JOHN MACKIE writing in the Vancouver Sun
Rare colonial B.C. stamps come home for auction
The 1860 stamps were made in London read “British Columbia and Vancouver’s Island”

The Mayfair Find

“In the early 1860s, a young man wrote to postmasters around the world, enclosing money for sheets of stamps to be sent to his home in Mayfair in London. So they did.

The stamps were forgotten after his death, but were rediscovered in 1925. Collectors went mad, buying stamps that had a face value of 30 pounds in the 1860s for 10,000 pounds in 1925.

Among the most sought-after items was the first stamp issued in British Columbia. Oops, make that British Columbia and Vancouver’s Island, because that was what was on the two-pence stamp, which has a rose colour.

Ninety-five years after their rediscovery, eight of the “Mayfair find” stamps have come home to B.C. in the Feb. 29 All Nations Stamp and Coin auction.

This particular group of stamps may have never been here before — they were printed in London, and are currently owned by an American. Their rarity, and quirks, makes them desirable for stamp collectors all over the world.

Lot 106 British Columbia and Vancouver’s Island Mint 1860 Gutter Block of eight of the first issued stamp of the twin colonies

The stamp is for British Columbia and Vancouver’s Island because the B.C. mainland and Vancouver Island were two separate colonies in 1860. Their lack of importance in Britain at the time may be why no one noticed it was called Vancouver Island, not Vancouver’s Island.”

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Read more these stamps and about other interesting lots in our 1250th auction in the Vancouver Sun article by John Mackie