ONE OF FOUR RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE 1867 ONE-CENT ALL-OVER GRILL ESSAY, WHICH IS UNLISTED IN SCOTT. THIS IS THE UPPER RIGHT STAMP FROM THE EX-STEEL, EARL OF CRAWFORD AND WORTHINGTON BLOCK OF FOUR.
The four recorded examples of the 1c A Grill essay come from the block of four that originated in the Charles F. Steel archive and was part of the Earl of Crawford and George Worthington collections. The grill has tiny "X" pyramidal points impressed into the back, which differs from the essay grill made of small squares (79-E15a/b); it is very similar to the issued A Grill. The 1c block and a 5c block with the identical grill were acquired by the Earl of Crawford from the archive of papers and stamps retained by Charles F. Steel, who patented the grilling device. For more information about the origins of the experimental A and C grills, please refer to Chronicle 134 and to our October 1998 catalogue of the Zoellner collection (also available in the Siegel Encyclopedia at www.siegelauctions.com/enc/1867.htm).
Two of the stamps from Steel's 5c block have actually been certified by the Philatelic Foundation as Scott 80, which indicates how similar these grills are to the issued A Grill (Scott 79, 80 and 81). We believe that the 1c and 5c A Grills from the Steel blocks deserve Scott Catalogue listings -- we would go so far as to put them at the front of the catalogue, not in the essay section. There is precedent for giving the 1c and 5c grilled stamps from the Steel blocks full Scott listings: the 4c Pan-American Invert and the 4c and 8c Bluish Paper stamps. None of them were issued at the post office, but nonetheless they are experimental stamps that reached the public through official channels. Whether or not Scott's editors concur with our view, collectors should consider the stamp offered here to be an integral part of classic U.S. philately.
Illustrated in the Evans book (p. 45). Ex Steel, Earl of Crawford and Worthington. From the C.W. Christian collection. With 2000 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE. A CHOICE EXAMPLE OF THE 3-CENT C GRILL WITH ORIGINAL GUM.
With 1999 P.F. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. IN TERMS OF CENTERING AND MARGINS, THIS STAMP RANKS AMONG THE TOP FIVE ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLES OF THE 2-CENT Z GRILL.
To form our assessment of this 2c Z Grill, we conducted a survey of approximately 100 auction catalogues for major United States collections sold over the past 60 years. The majority of these collections contained only used or very poor unused examples of 85B. Many accomplished collectors were never able to locate a sound, well-centered original-gum 2c Z Grill. Although the stamp offered here is indeed creased, its appearance far surpasses most of the known copies. In our September auction (Sale 814), a sound, Extremely Fine 2c Z Grill realized $24,000 hammer.
With 1987 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. AN OUTSTANDING STAMP THAT RANKS AMONG THE FINEST USED EXAMPLES OF THE 1868 2-CENT Z GRILL.
If one were to view this as an ungrilled 2c Black Jack, it would merit the highest rank among used examples. The plates used to print these stamps did not provide enough space between subjects for the large 12-gauge perf holes. Consequently, most Black Jack stamps have perfs touching the design on one or two sides. This scarcity of centered copies multiplies exponentially when the Z Grill is factored into the equation. Only a small quantity of 2c sheets were grilled during the period when the Z device was active -- after the D Grill, the Z is the rarest of Black Jack grilled stamps -- and discriminating collectors are well aware of the rarity of well-centered examples of 85B. This stamp is perfectly centered and has margin width that significantly surpasses the issue standard.
A nearly identical copy sold in our September sale for $11,500 hammer, a formidable demonstration of the rarity and desirability of well-centered 2c Z Grills in this condition.
With 1998 P.F. certificate
FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF THREE KNOWN USED BLOCKS OF THE 1868 2-CENT Z GRILL.
Unpriced as a block
AS FINE AS THIS EXTREMELY RARE STAMP EXISTS IN BLOCK FORM. ONE OF SIX KNOWN 3-CENT Z GRILL UNUSED BLOCKS.
