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

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

Category — 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 Issue (Scott 1-2)

Cat./Est. Value
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 2, 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 Issue (Scott 1-2), A spectacular original-gum, sheet-margin block of the 5¢ 1847 Issue in the Dark Brown shade from the First Printing


5¢ Dark Brown (1a), Positions 82-83/92-93R1, block of four from the two bottom rows of the right pane with large bottom sheet margin, original gum, lightly hinged, ample to large margins all around, huge margin at left, intense dark shade and sharp impression on deeply blued paper--all characteristics of stamps from the First Printing


As block of five: William West, Ward sale, 4/26-30/1943, lot 5, to Robert A. Siegel

As block of four: Siegel Auction Galleries, 1976 Rarities of the World, 3/31/1976, Sale 489, lot 13

Siegel Auction Galleries, 1989 Rarities of the World, 4/15/1989, Sale 708, lot 44

Jonathan W. Rose

Siegel Auction Galleries, Sale 902, lot 1002, to William H. Gross


Friedl Expert Committee (1980)


Extremely Fine appearance; vertical and horizontal creases between stamps mostly in the margins, small scissors-cut in margin at right




The First Federal Postage Stamps

One day before James K. Polk's inauguration as the nation's eleventh President, Congress passed the Post Office Reform Act of March 3, 1845, which greatly simplified and reduced postal rates, effective July 1, 1845. The Act was signed by President John Tyler on his last day in office, which left the task of implementing the reform measures in the hands of Polk's new postmaster general, Cave Johnson (1793-1866). Johnson, a Democratic congressman from Tennessee since 1829, had been among the opponents of the Cheap Postage movement, arguing that such a drastic reduction in postage rates would financially cripple the postal system and increase the risk of privatization. Now, as postmaster general in President Polk's cabinet, Johnson was responsible for making sure the nation's postal system provided the same level of service, despite the reduction of rates and the significant curtailment of franking privileges and transportation subsidies.

The profound changes in the nation's postal system effected by the 1845 Post Office Reform Act set the stage for the introduction of adhesive stamps to prepay postage. The concept had been successfully implemented by Great Britain in 1840 and proposed in Congress by Senator Daniel Webster in the same year, but authorization to issue stamps was withheld by Congress until March 3, 1847.

The 1847 Issue--the first stamps authorized by Congress for general use--demonstrated the public's acceptance of adhesive stamps on a national scale. They also helped to encourage the prepayment of postage, rather than sending mail collect on delivery, a practice that brought greater efficiency and economy to the postal system.

E. 10,000-15,000
Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 3, 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 Issue (Scott 1-2), This remarkable strip of eight with original gum is the largest recorded multiple of the 1847 5¢ Orange Brown shade


5¢ Orange Brown (1b), horizontal strip of eight--nearly a complete row--original gum, stamps 2, 4, 5 and 7 are Mint N.H., others lightly hinged, bright shade, clear impression from reworked plate, large margins at top and sides, mostly clear at bottom except just touching on two stamps


Discovered shortly before its first auction appearance in 1970

Siegel Auction Galleries, 1970 Rarities of the World, 3/24/1970, Sale 371, lot 22, described as "From a new Original Find"

Siegel Auction Galleries, 10/19/1976, Sale 500, lot 21

Richard Wolffers, 10/31/1984 sale, lot 272

Ryohei Ishikawa, Christie's Robson Lowe sale, 9/28-29/1993, lot 3, to William H. Gross


Malcolm L. Brown census (Chronicle 171, August 1996, page 156), where described as "Positions 91-98L (?)"

Jonathan W. Rose, Classic United States Imperforate Stamps, page 9


The Philatelic Foundation (1976)


Very Fine appearance; couple gum toned spots (one shows faintly on face), slight horizontal crease, vertical creases mostly between stamps, slightly oxidized color far left and right


$80,000.00 as singles (multiples of Orange Brown are unpriced)


5¢ 1847 Shades

The 5¢ 1847 Issue printings and the myriad colors they produced have vexed specialists attempting to classify them, as far back as the early 20th century when Dr. Carroll Chase described shade varieties in words, without the benefit of full-color publishing. In more recent times, Calvet M. Hahn and Wade Saadi have tried to describe the shades and illustrate them with color images. They have also attempted, with mixed results, to attribute shades (and impressions) to specific deliveries and/or printings.

The 5¢ stamps in a distinct orange hue are assigned Scott numbers 1b (Orange Brown), 1c (Red Orange) and 1d (Brown Orange). Philatelists have been left to decide which listed shade applies to a stamp at hand. Complicating matters, there is no clear consensus on the spectrum range for each shade, which results in great differences between two stamps presented or certified as the same Scott number.

