Dunedin collection of historic envelopes has sold for more
than $100,000 at a London auction.
After nearly 40 years building his award-winning Otago postal
history collection, Waverley man Greg Francis (74) decided it
was time to part ways with his set of original envelopes
posted to or from Otago between about 1840 and 1900.
''I'd added one item, I think, in about two years ... so
there was not much thrill in doing it any longer,'' he said
''My wife said to me 'Why don't you just keep it?' ... and I
said 'I may as well let someone have some pleasure out of
All 201 envelopes in his internationally recognised
collection were offered for sale by London auctioneers Spink
and Son last month.
Mr Francis said 105 of them sold at the auction for a total
of 54,720 (about $108,270), less Spink's 8% commission.
Several items sold for nearly 3000 each, and an Australian
buyer paid about 4800 for one envelope that had valuable
Other items in the collection went to buyers in the UK,
Ireland and the United States.
Mr Francis felt some of the envelopes that did not sell had
been overpriced - some as high as 8000.
Since the auction, he had received many inquiries from buyers
hoping to make offers on the remaining items.
But he thought he might let matters settle down for a while,
''I didn't really sell it because I needed the money.''
Mr Francis started collecting when he was aged 8 and has been
selected to show his work at exhibitions throughout the
His Otago postal collection won three gold medals, most
recently at the Brasiliana World Stamp Exhibition in Rio de
Janeiro last November.
He has now started a new project collecting New Zealand
fiscal stamps, which were proving particularly scarce, he
Some of last month's sales of the Otago postal artefacts have
made international headlines.
The Irish Independent reported one of the items in the
collection, which was sent from Dunedin to Rathbourne,
Kilkenny, in 1863, had sold for 1058 ($1670), making it ''one
of Ireland's most valuable envelopes''.