Collectors of early Canadian (and British colonies) will recognise the phrase “Chalon head”. There is only one – the famous Queen Victoria Chalon depicting a very young QV. Vance Auctions has an intriguing ephemera offering in next week’s sale (Jan 30, 2019) :
7909 – Engraved b/w 19th Century vignette depicting the QUEEN VICTORIA CHALON HEAD oval portrait sunk directly on to card (60 x 78mm). VF, Scarce. Would make a perfect opening page item for an early Canada collection. Ex Highland ….Est 500.00+ from the Vance catalogue
It’s about 2.3” x 3” in size (for those who don’t speak metric) so, yea, it’d make a great faceplate for any Chalon collection. Usually, we see the image in a squished down format (Chalons aren’t terribly large) so it’s nice to see it in a (slightly) larger format.
The oval portrait appears on a number of early stamps from Canada, New Zealand, Tasmania, Bahamas, Queensland, Natal and Grenada, comprising some of the most collectable stamps I know of. I’ve met people who go gaga over them and dedicate a hefty portion of their collections to Chalons. They are alluring little beauties to chase. Although I’m more a Small Queens fan, I do appreciate the odd time a Chalon passes my desk, even if it’s a Jubilee edition.
I’ve had a few low quality Chalons in my collection, but have to confess to swapping them years ago for some early airmail stamps. Push comes to shove, I’ll sacrifice my Queen for airmails. So about the only ones I have are the few Jubilees, which really aren’t Chalons in the strictest sense in my opinion.
The Chalon image is from an Alfred Edward Chalon painting, c 1837, of Queen Victoria in full robes shortly after she came to the throne. I tried to find out where the original painting hangs, but pretty much every article I read looped to Chalon stamps. It’ll take a trip to the library to find out, so next time I’m at the reference library, I’ll pop into the art section and see if I can find an answer. If you know, drop a note in the comments section.
Queen Victoria, portrait by Alfred Edward Chalon c 1837 | [Public domain]
An engraving of Victoria’s head from this portrait, by Samuel Cousins, was distributed to the public as souvenirs on coronation day. It was later the basis for the famous Chalon stamps.
So, back to the topic, the engraving, if your interested, wander over to Vance and check it out. It’s auction item #7909, listed under ephemera. http://www.vanceauctions.com/searchsetter.asp Don’t forget to search for Chalons stamps as well. There are a couple of bargains, including a New Zealand lot (#7381).
If you’re looking for a bit of fun, check out the mystery novel The Chalon Heads by Barry Maitland. I read it a few years ago and found it thoroughly enjoyable. I mean, how many murder mysteries are centred around stamp collecting? This one has it all – murder, forgery, Scotland Yard, stamp collecting, Chalon heads, what more do you want? Check out Good Reads.
Heads up revenue collectors! There’s a new stamp to grab. The moment the Canadian government legalised marijuana, I knew there would be a stamp to collect. Keep your eyes open for the cannabis revenue stamp that is affixed to all government store sales. Here’s what it looks like:
It’s a bit hard to grab a clean photo of the new stamp. The fraud prevention features play havoc with the lens. My eyes went a bit wobbly after taking a series of photos. Many weren’t aware the stamp would be issued (or didn’t care) so thousands have been trashed so it’ll be interesting to see what the catalogue price will be.
I haven’t decided whether to keep it on the original box or carefully remove it. The box is a bit of a pain to store but I suspect I’ll leave it on. I’ve already started pestering friends to save any revenue stamps they get. Might be awhile given the pot shortage here in Canada.
Here’s a little something special today. I was looking through my pioneer aviation collection searching for … well, I can’t remember because I became sidetracked. About 7 years ago, I spotted a set of 1910 Wills Aviation cards at auction. It’s one of those silly items I coveted for years so I threw in a modest bid and it turned out to be one of those days aviation and tobacco card collectors were asleep and I got the entire set of 50. I’m not sure if these are reprints or original, I’ve never checked into how to tell the difference. Regardless, they are still a joy.
