1681 The London Penny Post
In 1680, Dockwra and Murray, two undertakers in London, created a system of cheap postal delivery which will beknown as the London Penny Post.
The idea of making a profit by taking very small amounts in large quantities provides a very efficient business whenthe initiative meets a real need. London is in a booming economic time, the process is simple and effective, and thesuccess is immediate.
Messengers come to take mail and small packages, along with the fee of one penny, several times a day in dozens or even hundreds of meeting points. They bring them to sorting offices, which record the payment and print a triangular mark indicating PENNY POST PAID centered with a letter code identifying the location of the office. Then the mail is delivered to the addressee, in London or its suburbs.
Times are polically tough and religious tensions are high. Uncontrolled circulation of documents is favouring thesedition. In 1682, the Duke of York terminates the private ownership of the London Penny Post. The operationthereafter controlled by the government lasted until 1835, with an efficiency more of more reduced due to excessiveincreases of the fees. The early success and the failure of the London Penny Post inspired the great reforms ofRowland Hill, at the origin of the universal postal system.
A mail delivered in the first period, around 1681, is estimated £ 15K, for sale on December 15 by Sotheby's in London. The postmark centered by the letter T identifying the "post office" of the Temple is illustrated in the release shared by AuctionPublicity.
1840 The One Penny Black
2011 SOLD 180 K£ including premium
Before 1840, the mail delivery, paid by the recipient, was long and expensive. Rowland Hill's great achievement was to appreciate that having it paid by the sender was sufficient to significantly increase the volume of mail and reduce the price.
He was able to convince the administration to accept the incredibly low price of one penny, payable by the prior purchase of adhesive stamps or of prepaid covers. The post office had now in charge to ink the stamp on the cover to prevent it from being reused by the recipient.
The success was meteoric, and the One penny black with Victoria's profile is quite common. Stamp collectors are specifically looking to blocks of mint stamps.
At Sotheby's in London on September 21, fans can choose between two remarkable pieces: a block of nine of the plate 4, estimated £ 150K, and a block of six of the plate 7 considered as one of the finest copies in existence, estimated £ 130K.
It is amusing to note that the two small squares at the bottom of the image indicate the position of the stamp on the sheet. It would be unrealistic to try to reconstruct a dedicated sheet of such everyday pieces. Has anyone ever tried to collect all possible positions of the One penny black?
Here are the pages illustrating both lots discussed above : block of nine and block of six.
POST SALE COMMENT
In philately, the hierarchy of prices is often shaken by the buyers. The block of nine stamps was not sold. The block of six stamps exceeded its lower estimate, and was sold £ 180K including premium.
1840 One Penny Black
The mail delivery, paid by the recipient, was long and expensive. A postal reform was desired to eradicate the corruption. Robert Wallace, the Whig member of parliament for Greenock, started the Uniform Penny Post campaign. advocating a monopoly of the government for the postage with a uniform rate whatever the distance within the Kingdom.
In 1837 the social reformer Rowland Hill appreciated that having it paid by the sender was sufficient to significantly increase the volume of mail and reduce the price. He was able to convince the committee presided by Wallace to accept the incredibly low price of one penny, payable by the prior purchase of gummed stamps or special envelopes. The post office had now in charge to ink the stamp on the cover to prevent it from being reused by the recipient.
The basic postage rate was reduced to 4 pence in December 1839 and to 1 penny in February 1840, canceling privileges and fraud before a stamp was available. The first postage stamp in the world was the one penny black with the figure of Queen Victoria in profile to the left, released on May 6, 1840 through a printing of 20 rows of 12 columns per plate.
This achievement marks the transition of the postage between an application for trade and the global purpose accessible to all individuals, triggering the improvement of the circulation of informations and ideas worldwide. Its impact on our current civilization is major.
The stamp bears in its lower corners the record of its position in the printed sheet. The A-I of the plate 1a is the very first regular stamp in the world. It was presented by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Wallace who stuck it on a card annotated by him as the first proof and dated it April 10th 1840, beside a prototype of the proposed postage envelope known as the Mulready stationery.
The Wallace document is estimated £ 4M for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 7, 2021, lot 30. The video shared by LeHuffPost includes a short interview by Reuters with its owner Alan Holyoake.
First penny black stamp could fetch up to £6m at auction https://t.co/uKSkcTafxB— Guardian news (@guardiannews) October 26, 2021
1840 A Test Sheet for the First Stamp
The first adhesive stamp designed to pay for the delivery of mail has been issued in 1840, in England, with the effigy of Queen Victoria. With a face value of 1 penny, this black stamp was used for a year before other colors come brighten the life of the post office clerks of that time.
You know even better this stamp that I just chose as the logo for this group.
There are two specimens in the sale of Spink in London on June 12. Not very rare, it is not excessively expensive : Lot 10, which has all its margins, is estimated 5 K£, and lot 9 cropped in the upper left is necessarily cheaper: 3 K£.
Lot 7 is much more important. This is a sheet of 21x26 cm dated August 1840, where are glued 20 copies of the same print as used for the 1p. Each one is a different colour as a result of ink compositions, with or without oil. Each sample is individually annotated by the author of the trials, a man named JB Bacon.
Spink knows a total of five copies of these test sheets. That offered for sale is estimated 300 K£.
