EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED MINT NEVER-HINGED SINGLE OF THE RARE 4-CENT 1908 IMPERFORATE. ONLY TWO MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLES OF THIS GREAT RARITY ARE KNOWN, AND ONLY FOUR PAIRS, TWO LINE PAIRS AND NINE SINGLES ARE KNOWN IN UNUSED CONDITION.
Our census of unused Scott 314A, available at http://www.siegelauctions.com/enc/census/314A.pdf , records four pairs, two guide line pairs and nine singles, for a total of 21 unused stamps. One of the singles is in the Miller Collection at The New York Public Library. Our census also contains 44 used examples, including three strips of three (one on cover), three singles on separate covers, and 32 single used copies.
With the rising popularity of vending and affixing machines, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing received numerous requests from manufactures for supplies of imperforate stamps, which could then be privately perforated to conform to each firm's machine. In May 1908, a supply of 25 sheets (400 stamps per sheet) of the 4c 1902 Issue, without perforations, was delivered to the Schermack Mailing Machine Co. in Detroit. The entire supply was cut into coils with Schermack Type III perforations, designed for the firm's patented affixing machine and delivered to the Winfield Printing Co. for use on mass mailings of advertising material. Approximately 6,000 were used on a mailing for Hamilton Carhartt Manufacturer, and almost all of the 4,000 balance were used on a mailing for Burroughs Adding Machine Co.
All of the Scott 314A stamps that exist in unused condition originate from a local Detroit stamp collector, Karl Koslowski, who was the only one to purchase some of the 4c Imperforates, either from the Winfield Printing Company or from the Schermack firm. His earliest account of the event appeared two years later in the Philadelphia Stamp News, and is considered to be the most reliable of several conflicting stories told by Koslowski (and interpreted by others) at later dates. In the 1910 article, Koslowski explains that he purchased 50 stamps and expected to be able to buy more, but the supply was destroyed when he returned. We can account for 32 of the 50 stamps Koslowski claims he acquired. There are 21 unused stamps currently in our census, all of which must have come from him, and he used at least 11 stamps on mail to friends, including the strip of three on a Koslowski cover, two used strips of three off cover (the mass mailings were all singles) and two singles on separate Koslowski covers. The earliest known cover is dated at Detroit on May 27, 1908, from Koslowski to a friend in Austria, and the latest is dated April 8, 1909, which was mailed to him using a sheet-margin single from Sicklerville, New Jersey. Apart from the stamps Koslowski used, there is one recorded commercial cover (June 2, 1908) and approximately 32 used single stamps, most of which were probably removed from the mass-mailing covers.
The two recorded Mint N.H. examples of Scott 314A come from the ex-Lilly strip of five, which was cut into two pairs and one single by Jack E. Molesworth after it appeared in the 1985 Rarities sale. We shall refer to the stamps in that strip as #'s 1-5. Stamp #1 was cut as a single and is described in the 1985 Rarities sale as having slight margin thinning (it is hinged, although we erroneously reported it as Mint N.H. in our earlier census report). The pair comprising #2-3 was sold as part of the Zoellner collection in 1998, and soon after was divided into the Mint N.H. single (#2, the stamp offered here) and hinged single (#3, ex Whitman). The pair comprising #4-5 was also ex Whitman. The left stamp in this pair (#4) is Mint N.H., one of two known in that condition. The pair with one stamp Mint N.H. realized $400,000 hammer in our 2009 Whitman sale.
Ex Koslowski, Schmalzreidt, Col. Edward H. R. Green, Lilly and B. D. Phillips as part of a strip of five. Ex "Connoisseur" (McNall) and Zoellner as a pair. The Zoellner pair was divided shortly after our 1998 auction, and this Mint N.H. stamp was sold to Mr. Hall. With copy of 1998 P.F. certificate for pair, which states "the left stamp never hinged and the right stamp previously hinged"