1910 Wills’ Cigarette card The Antoinette Monoplane – from author’s collection
The cards are pretty cool and considering they are over 100 years old, in extremely good shape. They cover flight from early balloons to the most modern (as of 1910) aeroplanes, including my favourite – the Antoinette Flyer, designed by Léon Levavasseur.
The Silver Dart comes close to the number 1 spot, but it’s always edged out by the Antoinette. I think primarily because the design seemed so improbable. It looked like a canoe with wings with a pilot precariously plopped in the middle. I guess it shouldn’t be surprising, designer Levavasseur started out designing boats and boat engines. The Flyer may look fragile, but it was an outstanding aeroplane that helped Hubert (sometimes listed as Herbert) Latham set a number of height and speed records.
It was powered by Levavasseur’s magnificent V8 (and later) V16 Antoinette engine.
55/60 HP Antoinette Engine – Le Salon de l’Aéronautique : moteur Antoinette 55/60 HP : [photographie de presse] / Agence Meurisse – image courtesy BNF/Gallacia
Latham attempted an English Channel (1909) crossing but had to ditch the Antoinette in the water. Bleriot beat him across the Channel the next day.
Hubert Latham (left) and Leon Levavasseur (right) Calais 1909 for the English Channel crossing attempt – image courtesy BNF/Gallica
3rd aeroplane – Antoinette Flyer ready to try the Channel crossing – Image courtesty BNF/Galacia – Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Philosophie, histoire, sciences de l’homme, FOL-LC6-87
Latham in cockpit of Antoinette ready to try Channel crossing 1909 – image courtesy BNF/Gallica
Despite this disappointment, Latham went on to set many records including air speed and distance including:
August, Riems Airshow (Grande Semaine d’Aviation de la Champagne) world altitude record of 155 metres (509ft) 1910
January, Mourmelon-le-Grand, France, world altitude record of 1,100 metres (3,600 ft)
April Nice Airshow world airspeed record of 48.186 miles per hour (77.548 km/h)
July second Riems Airshow (Grande Semaine de l’Aviation de la Champagne), world altitude record of 1,384 m (4,541 ft)
All while flying an Antoinette VI or VII
Hubert Latham 1909 Airshow –
La Revue aérienne / directeur Emile Mousset Author : Ligue nationale aérienne, Paris. Auteur du texte Publisher : [s.n.] (Paris) Publication date : 1909-09-10 Contributor : Mousset, Émile. Éditeur scientifique – image courtesy BNF/Galacia
I’ve looked around for postage stamps showing Latham, Levavasseur or the Antoinette and have been terribly disappointed. To date, I haven’t been able to find any postage or cinderellas commemorating them, although I’m pretty sure I’ll eventually stumble across at least a Cinderella.
I’m back lurking around Vance Auction’s October listings, this time looking at the airmails. Oh and be still my beating heart! The first offerings in Canadian semi-postals knocked my socks off. Now is the time to dig up some extra cash and go wild. What has my pulse racing? Check them out:
Image courtesy Vance Auctions
Image courtesy Vance Auctions
Image courtesy Vance Auctions
Image courtesy Vance Auctions
I’m always blown away by them when I see them. They are on my fantasy “one day I’ll own them” list. The first is an Aug 1918 CLP2 tete beche pair. Vance describes them as VF, OG and well centred. Estimate on this is $1,500 (lot #6759). I went to a stamp show (quite a few years ago) and one of the sellers had a couple singles on display. That was the only time I’ve been able to get so close I could see all the detail. Great propaganda pieces.
Moving on through the list – 3 CPL3 AUG 25, 1919 Aeroclub Canada stamps, including a used with a good cachet estimated $900.
The cachet is strong and doesn’t look like it’s suffered any fading over time – ‘AERIAL MAIL AUG 25, 1919 TORONTO CANADA’ . All three are worth checking out if you’re a semi-official collector. Check out lots 6760 to 6762.