The deep shade and very thin paper of this block are atypical of many 3c Z Grill stamps (including essays), but match at least two other unused blocks (ex Caspary). According to our production timeline on page 144 of the Zoellner sale, 3c sheets were first put through the Z Grill device in January (eku 1/25/68), then migrated to the D Grill device about one week later (eku 2/2/68). The 3c Z and D Grill stamps from this period are printed in a pale Rose shade on medium-thick paper, which did not take the grill very well. If our timeline is correct, the Z Grill was still functioning as late as March 17, 1868, and it is possible that some 3c sheets printed in a different shade on thinner paper were run through the Z Grill just before its conversion to the F Grill. Based on quantities delivered to the Stamp Agent and the time period of E Grill production, 3c sheets must have dominated the grilling devices in the February and March 1868.
FINE AND ATTRACTIVE COVER. USED BLOCKS OF THE 2-CENT E. GRILL ARE EXTREMELY RARE. THIS BLOCK OF FIVE, USED IN A FOUR-COLOR MIXED-ISSUE FRANKING, IS ONE OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING ITEMS OF THE GRILLED ISSUE.
Illustrated in Allen Black Jack book (p. 147). Ex Zoellner.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM EXAMPLE OF THE 3-CENT ROSE E GRILL. RARELY SEEN IN THIS CHOICE CONDITION.
The 3c E Grill should not be confused with the F Grill in terms of condition. It is far rarer in this original-gum condition and Extremely Fine Gem grade. The reason could be that multiples, from which such choice stamps can be harvested, have always been scarce, and single stamps saved by collectors in albums typically have disturbed gum from multiple hinges. Therefore, this lightly hinged 3c E Grill, with its intense shade and enormous margins, should be given special attention.
With 1999 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. AN OUTSTANDING ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 10-CENT E GRILL WITH REMARKABLE CENTERING -- RARE IN THIS CHOICE CONDITION.
Our comments about the relative rarity of 3c E and F Grills in choice original-gum condition (see lot 171) apply to the 10c, and perhaps even more so. While blocks of the 10c F Grill have been broken in recent years, yielding some choice single stamps, the 10c E Grill blocks are extremely rare and always have been. Caspary's block of 18 was broken years ago, but many of the stamps had faults or disturbed gum. Few other blocks have become available to furnish singles. The centering and soundness of this 10c E Grill place it high on the condition census.
With 1999 P.F. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A MAGNIFICENT EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 5-CENT BROWN F GRILL WITH ORIGINAL GUM. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE STAMP IN THIS CHOICE CONDITION.
The 5c 1861-68 Issues are extremely difficult to find in sound, well-centered, original-gum condition. The narrow spacing between stamps on the plate and large 12-gauge perforations resulted in stamps that are frequently off center. This applies to Scott 67, 75, 76 and 95 alike. None of these is easy to locate in centered original-gum condition (to understate the matter), but the limited production of 5c F Grills leaves collectors with an even smaller supply. By virtue of its color, centering and freshness, we believe the stamp offered here is superior to any we have seen offered in years.
With 1998 P.F. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THE 1868 5-CENT F GRILL IS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT ISSUES TO FIND WITH WIDE MARGINS ON ALL SIDES.
As noted in the previous lot, the narrow space between stamps and large 12-gauge perforations left little opportunity to clear the design. This stamp is an extraordinary exception to the rule.
With 1998 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE AND CHOICE. A BEAUTIFULLY CENTERED ORIGINAL-GUM 15-CENT F GRILL WITH REMARKABLE FRESHNESS AND DEPTH OF COLOR.
With 1995 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE FOR THIS SCARCE ISSUE. A CHOICE ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 24-CENT F GRILL IN AN EXTRAORDINARY STATE OF FRESHNESS.
The higher-denomination F Grills were produced in limited quantities and seem to have caused National Bank Note Co. difficulty in applying perforations. They are typically off center with very choppy perfs. This stamp is uncharacteristically well-centered and has well-formed perforations. Although centered slightly to left, we feel it deserves the Extremely Fine grade, considering how high it is positioned in a condition census.
With 2000 P.F. certificate