2¢ Carmine (519), bottom "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4848 block of six, four stamps Mint N.H., center stamps hinge remnant, rich color, attractive margins
Paul Cheyney (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross)
The Philatelic Foundation (1977)
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
This stamp was created in 1917 when a small excess supply of the imperforate, double-line watermarked Scott 344 was returned by the New York City post office to the BEP for credit. Rather than issue a credit, the BEP perforated the sheets, using the then current Perf 11 gauge and returned them to the New York City post office for sale.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A SUPERB USED EXAMPLE OF THE 2-CENT PERF 11 DOUBLE-LINE WATERMARKED ISSUE, SCOTT 519, IN THE FINEST CONDITION ATTAINABLE. THIS WONDERFUL STAMP HAS BEEN GRADED XF-SUPERB 95 BY P.S.E., WHICH IS THE HIGHEST GRADE AWARDED.
The Johl book quotes Joseph B. Leavy, the Government Philatelist, who described how this issue came about: "In September 1910 the Postmaster of St. Louis transferred to the Postmaster of New York City the following imperforate postage stamps in sheets of 400 -- 120 sheets of the 1c -- 1,500 sheets of the 2c. They had been specially made with uniform margins [sic imperforate] for use by the United States Automatic Vending Machine Company, which company had moved to New York at that time. It seems that this firm had gone out of business for in 1917 the Postmaster in New York reported having on hand 1,467 sheets of the 2c imperforate, Series of 1908, and could find no record of the U.S. Automatic Vending Company, and asked that he be allowed to return them for credit. This being a period of conservation, the Bureau notified him to return them for perforation. They were perforated in September 1917, (four months after the last wheels of the perforating machines had been changed to gauge 11). In perforating them 34 sheets had been spoiled and were returned to the Bureau for redemption and destruction, leaving a total of 1,433 sheets of 400 or 573,200 stamps perforated 11, which were placed on sale in New York City." Johl further notes these were sold in the regular course of business and by the end of October had been distributed to post offices around New York. The majority was used for postage and destroyed before philatelists knew of the issue's existence. The example offered here, with a clear New York cancel and in superb condition, is a phenomenal rarity.
Ex "Natalee Grace". With 1996 and 2009 P.S.E. certificates (XF-Superb 95; SMQ $5,250.00). This is the highest grade awarded and it is shared by only one other. As another indication of rarity, only eight used copies have been graded in total, and the next-highest grade is a single example at VF 80.