Rounding out the list are two beautiful deep red Estevan – Winnipeg FF semis from Oct 1 1924.
If you have an eye for cachets, CLP5 and CLP5i are the ones to look at. Both have a little biplane stamped under the By Air Mail | First Flight, but CLP5i version is picture perfect and still strong 94 year later. Estimates $250 and $275.
Vance Auctions #333 Oct 11 catalogue is online now – http://www.vanceauctions.com. While over there don’t forget to check out their blog. They recently posted an interesting bit on the lathe work on Canadian Admirals.
John H. Talman stamps will have an auction sometime this fall. At last. I’ve been waiting months for the announcement.
He’s going to keep us waiting for the date, but I expect it’ll be sometime the end of Sept. It’s been awhile since his last auction and I’m really looking forward to it. If you’re in Toronto, it’s a chance to attend a friendly, relaxed auction with some nice people in attendance. I enjoy his auctions, but don’t get down to them often. Hopefully I’ll be able to go this fall. Auctions are usually held at the Eagle’s Club at 17 Elm, Toronto ON M5G 1H1, downtown but check back closer to auction day to be sure.
There are only 17 items posted to date, and no images. Talman usually has a good selection of airmails, and superb Canadian covers on offer but we’ll have to be patient until the rest of the items are listed. It’ll be interesting to see how the catalogue shakes out -> http://talmanstamps.com/
And before I forget, check out Talman’s page over at Hipstamp for ongoing online auctions -> https://www.hipstamp.com/store/john-talman-stamps-collectibles. If you aren’t familiar with HipStamp, it’s a safe and saner alternative to eBay, which is so rife with scammers I turn a cynical eye to pretty much most sales now. There is also a section for postcards (HipCard) and comics (HipComics) which I’m going to start looking thoroughly examining. Yes, I collect comics – well only Scrooge McDuck comics, but I enjoy looking through the selection. I’ll throw interesting items up, from both postcards and comics, as I see them. Lots of fun!
For those following my previous post on Vance Auction’s Hindenburg salvaged mail, that auction is tomorrow. Results usually take a couple of weeks before they’re posted, but I’ll keep an eye open for realised prices. I can’t wait to see if it comes close to the 8 grand listed.
A badly burned salvaged cover from the Hindenburg Zeppelin disaster
Have you figured out what it is? Here’s a hint: Think Zeppelin mail. This chance to own a piece of history is coming up at the next Vance sale Aug 22, 2018. (Auction item 687)
C54, Tied on part of a charred cover from the 6 May, 1937 HINDENBURG ZEPPELIN DISASTER. Addr to C. Ford in San Francisco with centrally struck red Zeppelin flight cachet. Wrapped in the original cellophane by the Post Office and with P.O. Department Officially Sealed label on reverse. Has 1993 Germany Philatelic Society Certificate and 1993 Dr J. Simon Certificate. A VERY RARE EXAMPLE OF A HINDENBURG CRASH COVER FROM THE MOST FAMOUS AIR DISASTER IN HISTORY
The cover, from one of the most famous air disasters in history, was one of only 372 salvaged from the 17,000 letters the Hindenburg carried on it’s last flight. Out of those 372, 176 suffered no damaged because they were being held in protective pouches. The rest (this one included) were pieced together afterwards by diligent US postal officials, sealed and sent on to their destination. This one has an authentication certificate, which is mandatory given the high number of forgeries about. It’s unusual to see one come for auction and it’ll be interesting to see what the final price is.
If you look closely, you can just make out an address and post mark. The original US post Officially Sealed stamp is in place along with the salvage wrapping. It originally carried the C54 Swastika, Sun, Globe and Eagle German airmail stamp – 100pf, like the one below, but I couldn’t spot it. I think it’ll take a careful examination to see the remnants.
Note: the number of covers that survived varies between 358 to 372. Zeppelin authority Dieter Leder from the Zeppelin Study Group pegs the number at 372, which is the one I use in the article.