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

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

Category — 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366)

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
200°
nhbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 200, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366), 3¢ 1908 Mint Never-Hinged wide top plate block

DESCRIPTION

3¢ Deep Violet (333), Mint N.H. wide top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4925 block of six, deep rich color, unusually choice centering, bright and fresh

PROVENANCE

Paul Cheyney (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross)

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$650.00

E. 400-500
1,500
201°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 201, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366), 5¢ 1908 full top plate block

DESCRIPTION

5¢ Blue (335), Full top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4959 block of six, stamps Mint N.H., lightly hinged in gummed portion of selvage, wide margins and well-centered, post office fresh

PROVENANCE

Paul Cheyney (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross)

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$550.00

Errata: Lightly hinged in gummed portion of selvage. Scott Retail for hinged plate block $550.00

E. 500-750
650
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202°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 202, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366), 6¢ 1908 wide top plate block

DESCRIPTION

6¢ Red Orange (336), wide top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4937 block of six, top center stamp lightly hinged, others Mint N.H., wide margins and well-centered, bright color with just slight traces of oxidation along top framelines

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$750.00

E. 300-400
400
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203°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 203, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366), 8¢ 1908 top plate block

DESCRIPTION

8¢ Olive Green (337), top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4922 block of six, bottom center stamp barest trace of hinging, others Mint N.H., beautiful centering and rich color

PROVENANCE

"Saddleback" collection, Siegel 5/22/2007, Sale 935, lot 203, to Mr. Gross

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine and choice

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$525.00

E. 400-500
850
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204°
nhbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 204, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366), 10¢ 1908 Mint Never-Hinged full top plate block

DESCRIPTION

10¢ Yellow (338), Mint N.H. full top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4940 block of six, vivid color, attractive centering and margins

PROVENANCE

Paul Cheyney (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross)

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine and choice; slightly short gumming at top of top row

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$1,500.00

E. 750-1,000
1,400
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205°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 205, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366), A rare and highly select 50¢ 1908 full top plate block

DESCRIPTION

50¢ Violet (341), full top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4956 block of six, top center and top right stamps lightly hinged, others Mint N.H., exceptional depth of color, wide margins and well-centered

PROVENANCE

Paul Cheyney (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross)

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine and choice

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$6,000.00

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

Scott 341 was produced from only one plate, number 4956, which had plate number blocks at top and bottom. Lewis Kaufman records only six full top and four bottom plate blocks available to collectors. There is another top position in the Miller collection owned by The New York Public Library.

E. 4,000-5,000
4,000
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206°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 206, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366)One of the finest known full top plate blocks of the $1, One of the finest known full top plate blocks of the $1One of the finest known full top plate blocks of the $1.00 1908 Issue

DESCRIPTION

$1.00 Violet Brown (342), full top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4957 block of six, stamps at top center and top right hinged, others Mint N.H., outstanding centering with wide margins, deep rich color

PROVENANCE

Paul Cheyney (collection sold privately to Mr. Gross)

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine; a few minor reinforced perf separations in selvage only at top left

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$20,000.00

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

The Dollar Washington Plate Block Rarity

Excluding the Bluish Paper Issue, this is one of the rarest of the Washington-Franklin plate blocks. Lewis Kaufman records only seven top and five bottom plate blocks. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing experienced difficulty with paper shrinkage while printing the 1908 Issue--the Bluish Paper experiment of 1909 was intended to correct the problem--so this plate block's centering is exceptionally choice.

This is one of the two finest top plate blocks among the small population available to collectors (one top position is in the Miller collection owned by The New York Public Library). Other top plate blocks either have slightly reduced selvage, a fault or only Fine centering. The only example that matches the quality of this block was in the Dr. Frederick Fogelson collection.

E. 10,000-15,000
13,500
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207°
nhbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 207, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366), Mint Never-Hinged full top plate block of the 1¢ Bluish Paper Issue

DESCRIPTION

1¢ Green, Bluish (357), Mint N.H. full top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4889 block of six, intense shade on nicely blued paper, attractive centering

PROVENANCE

"Saddleback" collection, Siegel 5/22/2007, Sale 935, lot 53, to Mr. Gross

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$1,850.00

E. 1,000-1,500
1,000
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208°
nhbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 208, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366), A superb Mint Never-Hinged top plate block of the 2¢ Bluish Paper Issue

DESCRIPTION

2¢ Carmine, Bluish (358), Mint N.H. top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4863 block of six, exceptionally choice centering, rich color on blued paper with characteristic intense watermark

PROVENANCE

Weill Brothers' Stock, Christie's Robson Lowe, 10/12/1989, lot 195

"Saddleback" collection, Siegel 5/22/2007, Sale 935, lot 54, to Mr. Gross

CERTIFICATION

The Philatelic Foundation (1990)

