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Pressrelease January 2021

Successful Corinphila auction series in Zurich (25-30 January 2021) - philatelic rarities caused a sensation

In the week from 25 to 30 January 2021, Corinphila, Switzerland's oldest stamp auction house, held the series of auctions 257 to 264. Despite the cancellation of the "classic" room auction at short notice due to Corona, the participation of bidders, especially online, was almost sensational. The huge demand for the material presented in eight luxury auction catalogues was exceptionally high on all the days and intense bidding "battles" with greatly increased bids were not uncommon. Accordingly, the price level was more than remarkable in many areas and it was clearly felt that philately is a real bright spot for many collectors, especially in times like these.

Unique special collections from Europe and the whole world

A wide range of valuable lots comprised the top-quality material from the South American countries, which among other things included the third part of the Brian Moorhouse estate (258th auction) as well as a specialised collection of the first issue of Ecuador (259th auction). From proofs to rare stamps and multiples to postal history rarities, the material being offered was of a high quality all along the line. No less impressive was the material from the collection of Pietro Provera (260th auction) with a focus on Italy and France as well as other valuable material from European collecting areas. The highly regarded "Provera quality" of the many rarities made collectors' hearts beat faster. A total hammer price of CHF 836,000 compared to the starting price of CHF 510,000 for the lots in the Pietro Provera collection (Part 1) speaks for itself.

With the Gregory Frantz collection - Stamp Issuing Steamship Companies, an extraordinary collection came to up for sale that also caused a sensation. The philatelic documentation of all the steamship companies that had issued their own private stamps for carrying mail on their ships comprised a unique variety of material, a number of rarities included. The highly-regarded items were very well received and the starting price of CHF 244,000 was more than doubled with a total hammer price of CHF 498,000.

Highlights of Swiss Philately and the ERIVAN Collection

As usual with Corinphila, the outstanding Switzerland material enjoyed great demand. The "Franco-Prussian War - Impact on Swiss Postal History 1866-1871" collection (Auction 263) presented a unique postal history collection that was truly unparalleled and had already been described in advance as a "milestone". This was contrasted by an extensive specialised "Switzerland & Liechtenstein" catalogue (Auction 264), in which the material ranged from the classical to the modern and covered all facets of Swiss philately, also achieving top prices.

The sale of the second part of the ERIVAN "Swiss Cantonal and Federal Stamps" collection may be seen as the "crowning" finale. A total of 42 selected rarities with a total starting price of CHF 636,000 were offered, and sold for CHF 1.5 million (including buyer's premium). The undisputed highlight was the legendary "Greifensee cover", an icon of Swiss philately. An anonymous bidder bought the valuable cover against three competitors for CHF 650,000 (incl. buyer's premium). The starting price was CHF 300,000. A block of four "Winterthur" stamps on cover achieved a fabulous price of CHF 280,000 (incl. buyer's premium), more than tripling its starting price of CHF 75,000, to give just two examples.  

Trends and developments

The extraordinary results of the auction are the best evidence of a historical development in philately. The preoccupation with stamps has come back into focus for many people, who are (re)discovering for themselves the fascination of stamps and covers within their own four walls. The general increase in demand, especially in the area of rarities, testifies to the enthusiasm of collectors. Top items of selected quality are more sought-after than ever, which is especially true of those that have significant provenance. Documenting the history and provenance of a stamp or cover is of great value. The fact that a rare stamp or valuable cover had already graced the collection of a famous previous owner noticeably increases not only the interest but also the commitment of the bidders.

A literally indispensable success factor of the past auction series was once again the "online live bidding". The inability to hold a standard type auction with room participation, due to the progress of the pandemic was not an obstacle for many collectors to actively participate in the auction. Thanks to the experience of 15 years in the field of "online live bidding", the Corinphila team was able to adapt to these requirements and to the wishes of the customers at short notice. The proven system worked flawlessly at all times and thus offered all interested parties the possibility of conveniently participating in the auction from their homes. How well this was received is shown by the record participation in this area, which has never been as high as during the past auction week.

The complete list of prices realised is available online at 

The next Corinphila auction series will take place in Zurich from 7 to 12 June 2021 (closing date for consignments 1. April 2021). Further information at: Corinphila Auktionen AG, Wiesenstrasse 8, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland. Telephone: + 41 (0)44 389 9191, Fax + 41 (0)44 389 9195, Email:, Internet:


Europe & Overseas (257th auction)

Lot 1247: Romania 1858, 27 parale on rose, used. Provenance: King Farouk collection (1954), CHF 24,400 (incl. buyer's premium)

Lot 1593: Mauritius 1848, 1d. orange-vermilion, earliest impression, used. Provenance:  Maurice Burrus collection (1963) CHF 17,690 (incl. buyer's premium)

Latin America – Brian Moorhouse (258th auction)

Lot 3481: Guatemala 1871, 1c. ochre on buff, a pair and a strip of four used on cover to Coban. CHF 34,100 (incl. buyer's premium)

Ecuador (259th auction)

Lot 4007: 1872 1 real orange buff and 1 real yellow used in combination with France 1867 30c. laureate 30c. brown (pair) on cover to Lima.  CHF 11,590 (incl. buyer's premium)

Italy, France and European Countries – the Ing. Pietro Provera Collection (260th auction)

Lot 5581: Papal States 1856, 1 sc. carmine and a pair of 5 baj. pale rose on cover to Lisbon. CHF 35,380 (incl. buyer's premium)

Stamp Issuing Steamship Companies (261st auction)

Lot 6246: Danube & Black Sea Line Steamers (T.B. Morton & Co.) 1870 1 pi. red used with 1872 10 pa. on entire from Constantinople to Galatz. Provenance: Julius Steindler collection (1972) CHF 17,690 (incl. buyer's premium)

Lot 6279: Lady McLeod 1847, (5c.) blue used on cover from San Fernando to Port of Spain. Provenance: Philipp von Ferrary (1929), CHF 19,520 (incl. buyer's premium)

The ERIVAN Collection (262nd auction)

Lot 7003: Zurich 1843, the 'Notariat Greifensee' cover with Zurich 4 rp. and pair of Zurich 6 rp. on registered cover to Wildberg. Provenance: Paul Mirabaud (Paris 1900 World Exhibition), Emil Diem-Saxer (NABA 1934, Zurich), Maurice Burrus (1964), 'HELVETICUS' (1991). CHF 658,800 (incl. buyer's premium)

Lot 7010: Zurich, the 'Winterthur' 2½ rp. in a block of four on cover cancelled with blue-green rosettes. Provenance: Paul MIrabaud (Paris 1900 World Exhibition), Alfred F. Lichtenstein (IPOSTA 1930, Berlin), CHF 280,600 (incl. buyer's premium).

Franco-Prussian War - Impact on Swiss Postal History (263rd auction)

Lot 8523: 1871, free postage for the Bourbaki Army interned in Switzerland: a cover with mixed Egyptian-Italian franking from Cairo to Schaffhausen to a French prisoner of war, forwarded with 'free postage' stamp to Chambery and Versailles. CHF 12,200 (incl. buyer’s premium)

Switzerland & Liechtenstein (264th auction)

Lot 8163: 1850, RAYON II, 10 rp. with inverted yellow, used. CHF 73,200 (incl. buyer's premium)