Auction Houses

This section of the website features polar postal history material from various auction houses around the world. Polar items have been selected for being particularly interesting, and offering a good guide to both current and historical market prices.

Latest News

Notice of Forthcoming Polar Postal History Auction  20th November 2023

On November 28th Grosvenor Auctions in London are presenting material from specialised Falkland Islands & Antarctica collections including scarce Operation Tabarin material from our President, Gerry Pearce. 

To view the auction click here

To view only the Antarctic material click here 

You can also view the complete auction catalogue online or download here  

Peter Cranwell Polar Auction Results are now available 20th August 2022

The auction of the polar collection of our late member Peter Cranwell was held at Phoenix Auctions in Australia on 18th August.

The auction was a great success with hammer prices twice exceeeding pre-auction estimates.
The prices realised for all auction items can be viewed here by lot number or, just for the polar lots (with images) here.

Peter Cranwell Polar Postal History Auction is now Online 1st August 2022

The polar collection of our late member Peter Cranwell is now online at Phoenix Auctions.

The auction is is being held over two days, Thursday 18th August & Friday 19th August, with the Polar collection providing the first 366 lots in the Auction .

The auction will be live on the Internet on the Phoenix auctions website

While there is obvious strength in Antarctica, there are also many lots for the Arctic collector. Phoenix will also be attending the Antarctic Exhibition on 26th to 28th August in Hobart for any members who are visiting.

All the Polar Lots can be viewed in the gallery below!

Advance Notice of Polar Postal History Auction 23rd June 2022

Phoenix Auctions in Australia are offering the polar collection of our late member Peter Cranwell at their August auction.

The collection consists of contemporary polar postcards with a wide range of postal history. The strength of the collection is Antarctica with some arctic material. The auction will be held the week prior to the Antarctic Exhibition in Hobart (26th to 28th August).

Please make a note in your diary as many of the polar items in the auction are rarely seen!

Some images have already been added below and more images and details on where to bid will be added towards the end of July.

Some lots noted already that might appeal to Polar Postal History Society members include:

Lot - Signatures of John K Davis, Arthur E Harbord, Henry JL Dunlop & Aeneas LA Mackintosh on British Antarctic Expedition 1907 headed paper for the SY Nimrod.

 Lot - 1909 Shackleton Letter: written to Lord Knollys discussing the protocol of wearing his Norwegian decorations at the investiture of his knighthood (taking place 3 days later). The letter is 3 printed paper, it is signed by Shackleton

 Lot - 1912 Shackleton Lecture: The South Pole, held at the Town Hall, Burton-on-Trent. This lot contains the program and 4 different tickets for the lecture

 Lot - London 1914: typed letter of May 11,1914, on The Imperial Trans-Antartic Expedition printed paper to Joseph Blamires, Mayor apealing for funds for the expedition, it is signed by Shackleton.

22-23 September 2020 - Grosvenor Auctions, United Kingdom

This Grosvenor auction features an important presentation of Falkland Islands, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands including the collection of the late Peter Cottis .

The auction can be viewed here: https://auctions.grosvenorauctions.com/

Some interesting lots include lot 616 from the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition 1902-04. Expedition stationery envelope from 1903 with S.N.A.E. saltire on flap, addressed by expedition leader William Bruce to Colonel Bailey at the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in Edinburgh whilst on board the "Scotia" at Port Stanley, franked by Falkland Islands 1/2d. pair and carried on the "Sorata" with Sorting Tender Feb. 23 transit datestamp on reverse. Lot 617 is from the Swedish Magellanian Expedition 1907-09, 1907 (Dec. 20) envelope addressed by an expedition member (Thore Gustaf Halle?) to G.W.F. Carlson in Uppsala, Sweden with fine strike of "SWEDISH/MAGELLANIAN/EXPEDITION/1907-09" cachet in violet at left, franked at foreign countries rate by Falklands 1904-12 21/2d. cancelled by slightly unclear type F.4 c.d.s. with Jan. 27 1908 arrival datestamp on reverse.

Lot 618 is from German Antarctic Expedition 1910-12: Fototipia-Jacobo Peuser of Buenos Aires picture postcard depicting the "Deutschland", (Wharton Ib-1) to Bavaria, written by expedition leader Wilhelm Filchner, bearing Falkland Islands 1d. tied by 1911 (Dec. 6) SG1 c.d.s. and with "DEUTSCHE /SUDDPOLAR EXPEDITION" label at left lightly tied by fine strike of violet four line "Polarschiff Deutschland/Sud-Georgien/Grytviken/30 November 1911" dated cachet. Lot 625 is from the British Graham Land Expedition 1934-37, 1936 (June 20) picture postcard of aerial view of Port Stanley (Heyburn AQ-11-aqv) to London, franked Whale & Penguin 1d. and with July 30 arrival c.d.s., written by Brian Roberts, ornithologist on board the "Penola", with a most interesting message indicating the expedition's schedule with instructions for incoming mail. "We return here for December before going to Graham Land again."  Very rare, only approx. six items of outgoing mail are recorded.

17 March 2020 - Bruun Rasmussen, Denmark

The Bruun Rasmussen auction of March included an interesting lettercard autographed and signed by Fridtjof Nansen. the cards were dated July 28, 1890 and sent to the colony manager of Holsteinsborgs (Greenland) Rasmus Müller. This was shortly after Nansen returned from Greenland on his expedition where he became the first to cross the central ice cap. The item was lot 6143 and was estimated at DKK1500-DKK2000. Update: there was great interest and the lot sold for DKK 12000.

3 March 2020 - Lion Heart Autographs, United States

Billed as "The Finest Signed Photograph Ever Offered for Sale: Autographed by Amundsen, Shackleton and Peary " , Lion Heart Autographs offered this polar photograph in their March auction with the description - "A remarkable, richly-toned, sepia photograph of the three great explorers grouped together next to a globe which Shackleton, standing in the middle, has positioned on a table with the South Pole pointing to Amundsen and the North Pole pointing to Peary. The photograph’s title, “The Three Polar Stars,” is printed in the lower portion of the photograph which also identifies the subjects, the photographer, William H. Rau, the date, and the location, Philadelphia’s Bellevue Stratford Hotel". The item was lot 104 and sold for $17 500.

29 January 2020 - Corbitts Sale, United Kingdom

The  Corbitts sale in January contains a lot with official notepaper from the THE BRITISH, AUSTRALIAN, NEW ZEALAND ANTARCTIC RESEARCH EXPEDITION OF 1929-30  S.Y. 'DISCOVERY'. The paper bears 28 impressions of the B.A.N.Z. cancel in black with both types (in the main type the top feather of the tail is above the left bar of the 'X', in the second it is between the 'E' and 'X'.) The item is lot 223 and is estimated at £800-£1000. Update: the lot was unsold

Lot 241 consists of a 7th Jan 1913 letter from Francis Drake, the Assistant Postmaster on  the BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION TERRA NOVA R.Y.S. and Penguin headed notepaper addressed to his cousin 'Just a line to send you a stamp from the furthest South Post Office at Cape Evans which we shall reach tomorrow.' The letter is enclosed in a similarly crested envelope addressed to Essex with New Zealand 1d Dominion overprinted Victoria Land SG.A3, cancelled BRIT.ANTARCTIC EXPD. JA.18.13 and b/stamped LYTTELTON 12.FE.13. The 'stamp' is represented by ½d and 1d Victoria Land stamps SG.A2/3 stuck down on BRITISH ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION TERRA NOVA R.Y.S & Penguin headed notepaper with typed address Cape Evans, McMurdo Sound, Antarctica Jan 18th 1913 with typed issue dates, signed Francis Drake Secretary B.A.E Assistant Postmaster Victoria Land. This lot is estimated between £800 to £1000. Update: the lot sold for £1550.

