EXTREMELY FINE GEM. AN EXTRAORDINARY 15-CENT BLUISH PAPER -- POST-OFFICE FRESH, PERFECTLY CENTERED, MINT NEVER-HINGED AND WITH FULL CORNER SHEET MARGINS. IN OUR EXPERIENCE, THIS IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE FINEST-QUALITY BLUISH PAPER STAMP IN EXISTENCE.
The 4c and 8c stamps are correctly recognized as the rarest of the Bluish Paper issue, but they were never sold over the post office counter and used by the public. Of the values that were regularly issued, the 5c is the rarest, followed by the 13c, and then by the 15c, 10c, 6c and 3c (the 1c and 2c are common). If Mint Never-Hinged stamps are isolated from the supply available to collectors, the rarity factors increase significantly for all of the values. The 15c is extremely rare in well-centered Mint N.H. condition.
This Mint Never-Hinged stamp, with full corner sheet margins and perfect centering, is not just the finest 15c Bluish Paper example we can locate in our extensive records -- it is, in our opinion, the finest single example of any of the higher-denomination Bluish Paper stamps. There is simply nothing that compares to it. That said, the very slightly skewed perforations, which are often found in corner-margin positions, keeps this beautiful example from a grade of 90 or 95. However, stamps like this transcend numerical grading.
Ex Whitman. With 2000 P.F. and 2008 P.S.E. certificates (VF-XF 85; SMQ $4,250.00). Only five have graded higher (all at 90) in the P.S.E. Population Report and only three others share this grade.
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. ONLY TEN USED COPIES OF THE 15-CENT ON BLUISH PAPER HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED BY THE PHILATELIC FOUNDATION. A GREAT RARITY.
According to Johl, the 15c stamps were discovered in the post office in Buffalo N.Y. The rarity of the 15c on Bluish in used condition is often overlooked by collectors, probably because it is fairly plentiful in unused condition. Our census, available at our website at https://siegelauctions.com/census/US/Scott/366 , records only ten used copies. No on-cover uses are known. Another has a certificate declining opinion as to whether the cancel is contemporary, and two others (not included) need to be reexamined for genuineness. Of the confirmed copies only two or three are sound. The sound example offered here is highly desirable.
Census No. 366-CAN-09. Ex Twigg-Smith and Curtis. With 1990 and 2001 P.F. certificates
15¢ Pale Ultramarine, Bluish (366), Mint N.H. full top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4952 block of six, attractive centering and margins, characteristic intense watermark
Max L. Simon, Siegel Auction Galleries, 10/27-28/1965, Sale 292, lot 482 (as a block of 8)
Fine-Very Fine; light overall toning
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
Although Lewis Kaufman records 24 plate blocks of the 15¢ Bluish Paper, top positions are rare and very desirable, particularly with Mint N.H. gum. We doubt there are more than a half-dozen Mint N.H. plate blocks extant in total, from all positions on the plate.