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Sale 947 — The Philip T. Wall Collection of U.S. Postmasters' Provisionals

Sale Date — Wednesday, 12 December, 2007

Category — St. Louis Postmaster

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
4
 
Sale Number 947, Lot Number 4, St. Louis PostmasterSt. Louis Mo., 5c Black on Greenish (11X1), St. Louis Mo., 5c Black on Greenish (11X1)St. Louis Mo., 5c Black on Greenish (11X1). Type III, Position 5, large margins to just touched, without pen cancellation, tied by red "St. Louis Mo. Mar. 6" circular datestamp on small piece

VERY FINE EXAMPLE OF THE 5-CENT ST. LOUIS POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL ON GREENISH PAPER. RARE CANCELLED SOLELY BY THE RED ST. LOUIS DATESTAMP.

Colson's small "W.H.C." backstamp. Scott Retail $7,000.00 for normally pen-cancelled stamp off cover (footnote states: "Values for used off-cover stamps are for pen-cancelled copies. Handstamp cancelled copies sell for much more.")

E. 7,500-10,000
21,000
5
 
Sale Number 947, Lot Number 5, St. Louis PostmasterSt. Louis Mo., 10c Black on Greenish (11X2), St. Louis Mo., 10c Black on Greenish (11X2)St. Louis Mo., 10c Black on Greenish (11X2). Type I, Position 2, large margins to clear at top, without pen cancellation, tied by red "St. Louis Mo. Nov. 28" circular datestamp on small piece, lifted and hinged in place to confirm soundness of the stamp

VERY FINE AND CHOICE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE EXAMPLE OF THE 10-CENT ST. LOUIS POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL CANCELLED SOLELY BY THE RED CIRCULAR DATESTAMP.

Ex Ferrary and with his small purple trefoil at bottom right. Ex Waterhouse and Faiman. With 2004 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $7,000.00 for normally pen-cancelled stamp off cover (footnote states: "Values for used off-cover stamps are for pen-cancelled copies. Handstamp cancelled copies sell for much more.")

E. 10,000-15,000
16,500
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6
 
Sale Number 947, Lot Number 6, St. Louis PostmasterSt. Louis Mo., 10c Black on Greenish (11X2), St. Louis Mo., 10c Black on Greenish (11X2)St. Louis Mo., 10c Black on Greenish (11X2). Type I, Position 2, large margins to just barely in along frameline at top right, without pen cancellation, tied by red St. Louis circular datestamp on small piece

FRESH AND VERY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE OF THE 10-CENT ST. LOUIS POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL ON GREENISH PAPER. ESPECIALLY DESIRABLE CANCELLED SOLELY BY THE RED CIRCULAR DATESTAMP, WHICH LEAVES THE ENTIRE DESIGN CLEARLY VISIBLE.

With 2004 P.S.E. certificate. Scott Retail $7,000.00 for normally pen-cancelled stamp off cover (footnote states: "Values for used off-cover stamps are for pen-cancelled copies. Handstamp cancelled copies sell for much more.")

E. 5,000-7,500
5,750
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7
 
Sale Number 947, Lot Number 7, St. Louis PostmasterSt. Louis Mo., 5c Black on Gray Lilac (11X4), St. Louis Mo., 5c Black on Gray Lilac (11X4)St. Louis Mo., 5c Black on Gray Lilac (11X4). Type III, Position 5, large to huge margins, unusually deep impression, cancelled by two unobtrusive penstrokes

EXTREMELY FINE GEM. ONE OF THE FINEST KNOWN EXAMPLES OF THE 5-CENT ST. LOUIS POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL ON GRAY LILAC PAPER.

The St. Louis Bear stamps were printed from a single plate of six subjects (two horizontal by three vertical) that was modified twice to change the denominations of two positions. The original plate (Plate 1) contained three 5c stamps at left and three 10c stamps at right. All stamps from Plate 1 were printed on Greenish paper. The plate was then altered by burnishing out the "5" on Positions 1 and 3 and engraving a new "20" denomination (Plate 2). A small printing on Greenish paper was made from this Plate 2 altered plate. 5c stamps (Position 5) and 10c stamps (Positions 2/4/6) on Greenish Paper cannot usually be identified as Plate 1 or Plate 1 impressions (the 20c on Greenish paper is a great rarity). The larger portion of stamps from Plate 2 are on Gray Lilac paper. However, because only one of six subjects was a 5c value, the 5c on Gray Lilac is an extremely rare stamp -- perhaps even rarer than the 20c on Gray Lilac. The plate was modified again by burnishing out the "20" and engraving the old "5" denomination (Plate 3). At the time of this second alteration, a large ball was engraved inside the end curl of the numeral "5" on Position 5. As far as we know, all stamps from Plate 3 were printed on a very thin pelure paper. These were the last stamps used before the 1847 Issue was placed on sale in St. Louis.

