EXTREMELY FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF ONLY FIFTEEN EXAMPLES OF THE 12-CENT 1861 FIRST DESIGN AVAILABLE TO COLLECTORS. AN OUTSTANDING RARITY.
The 12c is the rarest of the 1861 First Designs and Colors, with a total of 16 examples recorded, including one in the New York Public Library collection. Our 12c First Design census, available at http://siegelauctions.com/census/us/scott/59 , contains perhaps five sound copies.
This is the only 1861 First Design/Color with the "new" manuscript notation. Although it is generally accepted that the 1861 First Designs/Colors were not distributed through post offices (except for the 10c, which was regularly issued), it is apparent that these stamps were not produced as ordinary essays, which typically originate from printers' archives or officials' files. Considering the extreme rarity of multiples (except for the 3c and 10c) and the scattered origins of the 1c, 5c, 12c, 30c and 90c 1861 First Designs/Colors, it is probable that they were distributed through official U.S. Post Office Department channels to other postal authorities to alert them to the new issue when the previous 1851-57 Issues were demonetized (beginning in August 1861). The word "new" on this stamp is evidence of that possibility.
Census No. 59-CAN-02. Ex Hale and "Lake Shore". With 1980 P.F. certificate. Scott Retail as unused $90,000.00