Sale 968 — The Alan B. Whitman Collection of Outstanding United States Stamps
Sale Date — Tuesday-Wednesday, 27-28 January, 2009
Category — 1868 Regular-Production Grilled Issue (F Grill, Scott 92-100)
EXTREMELY FINE. AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE BLOCK OF THE 1868 3-CENT F GRILL WHICH IS IMPERFORATE HORIZONTALLY. THIS IS THE FIRST EXAMPLE OF THIS VARIETY, EITHER AS A PAIR OR BLOCK, THAT WE HAVE OFFERED SINCE KEEPING COMPUTERIZED RECORDS. A GREAT RARITY OF THE ISSUE.
We are unsure of how many examples of the 3c F Grill Imperforate Horizontally error exist, but a review of our own auctions with Power Search produced none. We also looked in major name sales which contained varieties and/or multiples such as Sinkler, Col. Green, Caspary, Eno, Lilly, Klein, Ishikawa, Floyd and a half-dozen others. We found only one -- in the first Hind sale -- which was also a block, but the description was not detailed enough for us to determine whether this is the same item. The only other example we located is a pair in the Miller Collection at the New York Public Library. Clearly the elusiveness of past auction offerings of Scott 94c indicate that it could be one of the rarest of all classic U.S. varieties.
With 2004 P.S.E. certificate
VERY FINE. THE UNIQUE UNUSED MULTIPLE OF THE 1868 3-CENT F GRILL PRINTED ON BOTH SIDES, WHICH CONTAINS THE ONLY UNUSED EXAMPLES OF THIS GREAT RARITY (ONE USED IS RECORDED). THE PRESENCE OF THE IMPRINT AND PLATE NUMBER ON THE REVERSE ADDS TO THE SPECTACULAR CHARACTER AND APPEARANCE OF THIS MULTIPLE.
For several years we have kept comprehensive census records for U.S. stamps printed on both sides. For Scott 94, we record only one used single and this unused multiple.
Ex Herzog and Chapin (acquired privately). With 1972 and 2003 P.F. certificates. Scott Retail as six singles.
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. A SCARCE MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 5-CENT F GRILL.
We have offered only four other Mint N.H. stamps in Power Search. Most were removed from blocks, and only a few are sound.
With 1989 and 1997 P.F. certificates
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. AN EXCEEDINGLY RARE ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 10-CENT F GRILL ON VERY THIN PAPER.
In our experience, the Very Thin Paper variety comes in a distinct shade on semi-translucent paper. The example offered here is the only original-gum single contained in Power Search -- we have offered two blocks of four which probably also qualify.
With 1994 P.F. certificate which does not mention the variety
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. A SCARCE SOUND AND WELL-CENTERED ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE 1868 10-CENT F GRILL.
Almost every 10c F Grill block with Very Fine or better centering has been broken up to satisfy the growing demand for singles. This block is a rare survivor.
With 1994 P.F. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A STUNNING ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 12-CENT F GRILL. THIS IS CERTAINLY AMONG THE FINEST IN EXISTENCE, AND IT IS WORTHY OF THE FINEST COLLECTION.
We acknowledge the past existence of original-gum 12c F Grill multiples, which in recent years have been broken to furnish choice singles (this came from a block). However, the quality of this particular stamp -- its centering and margins, shade and overall freshness -- qualify it as one of the three or four finest in existence.
Ex Caspary and Moody as part of an imprint block and ex Morris as a single. With 1987 and 1994 P.F. certificates, the former as a block.
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. A RARE SOUND AND CENTERED ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE 1868 12-CENT F GRILL. VERY FEW BLOCKS EXIST IN ANY CONDITION, AND THIS IS PERHAPS THE FINEST.
Our records contain only six original-gum blocks of the 12c F Grill. Some of these have probably been broken to feed collector demand for singles (the previous lot is a perfect example), and therefore the number of surviving multiples may be smaller. Blocks of four are the largest surviving multiples, since the Caspary block of eight has been broken.
With 1986 and 2003 P.F. certificates. As another indication of rarity, the Scott Catalogue assigns a 214% premium for the block versus four singles.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS IS WITHOUT QUESTION THE FINEST ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 15-CENT F GRILL IN EXISTENCE. THIS MAGNIFICENT STAMP HAS ATTAINED THE GRADE OF SUPERB 98 BY P.S.E. -- THIS IS BY FAR THE HIGHEST GRADE AWARDED TO DATE. THIS STAMP IS OFFERED TO THE MARKET FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OVER A DECADE.
The ungrilled version of this issue was released in 1866, about one year after President Lincoln was assassinated. It is regarded by many to be America's first commemorative issue, memorializing the martyred president as the nation started to heal from the wounds of the Civil War. In 1868 it was issued with two grill types, the E Grill (Scott 91) and F Grill (Scott 98). 15c usually paid the registration fee on domestic mail or the U.S.-French treaty rate.
Although some of the 15c F Grill blocks have been broken to furnish choice singles, we were unable to locate any other stamps among multiples that would qualify for the coveted P.S.E. grade of Superb 98.
Ex Concord, Morris and Weisman. With 1987 and 1994 P.F. and 1998 and 2008 P.S.E. certificates (OGph, Superb 98). This is the highest grade awarded to date, and this is the only example awarded this grade. Accompanied by note from master grader Dr. William Litle which reads "I think this is the first 98 Scott No. 77, 91 or 98 of any kind".
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. A RARE ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE 1868 15-CENT F GRILL. THIS IS AN EXCEEDINGLY DIFFICULT BLOCK TO FIND WITH DECENT CENTERING.
The largest recorded original gum multiples are a reconstructed block of 20 and a block of 16. Both are significantly off center with perfs cutting far into the stamp designs.
With 1988 and 2007 P.F. certificates.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS IS WITHOUT QUESTION ONE OF THE FINEST ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLES OF THE 1868 24-CENT F GRILL IN EXISTENCE. THIS AND THE 30-CENT ARE THE MOST DIFFICULT F GRILLS TO OBTAIN IN SUCH PRISTINE CONDITION.
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 has uncharacteristically precise centering and well-formed perforations.
Ex Weisman and offered to the market for the first time in a decade. With 1990 P.F. and P.S.E. certificates
FRESH AND FINE. A SCARCE ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE 1868 24-CENT F GRILL. VERY FEW ARE SOUND.
Our extensive records contain perhaps a half-dozen or so blocks of four, plus a block of fifteen and an imprint and plate no. block of six. Several of the blocks are faulty, and some may have been broken for singles.
With 2007 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. THIS IS EASILY ONE OF THE FINEST ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLES OF THE 1868 30-CENT F GRILL IN EXISTENCE. A REMARKABLE STAMP IN EVERY RESPECT -- COLOR, GRILL, IMPRESSION, INTACT PERFORATIONS AND MARGIN WIDTH. TRULY SPECTACULAR.
The 30c 1861-68 Issue stamps -- Scott 71 (to a lesser extent) and Scott 100 -- rank as two of the most difficult classic U.S. stamps to find in such pristine condition. Due to narrow spacing of the plate, the 30c 1861-68's are usually found with tight margins, especially at sides.
A review of auction sales produced only six other original-gum examples of the 30c F Grill in grades of Very Fine or Extremely Fine. Except for this stamp and one other (ex Scarsdale, Siegel Sale 918, lot 54), the potentially choice stamps appeared in sales held during the 1940's and 50's. Whether any or all of them could pass today's more rigorous standards for condition and certification is unlikely.
Ex Gabade and Morris, and offered to the market for the first time since 1996. With 1987 and 1995 P.F. certificates.