Recently I noticed two British New Guinea/Papua items offered in the Cherrystone Auction 20 Jan 2005. The question that these items gave rise to was about the status of these so-called proofs.

The two sets of proofs were offered as lots 1614 and 1615. The photos, one set is shown in Figure 1, appeared virtually identical. Both lots were described as:

“PAPUA NEW GUINEA (sic) 1901 1sh Lakatoi, proof of the frame, vignette and finished design, all in indigo, v.f. and rare Cat. #7P minimum bid US$1,450.00”.

The Catalog number 7 is probably a Scott number. The corresponding Gibbons number (Reference 2) would be the same.

On consulting Hamilton Croaker’s work on the Lakatois (reference 1), I found that there was no reference to them. Given his extensive research and collection, it seems difficult to believe that he was unaware of the exist ence of these items – especially when there appear to be at least two of each.

Does any reader have some comments about the status or authenticity of the items? Is it possible that they were a forger’s “proofs”?


1. Croaker, Hamilton “Lakatoi I, British New Guinea and De La Rue” (Philatelic Society of NSW, Sydney 1979)

2. Gibbons, Stanley “Commonwealth & British Empire Stamps 1840 – 1952” (Stanley Gibbons, London 2002)

This article was originally published in The Journal of the Philatelic Society of NSW (February 2004) and is republished here by kind permission of the author.