30¢ Bright Claret (J27), Mint N.H. block of ten from top of pane with "AMERICAN BANK NOTE COMPANY" imprint and "No. 332" plate number, brilliant color in the distinctive Bright Claret shade
Louis Grunin, Siegel Auction Galleries, 11/30/1971, Sale 404, lot 761
Dr. J. Paul Wampler, Shreves Philatelic Galleries, 4/24-25/1998, lot 428, to William H. Gross
Very Fine; a few reinforced perfs in ungummed selvage, light crease in selvage well above the imprint and plate number
SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)
$8,700.00 as hinged
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
According to George Arfken's book on Postage Due stamps, in 1891 the American Bank Note Co. switched to a new kind of ink, which included aniline dye. The color is significantly brighter than the older Postage Due issues, and, unlike the older issues, it fluoresces under ultraviolet light. When questioned at the time, the Third Assistant Postmaster General Haven responded in a letter "the changes... are due partly to inappreciable differences in the fibre of the paper... and to mistakes in the mixing of the ink preparatory to printing."
The high denomination Postage Dues were not used very often. When American Bank Note Co. turned over plates, transfer rolls and stamps on hand to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) in 1893, there was an ample supply of stamps. The BEP did not release their own 30¢ Postage Due stamps until 1895, after trying to exhaust the existing supply of American Bank Note Co. stamps. It is not known how many were printed in the new Bright Claret color, but it seems reasonable to assume that quantities were extremely limited.
Our exhaustive search of auction records and The Philatelic Foundation failed to find another plate block. The Todd collection, which was probably the most comprehensive plate block collection ever formed, contained a top imprint and plate number strip of six. The Philatelic Foundation has only certified a bottom imprint and plate number strip of six.