10¢ Green, F. Grill (96), horizontal strip of four with "ENGRAVED BY THE NATIONAL BANK NOTE COMPANY CITY OF NEW YORK" imprint and "No. 15 Plate." plate number at bottom, original gum, deep shade and intense impression, choice centering
Benjamin D. Phillips (bought from Warren H. Colson, 1955; Phillips collection sold privately to Weills, 1968)
Order of U.S. Trust Company, H. R. Harmer sale, 2/17-19/1970, lot 430, to Irwin Weinberg
Siegel Auction Galleries, 8/27/1977, Sale 516, lot 730
John C. Chapin (collection sold privately to Shreves and then to William H. Gross, 2002)
CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES
John C. Chapin, A Census of United States Classic Plate Blocks 1851-1882, census no. 309 (illustrated on page 30)
The Philatelic Foundation (1970)
Extremely Fine; a few negligible gum soaks in grill points
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
$29,000.00 for this strip, which is the only one recorded, but it has not sold publicly for 42 years
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The Unique 10¢ Grilled Issue Plate Number Multiple
When the National Bank Note Company won the contract to print stamps, they had already designed the 1861 Issue, engraved the dies and made eight plates for each denomination, and printed sheets of "sample labels" to submit as part of the competitive bidding process.
The First Designs (1¢, 3¢, 5¢, 10¢, 12¢ and 90¢) and First Colors (24¢ and 30¢) were followed by a second set of stamps made from modified dies and plates. The differences between the first and second designs are very noticeable on the 3¢ and 12¢, but more subtle for the other four denominations. The 24¢ Dark Violet and 30¢ Red Orange colors are unlike any of the issued stamps. All were printed on a thin semitransparent stamp paper--some were gummed with a dark brownish gum and perforated. Only the 10¢ First Design (also known as Type I) was issued through post offices. The others from the trial printing were distributed through other channels.
Four plates were made to print 10¢ stamps, each with a plate number. The first, Plate 4, was entered from the First Design die (Type I, Scott 62B)--only one block with a Plate 4 number is recorded (sold in the Gross U.S. Treasures sale). The 1861-68 10¢ Type II stamps, both ungrilled and grilled, were printed from two plates--Plates 15 and 26--but only Plate 15 is represented by stamp multiples with the number. There is the unique plate block of Scott 68 offered in this sale (lot 63) and one plate block with "Specimen" overprint. Plate 59 was made for the 1875 Re-Issue (Scott 106).
Beginning in January 1868, the 10¢ stamps were grilled, using the machines patented by Charles F. Steel and starting with the Z Grill (Scott 85D), followed by the E and F Grills (Scott 89 and 96). The only known plate number multiple among the three grilled issues is this original-gum strip of four with the full Plate 15 imprint and number.
The earliest report of this strip's existence we can find is an entry in the Benjamin D. Phillips inventory indicating it was purchased from Warren H. Colson in February 1955. After the Weills purchased the entire Phillips collection for $4.07 million in 1968, the strip appeared in auctions before selling to John C. Chapin. In 2002 the entire Chapin collection was acquired by the Shreves in a sealed bidding process and then sold privately to Mr. Gross.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A GORGEOUS USED EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 10-CENT F GRILL, GRADED XF-SUPERB 95 BY P.S.E. -- ONLY ONE HAS GRADED HIGHER AND TWO OTHERS SHARE THIS DESIRABLE GRADE.
With 1986 and 2003 P.F. and 2014 P.S.E. certificates (XF-Superb 95; SMQ $2,600.00). Only one has graded higher (at 95J, we have never offered it) and only two others share this grade.
FINE-VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCK OF THE 1868 10-CENT F GRILL.
Almost every 10c F Grill block with Very Fine or better centering has been broken to satisfy demand for singles.
With 1994 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. ONE OF THE LAST SURVIVING ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCKS OF THE 1868 10-CENT F GRILL IN THIS CHOICE GRADE.
Almost every 10c F Grill block with Very Fine or better centering has been broken to satisfy demand for singles. This block is a rare survivor.
With 2001 P.F. certificate