She was an aristocrat and an eccentric who greeted guests with a cockatoo on her shoulder. Lady Mairi Bury of Mount Stewart, County Down, who died last year, was a colourful character who piloted her first plane aged 11 and her last at 85. She was a close friend of politicians like Harold Macmillan. She was also one of the UK's greatest stamp collectors. Her collection is expected to raise £2.6m at auction in Sotheby's, London, on 24 - 26 November.
Sotheby's have described it as one of the finest collections of British stamps to come on to the market in the past 25 years. The auction house said it would need three days to sell off 2,185 lots.
The collection is also unusual because there are very few stamp collectors who are women.
Lady Mairi started collecting stamps at an early age; later in life she formed important collections of Cook Islands, the Falkland Islands and Hong Kong.
Great Britain became the focus of her collecting activities.
In the collection are fine examples of the penny black and two-pence blue.