14 January 2020 - Cherrystone Auctions, United States

The January auction from Cherrystone Auctions of New York contains two fine examples of the Bouvet Oya (Island) Norwegian overprints. Lot 923 consists of a 1934 (28 Feb) cover addressed to London, franked with 10o and 30o overprinted "Bouvet Oya," tied by Cape Town Paquebot postmarks, accompanied by two original small size photographs, posted on board of H.M.S. Milford, further endorsed "In Foreign Waters", fine. Bouvet Island (Bouvet Oya) is situated in the Antarctic, and was annexed to Norway in 1928. The Facit Scandinavia specialized catalogue notes that Bouvet Island was discovered in 1739 by Mr. Bouvet (a Frenchman). The 1934 Milford Expedition to Antarctic regions obtained permission from the Norwegian Consul in Cape Town, South Africa, to overprint Norwegian stamps for mail sent by expedition members and the crew of the ship; the Consul supplied the stamps to the expedition. The stamps received a handstamped overprint in black, with the following quantities: 5o 400 (of which 268 were used on mail); 7o 100 (69 used); 10o 1000 (305 used); 20o 800 (261 used); and 30o 400 (243 used). The item has an estimate/starting price of $1400. Update: the lot sold for $2600

Lot 924 is a1934 (23 Feb) cover and letter addressed to Surrey, franked with 10o and 20o overprinted "Bouvet Oya," tied by Cape Town Paquebot postmarks, accompanied by seven original photographs, posted on board of H.M.S. Milford, letter to "My Dear Mom & Dad, I think this is a better picture of the iceberg", minor cover mending, fine. Again the item has an estimate/starting price of $1400. Update: the lot sold for $2600.

28 November 2019 - Grosvenor Auctions, United Kingdom

At the Grosvenor Auction in November, lot 1631 was from the British Antarctic Territory and contained three covers: 1966 (Mar. 22) 1/2d. to £1 on large cover (horizontal fold), 1969 (Dec. 1) £1 Endurance f.d.c. with Commanding Officer, H.M.S. "Endurance" dated cachet, 1971 (Feb. 15) decimal surcharges on plain f.d.c., all with Signy Island c.d.s"s. Update: the lot sold for £210.

Another interesting item at this Grosvenor auction , lot 1623, was from the Ellsworth Trans-Antarctic Flight Expeditions 1933-36: Telegram sent from the Antarctic Peninsula on Jan. 13 1935 by Bernt Balchen, expedition pilot, to his wife in Norway, from the "Wyatt Earp" with interesting and significant message "NO MORE FLYING THIS YEAR WEATHER TOO BAD CLOSED IN BY ICE. AT PRESENT ROUTE HOME UNCERTAIN YET THANKS FOR WIRE ALL WELL LOVE TO YOU BOTH = BERNT". Update: the lot reached £500.

24 June 2019 - Auktionen Gaertner, Germany

The June auction from Gaertner saw some interesting polar lots. Lot 10033 was from the  Swedish Antarctic Rescue Expedition 1903-1904. It was a letter dated 22 July 1903 on official "ANTARKTISKA UNSÄTTNINGSEXPEDITIONEN" Expedition letter sheet, written by Johan Menander, Captain of the Expedition ship Frithiof to his father, two times fold, fine. The lot sold for 520 Euro against a starting price of 300 Euro. A similar lot 10034 was also from the Swedish Antarctic Rescue Expedition 1903-1904 and was a letter dated 08 Aug. 1903 on official "ANTARKTISKA UNSÄTTNINGSEXPEDITIONEN" Expedition letter sheet, written and signed by Johan Menander, Captain of the Expedition ship Frithiof to his mother, two times fold, fine. This lot sold for 750 Euro against a starting price of 300 Euro.

Lot 30640 was from the 1956-59 Soviet Drifting Ice Station NP-6 and was a  collection of 27 covers, postcards and postal stationery items related to Drifting Ice Station North Pole 6, drifting 8650 km, with official mail, radio mail, picture cards, nice illustrations and many types of cancellations. The sales price was 270 Euro.

19 June 2019 - Robert A Siegel, New York, United States

A cover from a British expedition that never took place surprisingly appeared in this New York auction in June. Extremely rare, if not unique, the cover was written by Commander John Cheyne in 1879 on a headed envelope titled "New British Arctic Expedition" and was lot 476 in the auction and sold for $750.

Commander John P. Cheyne, R.N. (1826–1902) is a forgotten figure in the history of nineteenth-century polar exploration. A veteran of three expeditions in search of the missing Franklin expedition, in 1876, after the disappointing return of the British Arctic expedition under George Strong Nares, Cheyne first announced his grand plans to reach the North Pole by balloon. He embarked on a transatlantic lecture tour in an effort to raise funds. It was a novel proposal that captured public imagination, but also drew wide criticism, and sometimes ridicule, and Cheyne was unable to obtain sufficient funds for the expedition to take place. An unusual item from a very early proposed aerial attempt on the North Pole!

