1¢ Blue, Type II (7), Plate 1 Early, large margins at bottom and right, just in at top and left, faults including sealed tears, tied by red grid cancel on blue printed circular for wholesale druggist datelined "New York, July 1st, 1851", addressed to Newburgh, New York, manuscript "Circular" and "paid" at upper left, docketing below stamp includes the July 1, 1851 date, Very Fine appearance--only two 1¢ 1851 covers postmarked July 1 are recorded (one with Scott 5A and the other with Scott 7); six July 1 circulars with the 1¢ 1851 are recorded, but printed circulars were frequently mailed after their publication date, so they are not considered true First Day of Issue uses; the Scott U.S. Specialized lists the July 1 circular in the First Day Cover section and prices it at $4,000.00--ex Fisher and noted in Neinken, The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851 to 1861 (p. 78).
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 1¢ on a July 1, 1851, printed circular is a suitable alternative to the supremely rare postmarked First Day covers.
1¢ Blue, Type II (7), Positions 98-100L1E, horizontal strip of three from bottom right corner of left pane of Plate 1 Early with corner interpane margins and centerline at right, just touched at top, beautiful bright shade and early impression, tied by two perfect strikes of blue "Charleston S.C. Paid Dec. 2" (1851) circular datestamp on blue folded letter to Camden, South Carolina, file fold clear of strip, Very Fine, a rare interpane-margin strip from Plate 1E Left, scarce and desirable in this wonderful quality, ex Malcolm, Grunin, Dr. Martin and Hackmey, with 2005 P.F. certificate
1¢ Blue, Type II (7), three singles from Plate 1 Early, large margins to just in, center and right stamps light toning spots at top right and bottom right respectively, tied by black grid cancels, blue "Buffalo N.Y. Feb. 24" circular datestamp on J. Sage & Sons' Piano Forte and Music Store illustrated advertising cover to Syracuse, New York, where forwarded to Cortland, New York, blue "Syracuse N.Y. Mar. 1" circular datestamp, matching "5" and "FORWARDED" handstamps, Very Fine, the 3¢ postage paid the rate to Syracuse, 5¢ charged for forwarding, ex Rogers and Hackmey, with 2005 P.F. certificate
1¢ Blue, Type II (7), Positions 21-25R2, horizontal strip of five, right stamp with double transfer, deep rich Plate 2 shade, large margins except in at top of right two stamps and at left of first stamp, tied by "New Orleans La. Feb. 11" (1856) circular datestamps on bluish gray folded cover to Paris, France, sender's directive "New York Steamer" at top, red "New-York Br. Pkt. Feb. 20" circular datestamp--carried on the Cunarder Persia, departing February 20, 1856, arriving Liverpool March 2--red London datestamp on back (March 3), manuscript "26" decimes due marking also ties stamps, Very Fine, a scarce strip of five of the 1¢ 1851 Imperforate issue paying the shore-to-ship rate for British Open Mail to France, 26 decimes (approximately 50¢) due was collected, ex Rogers and Hackmey, with 2005 P.F. certificate
1¢ Blue, Type II, Cracked Plate (7 var), Positions 2-10L2, horizontal strip of nine, left stamp Position 2L2 with major plate crack, large margins to just in at top of righthand stamp, includes part of four adjoining stamps, rich color, tied by "Saint Paul M.T. Sep. 7, 1856" circular datestamp on legal-size cover to Washington Court House, Ohio, court docketing at upper left, slightly reduced at sides, Position 2L with small tear and crease at bottom right, few other stamps small nicks and tears at bottom, otherwise Fine-Very Fine, a rare and remarkable strip with the plate crack--probably the largest on-cover multiple with any of the Plate 2 Crack positions, ex Rogers and Hackmey, with 2005 P.F. certificate
1¢ Blue, Type II (7), block of four and horizontal strip of six, the block Positions 4-5/14-15R2, three huge margins, just in at bottom, scissors-cut between right stamps, the strip Positions 43-48R2, Position 48R2 double transfer, large margins to just in at top of Position 44R2, few vertical creases, rich Plate 2 color and wonderful impression, tied by segmented cork cancels, "Downieville Cal. May 31"(ca. 1855) circular datestamp on bright buff cover to John Bradbury in Boston, Massachusetts
Very Fine appearance (trivial stamp flaws noted above).
