VERY FINE. ONLY TWO COMBINATION COVERS ARE RECORDED WITH THE 15-CENT TYPE I AND 30-CENT 1869 PICTORIAL ISSUE. ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING 1869 PICTORIAL ISSUE COVERS EXTANT.
This franking pays the triple 15c treaty rate to France, and the 18c credit corresponds to the triple 6c credit to France for a letter sent by British or American Packet via England. One other cover is known with a similar franking. It is also addressed to France (from New Orleans), but was carried by American Packet Direct with a corresponding 9c credit (Walske collection).
Ex Seybold, Knapp, Dr. Heimburger and Price. With 1996 (copy) and 2016 P.F. certificates
30¢ Ultramarine & Carmine, Double Paper, Without Grill (121 variety), Positions 76-80/86-90/96-100, block of fifteen from the bottom right of the sheet of 100 with "NATIONAL BANK NOTE CO. NEW YORK" imprint and "No. 21" plate number in Carmine (Eagle and Shield plate), alignment markers in Ultramarine and Carmine at bottom left, deep rich colors characteristic of this printing without grill on double paper, natural pre-printing paper creases found throughout the entire sheet, centering shifts toward the left in each column from left to right, due to an increase in the width between vertical rows of perforations (we checked the measurements)
As block of 25: C. E. Chapman (exhibited at 1913 New York International Philatelic Exhibition--catalogue states "30c without grill, mint block of twenty-five with corner margins, imprints and plate numbers")
As block of 15: Arthur Hind, Phillips-Kennett sale, 11/20-24/1933, lot 401, to Klein
H. R. Harmer sale (described by Dr. Carroll Chase), 10/30-11/1/1944, lot 594
William L. Moody III, H. R. Harmer sale, 11/6-8/1950, lot 202, to Phillips
Benjamin D. Phillips (Phillips collection sold privately to Weills, 1968)
Siegel Auction Galleries, 1973 Rarities of the World, 3/22/1973, Sale 428, lot 79
Ryohei Ishikawa, Christie's Robson Lowe sale, 9/28-29/1993, lot 725, to William H. Gross
CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES
John C. Chapin, A Census of United States Classic Plate Blocks 1851-1882, census no. 349 (illustrated on page 30)
Jonathan W. Rose, United States Postage Stamps of 1869, fig. 197, p. 152
Scott R. Trepel, "The 30¢ 1869 Without Grill/Double Paper Variety," Chronicle 270, February 2008
New York International Philatelic Exhibition 1913 (Chapman)
The Philatelic Foundation (1993)
Fine-Very Fine; minor hinge reinforcements, bottom right vertical pair slightly stained (not integral to the plate block of eight)
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The Miraculous 30¢ 1869 Block of Fifteen
The bicolored 30¢ 1869 Pictorial Issue was printed from separate plates of 100--the Eagle and Shield plate with imprint at bottom (in Carmine) and the Draped Flags plate with imprint at top (in Ultramarine). Regardless of the printing, paper type or presence of a grill, the block offered here is the largest recorded 30¢ 1869 multiple. The second largest is a used block of twelve (Scott 121). The second largest unused multiple is a block of eight of the Without Grill/Double Paper variety (Sale 1185, lot 58). The largest unused multiple of Scott 121 is a block of six, and the largest of Scott 121a (without grill, normal paper) is a block of four.
Equally, if not more important, the block offered here is one of two 30¢ 1869 blocks with the plate number. The other is the block of six shown in the digital reconstruction on the page opposite. The only other examples of 30¢ 1869 stamps with plate numbers are Scott 121 in an L-shaped strip of four with bottom Carmine "No. 21" and part imprint (Sale 1118, lot 98), and a used Scott 121 single with Carmine "No. 21" (Sale 1118, lot 99). Apart from stamps, there are plate proof multiples with numbers.
We will briefly summarize information about the 30¢ 1869 Double Paper/Without Grill variety, which was presented in an article in Chronicle 217, available online to U.S. Classics Society members at https://www.uspcs.org This
Thisblock of fifteen, three other sheet-margin blocks and a number of singles and interior blocks originate from a large multiple spanning the right and left sides of one sheet of 100 printed on experimental double paper without grill (a variety of Scott 121). The 30¢ 1869 Without Grill/Double Paper block was described by John N. Luff in his book, but over the years, stamps from this multiple have been offered and certified as Scott 121a, without grill on ordinary single-layer paper.
The 30¢ 1869 Double Paper/Without Grill variety exists in top and bottom imprint multiples, which show that the Flags plate did not have a plate number at one point. However, plate proofs exist with the "No. 21" present, so it is possible that issued stamps exist with the plate number at top in Ultramarine. No top-margin examples of the normal 30¢ 1869 are known, with or without imprint or plate number. Therefore, it is impossible to say with certainty that the regular 30¢ stamps were printed from a Flags plate with plate numbers or without them. Since the Double Paper/Without Grill sheet does not have a Flags plate number, it probably comes from an early printing.
When this block was exhibited by C. E. Chapman at the New York International Philatelic Exhibition in 1913, it was a larger size (25 stamps), but by the time it was offered in the 1933 Hind sale, it had been reduced to its present form.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A BEAUTIFUL USED EXAMPLE OF THE 30-CENT 1869 PICTORIAL ISSUE CANCELLED SOLELY BY THE RED LEAF CANCEL OF NEW YORK CITY. A WONDERFUL STAMP IN TERMS OF CENTERING, COLOR, OVERALL FRESHNESS AND CANCELLATION.
Ex Eubanks. Small purple backstamp. With 1978 P.F. and 2011 P.S.E. certificates (XF-Superb 95; SMQ $3.700.00). Only three grade higher (at 95J)