To the left is sheet music of a song published in 1879 to commemorate the anticipated expedition.

5-6 June 2019 - Grosvenor Auctions, London

The Helen Davis collection of penguin themed items, featured in the British Empire & Foreign Countries at Grosvenor auction on June 5th-6th, attracted interest from a wide collector base with highest realisations achieved unsurprisingly by items connected directly to the early Antarctic expeditions.

From the 1901-04 British Expedition and featured on the catalogue front cover, the attractive postcard with illustrated penguins sent from H.M.S. Morning “as Far South as we can get now” by seaman Leonard Burgess [lot 1016] rose impressively to £5,742. Sent by photographer Frank Hurley at the conclusion of the 1911-14 Australasian Expedition [lot 931], one of only two covers showing the ‘Loose Ship’s Letter’ penguin cachet without ‘Posted In’ inscription, soared to £11,484.

12 March 2019 - Cherrystone Auctions, USA

Cherrystone is one of the world’s leading auctioneers of rare stamps and philatelic material, and March sees several polar items featured in their latest auction of U.S. and Worldwide Stamps and Postal History.

Lot 1573 includes a fine selection of polar flight and arctic exploration items including a 1958 cover carried on board USS Nautilus, during the first transit under the North Pole and another cover with "Polar Ice Cap Cruise" cachet (the first Submarine to surface at the North Pole in 1958). The lot also includes postal history from the 1952 Project Ski jump I and II (two cards with appropriate Ice Island North Pole and other markings while setting up Drifting Ice Stations).

Update: the lot sold for $1500

Lot 387 includes four covers from the 1897-99 Otto Nordenskjold Klondike Expedition with Canadian franking (one with stamp excised) from Dawson City, N.W.T. to Otto Nordenskjold in Upsala, Sweden.

Update: the lot sold for $230

Lot 388 is a cover from 1901 sent from the relief ship "SY Morning" purchased in 1901 as a relief ship for the British National Antarctic Expedition. In September 1901. The cover with New Zealand franking, cancelled at Christchurch is addressed to Sir Clements R Markham, one of the paramount figures of British geography and the quintessential promoter of the expedition at the Royal Geographical Society.

Update: the lot sold for $475

22 February 2019 - Auktionen Gaertner, Germany

1911/1914, Australian Antarctic Expedition, Tasmania 1 d carmine pictorial, tied by clear strike of cds HOBART, 21.DE 11, alongside superb strike of "Loose Ship's Letter/Posted at/Macquarie Island/S.Y. Aurora / A.A.E." with illustration of penguin in center, on cover addressed to Hobart. Attractive and VERY RARE expedition cover!  Update: this lot sold for Euro 900.

1929: GREENLAND EXPEDITION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN. Cover (faults) sent from "LAKE WALES FLA MAR 23.1929" (USA) addressed to "Mr. W.S. Carlson, Holstenborg Greenland, Greenland Expedition of University of Michigan". Insufficiently franked with U.S 2c (partially lost in transit) and showing Denmark 5 and 25 Ore postage due stamps cancelled KOBENHAVN 20.8.29 and "GRONLAND STYRELSE" single line on reverse. The envelope was returned to Ironwood, Michigan with 6c of US postage due stamps applied at arrival. MAIL RELATED TO THIS ARCTIC EXPEDITION IS VERY RARE. Update: this lot sold for Euro 900.

1911, DEUTSCHE SÜDPOLAR EXPEDITION, Expeditions-Karte "Südpolarschiff Deutschland" mit roter Vignette und Expeditions-Stempel "Polarschiff Deutschland Süd-Georgien Grytviken 30. November 1911" sowie Original-Unterschriften der Teilnehmer, u.a. des Leiters W. Filchner, dem Entdecker des Filchner-Ronne-Schelfeises, frankiert mit Falkland-Inseln 1 d rot König Edward VII., mit Stempel SOUTH GEORGIA, DE (..) 11, nach Greifswald, Vignette teils beschädigt, sonst in sauberer und guter Erhaltung. Sehr seltener Beleg aus der frühen Zeit der Antarktisforschung! Update: this lot sold for Euro 700.

30 January 2019 - Spink, USA

The latest of the Philatelic Collectors series auctions at Spink contained several interesting Antarctic polar items.

Lot 785 from the 1901-04 British National Antarctic Expedition by Robert F. Scott, the Second Relief Expedition, July 18, 1904"Discovery" crested envelope in blue, addressed to the Colonial Museum in New Zealand from Hatley Ferrar, the Expedition's geologist, bearing Falkland Islands ½d Victoria vertical pair tied by Falkland Islands c.d.s.'s, with unusual Montevideo transit and Wellington arrival roller datestamp on reverse; this cover is not included in Robert Duns' census of only six Expedition covers posted at Port Stanley. Update: the lot sold for $900

Lot 784 from the 1901-04 British National Antarctic Expedition by Robert F. Scott, two cards written on board the H.M.S. "Morning" on 1903, December 5 and 25, stating "We sail today at noon for the relief of the Discovery at the South Pole" and ""...there are ice bergs around us & pack ice & it is thick of snow , we cannot see very far..."; the later posted on return of the "Morning" on April 4. Update: the lot sold for $850

Lot 789 1921-22 Shackleton-Rowett Expedition, stampless cover from Tristan da Cunha to Hindhead, England, bearing superb strike of scarce "Tristan Da Cunha/South Atlantic" cachet II (S.G. #C2), with "S-R.Antarctic/EXpedition 1921" c.d.s. alongside, charged with cachet at the single 1½d letter rate upon arrival where and ½d (folded) and 1d Great Britain postage dues were applied, the mail being picked up by the "Quest" on her last day at Tristan, having returned from South Georgia; a fine and very scarce cover from this expedition, which was in Tristan da Cunha from May 20-25. Update: the lot sold for $400

20 November 2018 - Grosvenor Auction, London

An interesting presentation of Falkland Islands & Antarctica included the recently rediscovered 1884 ‘Comstock’ whaling letter (lot 2580) which achieved £4,712 and a most unusual unusual ‘Fra South Georgia’ postcard (lot 2736) sent in 1914 by Leonard Hussey, meteorologist on Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition, which rose spectacularly to £9,920.

13 June 2018 - Grosvenor Auction, London

The auction catalogue from Grosvenor for the specialised section of Falkland Islands & Antarctic material in their British Empire & Foreign Countries auction on June 13 th is now online. 

Auction Date: Wednesday 13th June 2018

Sale Time: Wednesday 13th June 2018 at 10.30 am and 1.30 pm and Thursday 14th June 2018 at 10.30 am

There are several interesting postcards from Ernest Shackleton featured. An example is lot 676 from the British National Antarctic Expedition 1901-04: Oceanic Steamship Co. On board S.S. ''Ventura'' private mailing card with short message written and signed by Ernest Shackleton to his fiancée, Emily Dorman, in London, sent from San Francisco May 27 1903 franked 5c., repaired tear. Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) had been third lieutenant on the ''Discovery'' and was returning to England after a period of convalescence in New Zealand. 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''.  Update: the lot sold for £2700

Shackleton lot 676jpg

An interesting Falkland Islands item is lot 541 which is an unadopted essay from 1936 by George Roberts of S.S. Great Britain to commemorate the 50th year of her arrival in the Islands, The design employed the image of a vessel off Lundy island, with inscription recording Bristol 1843, Stanley 1936, Guppy (the builder) and Brunel (the engineer), handcoloured on thin card (46 x 28mm.) affixed to thick paper. Ex Henniker-Heaton private collection. A unique item and most attractive. A fund raising venture was undertaken in 1936 to restore the ship for use as the local Sea Rover troop headquarters. Letters were written by the then Governor of the Islands, Henniker-Heaton, to the Lord Mayor of Bristol and the Manager of the Bank of New South Wales appealing for financial support and a Public Works Manager was asked to prepare a detailed estimate of costs. The manager was Roberts himself, and the essay would have been produced at this time in support of the project. Unfortunately the estimate of £10,021.16s.6d. was judged too great at a Council meeting held in April 1936 and plans for restoration were shelved. Although sinking the vessel was considered the next option, she was later towed out and beached at Sparrow Cove until her rescue and return to Bristol in 1970. Update: the lot sold for £1600.

Falklan Islands lot 541jpg

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 founded 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.

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/

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