VERY FINE AND CHOICE. A BEAUTIFUL AND VERY DESIRABLE EXAMPLE OF THIS RARE $2.00 STATE DEPARTTMENT SPECIAL PRINTING. PROBABLY ONE OF THE FINEST COPIES IN EXISTENCE.
In March 1875 the Post Office Department initiated a program to make reproductions, reprints, re-issues and special printings of all past and present issues available for purchase at face value through the office of the Third Assistant Postmaster General in Washington, D.C. The official announcement stated in part "The official stamps cannot be used except for the official business of the particular Department for which provided... All of the specimens will be ungummed; and the official stamps will have printed across the face the word 'Specimen,' in small type."
Of the 32 sold, Markovits estimated that approximately 20 are known (Bennett sale). With 2006 P.F. certificate
VERY FINE. A PHENOMENAL EXAMPLE OF THE $5.00 STATE DEPARTMENT SPECIAL PRINTING WITH AN IMPECCABLE PROVENANCE. THIS EXAMPLE WAS PART OF THE SET PURCHASED FROM THE THIRD ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL'S OFFICE BY PAUL LIETZOW OF GERMANY, AND WAS BOUGHT BY ROBERT LEWENTHAL IN 1953. ONLY TWELVE WERE SOLD AND OUR CENSUS CONTAINS ONLY SIX AVAILABLE TO COLLECTORS. THIS IS ALSO THE ONLY SOUND EXAMPLE.
Paul Lietzow was a German collector/dealer who displayed his collection in one of the first philatelic exhibitions in Germany. The first was held in April 1870 and featured one person's collection. Lietzow exhibited his collection in July 1877 in Berlin for the benefit of wounded soldiers. His collection at the time comprised 6,200 stamps housed in six large volumes, quite an achievement for the time. In 1880 and 1882 he published handbooks on philately, one of which was a precursor to the Scott Catalogue. The idea of exhibitions and handbooks was to increase the appeal of stamp collecting, which was widely seen as suitable only for schoolboys and not worthy of serious pursuit.
Lietzow was an enthusiastic purchaser of high-denomination stamps through the Special Printing program. He is the only purchaser of the $36.00 (two), $48.00 and $60.00 Newspaper Special Printings, and also purchased two each of the $9.00 and $12.00 values. The Combs book notes the Lietzow set of dollar-value State departments was purchased by Lewenthal from a German dealer in 1953. They were offered as single lots and then as a set in the 1978 Simmy's auction of the Lewenthal collection, where they were acquired by Leonard Sheriff. They were offered individually in the 1993 Siegel Sheriff sale, where they were dispersed to different buyers.
Although the Scott U.S. Specialized Catalogue states that twelve $5.00 State “Specimen” stamps were sold, the description for the Markovits example states that eight are recorded, presumably based on Markovits’s research. Our own census, which incorporates The Philatelic Foundation’s records, is available at https://siegelauctions.com/census/us/scott/O69S . It contains only seven examples, including one in the Miller collection owned by The New York Public Library, leaving six available to collectors.
Census no. O69S-UNC-01. Ex Lietzow, Lewenthal, Sheriff and Inman. Illustrated on p. 29 of U.S. Departmental Specimen Stamps by W. V. Combs. With 1993 P.F. certificate
FRESH AND FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF THE $10.00 STATE DEPARTMENT SPECIAL PRINTING. ONLY EIGHT WERE SOLD, OF WHICH FIVE ARE RECORDED. ONE OF THE KEYS TO ASSEMBLING A COMPLETE SET OF THE OFFICIAL SPECIAL PRINTINGS.
Although the Scott U.S. Specialized Catalogue states that eight $10.00 State “Specimen” stamps were sold, the description for the Markovits example (2004 Bennett sale) states that five are recorded, presumably based on Markovits’s research. Our numbers concur with Markovits -- our census is available at https://siegelauctions.com/census/us/scott/O70S .
Census no. O70S-UNC-01. With copy of 1991 P.F. certificate, obtained after this was offered in a June 1991 Christie's auction featuring the Governor Pierre S. du Pont IV collection and property from the Frank G. Back stock. Ex Inman.
VERY FINE. THE $20.00 STATE DEPARTMENT IS ONE OF THE RAREST OF ALL SPECIAL PRINTINGS. ONLY SEVEN WERE SOLD, OF WHICH JUST FOUR ARE KNOWN TO SURVIVE. THIS IS THE ONLY SOUND EXAMPLE AMONG THOSE FOUR. A KEY TO A COMPLETE SET OF OFFICIAL PRINTINGS.
Official records note that seven of the $20.00 State Department Special Printings were sold. The Combs book did not have any sale histories and noted that in February 1960 Philip H. Ward Jr. wrote in Mekeel's Weekly that he was aware of two copies each of the $10.00 and $20.00. We record four examples of the $20.00 (in order of condition):
O71S-UNC-01: The example offered here, ex Inman. PFC 241742 stating "it is genuine"
O71S-UNC-02: The ex Lietzow, Lewenthal and Sheriff copy, centered to top left, single pulled perf at bottom
O71S-UNC-03: Perfs clear all around, small stain spots, small thin and short perf, last offered in Siegel Sale 728 (Sep. 14, 1990), currently in the collection of a Southern gentleman
O71S-UNC-04: Ex Sinkler and Siegel Sale 623 (Sep. 21, 1983), centered to top left, PFC 437782 stating "faint horizontal thin at lower left".
Census no. O71S-UNC-01. With 1991 (copy) and 2016 P.F. certificates