VERY FINE. A SPECTACULAR 1857 PERFORATED 5-CENT BRICK RED AND 10-CENT GREEN FRANKING, AND ONE OF TWO RECORDED COVERS WITH A VERTICAL STRIP OF THREE TYPE IV RECUT STAMPS, WHICH IS ONLY POSSIBLE FROM POSITIONS 54/64/74L1, THE ONLY THREE CONTIGUOUS TYPE IV POSITIONS ON THE PLATE. ONE OF THE GREAT COVERS OF CLASSIC UNITED STATES PHILATELY.
This cover was carried on the North German Lloyd steamer Bremen, which departed New York on May 14, 1859, and arrived at Southampton on May 27 (the mail reached France the next day). It was correctly prepaid and credited for the triple 15c United States-France treaty rate by American packet via England.
There were eight recut positions (Type IV) on the 10c Plate 1, which was used to print stamps issued both imperforate (Scott 16) and perforated (Scott 34). Only three positions on the plate form a contiguous string of recuts: Positions 54L, 64L and 74L, arranged vertically in the 6th, 7th and 8th rows of the left pane. There are no horizontal positions that form a strip of three Type IV's. For this reason, Type IV strips can be no more than three in size (counting only the contiguous Type IV stamps), and must be in a vertical format, containing Positions 54/64/74L1. We are aware of two covers bearing such a multiple: the cover offered here and a double-rate cover with a strip of three and no other stamps, which was offered in the 1955 Waterhouse sale held by H. R. Harmer in London.
Signed Ashbrook and discussed in his Special Service (pp. 352-353, photo 181). With 2015 P.F. certificate