tradition and experience in classic philately since 1919

Press Release December Sale 2019

45 stamps sold for over 1 million Swiss francs - stamps from the ERIVAN collection made top prices in the Corinphila auction series

The end of the Corinphila centenary year could hardly have been more spectacular. Founded 100 years ago, the traditional Swiss company presented one of the largest and most valuable offers of material in the company's history at the series of auctions 244 to 249 from 3 to 7 December 2019. In the international financial centre of Zurich, the offering of rare and high-quality philatelic material from all over the world inspired bidders all along the line. Above all, there was the first part of the major Swiss stamp collection of the German entrepreneur Erivan Haub, which alone was sold for over 1 million Swiss francs.

Highlights of the 'ERIVAN Collection - Switzerland and Zeppelin Mail': the prices achieved exceeded expectations

In the run-up to the auction, collectors were already showing great interest in the 'Swiss cantonal and federal stamps' collection. The auction room was accordingly full. In the end, sales exceeded all expectations. 'Collectors and dealers from all over the world were extremely motivated and raised the bidding prices in intense competitions between room, telephone and online bidders, sometimes to sensational heights' as Karl Louis, joint managing director of Corinphila Auktionen AG, summarised the bidding.

The undisputed highlight was the result of the 'Nidau' cover. This rarity with the Rayon I light blue of 1851 with complete framed cross is considered an 'icon' of Swiss philately and sold for a remarkable CHF 310,000 (starting price CHF 250,000). A cover with two 'Basle Doves' of 1848 from the rural community of Kleinhüningen to Basle sold for an impressive CHF 220,000 (starting price CHF 150,000).

A sensational bidding 'battle' broke out over an 1856 cover from Winterthur to Manila in the Philippines franked with two Swiss 'Strubel' stamps and an Indian stamp. This rare item (starting price CHF 10,000) caused euphoria in collectors from the auction room in Zurich to India. Up to a price of CHF 60,000, six bidders were still involved in the bidding war. The result was finally decided between a telephone bidder and an online bidder, who drove up the rare item to a fabulous CHF 130,000! This was a spectacle that was hard to believe for those present, which once again demonstrated the power and presence of online live bidding in interaction with classic bidders.

The stamps and covers sold from the 'Swiss cantonal and federal stamps' collection reached up to 40 times the starting price!

The great participation in the room and via the Internet also caused a stir with the rare lots from the 'ERIVAN collection - Zeppelin mail'. The Zeppelin mail was very successful with considerable increases and impressive realisations. In addition to early Zeppelin covers, rare dropped postcards and an on-board postcard from the LZ 129 disaster (realisation: CHF 14,000), mail from all over the world was particularly popular with international customers.

International philatelic material with highlights exceeding catalogue prices

From the great 'BESANÇON' collection another part of the material 'Pre-Union South Africa' came up for sale, which fascinated collectors in such a way that it was shortly before midnight that the last lot was sold. The rare stamps and covers of the forerunner provinces of the Union of South Africa, founded in 1910, as well as the occupation issues during the Boer War around 1900 were in such demand that the prices in some cases increased significantly beyond the catalogue prices. For these comparatively exotic collecting areas, this means new, positive market perspectives and an assessment of the current situation that makes people sit up and take notice.

This trend was also confirmed in other areas, as evidenced by the many special offers in the main catalogue. In particular, the issues of the British Commonwealth, e.g. British Levant, British Occupation of Iraq, Gibraltar and Cyprus impressed the collectors. High-quality, unused single stamps were once again very popular with international collectors and dealers, who literally 'snatched' the rare items.

An unused block of four of the first stamp issue of Heligoland of 1867 caused a minor sensation. From a starting price of CHF 1,500, this rare multiple of the Head Type I increased to an incredible CHF 22,000! A Prussian rarity was similarly impressive. Probably the most famous Prussian plate error, the 'narrow and wide gap' between the stamps of the first issue of 1850, was even offered twice, with a strip of four on cover stealing the proverbial show. From a starting price of CHF 15,000, the cover more than tripled in price and only sold for a fabulous CHF 55,000!

Indispensable success factor: online live bidding

With a further increase in the participation of live online bidders of more than 20% compared to the June 2019 auction, the recent Corinphila auction series has once again demonstrated the importance of the Internet for modern auctions. The prices paid in international collecting areas by Internet bidders from all over the world who successfully participated in the auction via the proven online live bidding system speak for themselves.

Compared to competing 'auction platforms' on the Internet, the advantages for interested buyers are obvious. Instead of a rigid, time-bound sale against the highest bid at a fixed time, the combination of a traditional room auction with online participation in real time offers all possibilities: spontaneous decisions can be made without pressure of time, the bidder can react at short notice when it matters, a bid is only accepted when no more bids are received, and there is always the possibility to adjust the budget at short notice and intervene again in the auction process. Bidders from all over the world use these advantages with great success, as the auctions of recent years have shown - and the trend is rising.

This is also a decisive success factor for consignors, who thus achieve a far greater reach for the sale of their philatelic treasures. The choice of an auction house that actively participates in this development and offers all the possibilities for participation pays off for the consignor.

The complete list of prices realised is available online at

The next Corinphila auction series will take place from 26 to 30 May 2020 in Zurich (closing date for consignments: 15 March 2020). For further information please contact: Corinphila Auktionen AG, Wiesenstrasse 8, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland, Telephone: +41 (0)44 389 9191, Fax: +41 (0)44 389 9195, Email:, Internet: