This collection has become the definitive study of the great rarities of Great Britain Officials, an area of collecting that has been plagued with forgeries for decades.
Astley's mission to form the basis of certification for these stamps began in the 1950s when he attended some of the country's major philatelic auctions. The turning point in his study came when Astley privately acquired reference blocks from the De La Rue archive, which helped him note the position of the overprints, watermarks and other identifying features.
It was the analysis of these electrotypes that helped him certify genuine examples for the very first time. As a result, Michael Astley was considered the definitive voice in the authentication of Great Britain Officials, with The Royal Philatelic Society London (RPS) and British Philatelic Association (BPS) citing him as a reference.
Here we present a collection much more significant than a collection of one-of-each, but an assembly of genuine examples.