EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A STUNNING ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1867 3-CENT C GRILL, GRADED XF-SUPERB 95 BY P.S.E.
The 3c is the only denomination that comes with the distinctive C Grill, with the grill points facing up instead of down. The few high-grade original-gum examples owe their existence to the division of blocks of four.
Ex Whitman and "Hampshire". With 1967, 1989 and 1997 P.F. and 2008 P.S.E. certificates (OGph, XF-Superb 95; SMQ $28,500.00). Only one has graded higher (at 98) and only two others share this desirable grade.
EXTREMELY FINE. THE 1868 2-CENT Z GRILL IS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT GRILLED ISSUES TO OBTAIN IN SOUND, CENTERED ORIGINAL-GUM CONDITION. A TRUE CONDITION RARITY. THIS IS WITHOUT QUESTION ONE OF THE FINEST IN EXISTENCE.
To form our assessment of this 2c Z Grill, we conducted a survey of approximately 100 auction catalogues for major United States collections sold over the past 60 years. The majority of these collections contained only used or very poor unused examples of 85B. In general, many accomplished collectors, such as Sheriff, Klein and Seymour, evidently were unable to acquire a well-centered, original-gum 2c Z Grill. Power Search produced only a very few, along with some near-misses -- the most common flaw being faint creases. A Power Search review turned up perhaps 2-3 sound copies, but the centering was off side-to-side, as on the Whitman copy and one in our 2010 Rarities sale. Finally, the P.S.E. Population Report lists only five OG stamps, graded 10 (two), 20, 30 and 50.
With 2006 P.S.E. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A SUPERB USED EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 3-CENT Z GRILL IN THE FINEST CONDITION ATTAINABLE -- MADE MORE DESIRABLE BY THE STRIKING "B" CANCEL. P.S.E. HAS AWARDED THIS STAMP THE GRADE OF SUPERB 98, WHICH IS THE HIGHEST GRADE, AND THIS IS THE ONLY EXAMPLE TO ACHIEVE IT.
The 3c Z Grill was in production for only a short period of time before the device was replaced with the F Grill. Only a small number of 3c sheets were fed thru the Z Grill, which accounts for the rarity of surviving examples. Our review of past auctions, including Power Search, found precious few sound copies with Extremely Fine centering, and none that rival this stamp.
Ex Merlin. With 2013 P.S.E. certificate (Superb 98; SMQ $35,000.00). This is the highest grade awarded and the only example to achieve it.
EXTREMELY FINE. A WONDERFUL ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 10-CENT E GRILL. THIS STAMP IS THE ONLY ONE TO ACHIEVE A P.S.E. GRADE OF 90, WHICH IS THE HIGHEST GRADE ON RECORD.
A Power Search review shows how difficult it is to find this issue in sound, centered original-gum condition. Most have one margin significantly larger than the others, or are poorly centered.
With 1997 P.F. and 2011 P.S.E. certificates (OGph, XF 90; SMQ $16,500.00). This is the highest grade awarded and the only example to achieve it.
EXTREMELY FINE ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 2-CENT E GRILL.
With 2007 P.F. certificate (VF-XF 85). Only two have achieved this grade at the P.F. and the highest grade awarded by P.S.E. is 80.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A PHENOMENAL USED EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 12-CENT E GRILL, GRADED SUPERB 98 BY P.S.E. -- THIS IS THE HIGHEST GRADE ON RECORD AND THE ONLY EXAMPLE TO ACHIEVE IT.
Ex Zoellner and "Natalee Grace". With 1989 and 1998 P.F. certificates. With 2009 P.S.E. certificate (Superb 98; SMQ $9,000.00). This is the highest grade awarded and the only example to achieve this grade.
EXTREMELY FINE AND FRESH ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 15-CENT E GRILL.
Although at least one block of four of the 15c E Grill has been split in recent years, few of the stamps harvested from broken blocks have the centering and well-preserved gum and paper of this example. As an indication of rarity, Scott Catalogue values Scott 91 at $4,500.00 without gum, and $12,500.00 with original gum.
Ex "Silver Lake". With 2002 P.F. certificate
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS IS WITHOUT QUESTION ONE OF THE FINEST ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLES OF THE 1868 10-CENT F GRILL. A SURPRISINGLY DIFFICULT ISSUE TO OBTAIN IN SUCH SUPERB CONDITION.
Over the years several multiples have been broken to feed collector demand for singles, so the overall number of original-gum copies is relatively high. However, virtually all original gum-copies seem to have at least one margin that is larger than the others. The stamp offered here, perfectly centered with four wide and balanced margins, is a true condition rarity.
With 2005 and 2006 P.F. certificates, the latter graded (XF-Superb 95). By way of comparison, the highest grade in P.S.E.'s Population Report is 70.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A SUPERB ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 12-CENT F GRILL. AN EXTRAORDINARY STAMP AND CERTAINLY AMONG THE FINEST IN EXISTENCE.
We acknowledge the past existence of original-gum 12c F Grill multiples, which in recent years have been broken to furnish choice singles. 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 "Scarsdale". With 1997 P.S.E. and 1998 P.F. certificates
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS MAGNIFICENT STAMP HAS BEEN AWARDED THE ULTIMATE GRADE OF GEM 100 BY P.S.E. THIS USED 1868 15-CENT F GRILL IS UNDENIABLY THE PERFECT STAMP, POSSESSING EVERY QUALITY ONE COULD POSSIBLY HOPE FOR -- CENTERING, IMPRESSION, STRONG GRILL, FULL PERFORATIONS AND A LIGHT CANCEL.
We created Power Search for occasions like this, when superlatives fail to do justice to an extraordinary stamp. To see the centering, margins and cancellations on typical used examples of the 15c Lincoln -- ungrilled or not -- please use our website's Power Search feature to find Scott 77, 91 and 98 (three different searches). You will see that the 15c Lincoln is almost always a stamp of compromise. Great centering and margins, but heavy cancel. Light or colored cancel, but small margins or not quite centered. Great looking, but small faults. Then look at the "name" collections and see which 15c Lincoln stamps were included. No one -- and there are great collector names on this list -- managed to obtain this stamp or one even remotely like it.
When numerical grading started, the 15c Lincoln was on our list of "Try to Find a 100" stamps. We did not believe one existed. When this 15c F Grill was presented to us, we knew it was perfect without even looking at the grade. The Gem 100 grade and a note of praise from master grader Dr. William A. Litle confirmed our gut reaction.
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. The 15c stamps used on transatlantic mail passed through foreign-mail exchange offices, where clerks were zealous about cancelling high-value stamps. For this reason, the 15c Lincoln usually has a heavy cancel or large cancel over the portrait. This stamp, with its light target cancel, is the rare exception.
With 2012 P.S.E. certificate (Gem 100; SMQ $21,500.00). This is the highest grade awarded and the only example to achieve this grade.
EXTREMELY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1868 24-CENT F GRILL.
The high-value F Grill stamps are scarce in original-gum condition and rarely seen with the centering of this superb example.
With 2003 P.F. certificate