EXTREMELY FINE. A PHENOMENAL COMPLETE SET OF TOP IMPRINT AND PLATE NUMBER BLOCKS OF THE 1869 PICTORIAL ISSUE PLATE PROOFS ON CARD. THIS IS THE ONLY TOP POSITION SET THAT CAN EXIST.
This unique set of top imprint and plate number blocks on card originates from the set of complete sheets offered in our 1967 Lilly sale (Siegel Sale 321, lot 233). The 1c-12c were printed in sheets of 300 which were divided into panes of 150, with one plate number at top and one at bottom of each pane (no one has ever seen the other pane of 150 and they may never have been released). The four bicolor denominations were printed in sheets of 100, with two imprint and plate numbers at top in the color of the frame and with corresponding imprint and plate numbers at bottom in the color of the vignette.
After the Lilly sale the sheets were divided into two half-sheets. The 1c-12c were divided horizontally into top and bottom halves (70 stamps in the top half, 80 in the bottom). The 15c-90c were divided vertically into equal left and right halves. One set of the half sheets (with the bottom positions for 1c-12c and left halves for the 15c-90c) remains intact today in a private collection. The other half was divided into smaller multiples, including the plate blocks offered here. The bottom plate blocks from the right halves for the bicolor denominations have not been seen since the sheets were broken decades ago.
Ex Lilly. Scott Catalogue lists but does not price the plate blocks of the Plate Proofs on Card. They do price the Plate Proofs on India, which are more common, at $30,000.00.