Life Sentence

Random thoughts about publishing, stamp collecting, politics, popular music of the 60s and 70s, mooses, and my motley other obsessions.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

1920 Ross Smith cover

Sometimes really amazing things turn up on eBay. This is probably the best Australian airmail cover I've ever seen. A pristine Vickers Vimy cover from the first Britain to Australia airmail flight, addressed to Ross Smith -- the pilot.

I'm really curious to see how well it does on eBay. I'm the current high bidder at $255. That won't last!

A fun anecdote about the Vimy stamp. I was in Paris three years ago. I spotted a small stamp store in a very touristy area near the Louvre. It was run by a very bored middle-aged woman. I asked to see her "Australie." I was flipping through the pathetically mundane offerings when I saw a pristine used Vimy, with the right cancel -- very obviously genuine. I asked the woman how much she wanted for it. She shrugged. She looked at the stamp. She looked at me. She looked at the stamp again. Finally, resignedly, she decided she probably should look it up. So she hauled herself off her stool and took down the appropriate volume of Yvert and Tellier, which unfortunately (unlike most catalogues) lists the stamp. As she found the listing, her eyebrows shot up, and she said, "ooh la la!"

"C'est vrai?" she asked me.

"Oui, c'est vrai," I responded, pushing my French to its limits.

At which she took the envelope with the stamp and put it under the counter. She managed to convey the information that it was no longer for sale, and that she'd be consigning it to an auction. Smart lady. Oh well.