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VERY FINE. SCOTT 321 IS ONE OF THE RAREST OF ALL UNITED STATES STAMPS. ONLY FOUR UNUSED PAIRS AND TWO COVERS WITH SINGLES ARE AVAILABLE TO COLLECTORS. ONE OF THE KEYS TO A COMPLETE COLLECTION OF UNITED STATES STAMPS.
The first government coil stamps were experimental, and philatelists at the time were generally unaware of or indifferent to their existence. Sheets of 400 were printed and perforated in one direction. They were then cut into strips of 20 and hand-assembled into rolls for sale in vending machines. Only small numbers of these experimental coils were produced before the Washington-Franklin series superseded them. One of the rarest stamps in the world is Scott 321, the 2c Shield Vertical Coil. In February 1908, four rolls of 1,000 were produced, and the vertical format was never repeated. A supply was sent to the Parkhurst Vending Machine Co. in Indianapolis, the only city where Scott 321 is known to have been used.
Our census of Scott 321, available at https://siegelauctions.com/census/us/scott/321 , contains five pairs and two covers with singles. One of the pairs is part of the Miller collection owned by The New York Public Library. That leaves only four pairs plus the two covers available to collectors. Siegel has not offered a pair since before 1994. The Zoellner collection, which was complete, contained a cover. A pair was recently offered in a 2019 Cherrystone auction, where it realized $700,000 hammer.
The pair offered here was part of a significant old-time collection formed in the 1960s and 1970s, which included other rarities such as unused 1869 Pictorial Inverts. The collection sat dormant for decades until 2008, when the heirs brought it to a local auction house on Long Island, New York which specializes in estate sales and general collectibles. Every item in the sale was sent to The Philatelic Foundation for certificates. Mr. Petersen acquired this pair in that auction.
Census no. 321-OG-PR-03. With 1975 and 2008 P.F. certificates