POST SALE COMMENT
This witness of early experiments of stamp manufacturing has not been sold. It is a surprise, and, on the cultural point of view, a disappointment: are philatelists more interested in stamps than in stamp history?
The two copies of 1 penny black have been sold: the better at 8.5 K£ before fees, the other at 3 K£.
1847 A Nice Corner for Franklin
2009 SOLD 72 K$ including premium
In 1847, the first two stamps of the United States are issued. The 5c is the portrait of Franklin and 10c in the likeness of Washington.
The Franklin that Heritage will auction in Dallas this February 5 is the most beautiful copy that has survived to this day. It is in mint condition, still keeping its original gum with the exception of a small area that was slightly "kissed" by a hinging. The dark bown color is fresh as in the day of its printing.
Above all, it still has its margins to the right and bottom, not printed, which attest to its original position at the fourth corner of the plate and let us appreciate the quality of its slightly bluish paper. The other margins are sufficient, do not attain the image and have been cut cleanly. It is not perforated, of course, since the first stamp using this technique was issued in 1854, in the United Kingdom.
Philatelists like earliness, condition, print quality and good centering. Here they have everything they can wish. It turns to amaze me that the estimate is not higher: 100 K $.
POST SALE COMMENT
I was surprised that the estimate was low, but I was wrong. This stamp in exceptional condition remained far below its estimate.
It sold $ 72 K including premium.
1846-1847 Prepayment by the Sender
2012 SOLD for $ 630K including premium by Robert A. Siegel
2018 SOLD for $ 460K including premium
Following the example of the British who created the postage stamp in 1840, the US Congress Act of March 3, 1845 standardized the postal rates, with a basic price at 5 cents. This decision favors payment by the sender rather than by the addressee. The modernization of the US Postage is launched : the prepayment by stamp will become mandatory in 1855.
The new rates take effect on July 1, 1845. A few days later, without waiting for any federal stamps, offices in New York and Baltimore issue provisional stamps.
The postmaster at New Haven chooses another solution, the printing of the prepayment on an envelope prepared by his office. Its administrative wording without illustration is not appealing. A complete envelope survived in good condition. The mark dated October 21 (1845) was hand stamped during the expedition.
In 1895 during an inventory in a commercial firm in Philadelphia, two pre-paid envelopes surface in flawless condition. At the top right of the envelope, its circular pre-impression in carmine red is a negative figure of the eagle and shield with the wording POST OFFICE ANNAPOLIS. The inscriptions '5' and 'PAID' have been added by hand stamps of the same color.
Several examples of the same circular mark on documents or envelopes are known, but the specimens of Philadelphia are the only examples of Annapolis pre-printed envelopes. The hypothesis of a specific request made to the postmaster by a customer who frequently used the postal service could be considered.
The date mark has been hand stamped, confirming that the shipments were made from Annapolis Md on March 20 and April 8. The unidentified year can only be 1846 or 1847.
The March 20 envelope was sold on March 28, 2012 by Siegel for $ 630K including premium over a lower estimate of $ 200K. It is estimated $ 300K for sale by Robert A. Siegel in New York on October 3, lot 3. Here is the link to the section devoted to the Gross collection on the auction house website.
January 1847 The Millbury Stamp
2012 SOLD for $ 460K including premium by Robert A. Siegel
2018 SOLD for $ 354K including premium
When US postal rates became standard in July 1845, New York emerged as the best candidate to the future production of national stamps, thanks to its experience in printing bank notes. The provisional stamps issued by the New York post office constitute a phase of pre-industrialization before the release of the first national stamps in July 1847.
During this period, ten other offices interested in the prepayment process issue provisional stamps. They are spread across nine different states and sometimes serve very small communities, for example Lockport NY which was not yet incorporated as a city at that time.
The solutions practiced by these offices are original and varied. Millbury, a small city near Worcester, Massachusetts, issues a stamp whose characteristics mimic the model from New York.
The Millbury postage stamp exists only in 5 cents with the portrait of Washington, like the New York stamp. Its back is gum plated. Its manufacture is however home made. The portrait is rough, and the stamp is woodcut printed per unit in black ink on a bluish paper.
The production of the Millbury stamp is relatively abundant compared to some other small offices. 18 copies survived, including 8 on envelopes sent from Millbury from August 21, 1846 to January 12, 1847.
The envelope of January 12 has remained in great freshness with a stamp in superb condition. The stamp has been cancelled like a modern stamp, with a red ink marked 'PAID' that overlaps its edge.
The Millbury stamp was a local prepayment facility and not a payment guarantee for the receiving office. This guarantee was provided by the date hand-stamp with the identification of the office of departure, here Milbury Ma. This fantasy spelling with a single 'l' has lost a plausible explanation. A large numeral 5 in a circle confirms the paid price.
This envelope was sold for $ 460K including premium by Siegel on March 28, 2012. It is estimated $ 300K for sale by Robert A. Siegel in New York on October 3, lot 6. Here is the link to the section dedicated to the sale of the Gross collection on the website of the auction house.
1847 Sixty Cents within a Bible
2018 SOLD for $ 590K including premium
Users respond overwhelmingly to the US Postage's offer to reimburse the obsolete stamps through an exchange with the 1851 denominations of 1 cent, 3 cents and 12 cents. 10 cents was not a negligible amount for the user. Unused survivors of the original Washington are rare, even as individual stamps. A block of six and two blocks of four are known.
