10¢ Green (68), block of twelve with "ENGRAVED BY THE NATIONAL BANK NOTE COMPANY CITY OF NEW YORK" imprint and "No. 15 Plate." plate number at bottom, original gum, centered to right, but fresh and bright
Richard Wolffers sale, 10/28/1981, lot 558
Sotheby Parke Bernet sale, 11/22/1982, lot 421
John C. Chapin (collection sold privately to Shreves and then to William H. Gross, 2002)
Chapin census no. 247
Average-Fine centering, sound and intact
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
$15,100.00 as plate block of eight and pair
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
Original-gum and unused blocks of the ungrilled 10¢ 1861 Issue are extremely rare. This is the only recorded 10¢ 1861 plate block, except for the Type I plate block of four (sold in the Gross U.S. Treasures sale) and a plate block of eight of Scott 68 with "Specimen" overprint. One imprint and plate number strip of four of the 10¢ F Grill is recorded and offered in this sale as lot 88.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS PHENOMENAL STAMP IS GRADED GEM 100 JUMBO BY P.S.E. -- THIS IS THE HIGHEST GRADE POSSIBLE ON THE GRADING SCALE. THIS IS ALSO THE ONLY PERFORATED STAMP PRIOR TO THE 1870-71 NATIONAL BANK NOTE ISSUE TO ACHIEVE THIS PERFECT GRADE. A TRULY REMARKABLE STAMP IN EVERY RESPECT.
The 10c is the only denomination of the 1861-66 Issue that was actually issued in two types. Type I, Scott 62B, was printed from Plate 4. Type II stamps -- Scott 68 and its grilled counterparts -- were printed from Plates 15 and 26. It has been surmised that Type I was pressed into service to help fill strong demand for 10c stamps after demonetization of the earlier issue. The 10c stamps paid the transcontinental rate, the ship-letter rate and certain rates to foreign countries.
Despite the high production numbers this is a difficult denomination to obtain in superb quality. Of the 175 used copies sent to P.S.E. for grading, only seven have graded higher than a 95 (including the stamp offered here). Another denomination produced in even greater quantity, the 3c, has failed to achieve 100J and only one is graded 100, despite almost 500 submissions. Submissions tend to be skewed towards higher-quality stamps, so this statistic is even more significant.
Ex "Natalee Grace". With 1997 P.F. and 2009 and 2013 P.S.E. certificates (Gem 100 Jumbo; unpriced in SMQ above the grade of 100, SMQ $8,000.00 as 100). This is the highest grade possible. This is also the earliest perforated Scott number to achieve this grade -- none have graded 100J for the 1857-60 Issue, and this is the only example for the entire issue (plus the next two issues) to achieve this grade. The next perforated stamp to achieve this grade is the 6c Bank Note Issue, Scott 148.
FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE USE OF THE UNION SOLDIER'S HEAD FANCY CANCELLATION ON A COVER TO HUNGARY.
This is reportedly the only known cover to Hungary with this fancy cancel. This cancel's creation and use in 1866 coincided with the return of soldiers from the Civil War. It is known on at least one domestic cover, but apparently the cancelling device migrated to the foreign-mail exchange office, where it was used to cancel stamps on mail to foreign countries. This explains why it is found on high values of the 1861-66 Issue, including the 10c, 12c, 15c, 24c, 30c and 90c denomination stamps off cover. Covers with this cancel are very rare, probably because European stamp collectors removed the high-value stamps from covers.
With 2000 P.F. certificate