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Phoenix-like Sphinx

Which of the Jubilee family has had a more chequered history than the Egyptian seal? An orphan for decades, it was then accepted as a frank and given catalogue status. A rapid rise in value was to be expected for the rarest Jubilee member. With catalogue value of £225 (m/m) or £180 (u), it must be a regret to those selling a collection as “...complete except for Egypt” that they didn’t pick one up when they cost half a crown.

A full booklet pane pulled from its staples. Broken “U” varieties appear at 2/2 & 2/4, the thin stroke to the “N” at 3/1 & 3/3 and pinholes (produced by the overprinting process) occur at 2/4, 5/1, 3/1 & 2/1.

All 27,000 seals were placed in booklets of a hundred, (5 panes of 20). Supposedly, there was a purchase limit of ten seals per customer which makes a complete pane like this unlikely to have survived, let alone a complete booklet. A whole booklet is rumoured to exist in the U.S.A. and another has recently been reported in Egypt itself. Welcome would be a scan from one of the owners even if the booklets do boast only a plain card cover.

Seal on the reverse of a first day cover to RAF Staff College, Andover, tied by a red retta with No 14 prepaid crowned circle and cds of Alexandria and Abu Qir, both for 6 Ma 35.

Other factors conspired to make first day covers few and far between. Many servicemen were unaware of the seal’s existance and at most stations, with the day of issue being a service holiday, letters posted in the afternoon missed the only collection that day.

A “last day” cover to Kent bearing, on its reverse, the 1 piastre seal with the narrow stroke to the “N” tied by a small black retta with, on the front, M.P.O. Cairo cds for 31 De 35 & No 19 prepaid crowned circle.

For most territories, the Jubilee stamps were avaiable until the end of 1935 but, with the Egyptian seal being sold out within three days, this must present a problem to collectors of last day covers. Perhaps the cover above, postmarked 31st December, ranks as a de facto last day cover.

Thought to be colour trials are the above imperforate basic stamp in brown and a perforated version of the overprinted stamp with the colours reversed. Further information on these two would be most welcome. For the latter image, we are indebted to Roger West of Phoenix International Auctions, where this example was sold recently for £370.

AJA March 05