1901-1904 and 1910-1913) and Shackleton’s three Expeditions (1907-09, 1914-16 and 1921-22). The auction catalogue is now available at: http://www.grosvenorauctions.com/wordpress/
8th May 2013 : Prestige Philately (www.prestigephilately.com) in Melbourne, Australia, sold by auction the Paul Wales Large Gold Medal Antarctic Exhibit "1901-04 British National Antarctic Expedition" (Robert Falcon Scott’s ‘Discovery Expedition’) as part of their Auction N°182. The Large Gold Open Class Exhibit at Autumn Stampex, London, 2012 contained many rare and unique items and most of the philatelic items sold. Being an ‘Open Class’ Exhibit there were items which do not fit happily into any other class such as ephemera, paintings, literature, unused picture postcards, and letters without the envelope in which they were enclosed. Just over 30 of the 121 lots failed to sell during the auction and are available from Prestige Philately at 80% of the estimate given in the catalogue. A few of these items are philatelic, i.e. envelopes or postcards sent through the post. Please go to the site and check out the realisations. The most expensive item, Lot 2450, went for a hammer price of A$10,500 (£7,085.09), not including the buyer’s extra costs of at least 15% of hammer price, against an estimate of A$10,000. This item is shown below (illustration and text © Prestige Philately):

 ‘Lot 2450 - cover with embossed 'DISCOVERY ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION 1901/[penguin]' crest in blue on the flap and engraved 'NATIONAL ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION' label in steel-blue with manuscript endorsement "DISCOVERY" in the lower tablet, local usage with Pictorials 4d & the label both tied by 'CHRISTCHURCH/17AP03/NZ' cds, registration cachet in magenta, with the enclosed matching embossed notepaper & a brief message signed "EH Shackleton". A delightful cover, stated to be the only recorded usage of an Expedition label on a registered cover. Shackleton had contracted a nasty dose of scurvy in Antarctica. Scott insisted Shackleton return to New Zealand to recuperate, which the latter did most reluctantly. "Morning" departed 2/3/1902, arriving at Lyttleton 25/3/1902. The endorsement on the label is so neat; at first glance it appears to be printed. It's doubtful EHS added the inscription: his handwriting would readily qualify him for the medical or legal professions.’

7th March 2013 at 2.30pm - Grosvenor Auction Sale N° 79 - The John E Du Pont collection of the Falkland Islands and Dependencies: This superlative classic collection, formed by one of the most famous, award-winning collectors of the twentieth century, includes many rare proofs and stamps from the reigns of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII and King George V, as well as an impressive range of scarce early covers from and to the islands.

 For Polar collectors there are a small number of lots relating to South Georgia (Lots 2142 to 2156), the South Orkneys (Lot 2157 - a 1904 Orcadas del Sud cover) and Deception Island (Lots 2158 to 2166). One of the prize lots (N°2149) is a mint block of thirty, rows 3 to 7, of the 1928 2½d on 2d purple-brown provisional surcharge with margins; [R. 6/4] shows SURCHARGE DOUBLE. The estimate is a mere £40,000 to £50,000!

Lot x2157:- 1904, Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, ‘Museo de la Plata’ picture postcard of the Scotia overwintering in Scotia Bay, South Orkneys, in 1903 (Wharton ED-1) addressed by Robert Rudmose-Brown to his brother Thomas (later an important mentor to Samuel Beckett) in Aberdeen with message on picture side “Stamped & postmarked at the South Orkneys. Not an Argentine colony without protest! RNRB”, bearing Falklands 1891-1902 1d. (a few trivially stained perfs.) cancelled by fine strike of large violet Argentine datestamp (Andrews A 1) “ORCADAS DEL SUR/20 FEB 1904/DISTRITO 24 (GALLEGOS)”, carried by the Scotiato Capetown where unaccepted for onward transmission without the addition of Cape 1d. at lower left cancelled “MY 11/04”. Very few covers or cards, around 20 according to Harvey-Pirie who accompanied the expedition, were cancelled and sent. Very few indeed bear a Falklands adhesive. Illustrated (with part address obscured) in the Postal History of the Falkland Islands Dependencies by R. Bagshawe (1947). Ex Stern. Estimate £2,000-£2,500
For further details and to view the catalogue please go to: http://www.grosvenorauctions.com/wordpress/