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Sale 968A — The Alan B. Whitman Collection, Part Two: 1870-1901 Issues

Sale Date — Tuesday-Wednesday, 14-15 April, 2009

Category — 1901 Pan-American Issue Invert Blocks (Scott 294a, 295a, 296)

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
369
ogbl
Sale Number 968A, Lot Number 369, 1901 Pan-American Issue Invert Blocks (Scott 294a, 295a, 296)4c Pan-American, Center Inverted (296a), 4c Pan-American, Center Inverted (296a)4c Pan-American, Center Inverted (296a). Block of four, slightly disturbed original gum as usual, bright colors, proof-like impressions, unusually choice centering throughout, top right and bottom left stamps have small thin spots

EXTREMELY FINE. A MAGNIFICENT BLOCK OF THE 4-CENT PAN-AMERICAN INVERT. ONLY SEVEN BLOCKS ARE RECORDED, AND THIS IS AMONG THE BEST-CENTERED. A FABULOUS 20TH CENTURY PHILATELIC RARITY.

The 4c Pan-American Invert was not regularly issued. According to Sloane, an erroneous report reached the Post Office department that the 4c had been discovered with inverted center. Edwin C. Madden, the 3rd Assistant Postmaster General, remarked that if any were found they should not be destroyed but kept for the archives. None was found, but two sheets of inverts (400 stamps total) were deliberately printed. This caused an uproar as it was not clear at first whether these had been deliberately ordered by Madden (in violation of his duties). He was later exonerated of any wrongdoing.

Examples were distributed through two official channels. One sheet was overprinted with "Specimen". A total of 106 copies, both with and without "Specimen", were distributed to friends and dignitaries. 197 were destroyed. One pane of 100 was retained by the Post Office Department and was stuck down on a ledger page in the Post Office archives. The sheet was broken up in about 1916 or 1917, and 97 copies were traded in exchange for material needed for the government collection. Since most of the stamps were removed from the mounting paper, they are generally thinned or have seriously disturbed gum.

A review of our Levi records located seven blocks of four. Two of the blocks have perfs cutting into the design. One has not been seen since the 1944 Col. Edward H. R. Green auction and has probably been broken into singles, and another has not been seen since 1970. Of the other two well-centered blocks, one has a crease and thin spots, and the other has a small tear on the bottom left stamp.

With 1998 P.F. certificate

500,000
325,000
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