1¢ Blue, Type I (5), Position 7R1E, mostly full to huge margins including top sheet margin, full design at bottom except left ball just touched by tiny nick and minute sealed pre-use tear, rich Plate 1 Early color and impression, tied by blue grid cancel, used with vertical pair of 1¢ Blue, Type II (7), Positions 90/100R1E, huge margins to slightly in, diagonal pre-use crease in bottom stamp, also tied by blue grids with matching "Springfield Ill. Mar. 4" (1852) circular datestamp on a small attractive cover to Keene, Kentucky
Very Fine--a remarkably beautiful cover with a sheet-margin example of the rare 1¢ Type I, Position 7R1E, postmarked in blue.
The example on the cover offered here is especially desirable because it shows almost all of the essential elements of Type I, the top and bottom ornamentation, and it has a sheet margin at top. The cover also has the added attraction of blue cancellations.
Ex William West, Harold W. Stark, George H. Alten and "Sevenoaks." Wagshal census no. 5-COV-077. See our census, available at https://siegelauctions.com/census/us/scott/5 . Signed by Stanley B. Ashbrook and with his 1955 letter and notes. Scott value of No. 5 on cover is $85,000.00.
HISTORY AND COMMENTARY
The 1¢ Type I Imperforate--One in a Thousand
The 1¢ 1851 stamp, with a bust of Franklin based on Caffieri's sculpture, was one of the workhorses of postage stamps issued during the decade it was current. To print enough 1¢ stamps to meet demand, twelve steel plates were made--one was never used (Plate 6), and the first plate was reworked to add life to it (thus, the Early and Late states). Only Plates 1 through 4 were used to print stamps that were issued imperforate. All stamps from Plates 5 through 12 are perforated. When we refer to a specific position, the position number is shown first (1 to 100), followed by the pane (R for right and L for left) and the plate number (1 to 12).
The original 1¢ 1851 design has an elaborate ornamental border on all four sides. The changes to this ornamental border produced the different types. Ashbrook's type system is based on the premise that Type I should be a printed design that comes closest to the original die design. The presence of the top ornaments, the bottom plumes and scrolls, and the side ornaments is a requirement for Type I. For imperforate stamps, Ashbrook found only one position among the 1,000 entries on Plates 1E, 1L, 2, 3 and 4 that met this requirement: Position 7R1E. The fact that only one position met the Type I criteria is why Scott 5, a Type I imperforate stamp, is so rare. The Wagshal census of Scott 5 contains nearly 100 unduplicated records of stamps in singles and multiples, on and off cover. Therefore, Scott 5 is the rarest of all United States regular issues prior to the 1868 Grills, and fewer than 20 covers survive.
Because of the significance attached to the outer portions of the 1¢ 1851 design, rare types that have been carefully cut apart, so as not to impinge on any part of the design, are extremely desirable. Time has also not been kind to the surviving population, as very few examples of Scott 5 are sound.