Sale 1288 — The Nelson Berman Collection of Outstanding United States Stamps
Sale Date — Thursday, 22 June, 2023
Category — 1922-25 and Later Issues (Scott 551-634A)
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A FINE AND SOUND EXAMPLE OF THE 2-CENT HARDING ROTARY PERF 11, WHICH IS ONE OF THE RAREST OF ALL 20TH CENTURY ISSUES.
Warren G. Harding, the 29th President, died in San Francisco on August 2, 1923, during a cross-country "Voyage of Understanding". Several people suggested a Harding memorial stamp, printed in black, and it was rushed into production. The first flat plate printing (Scott 610) was issued on September 1, 1923, in his home town of Marion, Ohio, followed less than two weeks later by the normal Perf 10 rotary press printing (Scott 612) on September 12.
The 2c Harding Rotary Perf 11 stamp was discovered in 1938 by Leslie Lewis of the New York firm, Stanley Gibbons Inc. Gary Griffith presents his hypothesis in United States Stamps 1922-26 that rotary-printed sheets of 400 were first reduced to panes of 100 and then fed through the 11-gauge perforating machine normally used for flat plate sheets. This method explains the existence of a straight-edge on Scott 613. Production quality and quantity was very low, due to the rotary press stamps' natural tendency to curl, and the use of the flat plate perforator for the slightly different-sized rotary printing.
Our census of the 2c Harding Rotary Perf 11, available at https://siegelauctions.com/census/us/scott/613 , records 46 used singles (one faintly cancelled, if at all), one used pair and the used strip of three, for a total of 51 stamps. Of the singles, 22 are confirmed as sound, but of these only six rate a grade of Very Fine or Extremely Fine.
Census no. 613-CAN-05. Ex "Ambassador" and our 1988 Rarities sales. With 1986 P.F. certificate.