Sale 1092 — Outstanding United States Stamps
Sale Date — Thursday-Friday, 19-20 February, 2015
Category — 1879-87 American Bank Note Co. Issues (Scott 182-218)
FINE-VERY FINE. A FRESH AND RARE LARGE IMPRINT AND PLATE NUMBER MULTIPLE OF THIS CLASSIC AMERICAN BANK NOTE COMPANY ISSUE.
Scott Retail as Mint N.H. and hinged singles
EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. A BRILLIANT WIDE-MARGINED EXAMPLE OF THE 1880 12-CENT AMERICAN BANK NOTE COMPANY SPECIAL PRINTING.
Our recently updated census records for Scott 198 contain 62 certified examples. Of these, fully one-third have small flaws (mostly thin spots due to the porous nature of the paper). Few are as well-centered as the example offered here.
Census No. 198-UNC-10. With 1985 P.F. certificate
FINE-VERY FINE. A RARE FULL PANE OF THE ONE-CENT 1887 AMERICAN BANK NOTE COMPANY ISSUE.
Scott Retail as two hinged plate blocks of 10, 60 Mint N.H. and 20 hinged singles more than $22,000.00
EXTREMELY FINE. A RARE MINT NEVER-HINGED TOP PLATE BLOCK OF THE 2-CENT GREEN 1887 AMERICAN BANK NOTE COMPANY ISSUE.
Top plate blocks of this issue are exceedingly rare.
VERY FINE. A SPECTACULAR IMPRINT AND PLATE NUMBER MULTIPLE OF THE 90-CENT 1888 PURPLE AMERICAN BANK NOTE COMPANY ISSUE. THIS IS NOT ONLY THE LARGEST RECORDED MULTIPLE OF THIS ISSUE, IT IS THE LARGEST KNOWN UNUSED MULTIPLE OF ANY 90-CENT VALUE IN THE 1857 TO 1888 CLASSIC PERIOD. TRULY ONE OF THE GREATEST CLASSIC UNITED STATES PLATE BLOCKS EXTANT.
The 1888 American Bank Note Company Issue in new colors (Scott 215-218) was the last of the Large Bank Note series that spanned two decades from 1870 until 1890, when the Small Bank Note Issue was released.
The series of sales of the Colonel Edward H. R. Green collection included two lots described as complete panes of the 90c 1888. The first was offered as lot 58 in Part 17 (Harmer Rooke sale, Nov. 13-18, 1944), described as "sheet of 100 (right pane)... imprint #23. Centering fair to very fine, full gum. A beautiful sheet of the greatest rarity. It is remarkable to find that such a sheet is still in existence." The sheet was not photographed in the catalogue.
In Part 25 of the Green sales, held by Eugene Costales (February 18-21, 1946), lot 511 was described as a 90c 1888 sheet of 100 with "Imprint and Pl. #23." Costales, one of the premier philatelic authorities of the period and editor of the Scott U.S. Specialized Catalogue for many years, commented, "We know of only one other sheet of this stamp which does not compare with the brilliance and exceptional condition of this one." Fortunately, this sheet (lot 511) was photographed, which confirms without doubt that it was the source of the top-margin plate block of 20 offered here. From the bottom of the same Green sheet, an imprint and plate number block of 12 was broken out (ex Eno and Wampler, offered in Siegel Sale 829, lot 480).
The "other" sheet referred to by Costales is probably the one offered in the earlier Green sale (Part 17, lot 58). There are two other recorded plate blocks of Scott 218 that probably come from the lot 58 sheet: a top plate number 23 block of 12 with Fine centering (Kelleher sale, May 2, 1995, lot 729A) and a bottom plate number 23 block of 10 with Fine-Very Fine centering (Siegel Sale 869, lot 3162).
Therefore, the four recorded plate blocks comprise matching top and bottom positions from the two right panes offered in the Green sales. We know with certainty that the top plate block of 20 and bottom plate block of 12 come from the photographed Green sheet (Part 25, lot 511), and we are practically certain the other top and bottom plate blocks (of 12 and 10, respectively) come from the sheet offered in the earlier Green sale. We can also rely on Costales as an authoritative source that only two sheets of 100 were known in 1946. Based on this information and our own experience, we are confident that no sheet of Scott 218 has survived. We also feel confident in describing this block as the largest recorded unused multiple of any 90c value issued from 1857 through 1888. The 90c stamps in this time period are Scott 39, 47, 62, 72, 101, 111, 122, 132, 144, 144A, 155, 166, 177, 191, 202 and 218. Since the Scott 39 block of 21 was divided to yield two blocks of nine, and we are unaware of any unused block of 20 or larger among the other issues, the block of 20 offered here is not only an important plate number multiple, it is the largest of all surviving unused multiples of 90c stamps issued prior to 1890.
Ex Colonel Edward H. R. Green (as part of a sheet), B. D. Phillips and from our 1981 Rarities of the World sale, where it realized $40,000 hammer.