3¢ Rose, C. Grill (83), block of four from the top of the sheet with "NATIONAL BANK NOTE CO. NEW YORK" imprint at top, original gum, beautiful rich color in the distinctive Rose shade, exceptionally fresh, remarkably choice centering, especially for this grilled issue
Alfred H. Caspary, H. R. Harmer sale, 11/19-21/1956, lot 243, to Weill (for Phillips)
Benjamin D. Phillips (Phillips collection sold privately to Weills, 1968)
Stephen D. Bechtel, Sr., purchased from Weills, March 1970 (collection sold privately in 1993; block sold privately to Zoellner)
Robert Zoellner, Siegel Auction Galleries, 10/8-10/1998, Sale 804, lot 218, to William H. Gross
CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES
ANPHILEX 1996 Invited Exhibits (Zoellner)
The Philatelic Foundation (1969)
Extremely Fine; neat pencil "Tiffany" on back, John K. Tiffany (1842-1897) was a pioneering 19th century philatelist
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
$30,000.00 for an ordinary block of four
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The C Grill Experiment
The August 1867 3¢ experimental A Grill was the first grilled issue, using a machine patented by Charles F. Steel. It was soon learned that the all-over female grill weakened the paper and interfered with perforating and separating, resulting in rough perforations and pieces torn out of the margins when split apart. Within two months of A Grill production the apparatus was modified by dividing the embossed area into small rectangular units within each stamp (C Grill). Eventually the female A/C grill device was replaced by male grilling rollers that had grills sized well within the dimensions of the stamp. All stamps produced during the regular grilling period, starting January 1, 1868, were grilled on the machines using the male rollers.
Multiples of the 3¢ C Grill, Scott 83, are extremely rare. This block has a notation indicating the possibility it was owned or handled by John K. Tiffany, which would date its discovery to sometime prior to his death in 1897. Its earliest auction appearance was in the 1956 Caspary sale, where it sold to the Weills, on behalf of their closely-guarded client, Benjamin D. Phillips. After the Weills purchased the Phillips collection in 1968 for $4.07 million, they sold the block to another major client, Stephen D. Bechtel, whose notation "Weill March '70" appears on the accompanying Philatelic Foundation certificate issued to Raymond H. Weill Co. on October 6, 1969. When the Bechtel collection was sold privately in 1993, the block was purchased by Robert Zoellner. Mr. Gross acquired it in the Zoellner sale held by our firm in 1998.
There is only one other imprint block of the 3¢ C Grill, a left margin block of four that was part of the Lozier and Sinkler collections, then reappeared in our 2012 sale of the Frelinghuysen collection (Sale 1021, lot 240). The block offered here is the better centered of the two.
FRESH AND FINE. A REMARKABLY RARE ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE 1867 3-CENT C GRILL. VERY FEW BLOCKS OF THIS ISSUE REMAIN INTACT.
The 3c is the only issued denomination that comes with the distinctive C Grill, which was made from the female A Grill device with the grill embossing modified to fit within each stamp (it was usually applied points up). Very few blocks are known, as most have been broken to feed the market for singles.
With 1989 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. A RARE EXAMPLE OF THE ONE-CENT 1867 C GRILL WITH A DOUBLE GRILL.
Ex Koppersmith and Dr. Morris. With 1996 P.F. certificate