The block of six Washington surfaced in an auction in 1912, accompanied by a block of six of the first Franklin in perfect condition. They had kept their original gum. Both blocks were sold separately but undoubtedly came from the same estate. The Washington block, in Very Fine condition, has since then been considered as an icon of US philately.
Philatelists have tried to reconstruct its history. One of them, close to the file since the 1912 sale, unveils in 1925 the family name of the original owner. He later acquired the block and published in 1948 an information transmitted to him in a private mail by the expert Scott revealing that the 1912 seller had found these stamps between the pages of a Bible.
The Washington block of six thus becomes the Bible Block. The owner of the Bible is identified as Senator Rives who inscribed it in 1825. Rives carried out two diplomatic missions to France, from 1829 to 1833 and from 1849 to 1853.
Robert A. Siegel auction house experts find that the scissors section of the right edge of the block of six exactly matches the left profile of one of the surviving blocks of four, supporting the hypothesis of an original block of ten separated in the project of a letter to someone in France.
The story may be considered in relation with the 'retaliatory' rate that applied to some TransAtlantic mails before the application in February 1849 of the US-British postal treaty. The postage of the Rush cover, mailed from Philadelphia to Paris in 1848, is made with the same configuration of six Washington stamps. The block was indeed too expensive for the 1849 rate.
The block of four Washington was sold for $ 450K before fees by Siegel in 2012. The Bible Block of six Washington is estimated $ 500K for sale by Robert A. Siegel in New York on October 3, lot 14. Here is the link to the section devoted to the Gross collectionon the website of the auction house.
1847 Two Sheets of Proof Stamps
The British system of payment of mail by postage stamps quickly became international. The United States allow the stamp by the Act of Congress of March 3, 1845 establishing the rates to be charged.
Provisionally, the post offices are authorized to print their own stamps that cannot be canceled elsewhere than in theissuing office. Eleven of them are listed by Wikipedia. A cover with a provisional stamp from Millbury in Massachusetts was sold for $ 400K before fees by Robert A. Siegel on March 28, 2012.
Meanwhile, the federal government is preparing the first stamps to be acceptable throughout the country: 5c and 10c,showing respectively the portraits of Franklin and Washington.
Two full proof sheets of 100 stamps each have remained together. They are for sale in one lot estimated $ 500K byRobert A. Siegel in New York on June 25. They are illustrated in the post shared by Paul Fraser. No other example of proof sheets of these stamps are known.
Each stamp is overprinted with the word SPECIMEN. The engraving is in its final state but the color of the 5c is temporary. The printing plates were new : some tiny scratches affecting the regular editions are not yet visible.
The final color will be chosen soon, and the first two federal stamps are released in July 1847.
1851 Transatlantic Postage
1993 SOLD for $ 715K including premium by Christie's Robson Lowe
The invention of the postage stamp by the British in 1840 facilitated the communications between nations. In an early phase it required bilateral negotiations between countries that were gradually adopting this new practice.
The treaty between Canada and the United States comes into effect on April 6, 1851, at a rate of 6 pence or 10 cents. US stamps remain available at Canadian post offices.
On April 23 the first stamp of the Province of Canada is issued. It is worth 3 cents which is the basic rate for domestic postage. With its vignette displaying a beaver, it is the first official stamp in the world to be illustrated on a theme other than portraits of personalities and national emblems.
Reverend Ryerson, a prominent Canadian Methodist educator, is temporarily in London. Somewhere in Canada, someone manages to send him a letter. The new rules must be applied but it is a little complicated. The letter will have to be embarked in New York for crossing the Atlantic.
The local postmaster accepts the postage in the following conditions. A 3-cent beaver stamp pays the transfer to the United States border. The letter will only transit through the United States and the journey between border and New York is not considered. The departure of a British steamer of the Cunard company is scheduled for May 7 and this information is written on the envelope.
The Transatlantic rate of 24 cents is paid by five 5 cent stamps. On March 3 an act of the US Congress had announced the imminent obsolescence of this original denomination of the US Postage and consequently the sender chose to pay 1 cent more than required by the US-British postal treaty of 1848, certainly for using his stock.
The transfer to New York is fast. On May 6 the letter is embarked on a US ship. Despite the 1848 treaty, competition is fierce. The New York foreign mail office collects 22 cents in this operation, avoids paying 19 cents to the Cunard, offers a discount of 2 cents and hand stamps on the cover an overpayment of 3 cents. The receipt of the letter in London is recorded by a date hand stamp on May 19.
This piece surfaces in 1944 in an auction. Known as the Beaver Cover, it is a supreme delight in philately : very fine condition, paid with a mix of stamps from the very first US and Canadian federal issues, and bearing the marks and cancellations that reveal the significant details of its routing.
The Beaver Cover was sold for $ 715K including premium by Christie's Robson Lowe on September 28, 1993. It is estimated $ 600K for sale by Robert A. Siegel in New York on October 3, lot 26. Here is the link to the section dedicated to the Gross collection on the website of the auction house.
1851 The Hawaii Thriller
1995 SOLD for $ 660K including premium by Robert A. Siegel
2018 SOLD for $ 620K including premium
The Hawaiian archipelago establishes in 1850 a postal organization to manage international mail, mainly for the use of missionaries who maintain relations with the United States. The postmaster edits in 1851 three stamps worth 2 cents, 5 cents and 13 cents. The lowest denomination applicable for the delivery of newspapers is very rare.