CONDITION NOTES

Extremely Fine

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$2,750.00

E. 3,000-4,000
3,250
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209°
ogbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 209, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366), One of three recorded top plate blocks of the 13¢ Bluish Paper Issue

DESCRIPTION

13¢ Bluish Green, Bluish (365), full top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4948 block of six, lightly hinged, deep rich color on nicely blued paper, unusually wide margins for this issue

PROVENANCE

Rudolph G. Wunderlich, Siegel Auction Galleries, 2/9-11/1971, Sale 389, lot 636, to Louis Grunin

Louis Grunin, Siegel Auction Galleries, 11-30/1971-12/1/1971, Sale 404, lot 163

"Southern Cross" collection, Greg Manning Auctions, 3/22-23/1993, lot 958

"MLG" collection, Siegel Auction Galleries, 4-21/2009, Sale 971, lot 1604, to William H. Gross

CONDITION NOTES

Very Fine and choice

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$60,000.00

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

The Bluish Paper Experiment

The Bluish Paper stamps were first produced in early 1909 to remedy problems in manufacturing and handling. The first problem was the effect of paper shrinkage on the perforation process, which the Third Assistant Postmaster General's report specifically noted as the reason for the experimental paper. The second reason is found in a letter dated February 16, 1909, from the Third Assistant Postmaster General, A. L. Lawshe, to the BEP director, Joseph E. Ralph, which states that the 1¢ and 2¢ stamps would be placed on sale at the Washington, D.C., post office, to determine if "they display less tendency to curl than the stamps made of the regular wood pulp paper."

Paper shrinkage was the result of a necessary step in the printing process. In intaglio printing the sheet of paper was moistened before the impression was made, because the dampened paper picked up more of the ink in the recessed lines of the metal plate. After the sheet dried, the paper would shrink slightly, causing the rows of individual stamp subjects to fall out of alignment with the fixed rows of perforation pins. Postal officials reported that 9% of stamps were unsatisfactory due to paper shrinkage. The curling and splitting problem occured after the sheets were perforated and divided into panes. As the gum dried, it pulled along the grain of the paper, causing each row of stamps to curl. Down the line, panes had a tendency to split apart along the perforations, making it difficult to package them for distribution or handle them at post offices.

On February 1, 1909, the BEP director notified the Third Assistant Postmaster General that a supply of 1¢ and 2¢ stamps had been printed on an experimental rag paper stock, which the BEP developed to resolve the production and handling problems. The experimental paper--10,000 sheets in total--had 30% to 35% rag cloth added to the wood-pulp mixture. Ultimately, the rag stock did not prove to be an effective remedy and was discontinued. Better results were subsequently obtained by modifying the spacing of the six outside vertical rows on the plates (known as "Star" plates). The stamps' distinctive grayish paper was first described as having "a bluish cast." The report of the Third Assistant Postmaster General (for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1909) described the experimental stamps as having a "slightly bluish tinge," and the moniker Bluish Paper entered philatelic lexicon permanently.

All Bluish Paper stamps were printed from plates of 400 subjects on the Hoe & Company four-plate intaglio press, which increased the speed of production through simultaneous tasking. The Hoe press had four positions and rotated. For this reason there are at least four plate numbers for each Bluish Paper stamp. Each sheet of 400 was divided into four panes.

Lewis Kaufman records seven plate blocks of the 13¢ Bluish Paper--three from the top, three from the left and one from the bottom. In addition to these plate blocks, there is one complete pane of 100 in private hands (plate number 4942 upper left, ex Weill Brothers' Stock) and another complete pane (plate number 4945 upper right) is in the "Postmaster General's Collection" at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, which is the pane reported by Boggs from the Post Office Department files.

E. 20,000-30,000
24,000
Back to Top
210°
nhbl
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 210, 1908-10 Washington-Franklin Issues (Scott 331-366), Mint Never-Hinged full top plate block of the 15¢ Bluish Paper Issue

DESCRIPTION

15¢ Pale Ultramarine, Bluish (366), Mint N.H. full top "BUREAU, ENGRAVING & PRINTING" imprint and plate number 4952 block of six, attractive centering and margins, characteristic intense watermark

PROVENANCE

Max L. Simon, Siegel Auction Galleries, 10/27-28/1965, Sale 292, lot 482 (as a block of 8)

CONDITION NOTES

Fine-Very Fine; light overall toning

SCOTT CATALOGUE VALUE (2019)

$30,000.00

HISTORY AND COMMENTARY

Although Lewis Kaufman records 24 plate blocks of the 15¢ Bluish Paper, top positions are rare and very desirable, particularly with Mint N.H. gum. We doubt there are more than a half-dozen Mint N.H. plate blocks extant in total, from all positions on the plate.

E. 10,000-15,000
12,000
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