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

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

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Category — 1904-07 Louisiana Purchase and Jamestown Issues (Scott 323-330)

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
193°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 193, 1904-07 Louisiana Purchase and Jamestown Issues (Scott 323-330), The unique plate block of the 2¢ Louisiana Purchase imperforate horizontally--a fantastic 20th century error plate block

DESCRIPTION

2¢ Louisiana-Purchase, Imperforate Horizontally (324a), bottom "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 2156 block of four, small hinge remnant in imprint selvage, wide margin at top where imperforate, bright color

PROVENANCE

As a pane of 50 : A. W. Weigel, purchased at Cleveland post office Station B within six weeks of issue (sold privately to Worthington for $100 and divided into blocks and pairs)

As a plate block of 4 (26 stamps offered in Worthington sale): George H. Worthington, J. C. Morgenthau sale, 8/21-23/1917, lot 981

Arthur Hind, Phillips-Kennett sale, 11/20-24/1933, lot 731

Wharton Sinkler, Eugene Klein sale, 3/8/1940, Sale 117, lot 299

Amos Eno, Harmer, Rooke sale, 7/9/1950, lot 155 to Weill (for Phillips)

Benjamin D. Phillips (collection sold privately to the Weills, 1968)

Dr. Charles E. Test, "Westport" collection, Christie's Robson Lowe, 2/2/1994, lot 38, to William H. Gross

CERTIFICATION

The Philatelic Foundation (1994)

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$75,000.00--based on a sale 25 years ago

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

The One and Only Plate Block

According to Sloane's Column (2/8/1958), a pane of 50 stamps was found at the post office in Cleveland, Ohio. The stamp was issued on April 30, 1904, and the error was found within six weeks of issue. The pane was sold by a "girl" at the window of Station B to A. W. Weigel, whom Sloane describes as a "postal carrier" who also had philatelic knowledge. In fact, Weigel operated the Ohio Stamp Company and was secretary-treasurer of the Garfield-Perry Stamp Club. The error pane was purchased shortly after Weigel's fortuitous post office find by famed collector George H. Worthington of Cleveland, reportedly for $100. Worthington held the pane until 1917, when his collection was sold by J. C. Morgenthau & Co. The pane had been divided prior to the sale, to allow multiple collectors to obtain an example of the variety. In the Worthington auction, 26 of the 50 stamps were offered; the remaining 24 stamps were sold privately.

Sloane and other writers have always stated that top and bottom plate blocks exist, presumably based on the layout of the plate, not on any personal encounter with both plate blocks. However, the top plate block has never been seen, and for good reason--it does not exist. We have been able to painstakingly reconstruct the pane, except for one pair. As the reconstruction shows, the top plate block can no longer exist, because the top sheet selvage with the imprint was trimmed off.

As for the left half of the error sheet, it has been written that the female postal clerk remembered selling it, but it is more likely that it was never released or was fully perforated. We base our theory on the perforating method.

The sheets of 100 were perforated in two steps. First, the vertical rows of perforations were applied with the perforating wheels set at the correct width for the wider horizontal dimensions of the stamp. A cutting blade replaced the wheel of pins at the center of the sheet, so that the act of perforating the sheet along the vertical axis resulted in the division of the sheet into two panes (each with a straight edge along the guide line).

Second, each pane of 50 was perforated in the horizontal direction, using a different setting for the narrower height of the stamp design. Therefore, while it is possible that both panes were left imperforate horizontally, it is more likely that one pane was fully perforated and the other (the right half) was not.

Another possibility is that one or both panes were marked as defective by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing examiner, but only one was removed from distribution. This scenario might explain why the top selvage was trimmed off the error pane sold in Cleveland. Perhaps the discoverer, A. W. Weigel, a knowledgeable philatelist, did not want to give postal officials any justification for reclaiming the sheet, so he trimmed off the top margin with the examiner's mark.

Digital reconstruction of the error pane of 50, showing the plate block at bottom and all but one pair. The block and two pairs from the top of the pane are evidence that the margin was trimmed off, which means there can only be one plate block. The left pane was either fully perforated or destroyed. Note: the different shades are the result of varying images and do not accurately reflect the items’ color.

E. 75,000-100,000
Future Sale
194°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 194, 1904-07 Louisiana Purchase and Jamestown Issues (Scott 323-330), A beautiful plate block of the 3¢ Louisiana Purchase with plate printer's initials

DESCRIPTION

3¢ Louisiana Purchase (325), full top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 2101 block of six, plate printer's initials in top left selvage--very unusual for this issue as most initials were confined to the next stamp over which is the first position on the sheet, gorgeous centering throughout, deep rich color

PROVENANCE

Paul Cheyney (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross)

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$950.00

E. 500-750
Future Sale
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195°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 195, 1904-07 Louisiana Purchase and Jamestown Issues (Scott 323-330), Top right corner selvage plate block of eight of the 5¢ Louisiana Purchase

DESCRIPTION

5¢ Louisiana Purchase (326), full top right corner "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 2099 block of eight, small hinge slivers, beautiful centering, deep rich color and proof-like impression

PROVENANCE

Paul Cheyney (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross)

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine; small hinge slivers sensibly reinforce some perf separations

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$1,400.00 as plate block of six and two singles

E. 500-750
Future Sale
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196°
nhbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 196, 1904-07 Louisiana Purchase and Jamestown Issues (Scott 323-330), A beautiful Mint Never-Hinged wide top plate block of the 10¢ Louisiana Purchase

DESCRIPTION

10¢ Louisiana Purchase (327), Mint N.H. wide top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 2106 block of six, gorgeous centering throughout, bright color and crisp impression

PROVENANCE

Paul Cheyney (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross)

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$4,000.00

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

Extraordinarily Wide Selvage

Top position plate blocks of the 10¢ Louisiana Purchase Issue are very difficult to obtain, especially in Mint N.H. condition and with wide selvage. A Power Search review indicates the last we offered was in 2012, but the perfs on that block touch the design. Our 2007 "Saddleback" auction contained one, but its perfs almost touch the design. One has to go back to our 2002 Drucker sale to find a plate block comparable in quality to the one offered here.

E. 3,000-4,000
Future Sale
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197°
nhbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 197, 1904-07 Louisiana Purchase and Jamestown Issues (Scott 323-330), 1¢ Jamestown Mint Never-Hinged plate block

DESCRIPTION

1¢ Jamestown (328), Mint N.H. top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 3542 block of six, well-balanced margins, detailed impressions

PROVENANCE

Paul Cheyney (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross)

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$825.00

E. 400-500
Future Sale
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198°
nhbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 198, 1904-07 Louisiana Purchase and Jamestown Issues (Scott 323-330), 2¢ Jamestown Mint Never-Hinged plate block

DESCRIPTION

2¢ Jamestown (329), Mint N.H. bottom "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 3603 block of six, choice centering throughout, radiant color on bright paper

PROVENANCE

James H. Gray, Jr., Shreves sale, 9/30/2005, lot 34, to Mr. Gross

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$900.00

E. 750-1,000
Future Sale
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199°
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Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 199, 1904-07 Louisiana Purchase and Jamestown Issues (Scott 323-330), 5¢ Jamestown Mint Never-Hinged plate block

DESCRIPTION

5¢ Jamestown (330), Mint N.H. top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 3554 block of six, deep rich color on bright paper

PROVENANCE

"MLG" collection, Siegel 4/21/2009, Sale 971, lot 1390, to Mr. Gross

CONDITION NOTES

Fine-Very Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$5,750.00

E. 1,000-1,500
Future Sale
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