FINE APPEARANCE. THE $49.34 IN POSTAGE ON THIS REGISTERED PACKAGE WRAPPER IS THE LARGEST RECORDED FRANKING ON ANY COLUMBIAN ISSUE COVER. A MAGNIFICENT SHOWPIECE.
The 2013 Ludeman Columbian Dollar-Value Cover Census lists eight covers with complete sets, including this package wrapper front, which has the largest number of stamps and highest total face value of any Columbian cover. It was completely unknown to philately until 1992, the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s voyage, when it was privately sold to Columbian Stamp Company. The notations on the back -- “Eleanore G. Adams, Milton A. Adams, Oct. 8, 1942” and “M A Adams” -- provide the provenance in 1942, but do not shed light on the origin of this extraordinary piece of mail. However, the post office of origin, mailing date and sender’s ship-sailing directive provide the critical evidence in determining who was responsible for affixing nearly $50 in Columbian stamps in 1897.
The postal clerk responsible for processing registered mail at the Bangor, Maine, post office applied the “Bangor, Maine, Feb. 19, 1897, Registry Dept.” three-line datestamp and cancelled all of the stamps in the same dark blue ink. On the same day, a United States passport was issued in Bangor to one of its wealthiest residents, Frederick Wellington Ayer (1855-1936). Ayer obtained his passport in preparation for his trans-Atlantic voyage to England on board the S.S. St. Paul, which departed from New York on February 24, 1897. This sailing exactly matches the directive on the package wrapper.
Ayer was president of the Eastern Manufacturing Company of Brewer, Maine, and a noted antique collector and authority. Between 1892 and 1897 Ayer embarked on a philatelic buying spree, spending (by some reports) as much as $750,000 on his collection, some of it with borrowed money (Bierman, The World’s Greatest Stamp Collectors, page 95). When Fred’s conservative banker-father, Nathan Chase Ayer, learned of his son’s extravagant philatelic spending, he presented Fred with a choice between liquidation or disinheritance. Fred chose the former. Beginning in 1897 portions of the Ayer collection were sold through Charles J. Phillips of London and Warren H. Colson. The balance of the collection was sold in 1903 and 1904 to the New England Stamp Company.
Based on the origin, mailing date, sailing directive and the fact that Ayer entrusted Charles J. Phillips with the sale of his collection in 1897, one may reasonably conclude that the original package contained Ayer’s stamp albums, which he sent by insured registered mail to England on the same ship he boarded on February 24, 1897. Ayer hoarded Columbian stamps, and these straight-edge and off-center copies would have been a collector’s choice for use on mail.
With 1992 P.F. certificate.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A PHENOMENAL MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLE OF THE 3-CENT COLUMBIAN. THIS UNBELIEVABLE STAMP IS GRADED GEM 100 JUMBO BY P.S.E. -- THIS IS THE HIGHEST GRADE POSSIBLE AND IT IS SHARED BY ONLY ONE OTHER.
Ex Merlin. With 2010 P.S.E. certificate (Gem 100 Jumbo; unpriced in SMQ above the grade of 100, SMQ $4,850.00 as 100). This is the highest grade possible and only one other shares this grade. Only four denominations (2c, 3c, 4c and 8c) and a total of five stamps for the entire Columbian issue have achieved this perfect grade. Three of the four denominations are offered in this sale on behalf of Dr. Scott Newman.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS IS WITHOUT QUESTION THE FINEST EXAMPLE OF THE 4-CENT COLUMBIAN IN EXISTENCE. THIS MAGNIFICENT STAMP IS GRADED GEM 100 JUMBO BY P.S.E. -- THE HIGHEST GRADE POSSIBLE AND THE ONLY EXAMPLE TO ACHIEVE IT.
Only four denominations (2c, 3c, 4c and 8c) and a total of five stamps for the entire Columbian issue have achieved the perfect grade of Gem 100 Jumbo. This stunning stamp was selected to be the sole item on the front cover of the "Westchester" collection catalogue, sold by Spink Shreves on September 10, 2008, where it realized $52,500 hammer. Dr. Newman loved this stamp so much that he reacquired it privately some time after that sale.
Ex Klimetz and "Westchester" where featured as the sole item on the front cover of the catalogue. With 1993 P.F. and 2007 P.S.E. certificates (Gem 100 Jumbo; unpriced in SMQ above the grade of 100, SMQ $5,500.00 as 100). The SMQ price for the 100 is far too low -- we sold the only copy graded 100 for $45,000 hammer in 2008. This is the only example in any gum condition to achieve the highest grade possible of Gem 100 Jumbo.
FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE ORIGINAL-GUM BLOCK OF FOUR OF THE 4-CENT COLUMBIAN ERROR OF COLOR.
The 4c Columbian color error was caused by the use of a wrong batch of ink, and spectrographic analysis has shown that the blue inks of the 4c error and 1c Columbian have the same components.
Stamps from at least two panes reached collectors, and the few cancelled examples indicate that stamps used by the public came from additional panes. It is likely that a number of full sheets were printed using the wrong ink, and most of the stamps have simply been lost to philately.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS IS WITHOUT QUESTION THE FINEST MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLE OF THE 8-CENT COLUMBIAN ISSUE IN EXISTENCE. THIS STAMP IS GRADED GEM 100 JUMBO BY P.S.E. -- THE HIGHEST GRADE POSSIBLE ON THE GRADING CHART AND THE ONLY EXAMPLE TO ACHIEVE IT. ONLY FOUR DENOMINATIONS OF THE COLUMBIAN ISSUE HAVE ACHIEVED THIS PERFECT GRADE. ONE OF THE KEYS TO THE FINEST SET OF THE COLUMBIAN ISSUE.
Ex "Westchester". When Dr. Newman started collecting again he reacquired this stamp privately. With 2008 P.S.E. certificate (Gem 100 Jumbo; unpriced in SMQ above the grade of 100, SMQ $13,500.00 as 100). This is the highest grade possible and the only example to achieve it.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A STUNNING MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLE OF THE 15-CENT COLUMBIAN, GRADED SUPERB 98 JUMBO BY P.S.E. -- THE HIGHEST GRADE AWARDED AND THE ONLY STAMP TO ACHIEVE IT.
Along with the 10c value, the 15c is among the couple most difficult of the non-dollar value Columbians to find in superb Mint N.H. condition.
Ex "Westchester". When Dr. Newman started collecting again he reacquired this stamp privately. With 2008 P.S.E. certificate (Superb 98 Jumbo; SMQ $16,500.00). This is the highest grade awarded and the only example to achieve it.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. AN ABSOLUTELY STUNNING MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLE OF THE 30-CENT COLUMBIAN ISSUE, GRADED GEM 100 BY P.S.E. -- THE HIGHEST GRADE AWARDED. A KEY TO A SET OF HIGH-GRADE COLUMBIANS, WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR ISSUES IN UNITED STATES PHILATELY.
With 2008 P.S.E. certificate (Gem 100; SMQ $15,500.00). This is the highest grade awarded and it is shared by only one other. For the entire Columbian series, only four denominations and five stamps (2, 3c, 4c and 8c) have stamps graded 100 Jumbo, and only eight denominations (eleven stamps -- 2c-8c, 30c and 50c) have stamps graded 100.
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS SUPERB MINT NEVER-HINGED EXAMPLE OF THE 50-CENT COLUMBIAN IS, IN OUR OPINION, THE FINEST EXTANT. A STAMP WITH TREMENDOUS VISUAL APPEAL.
While we have long been a supporter of numerical grading and often quote P.S.E. Population Report statistics, there are certain stamps that defy numerical grading. This sheet-margin example of the 50c Columbian is such a stamp. The conservative grade of XF 90 Jumbo assigned to this magnificent gem is a prime example of the limitation of numerical grading when applied to sheet-margin stamps. We have offered 50c Columbians in grades of 95 and 98, but, in our opinion, none of those exceed the beauty of this stamp. Its past realizations also confirm our opinion -- it realized $22,000 hammer in our Sale 1100.
Ex Parker, Higgins and "Westchester." With 1998 P.F. and 2007 P.S.E. certificates (XF 90 Jumbo; SMQ $5,750.00).
EXTREMELY FINE GEM. THIS STUNNING STAMP HAS BEEN GRADED SUPERB 98 JUMBO BY P.S.E. -- THE HIGHEST GRADE AWARDED TO THE $3.00 COLUMBIAN AND THE ONLY EXAMPLE TO ACHIEVE THIS GRADE. A TRUE RARITY.
The $3.00 Columbian is one of the most difficult of the dollar values to obtain in such choice condition. Only 24,713 were issued, which is approximately half the number of the $1.00 and $2.00. The margins are generally narrow on this denomination. The stamp offered here is the exception to the rule. It is beautifully centered and the color and paper are bright and fresh.
With 2010 P.S.E. certificate (OGh, Superb 98 Jumbo; SMQ $11,500.00). This is the highest grade awarded and the only example to achieve it. The highest grade awarded to a Mint N.H. example is 95.
VERY FINE. A SCARCE MINT NEVER-HINGED $4.00 COLUMBIAN.
With 2018 P.S.E. certificate