Sale 968A — The Alan B. Whitman Collection, Part Two: 1870-1901 Issues
Sale Date — Tuesday-Wednesday, 14-15 April, 2009
Category — 1901 Pan-American Issue Invert Blocks (Scott 294a, 295a, 296)
FINE AND RARE BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE ONE-CENT PAN-AMERICAN INVERT.
The Pan-American inverts were the first bicolored postage stamps produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and the first invert postage errors issued by the Post Office since the 1869's. The 1c Pan-American Inverts were found in several post offices around the country. Thirteen blocks of four, a block of six and a block of 20 are recorded in our Levi records, some of which may have been broken into singles.
With 2001 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. THIS THE ONLY INTACT BLOCK OF THE 2-CENT PAN-AMERICAN INVERT. ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT AND INSTANTLY RECOGNIZABLE ICONS OF 20TH CENTURY AMERICAN PHILATELY.
Ex Col. Edward H. R. Green, Philip H. Ward, Weill Stock and Connoisseur. Illustrated in Lidman's Treasury of Stamps (p. 81), Life magazine, "World's Rarest Stamps" (May 3, 1954). Exhibited in Aristocrats of Philately displays in the Anphilex 1971, Interphil 1976 and Ameripex 1986 exhibitions.
With 2001 P.F. certificate. The Scott Catalogue price for this block does not accurately reflect its true value relative to the value of four choice singles.
EXTREMELY FINE. A MAGNIFICENT BLOCK OF THE 4-CENT PAN-AMERICAN INVERT. ONLY SEVEN BLOCKS ARE RECORDED, AND THIS IS AMONG THE BEST-CENTERED. A FABULOUS 20TH CENTURY PHILATELIC RARITY.
The 4c Pan-American Invert was not regularly issued. According to Sloane, an erroneous report reached the Post Office department that the 4c had been discovered with inverted center. Edwin C. Madden, the 3rd Assistant Postmaster General, remarked that if any were found they should not be destroyed but kept for the archives. None was found, but two sheets of inverts (400 stamps total) were deliberately printed. This caused an uproar as it was not clear at first whether these had been deliberately ordered by Madden (in violation of his duties). He was later exonerated of any wrongdoing.
Examples were distributed through two official channels. One sheet was overprinted with "Specimen". A total of 106 copies, both with and without "Specimen", were distributed to friends and dignitaries. 197 were destroyed. One pane of 100 was retained by the Post Office Department and was stuck down on a ledger page in the Post Office archives. The sheet was broken up in about 1916 or 1917, and 97 copies were traded in exchange for material needed for the government collection. Since most of the stamps were removed from the mounting paper, they are generally thinned or have seriously disturbed gum.
A review of our Levi records located seven blocks of four. Two of the blocks have perfs cutting into the design. One has not been seen since the 1944 Col. Edward H. R. Green auction and has probably been broken into singles, and another has not been seen since 1970. Of the other two well-centered blocks, one has a crease and thin spots, and the other has a small tear on the bottom left stamp.
With 1998 P.F. certificate