15¢ Black (77), block of six from right pane with interpane margin at left, original gum, lightly hinged, wonderfully choice centering with bottom row superb, intense shade and proof-like impression on bright paper
George H. Worthington, J. C. Morgenthau sale, 8/21-23/1917, lot 317
Alfred H. Caspary, H. R. Harmer sale, 11/19-21/1956, lot 220, to Cole (for Lilly)
Josiah K. Lilly, Jr., Siegel Auction Galleries, 2/2/1967, Sale 312, lot 157
Arthur Hetherington, "Quality" collection, H. R. Harmer sale, 6/5/1980, lot 579
Ryohei Ishikawa, Christie's Robson Lowe sale, 9/28-29/1993, lot 475, to William H. Gross
The Philatelic Foundation (1993)
Extremely Fine; top right stamp has one short perf (not noted on certificate)
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
$42,500.00 as a block and pair
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The 1866 Lincoln Memorial Issue
The national year of mourning for Abraham Lincoln came to an end on April 14, 1866. During that period, many appeals were made to postal officials to issue a stamp with Lincoln's likeness. In October 1865 the first stamp to portray the martyred president was issued--the 25¢ Newspapers and Periodicals (PR3)--but that stamp was intended for use on bundles of newspapers distributed by publishers, not on ordinary letter mail. The first regular postage stamp honoring Lincoln is the 15¢ Black (Scott 77), issued on April 14, 1866. This date has been established through analysis of contemporary sources, but was not a "first day of issue" in the philatelic sense.
The Lincoln stamp was designed by James Macdonough of the National Bank Note Company. The vignette, adapted from photographic portraits taken by C. S. German in 1861 and Matthew Brady in 1862, was engraved by Joseph P. Ourdan (1828-1881). Ourdan was a highly-skilled engraver who later became chief of the Engraving Division of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The frame was engraved by William D. Nichols. The stamps were printed from Plate 41 in sheets of 200 (two panes of 100). A total of 2,139,000 of the 1866 stamps were issued.
Today, the largest known unused multiple of Scott 77 (the ungrilled stamp) is a block of 12 without gum. The largest known multiple with original gum is a block of six, represented by two recorded blocks. The block offered here is by far the better centered of the two, and, in fact, is superior to the few surviving blocks of four.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS IS EASILY ONE OF THE FINEST USED EXAMPLES OF THE 1866 15-CENT LINCOLN IN EXISTENCE. THIS STAMP IS GRADED SUPERB 98 BY P.S.E. -- THIS IS THE HIGHEST GRADE AWARDED AND IT IS SHARED BY ONLY ONE OTHER.
The 1866 15c Lincoln is one of the most difficult denominations to obtain in such choice used condition. The most common barrier to a high grade is the size of the side margins, which are often narrow. The stamp offered here is the exception. It has wide and balanced margins on all four sides, a strong impression, and a neat cancel which leaves the entire design clearly visible.
Ex Merlin. With 2010 P.F. and 2011 P.S.E. certificates (Superb 98; SMQ $3,900.00). This is the highest grade awarded and only one other shares this grade.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE 15-CENT LINCOLN 1866 ISSUE.
This is the first block of any size we have offered since our 2004 Rarities sale, when we offered the largest known multiple, a block of twelve. This is the first block of four we have offered since 1997.
Ex Lozier and Sinkler. With 1987 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. A FRESH AND CHOICE ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1866 15-CENT LINCOLN.
The 1866 15c Lincoln, which is regarded by many as the first U.S. commemorative stamp -- issued exactly one year after Lincoln's death -- is an exceedingly difficult issue to find in sound condition with original gum and choice centering. The statistics bear this out as only one original-gum example has been graded higher than F-VF 75 by P.S.E. -- a single hinged stamp graded XF 90.
With 2014 P.S.E. certificate