3¢ Orange Brown, Type II (10A), Position 60L1E, large margins to clear including significant portion of adjoining stamp at top, vivid color, tied by black grid cancel with matching "PAID" handstamp at center, red "Boston 3cts. 1 Jul." First Day integral-rate circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Wheeling, Virginia, part of contents missing but does read "I send hereon the first stamp issue under the new law", pristine condition, Very Fine, one of the finest First Day covers with the 3¢ 1851 Issue, only 43 are recorded in Wilson Hulme's census, and only four are known used from Boston (one is seriously defective), ex Ashbrook, Richey, Krug, G. B. Smith, Ishikawa and Hackmey, illustrated in Ashbrook, The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851-1857 (Vol. 1, p. 121)
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The New 1851 Issue
Three new stamps--1¢, 3¢ and 12¢ denominations-- were necessary after postage rates were revised by Congress during the Fillmore administration. Effective July 1, 1851, the basic rates became 1¢ for newspapers and circulars (with a distance escalation until 1852), 1¢ for drop letters and carrier fees, 3¢ for domestic letters sent up to 3,000 miles, and 6¢ for letters sent over 3,000 miles. Prepayment by stamps or stamped envelopes was not made compulsory until 1855, but for the first time there were higher rates for letters sent unpaid--5¢ instead of 3¢, and 10¢ instead of 6¢. The combination of convenience and the financial incentive to prepay postage led to a rapid increase in stamp use and popularity.
Under Postmaster General Nathan K. Hall, the contract to print the 1851 Issue was awarded to the Philadelphia firm of Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. (Casilear retired in October 1854, but his name was included in plate imprints as late as 1857). To start, only the 1¢, 3¢ and 12¢ (and the General Issue Carrier stamps) were produced. A 10¢ stamp was added in 1855 to meet the new transcontinental rate, and a 5¢ stamp was added in 1856 for use on transatlantic mail. The firm's original six-year contract was extended to 1861, during which time stamps were perforated and three new denominations were issued (24¢, 30¢ and 90¢), for a total of eight different stamps under Toppan Carpenter's contract.
All three 1851 Issue stamps were supplied to certain post offices on or before July 1, 1851, the first day of the new rates. The census of 1851 First Day Covers published by Wilson Hulme in 2001 (The 1851 Issue of United States Stamps: A Sesquicentennial Retrospective, USPCS) tallied 45 covers from 23 cities in 11 states (one in the count was postmarked by the Louisville & Cincinnati Mail Line route agent). Only two of the 45 covers have 1¢ stamps--the Scott 5A cover from Boston (sold in the Gross U.S. Treasures sale) and a cover with a strip of Scott 7 from New York City (ex Jefferys and Grunin). The other 43 have 3¢ stamps, and currently there are no 12¢ July 1 covers known.
The two 3¢ First Day covers offered in this sale are among the finest extant.
Pinwheel, Louisville, Kentucky (related to Skinner-Eno GE-P26), bold strike of this unusual design ties 3¢ Orange Brown, Type II (10A), large margins to just in, rich color, blue "Louisville Ky. Sep. 6" (1851) circular datestamp on folded letter to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, fresh and Very Fine, fancy cancels in the early 1851 Issue period are rare, ex Jennings
3¢ Orange Brown, Type II (10A), block of four, original gum, lightly hinged, rich "copperish" shade, large margins to ample for this narrowly spaced plate
Alfred H. Caspary, H. R. Harmer sale, 1/16-18/1956, lot 329, to Cole (for Lilly)
Josiah K. Lilly, Jr., Siegel Auction Galleries, 2/7-8/1968, Sale 327, lot 11, to Robinson (for Klein)
Walter C. Klein, Christie's Robson Lowe sale, 9/27/1988, lot 55
Siegel Auction Galleries, 1995 Rarities of the World, 6/5/1995, Sale 767, lot 53, to William H. Gross
Extremely Fine; bottom left stamp has slight crease (ending in tiny break) and small toned speck
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
3¢ Orange Brown, Type II (10A), Positions 50/60R5E, vertical pair with 13.5mm sheet margin at right showing "(Toppan, Carpen)ter, Casilear & Co. BANK NOTE ENGRAVERS. Phila. New York, Bos(ton & Cincinnati)" portion of imprint and no plate number, which was not present on Plate 5 Early, other margins large to just barely touching frameline, original gum, rich color and excellent impression
Stanley M. Piller, Siegel Auction Galleries, 3/25/1993, Sale 748, lot 71
John C. Chapin (collection sold privately to Shreves and then to Mr. Gross, 2002)
CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES
Thomas J. Alexander, "3¢ 1851, Plate 5 Early," Chronicle 104, page 256 (illustrated)
The Philatelic Foundation (2000)
Extremely Fine; small scissors cut in bottom stamp at upper left
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
$7,500.00 for normal pair without imprint
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL-GUM 3-CENT 1851 TYPE II ORANGE BROWN IS GRADED XF-SUPERB 95 BY P.S.E. -- THE HIGHEST GRADE AWARDED. AN EXCEPTIONALLY DIFFICULT STAMP TO FIND IN THIS CONDITION.
With 2013 P.S.E. certificate (XF-Superb 95; SMQ $11,000.00). This is the highest grade awarded to an unused Scott 10A and it is shared by no other hinged stamps (one Mint N.H. grades 95). There are no unused Type I Scott 10s in the 95 grade
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A SUPERB USED EXAMPLE OF THE 1851 3-CENT ORANGE BROWN.
With 2014 P.S.E. certificate (Superb 98 Jumbo; SMQ $3,250.00). Only three others share this grade and one has graded higher (at 100).