Philatelic Details

The Victor Hugo cover franked with three examples of Great Britain’s most iconic stamp.

TrioThe Victor Hugo cover, which was sent by Victor Hugo from Guernsey to his publishers in Brussels on Monday the 27th November 1865, is franked with three of of the world’s most iconic stamps – the Great Britain 1858-79 1d rose-red showing a plate number 77.

Only seven other examples of this stamp are still known to exist today. One unused example, stamp AB, resides in the Royal collection, one unused example, stamp BA owned by Tapling and a used example, stamp PH, reside at the British Library, and three used examples stamps LL, PI and MI in private hands. The whereabouts of the seventh unused example stamp AC is unknown.

This cover is the most forensically tested philatelic item known. Scientific examinations by internationally recognised bodies using state of the art analytical equipment (unprecedented in philatelic history) have unequivocally demonstrated that the stamps are completely genuine. The Victor Hugo cover now has three certificates of opinion from three philatelic expert bodies declaring the stamps as completely genuine.

A cover written in the hand of the famous playwright Victor Hugo franked with three used examples of this stamp can only be regarded as a World-Class Philatelic Gem.




Philatelic details



1864 letters in all four corners, watermark Large Crown Die II, perf. 14, 1d rose-red (SG43) ‘Plate 77’.

A vertical pair and a single (irregular block of three) on large part envelope from Guernsey to Brussels cancelled by ‘324’duplex date stamp of 27th November 1865, showing ‘PD’ in circle in red and, on the reverse, the Belgian TPO transit and the Brussels arrival c.d.s. of 28th November 1865.  The cover was mailed correctly at the 3d rate, the rate required to send mail from Great Britain to Belgium at that time * and carries the following cancels:

1- The Guernsey duplex hand stamp G16b showing the pointed ‘four’ in ‘324’ was in use in Guernsey between 1862 and 1867.  **
The cover which is dated 27th November 1865 falls within these dates.** All three stamps are tied by this handstamp alongside is the ‘Guernsey A’ c.d.s. of NO 27 65.
2- The ‘PD’ (Paid to Destination) in a circle mark, which was applied in red, was applied to letters going beyond France indicating payment for the English and French postage. This ‘PD’ mark, SG type 34 ** was in use in Guernsey between 1866 and 1873.
The mark on this cover precedes this date by two months. **
3- ANGLETERE/AMB. OUEST2- A Belgian TPO cancel used on the Ostend-Brussels railway line.
4- BRUXEL arrival c.d.s. of 28 NO 65.

The cover was mailed correctly at the 3d rate *, the rate required to send mail from Great Britain directly to Belgium at that time.

The cover is addressed by the hand of the famous French Playwright Victor Hugo.

* British Letter Mail to Overseas Destinations 1840-1875 –  Jane and Michael Moubray
** Stanley Gibbons Channel Islands Postal History Catalogue –  Stanley Gibbons Limited