Sale 895 — 2005 Rarities of the World
Sale Date — Friday, 3 June, 2005
Category — Yorktown Issue
VERY FINE. THIS IS THE UNIQUE TOP PLATE NUMBER BLOCK OF TEN OF THE 2-CENT YORKTOWN, IMPERFORATE VERTICALLY, FROM THE ONLY PANE OF 50 SOLD. ONE OF THE GREATEST RARITIES OF ALL 20TH CENTURY COMMEMORATIVE ISSUES.
The 2c Yorktown was issued on October 19, 1931, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the surrender of General Cornwallis to General Washington at Yorktown. Because previous Revolutionary War stamps had honored our allies from Germany and Poland, it was suggested that the French should be honored with the new issue. Rochambeau and DeGrasse were selected in recognition of their contribution to Washington's victory at Yorktown.
There were two distinct printings of this issue, using different plate layouts. The first employed 100-subject plates for both the frame and vignette. However, due to problems with paper shrinkage the vignettes were difficult to align to the frame, resulting in excessive waste. The second printing was made from a 100-subject plate for the frame, but a 50-subject plate was used for printing the vignette. This allowed for greater control, thereby significantly reducing waste.
The imperforate-vertically error occurred during production from the second plate configuration. We know this because different plate numbers were used for the first and second layouts. We also know that only one pane of 50, rather than a sheet of 100, was produced with vertical rows of perforations missing, because the perforations were applied after the sheets of 100 with the frame impression were divided into panes of 50 for the second press run. Therefore, we can be reasonably certain that this top plate number multiple is unique.
This plate block and the following two lots are difficult to value in the Scott Catalogue. The error is priced as a horizontal pair, but obviously the pane of five stamps per row divides into two pairs and one single per row. Furthermore, the Scott Catalogue lists but does not price the plate number block of six. Therefore, a significant Scott premium should be assigned to this multiple. We have quoted Scott Retail for four Mint N.H. pairs (leaving two singles unaccounted for) and without any premium for the plate block.
VERY FINE. THE UNIQUE SIDE ARROW BLOCK OF THE 2-CENT YORKTOWN, IMPERFORATE VERTICALLY.
The previous description provides a detailed explanation of the Yorktown issue's unusual production
Ex Sheriff and last offered in our 1986 Rarities sale. Purple Weill backstamp in selvage at right. Scott Retail as four Mint N.H. pairs with no premium for the additional two stamps or for the arrow.
VERY FINE TO EXTREMELY FINE. THIS IS THE UNIQUE BOTTOM DOUBLE PLATE NUMBER BLOCK OF TEN OF THE 2-CENT YORKTOWN ISSUE, IMPERFORATE VERTICALLY. ONE OF THE GREATEST 20TH CENTURY COMMEMORATIVE RARITIES.
Please refer to lot 360 for a detailed explanation of the unusual production of the Yorktown issue.
Purple Weill backstamp in selvage. Scott Retail as four Mint N.H. pairs, without premium for the plate block or two additional stamps.
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. AN EXTREMELY RARE LARGE DIE PROOF ON INDIA PAPER OF THE 1931 2-CENT YORKTOWN ISSUE.
This large die proof on India may be unique. Scott Catalogue also lists this proof on white wove and white or yellowish wove, which are slightly more common.