The Greatest Philatelic Treasure existing?

By in Classic stamps on April 22, 2015
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The copper printing plate for the famous Mauritius 1847The copper printing plate for the famous Mauritius 1847 “POST OFFICE” 1d and 2d stamps has been found after being missing, thought lost, for 80 years, and will be displayed at the London 2015 Europhilex Stamp Exhibition, which will be held at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London from 13-16 May 2015. This is a special event, held to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the first postage stamp, the Penny Black.

The Mauritius “POST OFFICE” stamps were the first colonial issues of the British Empire and rank among the World’s greatest and most sought-after rarities. 1,000 stamps were printed (500 each of 1d and 2d) but only 27 examples are known to have survived.

The printing plate disappeared from view for many years and was rediscovered in 1912 when it was described by British philatelist, stamp dealer and writer of many authoritative books on the subject, Alexander J. Sefi in 1912 as “the Greatest Philatelic Treasure existing”.

The copper printing plate for the famous Mauritius

The copper printing plate for the famous Mauritius

It was acquired by Maurice Burrus around 1930 and was last displayed at the 1935 Silver Jubilee exhibition of the Royal Philatelic Society in London. It then disappeared from view and for many years it was feared that it had been lost.

However, following the death of Odile Burrus, the niece of Maurice, the plate was re-discovered by the Burrus family and has been entrusted to the care of auctioneer David Feldman, of Geneva, so that it may again be displayed in public.

David Feldman stated that “handling the sale of the great Mauritius collection in 1993 belonging to Hiroyuki Kanai was no doubt the summit of my philatelic career, but there was always one missing item from this collection: the famous Post Office printing plate.

Bordeaux cover

The ‘Bordeaux Cover’ with 1d red and 2d deep blue Mauritius “Post Office” stamps sold by Kanai in 1988 was last auctioned for 5,750,000 Swiss Francs in 1993

 

What had become of the item and its location has been a mystery for over 80 years. It is at last a great honour and privilege to be able to handle this most elusive item!”

David Feldman S.A. and the organisers of LONDON 2015 have announced that the plate will be presented at London 2015 along with other related artefacts.

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