90¢ Blue, F. Grill (101), block of four, original gum, hinge marks, beautiful deep shade
Probably George H. Worthington, J. C. Morgenthau sale, 8/21-23/1917, lot 396 (no photo)
Alfred H. Caspary, H. R. Harmer sale, 11/19-21/1956, lot 297, to Cole (for Lilly)
Josiah K. Lilly, Jr., Siegel Auction Galleries, 2/7-8/1968, Sale 327, lot 94, to Sam Pinchot
Ryohei Ishikawa, Christie's Robson Lowe sale, 9/28-29/1993, lot 594, to William H. Gross
The Philatelic Foundation (1993)
Fine-Very Fine appearance; faint horizontal crease in bottom pair (noted on certificate), minor reinforced perf separations (not noted)
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The Only Two Unused 90¢ F Grill Blocks for a Century
The design of the 90¢ 1861 adopted the previous issue's Trumbull portrait of a youthful General Washington in uniform, but added "90" numerals to make the denomination more obvious. The same deep blue color was chosen for the top value, but the perforation gauge was changed from 15 to 12, and the holes were enlarged. Two 90¢ plates were made: Plate 8 from the First Design die, and Plate 18 from the modified die. In 1868 a supply of sheets from Plate 18 was grilled with the F Grill roller (Scott 101), using the machine patented by Charles F. Steel.
There are approximately ten original-gum blocks of the 90¢ 1861 without grill, but only two unused F Grill blocks have been documented. Both have original gum, identical centering and shade, and undoubtedly originated from the same area of the same sheet. The ownership history of the two blocks has been confused by the absence of photographs in the 1917 Worthington and 1933 Hind auction catalogues, and by the similar appearance and condition of the blocks. We have concluded that the block offered in this sale, which was definitely Caspary's, probably came from the Worthington collection.
The other block, sold most recently in our sale of the Richard Drews collection (Sale 1195, lot 406), is definitely the Sinkler block (Klein sale, 5/17/1940, lot 133), and it was described in that sale as ex Ackerman. In our opinion, the Sinkler block passed from Ackerman to Hind to Lozier and then Sinkler. One compelling piece of evidence supporting this conclusion is a copy of the 1933 Hind catalogue in our library that was Warren H. Colson's personal marked copy. He represented Caspary in that sale and did not buy the block for him, probably because Caspary already owned the Worthington block at that point.
The block offered here passed from Caspary to Lilly and eventually to Ishikawa. In the 1993 Ishikawa sale, Mr. Gross acquired it for his collection.
EXTREMELY FINE USED EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 90-CENT F GRILL.
With 2001 P.F. certificate
FINE-VERY FINE. ONE OF THE RAREST AND MOST OUTSTANDING CLASSIC BLOCKS -- NO MORE THAN THREE UNUSED 1868 90-CENT F GRILL BLOCKS ARE BELIEVED TO EXIST. THIS IS THE FIRST WE HAVE OFFERED SINCE OUR 1998 ZOELLNER SALE.
Brookman estimated that only three unused blocks may exist. We have been able to locate only two, both with similar centering. One is ex Caspary, Lilly and Ishikawa, and has some disturbed gum on the right stamps and a crease on the bottom pair. The other is the block offered here, which is ex Sinkler, Bechtel and Zoellner. This block is also possibly ex Worthington or Hind; both collections contained a 90c F Grill block, but the sale catalogues were restricted from having photographs of stamps, which accounts for the confusion as to the number known.
Ex Sinkler, Bechtel and Zoellner (where acquired by Mr. Drews for approximately half its then-current 1998 Scott Catalogue value). With 1998 P.F. certificate.
FINE APPEARANCE. A SCARCE ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 90-CENT F GRILL.
With 2018 P.S.E. certificate