EXTREMELY FINE. ORIGINAL-GUM MULTIPLES OF THE 1870 ONE-CENT NATIONAL BANK NOTE COMPANY ISSUE ARE EXCEEDINGLY RARE. THIS IS WITHOUT QUESTION THE FINEST KNOWN BLOCK OF THE ONE-CENT I GRILL AND IS ARGUABLY THE HIGHEST-QUALITY BLOCK OF ANY BANK NOTE GRILLED ISSUE.
It is no secret that original-gum blocks of the 1870 National Bank Note Co. Grilled Issue are extremely rare. The major collections sold at auction contain practically all of the blocks that might have existed at one point in time, but almost all of the better-centered multiples were broken in the 1980's and 90's to supply collectors with singles. Only the poorly-centered blocks remain intact. In the case of the 1c 1870 Grilled Issue, it appears that no more than three or four blocks have ever appeared at auction. Of those, the best was a part imprint block of six of the H Grill, ex Sinkler and sold in April 2015 in our sale of the Robert Hall collection (Sale 1096, lot 259), but it has since been broken into singles.
Since the division of Scott listings into H and I Grills, the relatively rarer I Grill stamps have been clearly identified on certificates and in auction descriptions. This block of the 1c I Grill, Scott 134A, could well be the only surviving original-gum multiple. Compared with every other 1c 1870 Grill block we could locate, regardless of the grill type, it is certainly the finest.
The presence of Extremely Fine stamps in this block, including a stamp that might grade XF-Superb 95 (top center), presents a significant temptation to dealers to break it up. That would be a tragedy for philately, so we are providing an estimate to inform collectors of the "arbitrage" value of the individual stamps. Armed with this information, collectors will at least be prepared to fend off the blockbusters.
With 2015 P.F. certificate stating "genuine, previously hinged"