Sale 967 — Important and Superb United States Stamps
Sale Date — Tuesday-Friday, 16-19 December, 2008
Category — 1898 Trans-Mississippi Issue (Scott 285-293)
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS SUPERB MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLE OF THE 5-CENT TRANS-MISSISSIPPI ISSUE HAS BEEN AWARDED THE PERFECT GRADE OF GEM 100 BY P.S.E. -- THIS IS THE ONLY EXAMPLE TO ACHIEVE THIS GRADE, WHICH IS THE HIGHEST AWARDED TO DATE. THIS IS ALSO ONE OF ONLY TWO MINT NEVER-HINGED TRANS-MISSISSIPPI STAMPS IN ANY DENOMINATION TO ACHIEVE THIS GRADE.
The 1893 Columbian Issue contains 16 different denominations, and at the time of their issue for the Columbian Exposition there was a backlash among collectors, who had to pay $16.33 to purchase a complete set (the equivalent of $372.36 in 2007 dollars). For the 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition, held in Omaha Nebraska, the issue was restricted to nine denominations, with no denominations issued above $2.00. The $3.80 cost for the set, while still expensive ($93.53 in 2007 dollars), was at least more manageable.
The Trans-Mississippi plates were laid out with narrower space between the horizontal rows than the space between the vertical columns. The mathematically balanced margins necessary to achieve a Gem 100 grade require extra space between the horizontal rows of perforations. Anyone who has examined Trans-Mississippi sheets and multiples can testify to the rarity of stamps with perfectly balanced margins all around.
With 2008 P.S.E. certificate (Gem 100; unpriced above the grade of 98; SMQ $15,600.00 as 98). This is the only example to achieve this grade, which is the highest awarded to date. The only other denomination represented by a Mint N.H. Gem 100 stamp is the 8c (one awarded). One previously hinged $1.00 is graded 100, and it realized $45,000 hammer in our September 2008 auction.