Overprints that are often underestimated.

Deutsch Neu Guinea - German New Guinea

When the 1914-18 Great War broke out, the Commonwealth was asked to equip an expeditionary force to capture the German held areas of New Guinea. 

From 25th September 1914 the Australian Imperial Forces captured stock of colonial stamp issues from the Germans which were subsequently overprinted with "G.R.I." (George Rex Imperator) and surcharged with their approximate equivalent Sterling values. 

For many stamps, only a few dozen were overprinted and therefore most are now very rare and sought after by collectors. Some of them have survived only in few examples. Proof of their desirability was seen at the October Spink auction in London, where many stamps fetched incredible prices.

2d. on 20pf. ultramarine showing error of surcharge "G.R.I./1d.", unused without gum. The only example recorded by Gibbs. The stamp used to be in the famous collection of Marquess of Bute. Pre-auction estimate £4,000, sold for £80,000. Pre-auction estimate was £4,000, sold for a whopping £80,000!

5s. on 2m. blue error of surcharge [Setting 4, Position 3], well-centred, good colour, unused with large part original gum (some minor ageing due to dampness, when the Bute collection was stored in a London safe deposit which was watered after a fire during the Blitz of London by the Luftwaffe); a barely perceptible hinge merely mentioned for accuracy. Extremely rare with just four unused examples recorded by Gibbs. Pre-auction estimate was £12,000, sold for astonishing £110,000, which is almost triple the current catalogue value!

1s. on 1m. carmine showing variety large "S" [Setting 1, Position 4], centred slightly to upper left, fine unused with large part original gum. Very rare, only four examples recorded by Gibbs of which two are used. Pre-auction estimate was £4,000, sold for unbelievable £32,000, almost triple the current catalogue value.

2d. on 10pf. carmine showing error of surcharge "G.I.R./3d.", fine unused without gum. Very rare, only five examples recorded by Gibbs, all unused. Pre-auction estimate was £4,000, sold for £20,000, almost double the current catalogue value.

2½d. on 20pf. ultramarine vertical pair, the lower stamp showing error of surcharge "G.R.I./3d." [Setting 5, Position 10], unused with large part, slightly browned gum and the lower stamp with corner crease of no importance. The only recorded example and a major rarity of New Guinea philately. Pre-auction estimate was £12,000, sold for £100,000, more than double the current catalogue value.


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German New Guinea (borders before 1898)


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  • Radek Novák
  • radek.austria@gmail.com
  • +420 608 386 845