The strip offered here is an unequivocal Orange Brown. It is a brightly tinted shade, and the impression is pronounced, but the lines of engraving show wear and fuzziness, which is most evident in the lines of the oval background surrounding Franklin's portrait and in the fine lines along the outside portions of the rectangular design within the framelines. The overall impression indicates that this was probably a late printing, circa 1850-51, made from the cleaned and reworked plate, a process used by Rawdon, Wright, Hatch & Edson to improve the quality of prints made from the well-worn plate after years of use.

The 1847 Issue is much scarcer in unused condition than other issues, because the stamps were demonetized in 1851. They could be exchanged for the new issue, but once the exchange period ended, the stamps would have no postage value. Considering the purchasing power of five or ten cents in 1851, it is not surprising that the stamps were either used or exchanged, rather than left for future generations of collectors. Multiples of any of the orange-hue stamps are very rare, and multiples larger than a unit of three of any 5¢ shade are also rare. This is the largest unused multiple of the Orange Brown, Scott 1b.

E. 30,000-40,000
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Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 4, 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 Issue (Scott 1-2), A superb pair of the 10¢ 1847 with original gum and large margins--the finest unused 10¢ 1847 multiple in the Caspary and Lilly collections


10¢ Black (2), Positions 17-18R1 showing misaligned entries on plate, horizontal pair, large to huge margins including frameline of above right adjoining stamp, original gum, lightly hinged, crisp shade and sharp impression


Alfred H. Caspary, H. R. Harmer sale, 1/16-18/1956, lot 125, to Cole (for Lilly)

Josiah K. Lilly, Jr., Siegel Auction Galleries, 2/7/1968, Sale 327, lot 3, to Weill (for A. T. Seymour)

A. T. Seymour, Siegel Auction Galleries, 4/23/1970, Sale 373, lot 6

Michael Lea, Sotheby Parke Bernet sale, 1/11/1978, Sale 10, lot 42

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


The Philatelic Foundation (1968)


Extremely Fine; right stamp has faint wrinkle that does not appear dark in watermark fluid and dries with barest flash of white




The Rarity of Unused 1847 Multiples

In anticipation of the new July 1851 rates and stamps, Postmaster General Nathan K. Hall announced on June 11 that the 5¢ and 10¢ postage stamps of 1847 would no longer be accepted as legal postage after June 30, 1851.

Postmaster Hall's demonetization order established a three-month redemption period--from July 1 to September 30, 1851--and instructed the public to present the stamps "to the Postmaster of whom they were purchased, or to the nearest Postmaster who has been authorized to sell postage stamps." Hall specified that only postmasters who had previously received stamps for sale directly from the Post Office Department were authorized to "pay cash for all genuine postage stamps" (Thomas J. Alexander, "Demonetization of the 1847 Issue," Chronicle 174, May 1997).

The procedure for redeeming unused 1847 stamps was cumbersome for the public and for postmasters. In the months following June 30, 1851, there was a degree of tolerance for use of the old stamps, as evidenced by dozens of covers with 1847 stamps used in the post-demonetization period. However, as time passed, the floating supply of old stamps dwindled, and it undoubtedly became more difficult to slip the 1847 stamps into the mails. Furthermore, paying the 3¢ domestic rate with a 5¢ 1847 stamp wasted 2¢. The USPCS census of covers with 1847 stamps shows a steep decline by the end of 1852.

Considering the purchasing power of five or ten cents in 1851, it is not surprising that the stamps were either used or exchanged, rather than left for future generations of collectors. Consequently, unused multiples of the 1847 Issue are extremely rare. The superb original-gum pair offered here was the largest and finest 10¢ 1847 unused multiple in the Alfred Caspary collection; it was the first of three pairs offered in the Caspary sale.

E. 50,000-75,000
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Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 5, 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 Issue (Scott 1-2), The famous Emerson-Newbury corner-margin strip of the 10¢ 1847--a magnificent gem and one of the finest First Issue multiples in existence


10¢ Black (2), Positions 1-3L1, horizontal strip of three from the top left corner of the sheet with huge margins all around including a generous portion of the top sheet margin, each stamp with red grid cancel applied by the United States mail agent in Panama


On cover: Rep. Ernest R. Ackerman (sold privately in 1928 through Perry)

On cover: Henry C. Gibson, Sr. (listed in Ward inventory, sold to Emerson, who removed the strip from the cover)

Off cover: Robert S. Emerson, Daniel F. Kelleher, 11/16/1946, Sale 438, lot 376, to Newbury

Saul Newbury, Siegel Auction Galleries, Part 6, 10/23-24/1963, Sale 255, lot 78

Ryohei Ishikawa, pictured in first book of 1980 Grand Prix exhibit

Wade Saadi (1847 collection sold privately to William H. Gross)


Stanley B. Ashbrook, Special Service, #11, pp. 69-71


The Philatelic Foundation (1982) "genuine cancelled in Panama"

The Philatelic Foundation (1991) "genuine with red grid cancellations which were used in Panama"


Extremely Fine


1847 Stamps Used Outside the United States

United States Post Office Department records of 1847 stamps distributed to post offices indicate that 25 sheets of 10¢ 1847s (2,500 stamps) were sent on June 22, 1850, to A. B. Corwine, the official U.S. mail agent in Panama City. Corwine received the stamps on July 16. Another 25 sheets (2,500 stamps) were sent to Corwine on January 17, 1851, and received March 21. No 5¢ 1847s were ever sent to Panama, since the standard rate was 30¢ per half-ounce.