Ex Vineyard. With 1976 and 1996 P.F. certificates

45,000
60,000
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8
 
Sale Number 947, Lot Number 8, St. Louis PostmasterSt. Louis Mo., 20c/20c/5c Black on Gray Lilac, Se-Tenant Strip of Three (11X6-11X4), St. Louis Mo., 20c/20c/5c Black on Gray Lilac, Se-Tenant Strip of Three (11X6-11X4)St. Louis Mo., 20c/20c/5c Black on Gray Lilac, Se-Tenant Strip of Three (11X6-11X4). Vertical strip of three containing the entire left vertical row on the plate, Positions 1/3/5, top two stamps 20c (Types I/II), bottom stamp 5c (Type III), ample margins to slightly in along frameline at right and lower left, cancelled by light looping pen line on large piece of cover from the "Louisville" find (Tyler & Rutherford correspondence), complete strike of red "St. Louis Mo. May 26" circular datestamp, piece with light vertical file fold well away from strip

VERY FINE. THE UNIQUE COMBINATION STRIP OF THREE OF THE ST. LOUIS POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL FROM THE LEFT VERTICAL ROW OF THE PLATE, CONTAINING TWO 20-CENT AND ONE 5-CENT VALUES. ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ST. LOUIS POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL MULTIPLES IN EXISTENCE.

The St. Louis "Bears" were issued by Postmaster John M. Wimer from November 1845 until the first United States General Issue became available in July 1847. The stamps were issued in three denominations -- 5c, 10c and 20c -- and were sold at a premium over face value to pay the costs of printing. All of the stamps were printed from a single copper plate of six subjects (2 x 3) engraved by J. M. Kershaw. The plate underwent two significant modifications. Philatelists identify each state of the plate as Plates 1, 2 and 3, but in fact the same piece of metal was used in each state.

On Plate 1 there were three 5c subjects in the vertical column at left (we refer to the positions on the sheet, which are mirrored on the plate) and three 10c subjects at right. To fill the need for 20c stamps, the denominations on two of the 5c subjects (Positions 1 and 3) were burnished out and reengraved with "20", creating Plate 2. After some time the two 5c values were restored by burnishing out the "20" and reengraving "5", which is Plate 3. The three 10c subjects were untouched throughout the modifications to Positions 1 and 3. The 5c Position 5 was slightly altered on Plate 3 by adding a large dot to the inside of the ball at the bottom of the "5".

The first paper used was Greenish in color; the earliest recorded use is November 13, 1845, one week after the first newspaper announcement of the issue. Most of the Greenish paper supply was used in combination with Plate 1, comprising three 5c subjects in the vertical row at left and three 10c subjects at right. A small supply of Greenish paper was used with Plate 2, which contained the two 20c subjects. As a rule, 5c and 10c stamps on Greenish paper (Scott 11X1-2) printed from Plate 2 cannot be distinguished from the Plate 1 printing, although Plate 2 stamps on Greenish must be considerably rarer. The 20c on Greenish (Scott 11X3) is a great rarity with only six recorded, which indicates that the number of Greenish paper sheets used in conjunction with Plate 2 must have been very small.

Gray Lilac paper replaced Greenish paper (earliest recorded use is February 27, 1846) and was only used in conjunction with Plate 2. Of the 20c stamps, all except the six known on Greenish paper are printed on Gray Lilac (Scott 11X6). Because only one position furnished the 5c value, the 5c on Gray Lilac (Scott 11X4) is a very rare stamp. The Plate 2 printing on Gray Lilac also furnished the only recorded examples of se-tenant multiples, in which stamps of more than one denomination are joined together.

The last paper used is classified as Pelure, which is extremely thin and fragile. This paper was used only in conjunction with Plate 3, containing the two restored 5c values in addition to the bottom 5c and three 10c at right (no 20c on Pelure is known). The earliest recorded date of use of Pelure paper is November 25, 1846, which is a folded letter bearing a 10c Position 2 with an impression of the reengraved 5c Position 1 on back. This remarkable item provides the earliest use of Plate 3 as well as Pelure paper. Any stamp on Pelure paper is a rarity.