The arrival in 1905 on the philatelic market of the Dawson cover circulated in 1852 is an event. In very good condition it wears for the expedition a 2c and a 5c from Hawaii and for the reception a pair of the US 3c. It was sold for $ 2.25M including premium by Siegel on June 25, 2013.
The Ferrari collection also known as Von Ferrary is the best philatelic collection of all time including the great treasures of this specialty : the British Guiana 1c, the yellow treskilling, the Bordeaux cover. In the auction of his deceased estate at Drouot the highest price, 156,000 francs, is recorded on June 23, 1921 on the best known example of the Hawaii 2c.
This stamp had not been described during Von Ferrary's lifetime. In 1921 a trace on the back of the stamp still left the doubt on a possible circulation. It was definitely determined as unused soon later.
Its extraordinary price turns the heads. L'Almanach Vermot 1922 includes a short story narrating that in 1892 the owner of a stamp of the same variety, perhaps the same as the Von Ferrary specimen, had been murdered by a "friend". The stamp had been found in ownership of the murderer by the investigator.
The Vermot almanach, highly appreciated in France at that time, is an annual publication that intertwines practical information, jokes and puns, not claiming to be a credible source for its fabulous stories. The name of the assassin left no other trace on the web. The victim is named Gaston Leroux, a perfect homonym to the first French writer of detective stories, inventor of the character Rouletabille, in full activity in 1922.
The Vermot anecdote is interesting because it reinforces the attention paid to this stamp. Insensitive to French humor, some philatelists have endorsed this fantasy, turning the joke into a hoax.
This stamp remains today the only unused copy of its denomination. It was sold for $ 660K including premium by Siegel on November 7, 1995 and bought by Gross two years later in another auction. It is estimated $ 500K for sale by Robert A. Siegel in New York on October 3, lot 106. Here is the link to the section devoted to the Gross collection on the website of the auction house.
1851 The Immaculate Victoria
2011 SOLD 425 K$ before fees
A copy of the 1851 Canadian 12 pence stamp offers all these qualities. 160 years were not enough to generate defects. In addition, it is a rare stamp: the highest value from the first Canadian series.
It is black, bearing the likeness of young Queen Victoria in a dynamic attitude, with her crown and her necklace. Both sides are illustrated in the article shared by Paul Fraser Collectibles.
The outstanding features of this piece earned it a separate catalog titled "the Black Empress of Canada", in the sale made by Spink Shreves in New York on January 27.
The auction house tells that it sold $ 300K including premium in November 2009 another copy, from the Gross collection. Its margins were less sharp and it had been hinged. The perfect copy will be worth more, and $ 400K are awaited.
Keep in mind that 1851 predates the use of perforations.
POST SALE COMMENT
Here is the price for a perfect stamp of an early edition that, although not among the rarest, is not very common: $ 425K before fees.
1857 Brick Red 5 c
2009 SOLD for $ 805K by Robert A. Siegel
The withdrawal of the 5 cents and 10 cents was a bad decision. These values can be used to top-up a heavier shipment or a foreign destination. They are recreated in 1856 with new portraits. The 10 cents becomes green. The new Jefferson 5 cents keeps the red brown color of the old Franklin emission.
600,000 Jefferson are printed in 1856, probably in a single run as their color is very homogeneous. This non-perforated variant is very rare. In terms of unused blocks, only two blocks of four survived. One of them was deposited in a university with an inalienable clause. The other remains the only unused block in private hands. It was sold for $ 307K by Robert A. Siegel on October 3, 2018, lot 35. It is graduated Very Fine and has kept its original gum.
Perforations appear and become mandatory in 1857. The 5 cents remains a rarely used value and the remaining large stocks of red brown sheets from the previous year are punched at this stage. A new printing becomes necessary in 1858. The preparation of the colors is slightly changed, with the vast majority of the sheets in Indian red and some in Brick red.
The rarity of the brick red Jefferson suggests that it had not been the subject of a separate run. It cannot be considered as an error but rather as an anomaly in the mixture of inks, early detected and corrected. The brick red sheets buried within the stacks appeared in circulation from seven months onward after the Indian red.
Only one unused brick red block survived, also consisting of four stamps. Graded Extremely Fine with its original gum, it was sold twice by Robert A. Siegel, for $ 805K from an estimate of $ 375K on January 27, 2009, lot 34, and for $ 470K on October 3, 2018, lot 47.
1860 The Mail stolen by Indians
2013 SOLD 200 K$ before fees
The progress of civilization scattered men and necessitated new ways of communication across continents and evenacross the planet. Long before the airmail, the Pony Express adventure is epic and heroic.
This service executed by horse riders between the West and East of the United States was started in April 1860.Eighteen months later, the operation was already outdated, defeated not by rail but by telegraph.
This job is dangerous. The messenger who rushes from San Francisco on July 22, 1860 is thrown from his horse six days later by Indians while crossing a bridge in Wyoming.
Two letters stolen during this incident will be recovered. One of them is for sale by Robert A. Siegel in New York onMarch 20. Finally cancelled in New York on 1 May 1862, it could finally be delivered to its addressee in New Jerseyafter nearly two years of wandering.
Of course, it is not in good condition, but the stamping and writings are properly preserved. It is estimated $ 200K.
