Sale 968 — The Alan B. Whitman Collection of Outstanding United States Stamps

Sale Date — Tuesday-Wednesday, 27-28 January, 2009

Category — 1857-60 Issue (Scott 18-39)

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
48
og
Sale Number 968, Lot Number 48, 1857-60 Issue (Scott 18-39)12c Black, Plate 3 (36B), 12c Black, Plate 3 (36B)12c Black, Plate 3 (36B). Original gum, barest trace of hinging, intense shade and proof-like impression, perfectly centered with wide and balanced margins

EXTREMELY FINE GEM. AN ABSOLUTELY STUNNING ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE PERFORATED 12-CENT 1857 ISSUE FROM PLATE 3. THIS STAMP HAS BEEN AWARDED THE GRADE OF SUPERB 98 BY P.S.E. -- THIS IS THE HIGHEST GRADE AWARDED TO DATE IN ANY CATEGORY. THE 2009 SCOTT SPECIALIZED HAS JUST ELEVATED THE PLATE 3 STAMP TO A MAJOR CATALOGUE NUMBER.

The most recent scholarship regarding the Toppan, Carpenter, Casilear & Co. plates used to print the 12c 1851-57 Issue is clearly articulated by James A. Allen in "The 1851 Imperforate (Scott U.S. #17): Plating Updated and Additional New Findings" (The 1851 Issue of United States Stamps: a Sesquicentennial Retrospective, U.S. Philatelic Classics Society). Traditionally, the 12c plates are identified as Plate 1 (from which all imperforate and some perforated stamps were printed), Plate 2 (evidently never used) and Plate 3 (which produced stamps that were only regularly issued with perforations). It is highly probable that Plate "3" was the first one made in 1851, but it was put aside and not used until 1859.

Plate 3 stamps (Scott 36B) are characterized primarily by uneven or broken outer framelines of the design. The subjects on Plate 1, which produced Scott Nos. 17 and 36, have even framelines that were extensively recut. Original-gum Plate 3 stamps with the centering and wide margins evident in this example are very scarce.

With 1988 and 1997 P.F. and 2008 P.S.E. certificates (OGph, Superb 98). This is the highest grade awarded to Scott 36B in any category (Used, NG/RG/POG or OG). A note from master grader Dr. William Litle confirms that "This is the first 98 of any kind for 36b."

825
6,500