Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The L'Estrange Queensland Collection

Here is some information on the Fred L'Estrange Collection now at the Queensland Museum. It is reproduced from the London Philatelist, October 1950, p. 202. The collection contains some beautiful 1st sideface material including the only known one penny bisect.

"To the Editor,

For some years I have been considering the matter of assisting the State of Queensland by providing a collection of the stamps of this colony open for inspection by the general public, and in addition, to be an attraction to interstate and overseas visitors, the collection to be suitably housed, protected, and safeguarded against interference, somewhat on the lines of the White collection in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, New South Wales, copying the Tapling layout.

As you are no doubt aware (my collection having been referred to in The Postage Stamps of Queensland), I was in a position to provide a collection which could do justice to philately as far as Queensland is concerned, and having been approached by the Oxley Memorial Library, I offered to transfer my collection through the State Government to them at a figure to be mutually agreed upon at or below half its cash value in Australia. I realised that I could have been selfish and obtained more in the open market, but such action would have deprived the State of a valuable asset from the historical, educational, scientific, and national viewpoint.

I took out the value of the collection at £1,750 cash and made a firm offer to part with it at £875. Later, it was independently valued on behalf of the Library at £2,500 conservative open market, referred to the Minister of Education, who quickly acquired it for the Oxley Library through the Library Board of Queensland; it has now been handed to them temporarily mounted for safe keeping pending the provision of a suitable means of display. I understand the collection will be referred to as "The F. R. L'Estrange collection of the stamps of Queensland."

As a matter of interest I should explain that the collection contains the best copy or copies of every different stamp which I have acquired during the past 45 years of keen collecting. All blocks, pairs, strips, pieces, and complete sheets have been included; all duplicate copies of uncatalogued items have been included for the reason that definite proof or further investigation may be necessary. For example, there are approximately 30 covers with New South Wales stamps used in Queensland prior to separation, showing nearly all the recorded postmarks; mail routes can be traced. Approximately 10 used copies of the equivalent of S.G. No. 115 perf. 12 square, top, bottom, and both sides, with gum, such being the peculiarity of this stamp. Mint and used copies of the equivalent of S.G. No. 204 perforated 12 including a mint block of 4.

While on the subject of uncatalogued stamps, I should mention that further research has enabled items to be included since the late Rev. Jas. Mursell viewed my collection prior to the issue of your reference book. I have not recorded all—they include— Say 50 "a" 2d. value—12 square x 13 pin. Say 50 "b" registered—12 square x 13 pin. Equivalent of No. 184 perf. 12. No. 229 without watermark. No. 229 watermarked with double lined "Y" sideways.

A copy of the 1879 Id. used on a newspaper bisected which I understand was accepted pending the issue of the ½d. on Id. stamp. Of course, the block of 4, No. 434 imperf, vert, between has gone with the collection. I have retained all ordinary duplicates of which I have many thousands for two reasons— Firstly, to allow me to continue effective research, and secondly, to prevent the handling of duplicates by unqualified persons or those with personal interests. The Library has asked me to act as curator pro tern., and I have agreed subject to a Library representative being present at all times when the collection is opened.

The details contained in this letter are somewhat lengthy, but as the information I have given you in regard to what I call 50(a)-50(6), etc., has not, so far, been disclosed, I felt that you should be the first to know.

In regard to my reaction in parting with the main collection —"I am sorry," "I am pleased" — I feel that the collection will be on display in the near future and not held by me for years, only to be seen occasionally. I can, if time permits, still continue to make use of the knowledge I have gained, and continue research, but above all, from the philatelic point of view, Queensland can now show a worthwhile collection of her stamps compiled by a Queenslander (who, while a youth, spent 12 years in England, Ireland, and United States of America), and who is still living to assist the new owner.

Yours faithfully,

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