POST SALE COMMENT
The cover has been sold exactly at the price of its lower estimate, $ 200K before fees.
1861 Pony versus Iron Horse
2009 SOLD for $ 630K including premium
Postal systems using horses existed since antiquity, with interruptions. Used by the kings and governments to communicate their messages and instructions, it required to establish stations at regular intervals to take fresh horses. Thus, as later for the railroad, the messenger had no choice for his course.
California, land of the Gold Rush, was part of the USA since 1850. Wells Fargo for the West and American Express in the East were the two sides of the same operation that was organizing the transfer of freight and mail by coach.
The idea to go faster by bearing the lighter mail by galloping horsemen is the origin of the Pony Express, which lasted 18 months between April 1860 and October 1861. The stamp was from its beginnings in 1840 the popular support for the registration of payment. Wells Fargo & Co edited a private stamp dedicated to the delivery of letters by the Pony Express, with values of $ 1, 2 and 4. The stamps are illustrated with a galloping rider, of course.
In the East, the Pony Express started from St. Joseph, Missouri, a city which had been reached by the railroad in 1859. The breakthrough which led to the ruin of the Pony Express was not however the iron horse, but the telegraph as soon as its transcontinental line was completed in October 1861. It was not until May 10, 1869 to celebrate and use the connection between East and West by rail.
On December 5 in New York City, Robert A. Siegel disperses a philatelic collection dedicated to the Pony Express. A particularly interesting cover, with a lower estimate of 500 K$, starting from San Francisco on September 7, 1861, had been forwarded to its destination in Switzerland where it arrived on October 10. It bears the double stamping of Wells Fargo and of the usual US stamps, the latter having been required to pay the end of the trip, of course.
For full details on the Pony Express, I recommend reading the catalog for this sale reference 979, to download in pdf from the site of the auction house. Also on the same page The Despatch Siegel No 35 Copyright © 2009 by Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Inc. The dates of delivery of the letter to Switzerland and the estimate are extracted from the catalog.
To put this story in its context, I recommend the articles Pony Express and History of Wells Fargo of Wikipedia.
1864 The Olive-Bistre Blunder of Hong Kong
2011 SOLD for HK$ 6.4M by Spink
The only known unused multiple of the 96c olive-bistre stamp is considered as the most important item of Hong Kong philately. It was sold for HK$ 5.5M before fees by Spink on January 23, 2011. It is for sale by the same auction house in Hong Kong on January 17. Its estimate of HK$ 6.5M is indicated in the catalog, lot 2413.
Here are the links to the pre sale press releases, forwarded by The Philatelic Database before the 2011 sale and shared by Spink before the 2016 sale.
I introduced this lot as follows before the 2011 sale :
The first set of stamps for Hong Kong included seven denominations from 2 to 96 cents. It was issued in 1862.
The highest value was not widely used, and they waited until 1864 before reprinting. When the stock from the previous batch was depleted, it was discovered that the new batch of 52 sheets of 240 stamps had a nice olive-bistre color instead of the brownish gray that was required.
It was a mistake made by the subcontractor, linked to the fact that the wrong ink was part of the original color test.
The administration took the pragmatic decision to release it as is for delivery to the users during the few months which were needed to prepare a compliant printing.
The rarity of the Hong Kong 96c olive-bistre stamp is so due altogether to its high denomination and to the hurry to supersede it with stamps in the original color.
A single unused multiple is known. It is a block of four in great condition, with a very wide right margin. It has retained its original gum and its color is still very fresh.
"The most important item of Hong Kong philately" in @SpinkandSon auction: https://t.co/wORQGDtMMv #HongKong #stamps pic.twitter.com/AbGdUA8pJQ— JustCollecting (@just_collecting) January 4, 2016
1868 The Queen on Laid Paper
2014 SOLD CAD 475 K before fees
In 1868 Canada, recently reorganized into a Confederation, issues a series of stamps with the effigy of Queen Victoria. This type will afterwards be identified as the Large Queen. From half cent to 15 cents, no value is rare.
On February 22 in Toronto, Brigham Auctions entirely devotes a sale to the Large Queens, with no less than 672 lots. Stamp Auction Network, which contributes to the organization of this sale, counted ten varieties of paper.
The laid paper is not the best paper from this range of stamps but it is most rare, used in a few sheets of 1 cent and 3 cents, probably at the beginning of the production. The interest of philatelists to such a feature arrived late and no census of sheets is possible.
Three examples of 2 cent Large Queen on laid paper were identified: the first in 1925, the last in 2013. All three were canceled. The third is creased and torn.
The second 2 cent stamp, certified in 1935 by The Royal Philatelic Society, London Expert Committee, is considered as the best of its kind and the most desirable stamp in Canadian philately. It is estimated CAD 900K, lot 663 in the Brigham auction sale. It is illustrated in the post shared by Paul Fraser.
POST SALE COMMENT
Great price for this rare stamp : C$ 475K before fees (result recorded on Stamp Auction Network).
1869 The Pictorial Failure
2018 SOLD for $ 740K including premium
Developed by the Postmaster General of the Johnson Administration, the Pictorial series was innovative. Users did not like the small and square format, the tiny illustrations and the poor adhesion of the gum. The mixing of themes is excessive and confusing between traditional presidential portraits, official symbols, the history of the Post Office and the heroic paintings of the Capitol.
