Thursday, 15 April 2010

Machin Colour Trials

I am sorry that I have not had much time to post over the last week or so, other commitments have kept me rather busy.

The majority of the latest news is already online, so in all fairness you have not missed to much with my absence.

Whilst I was scratching about on the web I have come across one item which you may find interesting.

Last November David Feldman, Philatelic Auctioneers (Switzerland) put up for sale a collection of modern errors, one of which were four blocks of Machin colour trials.

These were described as:

LOT 30143 Queen Elizabeth II.

Modern Errors.

Machins 1973 4x Machin colour trials without value, blocks of 4 in deep lilac, pale lilac, pale turquoise & deep turquoise, on shiny un-gummed paper, very fine & scarce.

This lot was offered in the region of £1.500. I believe it failed to meet its reserve.


Ian rose said...

I believe that these were not colour trials, but were produced from special cylinders used in early testing of the Jumelle press.

I believe that quite sizeable sheets of these (one sheet in each of the four colours that you list) were sold many years ago in a Swiss auction. They were purchased by Machin dealer Alan Wilson, who was a famous dealer at that time but later became infamous for his forgeries. I believe that he paid a very substantial price for his sheets. He was reputed to have been bidding against a leading Machin collector of the era.

The sheets were large and pairs of these are are scarce but probably not truly rare. They do appear on dealers lists from time to time. Not being a dealer, I do not know what they sell for these days, but my guess would be around £100 for a pair. This would make the auctioneers estimate for four blocks of 4 seem very high. I am not surprised that they went unsold.

Incidentally, I remember shortly after the auction seeing Alan throwing the sheets around in what appeared to me to be a rather careless fashion considering how much he had just paid for them. I note that it would appear that a number of the pairs offered nowadays are creased! I often wonder if Alan creased some of these himself.

Incidentally, Alan also purchased a number of pre-decimal colour trials at the same aution. Now those really ARE beautiful. Much nicer than the Jumelle trial items in my view. Of course, these have always sold for much more money than the Jumelle trials and for much more than I could ever afford. (Probably around £1000 per single!) A number of these were offered in a Grosvenor auction on 28/11/2008 but were withdrawn.

Machin Man said...

Thanks Ian, this extra information is great.

What would he throw them around for?


Ian Rose said...

It stuck in my mind because I remember thinking that, if I had just paid that amount of money, I would have been absolutely paranoid about touching them at all.

He had the sheets on his stand (at Stampex, if I remember right). He hadn't yet broken up the sheets. I recall him taking them out (from under the counter?) and dropping them down, apparently heavily and casually, onto the top of the counter.

It probably didn't actually do any damage but I'd have been treating them like gold dust ... I guess I'm just neurotic about handling expensive items. I expect this all says more about me than Alan.