Sotheby's three-day auction of 'The Great Britain Philatelic Collections of Lady Mairi Bury' concluded on Friday bringing a staggering 3 million pounds (4.8 million dollars) exceeding pre-sale expectations of 2.6 million pounds.

The top lot of the sale was 'The Balance of Lady Mairi's collection of King Edward VII' stamps, mounted on 91 pages to the highest exhibition standard and housed in two exhibition boxes.

Lady Mairi formed one of the finest Great British postage stamp collections to appear on the market in the last quarter of a century, both rare in content and in impeccable condition, with superlative examples of the penny black and two-pence blue among an extraordinary array of items of philatelic interest. Throughout her remarkable life, during which stamp collecting was just one of the many pursuits she tackled with the most incredible detail, Lady Mairi seeked out items that added anything of interest to her collection, said Richard Ashton, Sotheby's Worldwide Philatelic Consultant in a post-auction statement.

Apart from the King Edward VII stamps, other top lots of the auction included an unused 1840 Two Pence Blue, Plate 1, sold for 43,200 pounds and a complete sheet of blue stamps sold for 30,000 pounds.

Another lot which received a very high price (36,000 pounds) was the 'Penny Black'. It was an Imprimatur from the 'Second Registration Sheet', known as the 'VR' Official Penny Black. The stamp was prepared for official use in April 1840 but remained unissued.