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Census of 1c Blue, Type I (Scott 5)

5-CAN-046

5-CAN-046

5-CAN-046

5-CAN-046

Notes:
  • SBA wrote of this stamp as follows: “Because this stamp on this cover is cut into at top and bottom, it does not classify as a Type I, but rather ‘this stamp was a Type I before the cuts at top and bottom destroyed the type’.”
  • After the cover failed to sell at Christie’s on 9/27/1995, one or more dealers bought it and removed the 7R1E. Sadly, in doing so they destroyed the only recorded 7R1E on a cover with the Philadelphia carrier department’s distinctive red star marking. Considering the cut-into condition of the stamp, removing it was a pointless sacrifice of the more desirable postal history aspects of the cover.
Provenance:
  • H. R. Harmer 2/13/1967, lot 255, realized $44 (see notes below).
  • Siegel 1968 Rarities #330 3/28/1968, lot 30, realized $2,700 vs. $4,825 Scott value.
  • Siegel 1991 Rarities #737 4/20/1991, lot 246, realized $9,500 vs. $30,835 Scott value.
  • Christie’s sale 9/27/1995, lot 4017, high bid of $11,000 rejected vs. $26,000 Scott value
  • Sold after auction to dealer(s), who removed 7R1E from the only recorded example of Type I used with the Philadelphia red star carrier marking.
  • The 1967 Harmer sale was the only instance of which I am aware in which a major New York auction house failed to identify a 7R1E, and it sold as a “sleeper.” I know the circumstances, because I was involved.
  • The cover was in the collection of an outstanding One-Cent 1851 collector, Morris Fortgang. Fortgang was a close personal friend of Mortimer Neinken. When Fortgang died, Neinken contacted his widow and offered to help her dispose of Fortgang’s collection, but she refused and indicated that she did not wish to have Neinken involved. Instead, she consigned the collection to auction without the benefit of independent specialized expertise in the One-Cent issue. Neinken felt that he had met his moral responsibility to his old friend and was free to bid at arm’s length on Fortgang’s holding when it appeared in the Harmer auction.
  • The Harmer catalogue described the cover as three Type II stamps. Given the cut-in top and bottom margins, an amateur collector could be excused for not immediately identifying the 7R1E. However, SBA wrote on the back of the cover that it was 7R1E, and someone else also identified the 7R1E (below SBA), so I cannot understand how the auction describer missed this key item.
  • I traveled to NYC to view the Harmer sale because of my interest in the concentration of One-Cent items in the Fortgang collection. I recognized the 7R1E on the misidentified cover at first glance. After viewing, I visited Neinken in his NYC office. After some preliminary jockeying, we acknowledged to one another that each of us had spotted the cover. Neinken said that he and the dealer Ezra Cole, who also recognized the 7R1E, had formed a partnership to buy it, and said I must desist. Although a junior, I felt that I was entitled to be a partner with a one-third interest in that partnership, and so stated. After some further negotiating over several days, I was told that Cole unreasonably insisted that he must still have a half interest in the cover, regardless of my involvement, and Neinken said he was too beholden to Cole to dispute his position. Accordingly, I gave way somewhat and an agreement was reached that Cole would have his one-half, and Neinken and I each one-quarter. Arrangements were made to have an auction agent bid on it. I anticipated that there might be some other competition, especially in view of the identification on the back. However, the agent bid without any competition from someone else who recognized the 7R1E. We won it for $44!
  • Cole took possession of the cover, and it was agreed he would try to sell it. However, Cole was unable to arrange a good sale. As a result it was placed in the Siegel 1968 Rarities sale, where it fetched $2,700. Deducting the $540 commission and $44 purchase price, the net was $2,116, which was divided among the three of us according to our interests.
  • [Editor’s Note: It is ironic that in 1967 the 7R1E cover was sold at auction on the basis of the cover, without recognition of the stamp, and 28 years later, the stamp was removed and sold, without recognition of the cover.]
  • Siegel 2012 Rarities, Sale 1025, 6/26/2012, lot 71 - realized $28,000 hammer versus $75,000 Scott value.
Certificates:
  • PFC 3943 (1952).
  • 2012 PSE certificate, graded Fine 70
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