Corwine served as the American commissioner in Panama until Lincoln removed him from office. He was an instrumental figure in the so-called 1856 Watermelon War, when inebriated Americans in transit antagonized a local seller of watermelons by refusing to pay, leading to riots--the vendor pulled a knife, the antagonist pulled a gun, a struggle ensued, and a bystander was shot. Corwine's report of the incident was instrumental in the following short American occupation of the Isthmus, as well as payment of compensation and justification for future military actions to maintain the neutrality of Panama.

The 10¢ strip offered here was originally found used on a letter from Lima, Peru, addressed to Tepic, Mexico, and sent via the U.S. mail agent at Panama and via Mazatlan. The stamps and letter never touched United States territory during this journey, but the 30¢ postage paid for official U.S. mail transport from Panama.

According to Ashbrook's account, when the cover was discovered, it was "a bit ragged." After it was owned by Representative Ernest Ackerman and Henry Gibson, the next owner, Judge Robert Emerson, removed the strip and placed it in his "Deluxe Collection of the 1847 Issue." At the 1946 sale of this portion of Emerson's collection, it was acquired by Saul Newbury for a staggering price of $2,900. In the October 1963 Newbury sale (Part 6) held by Siegel, the strip realized $3,500, one of the four highest prices in the auction, including the famous 1¢ 1851 Type I Newbury cover, which sold for $12,000, and the 15¢ Z Grill discovery stamp, which sold for $11,500.

Following the Newbury sale, the strip was eventually acquired by Ryohei Ishikawa and shown in his 1847-1869 exhibit that garnered an International Grand Prix at WIPA 1981 (Vienna). Ishikawa sold the strip privately, and it next appeared in the Wade Saadi 1847 collection, which was acquired intact by Mr. Gross.

E. 20,000-30,000
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Sale Number 1200, Lot Number 6, 5¢ and 10¢ 1847 Issue (Scott 1-2), One of two used blocks of the 10¢ 1847 Issue in private hands--of the two, only this block has handstamped cancellations


10¢ Black (2), Positions 13-14/23-24R1, block of four, blue grid cancels, full top and bottom margins, cut diagonally at sides with margins ranging from large to slightly in at upper left and lower right


George H. Worthington, J. C. Morgenthau sale, 8/21-23/1917, lot 32

Clarence H. Eagle, J.C. Morgenthau sale, 4/4-10/1923, lot 503, to Doane

Robert S. Emerson, Daniel F. Kelleher, 11/16/1946, Sale 438, lot 312

"Sierra Madre" collection, D. F. Kelleher, 3/5/1991, Sale 588, lot 3071

Wade Saadi (1847 collection sold privately to William H. Gross)


The Philatelic Foundation (1996)


Fine appearance; top left stamp with small tear (at top), bottom right stamp with small tear (at bottom), small thin spots in top pair




The Rarity of Used 10¢ 1847 Blocks

The block offered here is one of two used blocks of the 10¢ 1847 Issue in private hands, and it is the only privately held block with handstamped cancellations, as opposed to pen cancels.

There are five recorded used 10¢ 1847 blocks:

1) Block of 14, Positions 1-10/11-14L1, pen "X' cancels, from the Bandholtz find (along with a strip of ten that was on the same cover), unavailable to collectors, ex Hirzel, currently in the Swiss Museum of Communications

2) Block of 4, red cancels (reduced from block of 6 with ink added to disguise identity), unavailable to collectors, ex Miller, now in The New York Public Library collection (at the National Postal Museum)

3) Block of 4, violet/red pen cancel, unavailable to collectors, ex Knight, now in the John Hay Library, Brown University

4) Block of 4, Positions 13-14/23-24R1, blue grid cancels, ex Worthington, Eagle, Emerson, "Sierra Madre", Saadi, the block offered in this sale

5) Block of 4, lightened pen cancels, currently in the Gross collection

This block was featured prominently in the collections formed by Worthington, Eagle and Emerson prior to World War II. It disappeared for more than four decades after the 1946 sale of Emerson's "Deluxe Collection of 1847s," until it resurfaced in the 1991 Kelleher sale of the "Sierra Madre" collection, from which Wade Saadi acquired the block. The Saadi 1847 collection was sold privately to Mr. Gross.

E. 30,000-40,000
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