$2.00 Columbian (242), block of six from bottom of right pane with "AMERICAN BANK NOTE COMPANY." imprint and "No. 105" plate number, original gum, lightly hinged, outstanding centering, deep rich color
Josiah K. Lilly, Jr., Siegel Auction Galleries, 2/7-8/1968, Sale 327, lot 196, to Weill
Arthur J. Kobacker, Christie's Robson Lowe, 9/25/1991, lot 520
Bought privately from Harry Hagendorf (Columbian Stamp Co.)
Extremely Fine; small tear in selvage, Lilly sale mentions "almost invisible thin speck" which might exist but is all but undetectable
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
How the Knife Cuts
The $2.00 Columbian, depicting "Columbus in Chains," is based on an 1841 painting by Emanuel Gottleib Leutze. The vignette was engraved by Charles Skinner and the frame and lettering by Douglas S. Ronaldson. 45,550 stamps were printed from Plate 105, and an unknown number were destroyed and never issued.
For the Columbian series, all of the 1¢ stamps and most but not all of the 2¢ stamps were printed from 200-subject plates, with horizontal guide arrows between the two panes of 100. The perforating machine simultaneously applied horizontal perforations and cut the 200-stamp sheets into panes of 100, normally leaving a trace of the guide arrow on the straight edge of each pane. Some of the 2¢ stamps and all of the 3¢-$5.00 stamps were printed on smaller presses from plates of 100 subjects, with no guide arrows. When the perforating machine applied horizontal perforations to sheets from the 100-subject plates, the cutting blade, in the same position, removed either the top or bottom sheet margin (and plate number), depending on how the sheet was fed into the perforator, reducing by half the potential number of Columbian plate blocks that might have been available to collectors. This is also why so many Columbian stamps are reperforated at top or bottom rather than at the sides--10 stamps from every 100-subject sheet (or pane) would have a straight edge at either top or bottom. The 100-subject sheets were then divided into panes of 50 for distribution and sale at post offices. The undivided full sheets of 100 were only available from the Philatelic Agency in Washington D.C.
All of the values printed from 100-subject plates are known with both top and bottom plate blocks except for the 50¢ and $4.00, from which only bottom plate blocks are known. As explained, depending on how the sheet was fed into the perforator, either the top or bottom selvage was cut away and a straight edge was left in its place. For the 50¢ and $4.00, it appears that the entire supply was fed into the perforator in the same manner, preserving the bottom selvage and eliminating all top plate blocks (or any kind of top selvage). It is interesting that top and bottom plate blocks of the other dollar values exist.
The $2.00 Columbian is one of the great rarities of plate block collecting. Only six are recorded, including one in the Miller collection:
1) Bottom left plate no. 105 and "AA" block of eight, "MLG" collection (Siegel Sale 971, lot 1163)
2) Bottom right plate no. 105 block of six, lightly hinged, tiny sealed tear in selvage, ex Lilly and Kobacker, offered in this sale
3) Bottom left plate no. 105 block of six, disturbed original gum, ex Col. Green (Sale 27), Eno and "World's Fair" collection (Siegel Sale 1055, lot 59)
4) Top right plate no. 105 block, part of a full sheet of 100, sheet with separations, right plate block intact, discovered in Germany (Mohrmann sale, 2016)
5) Top left plate no. 105 block with perf separations, part of a full sheet of 100, sheet and plate block with separations, discovered in Germany (Mohrmann sale, 2016)
6) Bottom left plate no. 105 block of six, original gum, Miller collection, The New York Public Library, unavailable to collectors.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF ONLY THREE RECORDED IMPRINT AND PLATE NUMBER BLOCKS OF THE $2.00 COLUMBIAN ISSUE. ONE OF THE GREAT RARITIES OF THE ISSUE.
Only two plate blocks of six and one plate block of eight are recorded for the $2.00 Columbian. They are: 1) the unique imprint and plate no. 105 block of eight offered in our sale of the MLG Collection (Siegel Sale 971, lot 1163, realized $205,000 hammer); 2) bottom imprint and plate no. 105 block of six, lightly hinged, tiny sealed tear in selvage, ex Lilly and Kobacker; and 3) bottom imprint and plate no. 105 block of six, disturbed original gum, ex Colonel Green (Sale 27) and Eno, the block offered here.
Ex Colonel Green and Eno. With 1991 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A SCARCE AND DESIRABLE IMPRINT AND PLATE NUMBER STRIP OF FOUR OF THE $2.00 COLUMBIAN.
The $2.00 plate number block of eight is believed to be unique; therefore, a strip of four is the only practical means to show the complete imprint and plate number.
With 1971 P.F. certificate. From our 1971 Rarities sale.
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. A BEAUTIFUL ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE $2.00 COLUMBIAN WITH FULL IMPRINT SELVAGE AT RIGHT.
Ex Hetherington. With 1970 P.F. certificate
FINE-VERY FINE. AN IMPRESSIVE ORIGINAL-GUM CORNER SELVAGE BLOCK OF EIGHT OF THE $2.00 COLUMBIAN ISSUE. A WONDERFUL AND RARE POSITION PIECE.
There is only one recorded full imprint and plate number block of eight, which catalogues $225,000.00. Two plate blocks of six are also known, one of which is offered in this sale as lot 59 and catalogues $125,000.00. This multiple, showing the full imprint, letters and "105" plate number (missing "No."), is a cost-effective way to acquire a plate block.
With 1988 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. EASILY ONE OF THE FINEST SURVIVING $2.00 COLUMBIAN BLOCKS OF FOUR.
Due to the ever-increasing demand for choice singles, virtually every known block of the dollar-value Columbians has been broken. This remarkable $2.00 block has managed to avoid that fate.