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FILTER: Sale=1188, Lot#=89, For all Sale Dates
Cat./Est. Value
United States
U.S. Stamps
19th Century Issues
1869 Pictorial Issue
United States Stamp Treasures: The William H. Gross Collection
Sale 1188, Lot 89, 1869 Pictorial Issue, including the Unique Block of the 24c InvertThe unique block of the 24¢ 1869 Pictorial Inverted Center error--widely acclaimed the most important item in United States philately, and eloquently described by the stamp expert Fred Melville in 1938 as “one of the most wonderful of all the surprising survivals”


24¢ Green & Violet, Center Inverted (120b), block of four, beautifully centered, rich colors and sharp clear impressions clearly showing the inverted vignettes, segmented cork cancels of New York City


* Discovered in Liverpool merchant’s correspondence files, circa 1888, by the so-called “Upside Down Man” (sold to a vest-pocket dealer)

* Thomas Ridpath (bought from dealer for £5, circa 1888; sold or consigned to Henry Collin, Scott Stamp and Coin Co., mid-1888)

* William Thorne (bought from Scott Stamp and Coin Co., 1888, for $200; collection sold privately to New England Stamp Co., 1902)

* William H. Crocker (bought privately from New England Stamp Co.), Harmer, Rooke & Co., 11/23-25/1938, lot 285, to Y. Souren

* Esmond Bradley Martin, Sr. (bought from and sold privately to Souren)

* Leslie White (bought privately from Souren; collection sold privately to the Weills, circa 1949)

* Benjamin D. Phillips (bought privately from Weills, October 1949, for $24,000; collection sold privately to Weills, 1968)

* Ryohei Ishikawa (bought privately from Weills, circa 1977), Christie’s Robson Lowe sale, 9/28-29/1993, lot 746, to Siegel Auction Galleries

* Steven Walske (bought privately from Siegel, 1997), Bennett sale, 5/2/2003, lot 1341 (later sold privately to Hagendorf/Columbian; resold privately to William H. Gross)


* Lester G. Brookman, United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, Vol. II, p. 182

* Michael Laurence, “The 24¢ 1869 Invert Block,” Chronicle 85, Feb. 1975

* Donna O’Keefe, Linn’s Philatelic Gems II, pp. 151-152

* L. N. Williams, Encyclopaedia of Rare and Famous Stamps, Vol. I, p. 318

* Scott R. Trepel, “The Ishikawa 1869s,” Chronicle 162, May 1994

* Stamp Exhibition, Eden Musée, New York City, March 1889 (Thorne)

* London Philatelic Exhibition 1897, held at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, Great Britain (Thorne)

* ANPHILEX 1971 “Aristocrats of Philately” (Weill)

* INTERPHIL 1976 “Aristocrats of Philately” (Weill)

* ANPHILEX 1996 “Aristocrats of Philately” (Siegel Auction Galleries)

* Collectors Club of New York “Aristocrats of United States Philately” exhibit, December 2000 (Gross)

* World Stamp Show 2016 Court of Honor (Gross)


* Very Fine; one stamp has tiny thin speck and small margin scuff

VIEW PDF OF HISTORY AND COMMENTARY at https://siegelauctions.com/2018/1188/89.pdf

E. 750,000-1,000,000
FILTER: Sale=1188, Lot#=89, For all Sale Dates

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