• Dear all,

    I would like to inform you, that the collection of Denis Vandervelde wil be sold at Cavendish-Auctions (in total 230 lots, including many unique or rare items). This will be a festival for disinfected mail and to honour Denis as the founder of our Disinfected Mail Study Circle and mentor regarding postal history and disinfected mail in special for many of us I wish that as much as possible will pay attention to this unique offer.

    The auction will take place on 8 March 2023.

    The catalogue will be on-line by 13 February, and can be accessed at . The printed catalogue will be available week beginning 13 February.


    The following "biography" was provided by Cavendish-Auctions:

    Denis Vandervelde’s interest in Postal History began while he was a student at Oxford University in the early 1950s. He is undoubtedly a truly Pioneer Postal Historian because he has been collecting for over 60 years; he is the preeminent collector of disinfected mail and the principal world-renowned expert in that field. Denis’s interest in disinfected mail was recently chronicled in the 2021 book ‘Until Proven Safe’, by Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley. This book includes more than 20 references to Denis and specifically quotes him several times. For example, he told the authors that when evacuated from London during the Blitz in 1940, he realised that he would never excel as a philatelist because he was both “penniless, and worse, colour-blind”…! Focusing subsequently on prestamp mail was clearly the ideal solution. In recent years, Denis has sadly suffered very poor health following a fall, and so he has now decided to part with all of his collections, because it is no longer possible for him to enjoy them. He very much hopes that other collectors will enjoy the material in the lots that follow as much as he has done (in some cases for over half a century!).

    This is probably the largest collection of Disinfected Mail ever to have come under the hammer, and so this auction undoubtedly represents a unique opportunity for collectors to add many ‘finest available’ and/or ‘one of a kind’ items – as well as many other rarities - to their collections. Denis joined the prestigious Society of Postal Historians in 1963, served as the society’s Secretary from 1967 to 1971, edited its magazine ‘Postscript’ from 1972 to 1981, and is now a Life Fellow. He has significantly added to our knowledge of worldwide disinfected mail over many years, writing numerous articles that greatly expanded the available information first published in Meyer’s superb 1962 “Disinfected Mail” handbook. Denis founded the Disinfected Mail Study Circle in 1973 and edited its newsletter, Pratique, for decades. In addition, he has maintained an active interest in Holy Land Postal History (especially crash mail) and he is a former editor of both the Holy Land Philatelic Society magazine and of the TPO and Seapost magazine. His collections of these other areas are also very significant; they will be offered along with his other varied collections in another Cavendish auction later in 2023.

    Denis has aimed to gather together examples of every available lazaretto wax seal and handstruck (or manuscript) marking on covers, alongside many fascinating printed or manuscript public notices that document quarantine regulations from all around the world which led to the disinfection of mail (from the 17th to the 20th centuries), together with ‘health passports’ both for individuals and ships. The collection also includes special studies of Leper Colony Mail and covers related to Vaccination or animal and plant importation restrictions.