Blue Mauritius, book cover

Welcome to the Blue Mauritius Research Companion

This website contains biographical and bibliographical information about the Post Office Mauritius stamps and subjects related to them. It is based on my research for the book Blue Mauritius: The Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Stamps.

Journal Article

Nathan, Walter
Reminiscences of a Philatelist
Stamp Collectors' Fortnightly
vol. 7, no. 158, 30 March 1901, p. 13

Walter Nathan, another respected philatelist, wrote of a tale of fraud, also from before 1890, in a series of reminiscences for the Stamp Collectors' Fortnightly. He had seen an advertisement from a gentleman who claimed to have had much correspondence with Mauritius and the Australian colonies during the period 1847 to 1857, and who was prepared to part with six of the 'Post Paid' and a pair of the 'Post Office'. The philatelist decided to look into it and duly presented himself at the private address in North London, and with difficulty found himself a seat in a crowded room, surrounded by 'South Pacific canoes and weapons, Maori nulrullas, Japanese enamels, Chinese gongs, ivories, jade and brass work - thrown together in chaotic heaps'. He was, it seemed, in the abode of a well-travelled and eclectic collector. The owner of the stamps, an elderly gentleman, launched into 'a long story of his birth, education and travels' when the thought suddenly occurred to Nathan that 'perhaps I was being mesmerised (hypnotism was a word which had not then dribbled from medical circles into general use), and I sat up alert'. Informing the gentleman that he should like to see some stamps, Nathan was then told that the owner had six 'Post Office Mauritius'. While the owner was searching for the stamps among the clutter, a knock came at the door. It was a telegram purporting to be from Philipp von Ferrary, offering £100 for each specimen of the 'Post Office' stamps. The elderly gentleman was unable to find the stamps and Nathan paid £5 for the stamp album he had been examining in the meantime. He offered £110 for a single specimen of the 'Post Office' and the owner promised to call on Nathan on the morrow to show him the 'Post Office' stamps (presuming he could find them among the clutter). Perhaps he never did find them, for Nathan never saw the gentleman again. When he opened his £5 purchase at home, he found that all the good stamps contained in the album had been removed from under his very nose. 'I think', Nathan mused, 'that old gentleman missed his walk in life when he forsook the certain fortune he would have secured as a conjurer, for I never saw a neater trick done with more celerity on any public stage'.


See also