5¢ Red Brown (12), horizontal block of six, margins to cut in at sides, rich color, tied by four strikes of "Richmond Va. Jul. 23, 1857" circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Bremen, Germany, redirected to Münder Springe (Hanover), sender's directive (partly covered by block) to go by Havre Line Arago from New York--carried on that steamer, departing New York July 25, 1857, and arriving at Southampton August 6--red "N. York Am. Pkt. 7 Paid Jul. 25" 7¢ credit datestamp for Prussian Closed Mail, red "AACHEN 7/8 FRANCO" (August 7) framed datestamp, red crayon "1-1/2" silbergroschen rate for forwarding, blue Münder receiving backstamp (August 9)
This block was originally folded over the top edge of the folded letter. The letter has been opened up, the crease in the block has been pressed out (small faults), and the letter seam along top has been trimmed and repaired with backing paper. A vertical file fold is reinforced with tape, causing slight staining. With modest professional paper conservation, this important artifact certainly could be made more attractive.
Our records show 11 blocks of the 5¢ 1856 Issue, including two unused blocks of four, five off-cover used blocks, and four blocks on cover. This block of six is the largest of all recorded multiples on or off cover. The Rohloff collection contained a block of five on cover (originally a block of six, from which one stamp was removed), and all others are blocks of four, including those cut from a larger pen-cancelled multiple.
Ex J. M. Bartels sale, 3/18-21/1921; ex Dr. Clarence H. Eagle, J. C. Morgenthau sale, 4/4-10/1923; ex Mercury Stamp Co. sale, 3/14-15/1946; ex Ezra D. Cole, Stephen D. Bechtel (1993 Rarities of the World sale, Sale 755, lot 46), Frederick R. Mayer and Joseph Hackmey. Illustrated in Hill, The United States Five Cent Stamps of 1856-1861 (p. 13) and Frajola-Mayer, The United States Five Cent Stamp of 1856 (p. 115). With 1994 P.F. certificate.