VERY FINE. A RARE UNUSED EXAMPLE OF THE 12-CENT 1870 NATIONAL GRILLED ISSUE. THIS IS THE MOST DIFFICULT DENOMINATION OF THE SET TO OBTAIN IN UNUSED CONDITION.
Aside from the 24c, which does not exist unused, the 12c is the most difficult to obtain unused, in any condition. Probably less than ten exist with original gum, and many of those have faults or are off-center. The stamp here, with clear grill points, rich color, choice centering and in sound condition, is a true condition rarity.
Ex "Laila". With 1991 and 2009 P.F. certificates
EXTREMELY FINE. AN OUTSTANDING COMBINATION OF A SCARCE 1870 6-CENT I GRILL, WITH CHOICE CENTERING AND A FANCY CANCEL.
This stamp is rarely encountered with the combination of choice centering and a fancy cancel. With 2015 P.S.E. certificate (XF 90; SMQ $2,750.00 for normal cancel). This is the highest grade awarded to a Scott 137A in the P.S.E. Population Report (shared by two others)
VERY FINE AND CHOICE ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 90-CENT NATIONAL BANK NOTE ISSUE. SCARCE WITH SUCH WIDE MARGINS AND IN SOUND CONDITION.
The 1870 90c National Ungrilled Issue, Scott 155, is somewhat overshadowed by its grilled counterpart, Scott 144. Collectors are also misled by the availability of Scott 166, the 90c 1873 Continental. Although the difference in shades is distinct, collectors have a tendency to confuse the two and under-rate the 1870 National printing.
Ex "Vineyard". With 1995, 2004 and 2011 P.F. certificates
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS IS WIDELY REGARDED AS THE FINEST EXAMPLE OF THE 24-CENT 1875 CONTINENTAL BANK NOTE COMPANY SPECIAL PRINTING. APPROXIMATELY 100 EXIST, AND THIS IS BY FAR THE FINEST. IT IS ALSO ONE OF THE GREAT CONDITION RARITIES OF ANY DENOMINATION OF BANK NOTE SPECIAL PRINTINGS -- THIS IS THE ONLY CONTINENTAL SPECIAL PRINTING TO ACHIEVE THE GRADE OF XF-SUPERB 95 JUMBO.
Stamps from previous issues were printed for the 1875 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and were intended both for sale and also to showcase examples of every U.S. stamp printed to date. Stamps which were no longer valid for postage were called Reprints (those with original issue dates prior to demonetization -- Scott Nos. 3, 4 and 40-47). Those still valid for postage were called Re-Issues. Those printed concurrently with contemporary designs were called Special Printings. The Post Office Department tried to get the original printing company to make them where possible; the Continental Bank Note Company printed Scott Nos. 40-47 and also Scott Nos. 167-177 and 180 and 181, while National Bank Note Company printed Nos. 102-111 and Nos. 123-132.
The ungummed Special Printing stamps were only available from the office of the Third Assistant Postmaster General. The Bank Note regular issue, with the same design and gummed, could be obtained from any post office, so few were sold.
One of the characteristics of Scott 167-177 Continental Special Printings is that the stamps were scissor-separated. In Chronicle No. 183, William E. Mooz examines how the stamps may have been separated prior to sale, and theorizes sheets were stacked and cut apart in a time saving measure when making sets. Faster for the postal clerk, but surely unsatisfying to collectors who sent away for these special printings.
A review using Power Search shows how rare any of the denominations from Scott 167-177 are in better condition. Select all Special Printings and sort by price realized, and the first three from the set to appear are on the eighth page of results -- all are scissors-separated but with perfs intact. As another indicator, only five stamps of the entire set have graded above a 90.
A notable exception to the scissors-separating are the imprint and plate number strips of four (some say five) from the Earl of Crawford collection, which now exist as singles. These were spared scissors-separation, but unfortunately most are significantly off-center. The stamp offered here has far better centering than the others in the strip. One adjoining stamp has perfs almost touching at left, as is the part imprint copy. The plate number example, which is to the left of this stamp, is centered strongly to right.
Ex Earl of Crawford and Floyd. With 1993 and 2001 P.F. certificates. With 2017 P.S.E. certificate (XF-Superb 95 Jumbo; unpriced in SMQ above the grade of 95, SMQ $25,000.00 as 95). This is the highest grade awarded and it is shared by no others.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A SUPERB MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLE OF THE 30-CENT 1890 SMALL BANK NOTE ISSUE.
Ex Drucker and "Scarsdale". With 1976, 2002 P.F. and 2004 P.S.E. certificates (XF-Superb 95; SMQ $7,500.00). Only three have graded higher (highest is a 98)