Sale 776 — The K.L. Collection of Classic Rarities
Sale Date — Tuesday, 23 April, 1996
Category — Mauritius
THE FAMOUS AND UNIQUE UNUSED BLOCK OF THE ONE-PENNY "POST PAID" EARLIEST IMPRESSION. THE MOST IMPORTANT UNUSED MULTIPLE OF MAURITIUS AND ONE OF THE OUTSTANDING IMPERFORATE BLOCKS OF THE BRITISH EMPIRE.
This remarkable survivor from the early period of the Mauritius post office can be traced as far back as Henry J. Duveen's ownership. It is not known from whom Duveen acquired the block, although he did purchase a significant portion of Sir William B. Avery's Mauritius collection. When the Duveen collection was dispersed through private sales by Charles J. Phillips in 1922-1926, the block figured prominently among the items purchased by Arthur Hind. After Hind's death, his Mauritius was offered as the fourth part of the British Empire series conducted by H. R. Harmer of London (June 12, 1934), and the "Post Paid" block sold for the U.S. dollar equivalent of $23,688, a staggering price that eclipsed the combined figure paid for the 1p and 2p "Post Office" stamps and came close to matching the amount realized by the 1p and 2p "Post Office" combination cover. The buyer was Alfred H. Caspary, presumably in competition with Maurice Burrus and Alfred F. Lichtenstein. Although Caspary's Mauritius collection paled in comparison to the holdings of his contemporaries, Burrus and Lichtenstein - he lacked even a single example of the "Post Office" stamps - the two titans of British Empire philately must have coveted their friend's "Post Paid" block. In 1958, after Caspary's death, his Mauritius was sold by H. R. Harmer, and the "Post Paid" block was featured in color in the sale catalogue, the only item in all of the Caspary sales to receive such chromatic distinction. It realized $18,500 and soon became part of the Josiah K. Lilly collection. When our firm sold the Lilly collection after his death, the "Post Paid" block realized $64,000 (March 16, 1967).
With 1995 B.P.A. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE. ONE OF TWO KNOWN COVERS WITH THE RARE INDIGO-BLUE SHADE OF THE 2-PENCE "POST PAID" EARLIEST IMPRESSION.
Although experts now accept two different shades and print qualities in classifying the earliest impressions of the 1848 2p "Post Paid" stamp, the Indigo-Blue shade, with its intense depth of impression, is the longstanding and unmatched earliest printing. The Blue shade, with its characteristic "dry" or "sticky" impression, is represented by a group of covers from one correspondence (approximately four or five; see Caspary and David Feldman Mauritius sales). These dry prints are considerably less intense than the Indigo-Blue stamps, a result of the ink failing to adhere to, or flaking off of, the insufficiently moistened grainy paper. While experts have adopted new parameters of print quality in classifying the earliest impressions, there can be no debate over the Indigo-Blue stamps - they are striking examples of the engraver's best and earliest product.
The other recorded cover with the Indigo-Blue earliest impression was in the Dale-Lichtenstein sale (October 21, 1968, lot 7, realized $18,000). It has an uncancelled stamp tied by a manuscript transit marking.
Ex Caspary, Dr. Chan and Gray; it was the highlight of the Stevens collection (illustrated on front cover of 1964 sale catalogue) and ex Kanai. With 1958 B.P.A. certificate