Politics got involved, pushed by disputes over the choice of the printing subcontractor. The Grant Administration had no reason to support Johnson's initiatives. The Pictorial series had been released in March 1869 just after Grant's inauguration. Its obsolescence in favor of a new series of presidential figures on an enlarged format was decided in September 1869 and the availability of the Pictorials ceased in April 1870.
The four highest denominations of the Pictorials are the first two-color stamps in production, made in two successive printing runs. The tooling is poorly designed, generating inversions of the central vignette within the frame. An unused 15c Inverted graded Very Fine with original gum was sold for $ 920K including premium by Siegel on October 9, 2013.
A block of four 24c with inverted centers and cork cancels from New York City was discovered in Liverpool in the late 1880s. It had probably contributed to mail a parcel. This unique piece has become one of the stars of philately. Graded Very Fine, it is estimated $ 750K for sale by Robert A. Siegel in New York on October 3, lot 89. Here is the link to the section dedicated to the Gross collection in the website of the auction house.
1897 A New Dollar in China
2016 SOLD for HK$ 6.2M including premium
The schedule of the printers caused a risk of shortage. The administration decided to overprint the 3c revenue stamps to all the required values. Because this revenue stamp had not yet been released, there was no risk of the execution of the surcharge by a forger.
The sale by Spink in Hong Kong on January 17 includes several lots related to this operation. Here is the link to the press release.
The original revenue stamp could no longer serve its purpose and very few units remained without the overprint. A block of four in very good freshness is estimated HK $ 1.2M, lot 1718.
The first run is for the $ 1. Initially, 50 stamps are printed. The administration is not happy with the too small size of the central Chinese characters and requests an immediate change. Two stamps of this highly rare variety are offered. Their original positions in the sheet form a pair but their condition is unequal. They are estimated HK $ 2M for lot 1720 and HK $ 1.2M for lot 1719.
The collection dispersed in this sale includes examples of the smallest overprinted values, 1c, 2c and 4c. The most interesting lots have errors that reflect the hurry in which the operation was realized.
Lot 1730, estimated HK $ 600K, has a doubled 2c surcharge. Lot 1733 (which was tagged as 1731 in the press release linked above), estimated HK $ 1.5M, is a pair with both its 2c overprints in an upside down position.
RESULTS BEFORE FEES
Lot 1718 : HK$ 4.2M
Lot 1719 (illustrated below) : HK$ 3.6M, 4.3M including premium
Lot 1720 (illustrated below) : HK$ 5.2M, 6.2M including premium
Lot 1730 : HK$ 600K
Lot 1733 : HK$ 2.4M
1897 Chinese revenue surcharge pair to sell at @SpinkandSon https://t.co/WQ83sLTV0X pic.twitter.com/UHbqZxeImR— Paul Fraser (@PFCollectibles) December 14, 2015
1897 Chinese Philately
A Chinese revenue stamp of 3 cents, red, issued in 1897, is the subject of specific collections. It has indeed been the subject of surcharge changing its value to 1, 2, 4 or 5 cents or 1 dollar. Some variants are common. The rarest and most beautiful specimens reach top prices.
Generally the surcharge is black. The variant with a green surcharge of 2 cents is enigmatic. Nine specimens only are known. The guess is that it was a test sheet which was not followed because of the lack of contrast that made it difficult reading the modified value.
On July 31 in Hong Kong, InterAsia Auctions sells one of the most beautiful specimens, estimated HK $ 8 millions.Colors have remained bright, margins are balanced and the stamp has kept much of its original gum.
The illustration provided in the article shared by Luxuo demonstrates the problem of contrast, almost involuntarily since the image of the catalog of the auction house is much more readable. Help the colorblind: the '2 cents' inscription is horizontal, in the lower part above the word Revenue.
1918 Inverted Jenny, Position 35
2011 SOLD for $ 400K including premium
The Inverted Jenny is that unique plate of the 24 cents U.S. stamp of 1918 where the image of the Douglass plane was printed upside down. It was immediately spotted by a philatelist and separated a few days after its discovery.
There are five blocks of four still remaining, and single stamps that experts observe with their magnifier. The slightest defect generates substantial price differences.
On June 18 in New York, Siegel Auction Galleries is selling one of the best specimens. This stampwas number 35, at one third within the plate in the height direction, and in the middle of the plate in the width direction.
It is graded OGph VF-XF 85 by the PSE (Professional Stamp Experts). This means that the centering is excellent without being perfect, with full margins. The recto has no damage and the back has its original gum with a trace of hinging.
Siegel knows the Inverted Jenny very well, and devotes a separate catalog for this lot.
On October 19, 2005, they sold $ 2.97 million including premium the most prestigious lot from this sheet, the block of four on which the plate number was attached (8493).
On 14 November 2007, the Inverted Jenny position 57 had been sold for $ 977K including premium by the same auction house. This beautiful sample was less centered than the 35 in the width direction.
1918 Return of the Jenny
2017 SOLD for $ 390K including premium
Robey immediately tries to sell his treasure. He is in a hurry, perhaps fearing that additional examples are discovered. He proposes the sheet on May 19 to the stamp dealer Eugene Klein in Philadelphia in a one-day purchase option. On May 20 Klein accepts the $ 15,000 price requested by Robey in a typed letter estimated $ 15K, lot 8 in the auction organized by Robert A. Siegel in New York on February 28.
