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Sale 1211 — The William H. Gross Collection: United States Postal History

Sale Date — Tuesday-Wednesday, 29-30 October, 2019

Category — 1851 1¢ Blue—Plate 1 Early

Cat./Est. Value
Sale Number 1211, Lot Number 169, 1851 1¢ Blue—Plate 1 Early, One of two vertical strips on cover with Scott 5, Position 7R1E

1¢ Blue, Types I/IIIA/II (5/8A/7), Positions 7/17/27R1E, vertical strip of three, top Type I, middle Type IIIA, bottom Type II, large margins at top and left including sheet margin at top and part of adjoining stamps, just in at bottom, cut in at right, tied by three strikes of "Saint Louis Mo. Nov. 6" (1851) circular datestamp on blue folded cover to New York City, 1851 docketing on flap, Fine, a desirable strip on cover containing the rare Type I, Position 7R1E--one of only two recorded examples on cover in a vertical strip of three, ex Waud and Hackmey, Wagshal census no. 5-COV-088 (available at census/us/scott/5 ), with 2006 P.F. certificate, Scott value $85,000.00


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.

E. 10,000-15,000
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