VERY FINE. THE UNIQUE "SET" OF 1861-66 RE-ISSUE BLOCKS OF FOUR, WHICH IS COMPLETE FROM THE ONE-CENT THRU THE 30-CENT (THE 90-CENT DOES NOT EXIST IN BLOCK FORM). SIX OF THESE BLOCKS ARE UNIQUE. THEY WERE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE CASPARY, LILLY AND HETHERINGTON COLLECTIONS, AND AS A GROUP FORM ONE OF THE GREATEST ASSEMBLAGES OF BLOCKS IN CLASSIC UNITED STATES PHILATELY.
Stamps from previous issues were made for the 1875 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and were intended both for sale and also to showcase examples of every U.S. stamp printed to date. Stamps which were no longer valid for postage were called Reprints (those with original issue dates prior to demonetization -- Scott Nos. 3, 4 and 40-47). Those still valid for postage were called Re-Issues. Those printed concurrently with contemporary designs were called Special Printings. The Post Office Department tried to get the original printing company to make them where possible; the Continental Bank Note Company printed Scott Nos. 40-47 and also Scott Nos. 167-177 and 180 and 181, while National Bank Note Company printed Nos. 102-111 and Nos. 123-132.
The 1861 Re-Issue and 1869 Pictorial Re-Issue were the only set of Reprints, Re-issues or Special Printings to be issued with original gum (both were done by the same printing company). The quality of the printing is very high -- the colors are consistent, the impressions are uniformly superior, and the paper used is thicker and whiter than the original issued stamps. The design and perforations are exactly the same as the issued stamps. Perhaps the quality of the printing was an attempt to showcase their skills, to be considered for future stamp contracts. They were only available from the offices of the Third Assistant Postmaster General, who recorded the quantities purchased and the names of the purchasers. On July 23, 1884 the remaining stock was destroyed, by order of the Postmaster General.
Our records for the 1861 Re-Issues are very comprehensive, and encompass hundreds of auction catalogues, as well as the Levi Records. The 3c, 5c, 10c, 12c, 24c and 30c blocks are unique. There are two blocks recorded for the 2c and 15c (the second of the latter with repaired perfs).
Ex Caspary, Lilly and Hetherington. The 1c with 1982 P.F. certificate. Others with 1968 P.F. certificates.