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Sale 1200 — The William H. Gross Collection: U.S. Stamp Multiples

Sale Date — Wednesday-Thursday, 8-9 May, 2019

Leave Absentee BidsLIVE INTERNET BIDDING
*A buyer’s premium of 18% of the winning bid will be added as part of the total purchase price on all lots in this sale. Buyers are responsible for applicable sales tax, customs duty and any other prescribed charges. By placing a bid you agree to the terms and conditions of sale.

Category — 1870-71 National Bank Note Company Grilled Issue (Scott 136-140)

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
110°
nhbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 110, 1870-71 National Bank Note Company Grilled Issue (Scott 136-140), The largest recorded multiple of Scott 136 and the only recorded plate block which shows the entire plate number and imprint--one of the truly outstanding multiples of the 1870 Grilled Issue

DESCRIPTION

3¢ Green, H. Grill (136), block of 32 from top of right pane with "NATIONAL BANK NOTE CO. NEW YORK" imprint, "No. 8" plate number and guide arrow, most stamps including the entire plate block are Mint N.H., two stamps at bottom center small hinge remnants, clearly defined grills, well-balanced margins, rich color

PROVENANCE

Siegel Auction Galleries, 1972 Rarities of the World, 3/23/1972, Sale 409, lot 91

Siegel Auction Galleries, 1974 Rarities of the World, 3/27/1974, Sale 448, lot 87

John C. Chapin (collection sold privately to Shreves and then to William H. Gross, 2002)

CENSUS

John C. Chapin, A Census of United States Classic Plate Blocks 1851-1882, census no. 364

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine-Extremely Fine; right column vertical gum crease, light staining in selvage from gum, contemporary ink in selvage to right of plate block, some perf separations

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$26,000.00 as plate block of 12 and five blocks of four without any premium for the Mint N.H. stamps

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

The Miraculous Survivor

This is the largest recorded multiple of Scott 136 in existence. It is also the only example to show the entire imprint and plate number. A block of eight is known with the I Grill, but it only shows the plate number. Another block of eight shows only part of the imprint. The imperforate bottom-margin block of 16 offered in the following lot has the complete imprint and plate number--from a different plate and with a different style of imprint--but it is not the regularly issued stamp.

Considering the centering of the stamps in this block, the Mint N.H. gum, and the scarcity of choice singles of this issue, its survival as a multiple is miraculous. In fact, the miracle worker was Jack Chapin, whose passion for classic plate number blocks ensured that the vandals were kept at bay.

John C. "Jack" Chapin served with the U.S. Marine Corps as a second lieutenant rifle platoon leader in the South Pacific, receiving two Purple Hearts for his valor. Long interested in military history--World War II in particular-- Chapin was the author of Uncommon Men: The Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps and numerous monographs for the Marine Corps Historical Center. Chapin was also a collector of classic plate number multiples. In 1982 he published a census of all classic plate number blocks known to him, and he updated the census with articles in the Collectors Club Philatelist.

After Mr. Gross acquired the entire Chapin collection in 2002, he of course kept this block intact. When it is sold in the Gross auction, we hope a true philatelist will acquire and preserve it, as Jack Chapin did 45 years ago and Mr. Gross did for the past 17 years.

E. 20,000-30,000
Future Sale
111°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 111, 1870-71 National Bank Note Company Grilled Issue (Scott 136-140), The only recorded full imprint and plate block of the 3¢ grilled Bank Note issue from Plate 44, and one of two from any plate

DESCRIPTION

3¢ Green, H. Grill Imperforate (136b), block of sixteen from bottom of left pane with "ENGRAVED & PRINTED BY THE NATIONAL BANK-NOTE CO. NEW YORK" imprint, "No. 44" plate number and guide arrow, large margins, lightly hinged between the fourth and fifth stamps at top, others Mint N.H., large margins other sides, clear grill points, rich color

PROVENANCE

Siegel Auction Galleries, 1969 Rarities of the World, 3/25/1969, Sale 350, lot 102

Siegel Auction Galleries, 8/27/1977, Sale 516, lot 747

John C. Chapin (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross through Shreves, 2002)

CENSUS

John C. Chapin, A Census of United States Classic Plate Blocks 1851-1882, census no. 367 (illustrated on page 21)

CERTIFICATION

The Philatelic Foundation (1969)

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine-Extremely Fine; faint vertical bend/crease entirely between third and fourth stamps in the top row

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$9,600.00 as pairs with no premium for the imprint and plate block position

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

The Unique Imperforate 3¢ 1870 Grilled Plate Block

Only two multiples of the 3¢ Bank Note grilled issue are known showing the complete imprint and plate number. The other, offered in the previous lot, is the normal perforated Scott 136, from the top position, from a different plate and with a different style of imprint. The example offered here has a line added at the top of the imprint--"ENGRAVED & PRINTED BY THE"--and has a hyphen added between "BANK" and "NOTE."

