New Guinea, 1888-1942
The Stuart Leven
Wednesday 8th October 2008
"All collectors of New Guinea
will find items of interest and fascination
in the outstanding Stuart Leven
We are delighted to present the outstanding collection of New
Guinea postal history and stamps formed by Stuart Leven of
California. The collection has been formed over a period of more than
forty years and includes much material that has not been seen by two generations
of collectors. The whole period of New Guinea's postal activities is
covered - from the establishment of the first post office in German New Guinea
in 1888, through the military occupation with G.R.I. and N.W. PACIFIC ISLANDS
overprints, to the Mandate period and up to the Japanese occupation of 1942.
While the strength of the collection is in the postal history, with over 1,000
covers including many important commercial usages, there are some marvellous
highlights in the stamps as well.
All the German New Guinea post offices are
represented, with many fine covers and postcards. Among the rarer offices are
fine strikes of the Hatzfeldthafen (open 1888-1891)
and Kerawara (open 1888-1890) (Fig. 2) datestamps on
pieces and a 1914 cover from Deulon to Germany with a boxed 'Via Sibirien'
routing mark. There is a wonderful group of active service covers for the period
late 1914/early 1915, including examples with the straight-line markings of
Friedrich-Wilhelmshafen (Fig. 3), Rabaul and
Morobe, and with usages to Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A.
There are useful G.R.I. overprints up to the 2s/2m, the most
unusual item being a pair of the Kawieng registration labels with an additional
diagonal impression of the post office name. The G.R.I.'s are
well-represented on cover with some interesting frankings which appear
commercial, one with 1d on 5pf to Sydney cancelled 'Simpsonhafen' straight-line,
and another with 1d on 3pf 'OS' to England with unit handstamp (Fig. 4). The very rare
Friedrich-Wilhelmshafen G.R.I. handstamp is represented by a
30pf on cover (Fig.
5), and there is a fine holding of the overprinted postcards.
The use of Australian stamps includes a spectacular 1915 cover with ½d,
2d, 3d and 1/- Kangaroos punctured 'OS' from Rabaul to Sydney
6). The famous Rev. Thiele correspondence is well-represented,
and most of the provisional handstamps are present, as well as the various
The N.W. PACIFIC ISLANDS overprints are a
major group. The stamps themselves have not been collected on a highly
specialised basis, but nevertheless include some important items, highlighted by
the fabled 2½d Second Wmk 'abc' strip of three (Fig. 7). This is in
fine mint condition with none of the staining often associated with this stamp.
It is likely that two sheets (and not one as is often stated) of these stamps
were issued, but only one sheet passed intact into collector's hands. Of the six
possible 'abc' strips from this sheet, two were subsequently cancelled-to-order,
and one other is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.
Our enquiries indicate that a mint 'abc' strip of the
2½d Second Wmk has not been offered at auction since 1977 (in the U.K.) and that
one has never before been offered at auction in Australia.
Also present are panes of the 3d Third Wmk including fifteen
Die II units, the 5th setting 1d including the two substituted clichés, and an
example of the 5th setting £1 (Fig. 8). The covers
are a very impressive group and once again include an exceptional range of
commercial usages. The 1d on 1/- used on cover is a very rare usage
(Fig. 9) and
there are examples of combination usages with G.R.I. overprints, use on
Australian stationery and active service lettercards, and from Nauru. The study
of the post offices is extensive, and all are represented. The 'OS'
punctures, underrated in the past, have become very popular in recent
times. The collection contains one of the finest lots of these stamps on
cover ever formed, including several exceptional frankings to the
U.S.A. which have likely never been offered before at auction, including the 1d
violet and 6d, and 4d blue (Fig. 10).
The Mandate period comprises a very extensive study of
the post offices, with the various postal markings on adhesive or on
cover and virtually all rarer types present. Again, there and numerous
commercial usages, with the spectacular 'DISTRICT OFFICE'
datestamps, registration markings and censor markings/tapes a feature. An
example is the only recorded 'NEW GUINEA VOLUNTEER RIFLES'
handstamp on a 1939 cover (Fig. 11).