An incredibly rare 1¢ 1851 Issue franking with a block of four and strip of six from Plate 2, paying the 10¢ transcontinental rate which became effective April 1, 1855.
This cover is an excellent companion to lot 180 in this sale, which is a cover from the same correspondence franked with a 1¢ 1851 block of six, strip of three and single from Plate 1 Late for the 10¢ rate.
Ex Alfred H. Caspary, J. David Baker, Louis Grunin, George J. Kramer and Joseph Hackmey. Illustrated in Bakers' U.S. Classics (p. 141). With 2003 P.F. certificate.
1¢ Blue, Type II (7), Positions 6-10/16-20R2, horizontal block of ten, ample to large margins except just touched at top corners and just in at bottom right, cancelled by penstrokes consisting of two parallel horizontal lines across each row and two parallel diagonal lines across each stamp, tiny scissors-cut between Positions 16 and 17 is barely noticeable, tied on back of lady's small embossed cover to Pike River Landing, Canada East, matching "Cambridge Vt. May 28" manuscript postmark, stamps also cancelled by "St. John's Vt. May 29, 1857", "Rouse's Point N.Y. May 29, 1857" and "Montreal May 29, 1857" circular datestamps, manuscript "10" indicates payment of the 10¢ rate to the border, manuscript "6" pence Canadian due marking
Very Fine; cover opened for display and some slight soiling.
A phenomenally rare block of ten of the 1¢ 1851 Issue on cover and unique use to Canada. This block of ten is one of the largest recorded multiples of the 1¢ 1851 on cover.
Ex Harry L. Jefferys, Dr. Leonard Kapiloff, Tito Giamporcaro and Dr. John L. Robertson. With 1992 P.F. certificate.
1¢ Blue, Type II (7), Positions 38-40/48-50/58-60/68-70R2, unused block of twelve (no gum) from the right pane of Plate 2 with "Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. BANK NOTE ENGRAVERS. Phila. New York, Boston & Cincinnati" imprint and "No. 2." plate number at right, Positions 48R, 49R and 58R are significant double transfer varieties, full to large margins, rich color
As part of pane of 100: Arthur Hind, Phillips-Kennett sale, 11/20-24/1933, lot 119, to Klein
Mortimer L. Neinken (sold privately to Ishikawa)
Ryohei Ishikawa, Sotheby Parke Bernet sale, 6/24/1980, Sale 46, lot 106
As plate block of 12: Siegel Auction Galleries, 1988 Rarities of the World, 4/23/1988, Sale 692, lot 57, to Wampler
Dr. J. Paul Wampler, Shreves sale, 4/24-25/1998, lot 3, to Mr. Gross
CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES
Stanley B. Ashbrook, The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851-1857, 1938 edition, Vol. 1, page 208 and fig. 18-V, page 209
John C. Chapin, A Census of United States Classic Plate Blocks 1851-1882, census no. 4, note on page 6: "4) The cutting-up in 1980 of the only known pane of the 1 cent blue, Type II, of 1851 (Scott 7), which had been in the Hind, Neinken and Ishikawa collections"
Mortimer L. Neinken, The United States One Cent Stamp of 1851 to 1861, page 188, fig. 13-T (page 189) and detail in fig. 13-V (page 192)
Very Fine appearance; some faults, including creases, thins, light toning at center and small tear in sheet margin at upper right
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
Plate block of eight listed at $37,500.00
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The Earliest Plate Number Blocks
Plate number strips and blocks have been popular with collectors for many years, but the presence of an imprint or plate number on a stamp or multiple issued prior to 1888 is unusual. The simple reason is classic issues rarely survived in sheets or multiples with intact imprints.
When Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Company made the first plates used to print the 1851 Issue stamps, they did not bother to add imprints or plate numbers until 1852. Very few plate number blocks of the 1851 Issue exist, and only two full plate blocks (of eight or twelve stamps) are recorded for the 1¢ Type II, and they both come from Plate 2. The plate block offered here is the finer of the two (the other has ink spots).
For the first 129 years of its existence, this block was part of a full pane of 100, which was owned in succession by Arthur Hind, Mortimer L. Neinken and Ryohei Ishikawa. Soon after the 1980 Ishikawa 1¢ 1851-57 sale, the pane was cut into smaller blocks, including the Position 99R2 block that was resold to Ishikawa (see lot 15 in this Gross sale) and the plate block offered here. Many philatelists then and now regard the decimation of the Plate 2 pane as a wanton act of vandalism.