Sale 968B — The Alan B. Whitman Collection, Part Three: 1902-34 Issues, B-O-B
Sale Date — Tuesday-Friday, 22-25 September, 2009
Category — Rotary Press Perforated 11 Rarities (Scott 594, 596 and 613)
FINE. A RARE SOUND ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE ONE-CENT ROTARY PERF 11 ISSUE, SCOTT 594. THIS IS ONE OF THE RAREST 20TH CENTURY STAMPS IN UNUSED CONDITION.
The 1c Green, Scott 594, is waste from a horizontal rotary printing used to make coils. At the beginning or end of a coil-stamp print run from the 170-subject rotary plates, some leading or trailing paper was produced that was too short for rolling into 500-stamp rolls. In 1919 the Bureau devised a plan to salvage this waste by perforating and cutting the sheets into panes. They were put through the 11-gauge flat-plate perforator in use at the time, giving the sheets full perforations on all sides. The existence of Scott 594 was not reported until four months after the final sheets were delivered, and the 1c Rotary Perf 11 was soon recognized as one of the rarest United States stamps.
Our census of unused examples of Scott 594, based on the Levi and P.F. records, contains only 18 stamps. Among these there are only five sound stamps, including one with perforated initials of Crowell Publishing Co. of Springfield, Ohio, which some collectors regard as equivalent to a cancel. Of the four sound copies without perforated initials, only two have gum: Nos. 594-OG-01 and 594-OG-02. This stamp (594-OG-02) has perforations clear of the design on all sides, while the other is slightly in at right.
With 1937 A.P.S., 1982 and 1996 P.F. certificates
VERY FINE FOR THIS ROTARY WASTE ISSUE. THIS STAMP IS WIDELY REGARDED AS THE FINEST EXAMPLE OF THE ONE-CENT FRANKLIN ROTARY PERF 11, SCOTT 596, WITHOUT PRECANCEL. ONLY THIRTEEN EXAMPLES ARE RECORDED, AND OF THESE ONLY FIVE ARE WITHOUT A PRECANCEL. ONE OF THE GREATEST RARITIES OF 20TH CENTURY UNITED STATES PHILATELY.
The Rotary Perf 11 rarities (Scott 544, 594, 596 and 613) were created during an attempt by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to salvage waste from the end of the paper during rotary press printings. The rotary press, first used for printing coil stamps in 1915, was a new printing method designed for rapid production. Rather than print stamps on a flat plate one sheet at a time, the rotary press was fitted with a cylindrical plate that continuously applied impressions to long rolls of paper.
Rotary press stamps have dimensions that differ slightly from their ?at plate counterparts, due to the curvature of the cylinder. If the plate is wrapped around the cylinder from top to bottom (endwise) then the design is slightly longer; if wrapped around from side to side (sidewise) then the design is slightly wider.
At the beginning or end of rotary press printings, there was some leading or trailing paper that was too short for either rolling into coil rolls, or for perforating for 400-subject plates. In 1919, the Bureau devised a plan to salvage this waste by perforating and cutting the sheets into panes. These were put through the flat-plate perforating machine in use at the time, giving the stamps full perforations on all sides.
Our updated census of Scott 596 (http://siegelauctions.com/enc/census/596.pdf) records thirteen used stamps. There are no known unused examples. Eight are precancelled at Kansas City Mo. Of the five non-precancelled stamps, two have major faults. The stamp offered here is considered to be the best of the three non-precancelled copies without major faults.
This stamp was essentially “discovered” by the Weills and Clyde Jennings when they noticed that the dimensions differed from Scott 594, the other Rotary Perf 11 waste issue. The story is told in Opinions, published by The Philatelic Foundation. The stamp was sold in our 1982 Rarities sale and eventually entered the “Westport” collection formed by the Weills for a midwestern client. When the Westport collection was sold at auction by Christie’s, this stamp was acquired by a Texas collector. That collection was sold privately a few years ago, and Alan Whitman acquired the stamp through Sonny Hagendorf (Columbian Stamp Co.). Therefore, this is only the third time this stellar rarity of 20th Century United States philately has been offered at public auction since its discovery nearly a half-century ago.
With 1962 and 2005 P.F. certificates
FRESH AND VERY FINE. A RARE SOUND EXAMPLE OF THE 2-CENT HARDING ROTARY PERF 11. ONE OF ONLY A FEW SOUND EXAMPLES WHERE THE PERFORATIONS DO NOT TOUCH THE DESIGN.
Our updated census of the 2c Harding Rotary Perf 11 (available at http://siegelauctions.com/enc/census/613.pdf) records 43 used singles (one faintly cancelled, if at all), one used pair and a newly-discovered used strip of three. Of the singles, approximately 30 are sound, but of these only six rate a grade of Very Fine or Extremely Fine. The stamp offered here is one of the few choice sound examples.
The 2c Harding Rotary Perf 11 stamp was discovered in 1938 by Leslie Lewis of the New York firm, Stanley Gibbons Inc. Gary Griffith presents his hypothesis in United States Stamps 1922-26 that rotary-printed sheets of 400 were first reduced to panes of 100 and then fed through the 11-gauge perforating machine normally used for flat plate sheets. This method distinguishes sheet-waste stamps -- Scott 544, 596 and 613 -- from the coil-waste stamps and explains the existence of a straight-edge on Scott 613.
Census No. 613-CAN-09. With 1945 A.P.S., 1983 and 1996 P.F. certificates.