15¢ Brown & Blue, Type II (119), Positions 66-70/76-80/86-90/96-100, block of 20 from bottom right side of sheet of 100 with "NATIONAL BANK NOTE CO. NEW YORK" imprint and "No. 23" plate number in Blue (vignette plate), alignment markers in Brown and Blue at bottom left, original gum, lightly hinged, beautiful rich colors and sharp impressions, centered to bottom right but the extra wide selvage nicely balances the overall appearance
As block of 33: Rep. Ernest R. Ackerman (according to Chapin)
Francis E. Stern, Siegel Auction Galleries, 12/7-8/1966, Sale 309, lot 144
As block of 20: "Mid-Western Collector," Siegel Auction Galleries, 4/6-7/1972, Sale 410, lot 690
John C. Chapin (collection sold privately to Shreves and then to William H. Gross, 2002)
CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES
Chapin census no. 346 (illustrated on page 25)
The Philatelic Foundation (1972)
Very Good-Fine; intact and sound (remarkable for a block of this size)
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
$90,000.00 for plate block of 8, two blocks and two pairs
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The Bicolored 1869 Pictorial Stamps
The 1869 Pictorial Issue was a transformative set of stamps created during a period of historic transition. With their novel shapes and imagery, they reflected the choice of President Johnson's postmaster general, Alexander Randall, but they were inherited by Grant's new postmaster general, John A. J. Creswell. In the midst of Reconstruction's political controversies, the 1869s were spurned by the public and quickly replaced with the 1870 Issue, bearing traditional portraits of statesmen, war heroes and Founding Fathers.
The four 1869 high values were printed in two colors. The 15¢ vignette is an engraving by Smillie, based on Balch's engraving from an 1839 oil painting entitled Landing of Columbus by John Vanderlyn.
We record four intact unused blocks of 20, as follows:
1) With left selvage, ex Wingate (Sale 1180, lot 174)
2) Bottom right corner selvage with blue imprint and plate no. 23, ex previous Rarities sales (including 1977), Walske and Dr. Heimburger
3) Bottom right corner selvage with blue imprint and plate no. 23, originally a block of 33, reduced to the block of 20 sometime after our 1966 Stern sale (Sale 309, lot 144), offered in this sale
4) Right selvage with plate marker, centered to bottom right, from the block of 50 shown in Rose book (fig. 159, p. 122), 1999 Rarities sale (Sale 811, lot 120)
The block of 20, ex Worthington and Caspary, has been broken. Apart from the two plate blocks above, there is only one other plate number block (of six, ex Wunderlich).
VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLE OF THE 15-CENT TYPE II 1869 PICTORIAL ISSUE. THIS IS ONLY THE SECOND MINT NEVER-HINGED SINGLE WE HAVE OFFERED SINCE KEEPING COMPUTERIZED RECORDS. A PHENOMENAL RARITY OF THE ISSUE.
Large multiples of this issue do exist, and we have surveyed or sold most of them. Several contain Mint N.H. examples, but they are invariably off-center. Most of the blocks containing Mint N.H. stamps are significantly off-center, with perfs at least touching or well into the designs. The one exception is a left selvage block of 20 which contains eight Mint N.H. stamps, last offered in our 2018 sale of the Wingate collection. This is unlikely to be broken as it usually forms the linchpin of a great 1869 Pictorial or classic block collection, and is in such a collection today.
With 2019 P.S.E. certificate. Scott Retail as hinged does not remotely reflect the rarity of this item.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE USE OF THE 15-CENT 1869 PICTORIAL ISSUE ON AN 18-CENT AMERICAN PACKET RATE COVER TO ARGENTINA.
Only three 15c Type II covers to Argentina are recorded in 1869 PRA census -- illustrated in the census book (p. 161). Ex Kuphal.
VERY FINE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE THREE-COLOR 1869 PICTORIAL COMBINATION FRANKING TO SPAIN.
Ibiza, then known as Yviza, is the principal town of the westernmost of the Balearic Islands owned by Spain. Effective January 1870 the rate to Spain via British Mail for a letter weighing 7.5-15 grams was 28c, with 24c credited to Great Britain. The components of the single 16c rate were the U.S. 4c British Open Mail rate and a 12c credit to Great Britain -- the latter advanced in 7.5 gram weight steps, so the 4c rate on this 7.5-15 gram letter remained the same, but 24c was required as a credit. This cover shows the 24c credit and, in turn, the "4" pence British double-rate credit to Spain.
Ex Knapp. With 2001 P.F. certificate