On the same day, May 20, 1918, even before receiving the sheet, Klein concludes an agreement with his client Colonel Green for a share of the stamps. Before dissociating the sheet, he serializes the stamps with a number from 1 to 100 on the reverse side which makes it possible to identify afterward the original position of each element.
The philatelists follow with passion the varied fate of these one hundred stamps. Until last year, no information was found on two of them, positions 49 and 79.
# 79 surfaced in a private collection. It is for sale on February 15 in Chicago by Leslie Hindman, lot 12. It is very well centered like other pieces at the bottom right of the original sheet but small disturbances caused by a paper clip and the removal of a hinge are announced in the catalog. It is estimated in excess of $ 200K.
On February 28, Siegel also sells the position 28, lot 9 announced with a guide value of $ 450K. Its colors are fresh and its margins are complete but its centering is poorly balanced. Its location was known but it had not been available on the market since 1950.
Leslie Hindman : SOLD for $ 300K including premium
Robert A. Siegel :
Stamp SOLD for $ 330K before fees
Letter SOLD for $ 42.5K before fees
Siegel is offering something very special in its upcoming auction... https://t.co/7dhMR32FZS #stamps #invertedjenny pic.twitter.com/7GEJc7V1lr— Paul Fraser (@PFCollectibles) February 3, 2017
#Stamp collecting's most expensive mistake coming to auction, @LHAuctioneers: https://t.co/YD6s1Seu3o pic.twitter.com/fVT3A42k6x— JustCollecting (@just_collecting) January 4, 2017
1918 a locket for jenny
2015 sold for $ 165k including premium
I already discussed it in this column when it went unsold in 2009 in another auction house. At that time I questioned how to anticipate the price of such a unique piece.
How much may it claim? Some collectors who so much enjoy when the stamps still have their original glue will be frustrated by the need to open the locket for checking this feature (but it is indeed one of only five never hinged specimens). Others will not like the slightly creased corners.
It is now estimated beyond $ 100K which is in line with a private sale which was reported at $ 90K in 2003.
I also told in 2009 why this stamp went into the locket.
The visitor to the post office of Washington DC who acquired and discovered to his own astonishment on May 14, 1918 the unique Inverted Jenny error sheet had already a very good bargain by selling it six days later to a stamp dealer.
The dealer serialized the stamps on the reverse in light pencil from 1 to 100 depending of their position before he separated the sheet.
The next owner who acquired the 100 stamps included the position 9 in a locket, back to back with a normal non-inverted Jenny, and made it a gift to his wife. The photos of the new catalogue (see link above) include both faces.
Inverted Jenny Locket up for auction with @Sothebys May 20 in NYC. #stamps http://t.co/yi51zMu1dy pic.twitter.com/vV1H2v03Zl— Stack's Bowers (@StacksBowers) May 13, 2015
.@StacksBowers to auction Jenny Invert 'Locket Copy': http://t.co/qam2KSFNIL pic.twitter.com/1aIGVN9Otn— Linn's Stamp News (@LinnsStampNews) May 1, 2015
1919 The First Trans-Atlantic Air Post
The First World War generated a considerable development of aviation. Once peace back, they found new applicationsquickly.
Crossing the Atlantic is much tempting. The Daily Mail conveniently remembers its pre-war offer and confirms that it is still valid : £ 10 000 will be awarded to the first airmen to cross the Atlantic in less than 72 hours.
The feat is soon, and Newfoundland endeavours to prepare it. 200 copies of a 3 cent stamp are overprinted with the words "First Trans-Atlantic Air Post, April 1919."
The mail is entrusted to Harry Hawker, who embarks it on May 19 aboard his Sopwith aptly named Atlantic. 95 stamps were used for the flight, another 18 were damaged during production, and the rest was used for presentation or sold for a charity.
A lower marginal vertical pair is estimated $ 50K, for sale on February 5 by Regency Superior in Anaheim CA. The top stamp has been hinged, the bottom one is intact. Of course, the existence of a block is extremely rare for suchvery limited productions.
Hawker did not win the award. Victim of the overheating of his engine, he was saved by a boat that will reach Scotlandsix days later. The success will be achieved the following month by Alcock and Brown. Their stamp produced on 15 cent pieces was similar in design except that the overprint indicated the value: "Trans-Atlantic Air Post, 1919, onedollar."
The aircraft was not yet reliable enough to maintain a regular postal activity. The restart will happen in 1927, and Newfoundland will be similarly involved. I recently told in this group the story of the De Pinedo stamp.
1925 Philatelic Rarities
2012 SOLD 130 K$ before fees
Stamp collectors are fond of rarities, whether they are ordinary stamps, overprinted stamps or errors. The stamp is by nature a multiple, and owning the only known copy of a variety is a claim to fame for the collector.
The population of a specific variety may change over time. New discoveries are possible. On the opposite, copies canbe lost, by fire or other disaster.
The sale of a Black Honduras by Cherrystone in New York on January 11 will be a good test of the risk appetite of collectors.
This stamp of 25 centavos was issued in 1925 for air post by overprinting on a black 10 centavos dated 1915. It is illustrated on the post shared by Auction News Network.
Without being an expert in stamp design, we note that overprinting a black figure is not so clever in terms ofreadability. I do not know if this is the cause of its rarity, but the fact remains that for several decades only two examples were known.
