EXTREMELY FINE. THE LARGEST AND FINEST OF THE THREE RECORDED 5-CENTAVOS LITHOGRAPHED BLOCKS AND THE ONLY ONE KNOWN ON COVER. THIS ASTOUNDING COVER IS APTLY DESCRIBED BY GERHARD BLANK AS "THE MOST OUTSTANDING 'COLON' COVER OF THEM ALL" IN HIS DEFINITIVE BOOK ON THE 1853-1867 ISSUES OF CHILE. OFFERED AT PUBLIC AUCTION FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE ITS DISCOVERY IN A PARIS FLEA MARKET SHORTLY AFTER WORLD WAR II.
The 1854 Lithograph stamps are extremely rare in multiples. Only one unused pair is recorded, and strips of three or larger are rare on or off cover. As for blocks, there are just three: 1) the block of fourteen on the cover to Valparaiso offered here; 2) block of six, ex Caspary and Galvez, offered in this sale as lot 120; and 3) block of six, ex Walters and Galvez, offered in this sale as lot 121.
This remarkable cover, bearing a block of fourteen in perfect condition and well-tied by the four-ring cancellation, was completely unknown to philatelists until shortly after World War II when it was discovered in a flea market in Paris. It was acquired by John F. Rider and then sold to Helen Novy, a collector and the daughter of another famous collector, B. D. Forster, whose pencil signature is on the back of this cover. Islander acquired it in 1967 as part of the entire Novy collection of Chile.
Exhibited in the Aristocrats of Philately displays at Anphilex 1971, Interphil 1976 and Ameripex 1986. Illustrated in Gerhard Blank's Chile: First Issues of Postage Stamps 1853-1867, where described as "The most outstanding 'Colon' cover of them all."