EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A SUPERB USED EXAMPLE OF THE $2.00 ORANGE RED & BLACK 1918 FRANKLIN ISSUE. THIS MAY WELL BE THE FINEST IN EXISTENCE -- IT HAS BEEN AWARDED THE GRADE OF SUPERB 98 JUMBO BY P.S.E., WHICH IS THE HIGHEST GRADE AWARDED TO DATE. IT IS THE ONLY EXAMPLE TO ACHIEVE THIS GRADE.
The $2.00 and $5.00 1918 Issue are the first bi-colored dollar-denominated postage stamps issued by the United States. Both were released just three months after the famous 1918 24c Inverted Jenny, but the early printings were issued in small quantities, since stocks of the earlier $2.00 and $5.00 issues (Scott 479 and 480) were still on hand.
According to Johl, the $2.00 Orange Red & Black was a color error on the part of the Bureau of Engraving & Printing. The official description and order for the bi-color stamps specified "Red and Black" for the $2.00. When subsequent printings appeared in 1920 and philatelists brought the matter to the attention of the Bureau, they were told "this stamp has always been this color" (Johl, p. 306). From studies of Bureau and Post Office records, it is clear that the originally-intended color was not issued until November 1920 (Scott 547), and that the earlier Orange Red stamps were mistakes.
Ex Natalee Grace. With 1995 P.F. and 2009 P.S.E. certificates (Superb 98 Jumbo; unpriced in SMQ above the grade of 98, SMQ $1,750.00 as 98). This is the highest grade awarded and the only example to achieve this grade.