The copy for sale is the only one that is located today. The other one was lost by its owner in a taxi or restaurant after being bought at auction in 2002. It was then destroyed ... or not ...
By offering this lot with a minimum bid of $ 95K, slightly below the guideline value, the auction house does not seemto bet exaggerately on the uniqueness of their specimen.
POST SALE COMMENT
Interesting result, $ 130K before fees, for that piece which is neither historical nor aesthetic but "only"extremely rare.
1927 The Heroic Time of the Air Mail
2011 SOLD 168 K£ including premium
To the delight of collectors, the progress of aviation allowed any audacity. Much has been told of these exceptionaland somehow difficult men who constantly risked their lives to deliver the mail.
On May 21, 1927, Lindbergh made the first nonstop crossing of the North Atlantic from west to east.
The day before, May 20, Francesco De Pinedo had completed on his flying boat a journey that had led him from Italy toNewfoundland through South America. The Newfoundland postmaster immediately assigned him some mail to fly to Italy.
Priority to the mail, no time to lose. 300 stamps of 60 cents are printed specifically for this operation. Curiously, the theme of the picture is the 400th anniversary in 1897 of the mission charter given to Cabot by Henry VII to discover new lands.
They have no time also to collect the letters for canceling the stamps by inking on the cover. The mint stamps are overprinted.
Their fate is known: 230 stamps were used, 66 others, unfitted for another mission, remained mint and the last 4 had been damaged during production.
A unique multiple block of mint stamps survives (in addition to single stamps). It is estimated £ 120K, for sale bySotheby's in London on September 8.
POST SALE COMMENT
Very good price for this rare item: £ 168K including premium.
1953 The Failed Celebration of the October Revolution
Stamp collectors are passionate about errors. With regard to China, they usually are not concerned with misprints but with issues removed after printing for reasons of political blunders.
In 1952, an intense political friendship is displayed between China and Soviet Union. To celebrate the 35th anniversary of the October Revolution, China is preparing a set of four stamps of 8 fen (800 pre-1955 old yuan) each.
A meeting of Mao and Stalin in the Kremlin symbolizes the friendship between the two countries, a speech by Lenin illustrates the history of the Revolution, a monumental statue of Stalin calls for the construction of communism and Stalin's harangue is announcing peace. The proposed text says in Chinese "35th anniversary of the Great October Revolution."
A bureaucrat responsible for approving the project believes that China is not sufficiently highlighted in the text, and requires that it becomes "35th anniversary of the Great October Revolution of the Soviet Unions" (Unions in plural).They can no longer meet the date of November 7, 1952 originally planned to launch the series.
In February 1953, the shipment of stamps to the post offices is finally ready. The Shanghai office refuses to accept a confusion between the dates of the October Revolution and of the creation of the Soviet Union. The new stamps are withdrawn. A modified version will be issued a few months later.
On January 12 in Hong Kong, Interasia Auctions sells a resplendent set of blocks of four of each of the four stamps with the Soviet error. They are in exceptional condition and their backs were not yet gum coated. These blocks are sold in a single lot estimated HK $ 2.5 M.
1968 Great Cultural Revolution
2012 SOLD for RMB 7.3M by China Guardian
This stamp worth 8 fen is titled "The whole country is red". Below a red map of China, a worker, a peasant and a soldier lead an enthusiastic crowd by waving the Selected Works of Chairman Mao.
The error was discovered immediately after the release: Taiwan was not in red, contrary to all the claims of the People's Republic since its inception. In just half a day, the stamp was withdrawn.
A block of four is estimated RMB yuan 4M in the sales held from November 26 to 28 by China Guardian in Beijing. Here is the link to the catalog.
On the same theme and with the same error, another variant named Long Live Complete Victory of the Great Cultural Revolution is even more rare because it was not issued. A single stamp was sold for RMB 7.3M on 21 May 2012 by China Guardian.
POST SALE COMMENT
This withdrawn emission is outstanding for Chinese philatelists. The block of four was sold RMB 4.6 million including premium. A single stamp of the same variant was sold RMB 530K including premium in the same sale.
2001 The Fair Lady of the UNICEF
2010 SOLD 430 K€
In 2001, on the approach of the Euro, the German government is preparing a series of stamps in honor of the movie stars. Of course, Audrey Hepburn is selected, and 14 million stamps are printed.
They think, too late, to respect the copyright laws. Sean Hepburn Ferrer, eldest son of the actress, does not accept the project, and the whole production is destroyed, discreetly. On this image from the movie Breakfast at Tiffanys, the smiling Audrey has a cigarette holder in her teeth, and his son is an active campaigner against tobacco.
There were some leaks (probably very few), and the arrival on the market in 2004 of a canceled stamp created stupor. Ferrer is contacted. He had not been informed that production was already made when he rejected the stamp.
He had kept the sheet of ten stamps that had been sent to him as a specimen, and which is now for sale by Schlegel in Berlin on October 16.
During her too-short latest years, Audrey Hepburn was a UNICEF ambassador, and was very active in this mission. The sheet of stamps, estimated € 400K, will be sold to benefit UNICEF and the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund. It is hoped that this lot will exceed € 500K.
POST SALE COMMENT
The result was published by AFP: at € 430K, it is in the lower range of the estimate. It is not indicated if it is the hammer price, but charity sales usually include no charge.
An image of this piece had been shared before sale by Artdaily.