VERY FINE-EXTREMELY FINE. A STUNNING MINT NEVER-HINGED PLATE BLOCK OF THE 8-CENT TRANS-MISSISSIPPI ISSUE.
With 1983 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE. THE FINER OF TWO RECORDED IMPRINT AND PLATE NUMBER BLOCKS OF THE 8-CENT TRANS-MISSISSIPPI ISSUE IMPERFORATE HORIZONTALLY, AND THE ONLY EXAMPLE FROM THE TOP OF THE SHEET. THIS PLATE BLOCK IS ONE OF THE GREATEST RARITIES OF UNITED STATES PHILATELY.
According to the Neil-Rosenthal book (pp. 115-118), one pane of 50 was discovered by Robert Watts, a stamp clerk at one of the sales windows at the Philadelphia General Post Office, who found it between the wrapping paper of a bundle of stamps. He sold it for double face value ($8.00) to Herman Lewis, a locksmith in Philadelphia. Lewis soon sold it to William S. F. Pierce, who broke it into three pieces: a vertical strip of ten with sheet margin and full arrow at right, a vertical block of 20 containing both plate blocks, and a vertical block of 20 with natural straight edge at left.
The block of ten was reportedly sold for $15.00 and was taken to Europe when the owner moved there. It returned to the U.S. in the 1930's, when it was broken. The vertical block of 20 with straight edge at left was sold to Arthur E. Tuttle, a Philadelphia stamp dealer, who retailed them for $10.00 per pair. The block of 20 with both plate numbers was retained by Pierce, who later sold the top and bottom plate blocks to Albert Batchelder of the New England Stamp Co. for $175.00.
The bottom imprint and plate number block has original gum, narrow selvage and usual gum wrinkles -- ex Colonel Green, Eno, Hetherington and Kobacker, currently in the William H. Gross collection. The wide top margin plate block offered here is in superior condition.
Ex Watts (discoverer), Pierce, New England Stamp Co., U.S. Trust Co. sale (H. R. Harmer, Feb. 17-18, 1970) and Rosenthal. Illustrated in the Neil-Rosenthal book on p. 117. With 1994 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE TOP IMPRINT AND PLATE NUMBER BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE 50-CENT TRANS-MISSISSIPPI ISSUE.
Plate number 603 is the only plate number recorded for this issue. As an indication of rarity, the last time we offered a plate block of this issue was in our 2009 auction of the MLG Collection. The example offered here, with superior centering and from the top position, should be considered highly desirable.
With 1985 P.F. certificate.
VERY FINE AND CHOICE. A RARE IMPRINT AND PLATE NUMBER BLOCK OF TEN OF THE $1.00 TRANS-MISSISSIPPI ISSUE, CONTAINING THE ENTIRE TOP TWO ROWS OF THE LEFT PANE OF THE PLATE.
The $1.00 stamp issued for the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition was based on an image of cattle in a storm from an engraving by C. O. Murray, a copy of which was loaned to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing by Mrs. C. B. Johnson. The engraving was used as a trademark by an American cattle company, but it was based on a painting by John A. MacWhirter entitled The Vanguard, which presumably depicts cattle in the West Highlands of Scotland (although MacWhirter did travel to the western United States in 1877). The Post Office Department was embarrassed to learn that the painting was the property of an Englishman, Lord Blythewood, who was sent a formal apology and die proof of the issued stamp through the British ambassador. The proof was donated to the Royal Philatelic Society by Lord Blythewood and hangs today on the walls of the Royal.
Three complete panes of 50 are recorded (we believe they are still intact). Apart from those panes, since keeping computerized records we have offered a block of 20 containing the full plate block (Siegel 2013 Rarities Sale, lot 336), and only one plate block of six with reduced selvage at top, thins and repaired tear, ex Saddleback (Siegel Sale 935, lot 28). The Wampler, Kobacker and MLG collections contained plate blocks of four.
With 1990 P.F. certificate.
FINE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE TOP IMPRINT AND PLATE NUMBER BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE $2.00 TRANS-MISSISSIPPI ISSUE.
The design of the $2.00 Trans-Mississippi depicts the Eads bridge, which spans the Mississippi River at St. Louis. The original engraving was used on the admission ticket to the Republican Convention of 1896, which nominated McKinley as candidate for president. The stamp, issued during the McKinley Administration, illustrates the natural boundary between East and West and so was appropriate for the Trans-Mississippi Issue. All of the $2.00 Trans-Mississippi stamps were printed in a single day's run on June 3, 1898.
There are perhaps three imprint and plate number blocks of six in existence. The imprint and plate number block of four format is also extremely scarce, especially from the top position.
With 1987 P.F. certificate.