E. 7,500-10,000
Future Sale
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112°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 112, 1870-71 National Bank Note Company Grilled Issue (Scott 136-140), A beautiful top left corner position block of four of the 3¢ H grill imperforate

DESCRIPTION

3¢ Green, H. Grill, Imperforate (136b), top left corner sheet margin block of four, large margins other sides, original gum, bottom stamps small hinge remnants, clear grills with partial grills also impressed in the sheet margin, rich color

PROVENANCE

Arthur Hetherington, "Quality" collection, H. R. Harmer sale, 6/5/1980, lot 646

CERTIFICATION

The Philatelic Foundation (1961 and 1989)

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$2,400.00 as two pairs

E. 1,000-1,500
Future Sale
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113°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 113, 1870-71 National Bank Note Company Grilled Issue (Scott 136-140), This original-gum imprint block of four is the only recorded unused multiple of the 12¢ National Bank Note Company Grilled Issue, and one of the most important items of the 1870 to 1888 Bank Note Company issues

DESCRIPTION

12¢ Dull Violet, H. Grill (140), block of four with bottom "(NATIONAL BANK N)OTE CO. NEW YORK" part imprint, original gum, each stamp shows some grill points with the most noticeable in the top left stamp, bottom stamps with superior centering, rich color in the distinctive shade associated with the grilled issue

PROVENANCE

William H. Crocker, Harmer, Rooke & Co., 11/23-25/1938, lot 243 (as Scott 151), to Y. Souren

H. W. Roach, Bill Lathrop auction, 11/12-13/1946, lot 119 (as Scott 140)

Jay R. Braus, Siegel Auction Galleries, 4/16/1974, Sale 449, lot 51

Robert Zoellner, Siegel Auction Galleries, 10/8-10/1998, Sale 804, lot 331, to William H. Gross

CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES

Stanley M. Bierman, M.D. The World's Greatest Stamp Collectors, page 112

Morrison Waud, "An Important Bank Note Collection," Chronicle 83, Aug. 1974, illustrated on page 163

CERTIFICATION

The Philatelic Foundation (1974 and 1998)

Accompanied by notarized letter from Lester Brookman, dated March 5, 1954

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine-Extremely Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$140,000.00

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

Souren's "Sleeper"--A Block of a Major Rarity

This block has an interesting history. The first owner of record was William H. Crocker. The Crocker family built an empire in the west, which included railroads, banks, insurance and other enterprises. William H. Crocker, president of Crocker National Bank in San Francisco, began collecting U.S. and foreign stamps in 1884 and, by the start of the 20th century, had already assembled a world-class holding. Through acquisitions from the collections formed by Craig, Castle, de Coppet, Ayer, and Worthington, Crocker's collection evolved into what is today still considered one of the greatest worldwide collections ever formed. He died in September 1937. Arrangements were made to sell Crocker's 42-volume collection at auction through Harmer, Rooke & Co., a London-based firm run by Gordon Harmer.

The sale of this block at auction on November 23, 1938, is summed up in the following story, originally published in the The International Stamp Review of 1/4/1939:

An unexpected outcome of the Crocker sale is a discovery of a mint block of four of the 12¢ Dull Violet of the United States grilled series of 1870-71. At the London auction this was described as comprising the non-grilled 12¢ issued in the same year, its catalogue quotation being given as $500. Examination of the block after its arrival in New York disclosed the presence of two vertical rows of grills on three of the stamps and almost a full grill on the fourth, and this established the block as #140 with a catalogue value of $10,000. Its sale price in London was $800.

The block was bought at the Crocker sale by famed dealer Y. Souren. Souren escaped Georgia just ahead of the Bolshevik army, posing as a peasant driving a hay cart. Under the hay was his valuable collection of medieval and primitive clocks and timepieces, which he sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Souren is also famous for buying the unique block of four of the 24¢ 1869 Pictorial Issue invert at the same 1938 auction of the Crocker collection where the block offered here was acquired.

E. 100,000-150,000
Future Sale
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