FRESH AND VERY FINE. THIS STRIP OF THREE IS THE LARGEST RECORDED MULTIPLE OF THE 4-CENT IMPERFORATE, SCOTT 314A. ONLY ONE OTHER IS AVAILABLE TO COLLECTORS, AND IT IS ON COVER. ONE OF THE GREATEST TWENTIETH CENTURY UNITED STATES RARITIES. OFFERED TO THE MARKET FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER 35 YEARS.
With the rising popularity of vending and affixing machines, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing received numerous requests from manufacturers for supplies of imperforate stamps, which could then be privately perforated to conform to each firm's machine. In May 1908, a supply of 25 sheets (400 stamps per sheet) of the 4c 1902 Issue, without perforations, was delivered to the Schermack Mailing Machine Co. in Detroit. The entire supply was cut into coils with Schermack Type III perforations, designed for the firm's patented affixing machine and delivered to the Winfield Printing Co. for use on mass mailings of advertising material. Approximately 6,000 were used on a mailing for Hamilton Carhartt Manufacturer, and almost all of the 4,000 balance were used on a mailing for Burroughs Adding Machine Co.
All of the Scott 314A stamps that exist in unused condition, the two used off-cover multiples and two of the three covers originate from a local Detroit stamp collector, Karl Koslowski, who was the only one to purchase some of the 4c Imperforates, either from the Winfield Printing Company or from the Schermack firm. His earliest account of the event appeared two years later in the Philadelphia Stamp News, and is considered to be the most reliable of several conflicting stories told by Koslowski (and interpreted by others) at later dates. In the 1910 article, Koslowski explains that he purchased 50 stamps and expected to be able to buy more, but the supply was destroyed when he returned.
We can account for 32 of the 50 stamps Koslowski claims he acquired. There are 21 unused stamps currently in our census, all of which must have come from him, and he used at least 11 stamps on mail to friends, including the strip of three on a Koslowski cover, this used strip of three off cover (the mass mailings were all singles), a used pair and two singles on separate Koslowski covers. The earliest known cover is dated at Detroit on May 27, 1908, from Koslowski to a friend in Austria, and the latest is dated April 8, 1909, which was mailed to him using a sheet-margin single from Sicklerville, New Jersey. Apart from the stamps Koslowski used, there is one recorded commercial cover (June 2, 1908) and approximately 32 used single stamps, most of which were probably removed from the mass-mailing covers.
The only recorded used multiples of Scott 314A are two strips of three (one of which is on cover) and a pair in the Miller Collection at The New York Public Library that will never be available to collectors.
Ex Sinkler and Goldsmith. Acquired by the current owner in a 1980 Sotheby's sale. With 1956 and 1975 P.F. certificates. The Scott Catalogue does not list multiples in used condition. Scott Retail as three singles