VERY FINE. THE EARLIEST OF THREE RECORDED COVERS BEARING THE ONE-CENT PAN-AMERICAN INVERT, WHICH IS THE ONLY 20TH CENTURY UNITED STATES INVERT ERROR KNOWN ON COVER. TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE, THIS IS THE SOLE SURVIVING COVER FROM BESSEMER, ALABAMA, THE PLACE WHERE THE FIRST ONE-CENT INVERTS WERE DISCOVERED. AN ICON OF 20TH CENTURY PHILATELY.
There are three covers known with the 1c Pan-American Invert. This cover from Bessemer, Alabama -- the location of the first discovery of the 1c Invert -- is the earliest date (August 2, 1901). An August 24 cover from Oakland, California, is recorded with the 1c Invert and normal 4c used together for the 5c rate to Paris, France. The third known cover is a philatelist's creation, mailed from St. Louis on January 9, 1903, well after the Invert error was recognized.
According to the 1937 revised Johl-King book (p. 7), "The first known copies of this error were discovered at Bessemer, Alabama, by the Carrel Jewelry Company on some circulars just prior to mailing them. When they realized the find they had made they lost no time in removing the stamps from the circulars and thus saved them to Philately." Whether this stamp originates from the Carrel Jewelry Company or another source within Bessemer, we cannot say. The size of the envelope and local address suggests it was used to send polite correspondence or an invitation.
The Bessemer cover has appeared at auction only on two occassions: first at the 1910 Seybold sale, and second at the 1957 Atwood sale. It was acquired by Dr. Skinner in 1957 as a direct purchase from Raymond and Roger Weill of New Orleans.
EXTREMELY FINE AND REMARKABLY WELL-CENTERED EXAMPLE OF THE ONE-CENT PAN-AMERICAN INVERT.
The 1c Pan-American Inverts were found in at least four different post offices around the country, soon after release of the issue in May 1901. Between 600 and 700 are likely to have been issued. With 1971 P.F. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. ONE OF THE FINEST ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLES OF THE RARE 2-CENT PAN-AMERICAN INVERT.
The 2c is the rarest of the three Pan-American Inverts. It is surmised that approximately 200 were issued through the post office, with two distinct shades known. Estimates of surviving examples range from an early count (1945) of 55 unused and 2-3 used to the 1998 Datz estimate of 150 unused, 3-5 used and a block of four intact. Our Levi records contain the intact block (4), reconstructed block (4), 64 unused singles and 7 used singles, for a total of 72 unused and 7 used. Many of the unused singles have disturbed gum or no gum, and/or are off center to top or top left.
Ex Lilly and our 1972 Rarities sale. With three P.F. certificates -- 1968, 1982 and 1995. Scott footnote states "Almost all unused copies of No. 295a have partial or disturbed gum. Values are for examples with full original gum that is slightly disturbed."
VERY FINE APPEARANCE. AN ATTRACTIVE ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THIS MAJOR 20TH CENTURY INVERT.
Signed "CJP" (Charles J. Phillips)
EXTREMELY FINE CENTERING AND APPEARANCE. ONE OF THE BEST-CENTERED EXAMPLES OF THIS GREAT TWENTIETH CENTURY INVERT RARITY. ONLY SEVEN USED EXAMPLES ARE KNOWN. FROM A RECENTLY DISCOVERED FIND.
Only one other of the seven recorded used 2c Pan-American Inverts compares with the stamp offered here in terms of centering. The other well-centered example has a small tear at bottom and is on a piece. Every other known used example of the 2c invert is either thinned and creased. Two are also reperfed and one has clipped perfs.
The stamp offered here was recently discovered in a collection formed by a missionary during the first part of this century