Se-tenant multiples of classic stamps are highly prized, and most are very rare. Among United States Postmasters' Provisionals, there are only three issues produced from plates containing more than one denomination: Baltimore, Providence and St. Louis. There is no known genuine se-tenant example of the Baltimore 5c and 10c provisionals. Se-tenant multiples of the Providence 5c and 10c are readily available in unused condition, due to the survival of remainder sheets. Of the St. Louis "Bears", there are only six recorded se-tenant multiples involving any of the three denominations. These are: 1) 5c-10c Positions 5-6, horizontal pair on Gray Lilac (11X4-11X5), red circular datestamp, 5c faint corner crease, Siegel 1978 Rarities sale as part of a reconstruction, lot 17; 2) 5c-10c-10c Positions 4/5-6, L-shaped strip of three on Gray Lilac (11X4-11X5), pen cancels, ex Caspary, Siegel 1979 Rarities sale as part of a reconstruction, lot 15; 3) 5c-10c-10c-10c Positions 2/4/5-6, L-shaped block of four on Gray Lilac (11X4-11X5), pen cancels (tiny break), ex Lapham, Siegel 1977 Rarities sale (lot 22), Siegel 2000 Rarities sale (lot 16), Siegel 2007 Rarities sale (lot 13, realized $260,000 hammer); 4) 20c-20c-5c Positions 1/3/5, vertical strip of three on Gray Lilac (11X6-11X4), pen cancels, on large piece of cover with May 26 (1846) circular datestamp, the item offered here, ex Worthington, "Isleham" collection in Siegel Ameripex sale, lot 1030; 5) 20c-10c Positions 1-2, horizontal pair on Gray Lilac (11X6-11X5), pen cancels, 10c crease and small thin, Siegel 1980 Rarities sale (lot 14); and 6) 20c-10c Positions 3-4, horizontal pair (11X6-11X5), tied by pen cancel and red May 31 (1846) circular datestamp on folded cover to Charnley & Whelen, Philadelphia, ex Pope. Se-tenant item numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 were all sold in the 2003 sale of the Faiman collection.

Five large groups of St. Louis "Bears" have been discovered during the past 132 years. In 1869 J. W. Scott acquired a correspondence bearing 50 of the 5c, 100 of the 10c and three 20c stamps, probably all of which have been removed from their original covers. In 1880 the Riggs correspondence produced 20 examples of the 5c and 10c. In 1889 the J. & J. Stuart correspondence contained 25 examples of the 5c and 10c, most on Pelure paper. The huge "Louisville" find in 1895, salvaged by a janitor who was burning papers, yielded 75 of the 5c, 46 of the 10c and 16 of the 20c, including se-tenant multiples that revealed the plate layout and proved the authenticity of the 20c stamps, which had been in question since 1869. All of the stamps in the Louisville find were found on covers addressed to Tyler & Rutherford, a banking firm in Louisville, but many of the stamps were later removed. Additional material from the Tyler & Rutherford correspondence surfaced around 1902 and was acquired by C. H. Mekeel. The piece offered here comes from the Tyler & Rutherford correspondence. In 1912 the first portion of the Charnley & Whelen correspondence reached philatelists, which provided another six of the 5c, 61 of the 10c and 16 of the 20c. Additional Charnley & Whelen covers were sold over the next three decades.

The two largest St. Louis "Bears" correspondences were addressed to Tyler & Rutherford in Louisville, a distance under 300 miles, and to Charnley & Whelen in Philadelphia, a distance over 300 miles. The postage rates in effect during that period were 5c for any distance under 300 miles and 10c for 300 miles and over. Assuming that the se-tenant strip offered here represents all of the postage from one cover, then the total of 45c would represent nine times the 5c rate per half-ounce.

Ex Isleham and Faiman. With 1962 P.F. certificate. Due to the increase in value for Scott 11X4 and 11X6, the value of the 11X6-11X4 se-tenant strip of three now carries only a small $5,000.00 premium over the value of singles ($140,000.00 vs. $135,000.00). It is likely that this will change after this unique strip is sold.

E. 100,000-150,000
120,000
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9
 
Sale Number 947, Lot Number 9, St. Louis PostmasterSt. Louis Mo., 10c Black on Gray Lilac (11X5), St. Louis Mo., 10c Black on Gray Lilac (11X5)St. Louis Mo., 10c Black on Gray Lilac (11X5). Vertical strip of three containing all three positions from the right vertical row of the plate, Positions 2/4/6, full to huge margins, top stamps cancelled by single penstroke, bottom stamp cancelled solely by red St. Louis circular datestamp, top two stamps with faint creases

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. BY FAR THE FINER OF TWO RECORDED OFF-COVER STRIPS OF THREE OF THE 10-CENT ST. LOUIS POSTMASTER'S PROVISIONAL ON GRAY LILAC PAPER. A MAGNIFICENT SHOWPIECE AND A RARITY OF THE HIGHEST CALIBER.

As noted in the previous two descriptions, the plate was altered twice, once adding two 20c denominations and one more time to replace them with 5c denominations. The right column, as demonstrated by this strip, was never altered. Each engraving of the 10c design differs slightly, particularly in the lines underneath "Post Office" at bottom, which aids in identifying positions. This strip beautifully demonstrates the subtle differences in each position.

Ex Duckwall, Moody and Faiman. Signed Colson. With 1981 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail $32,500.00

E. 30,000-40,000
37,500
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