Sale 1242 — The Gordon Eubanks Collection: United States 1851 to 1856 Imperforate Issue

Sale Date — Tuesday-Wednesday, 12-13 October, 2021

Category — Five-Cent: Foreign Mails (Scott 12)

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
311
c
Sale 1242, Lot 311, Five-Cent: Foreign Mails (Scott 12)5c Red Brown (12). Block of four, margins full to slightly cut in, used with 1c Blue, Type II (7), Plate 1E, each stamp cancelled by rimless grid which ties 1c, the 5c block tied by "Donaldsonville La. Sep. 8" (1856) circular datestamp on blue folded cover to Maubourguet, France, addressed to Pascal Labusquierre, red "New-York Am. Pkt. Sep. 20" circular datestamp--carried on the New York & Havre Line Fulton, departing New York September 20, 1856, and arriving at Havre October 3--red "Outre-Mer Le Havre 3 Oct. 56" arrival datestamp for incoming ship (non-contract) mail, manuscript "12" decimes due (7.5-15 grams), French receiving backstamps, 5c block has small faults, 1c gum soaks, cover refolded at bottom, toning affects stamps

FINE APPEARANCE. ONE OF FOUR RECORDED BLOCKS OF THE 5-CENT 1856 ISSUE ON COVER. THIS IS THE ONLY BLOCK USED TO FRANCE AND THE ONLY ONE USED WITH OTHER STAMPS.

Our records contain four 5c 1856 blocks on cover. An intact block of six on cover is the largest of all recorded multiples (ex Gross, lot 314 in this sale). The cover offered here is also an extremely rare example of the 5c 1856 used to make up the American Packet rate to France. Only five fully prepaid 5c 1856 covers to France by American Packet are recorded.

There were two American Packet services to France available: Collins Line via England--21c per half-ounce rate with 8 decimes per 7.5 grams due for British transit and French inland postage; and New York & Havre Line direct to France--20c per half-ounce rate with 6 decimes per 7.5 grams due for French inland postage. The two ships of the New York & Havre Line, Fulton and Arago, made only 12 trips during the one-year period from March 1856 (earliest use of 5c 1856) until the new 15c U.S.-France treaty rate was implemented in April 1857.

Two of the five recorded American Packet covers were carried by the Collins Line via England. They are both correctly prepaid 21c--one has a three-color franking and the other has a strip of 5c and 1c single (ex Hargest and Beane; illustrated in Hargest book, p. 53).

Three covers were carried by the New York & Havre Line direct to France. Only one has the correct amount of postage for the 20c rate (ex Walske, lot 310 in this sale). The other two are overpaid 1c, including the cover offered here. It is believed that the practice of prepaying the slightly higher rate was a way to ensure that a letter would be sufficiently prepaid for the earliest available sailing from New York. The cover offered here is an example of a letter prepaid 21c for Collins Line service via England, but sent by the New York & Havre Line direct to France (20c rate). This usage would be extraordinary with any composition of stamps, but the presence of an intact 5c 1856 block is truly miraculous. In New Orleans, where a large volume of 5c stamps were used, they were usually cut into strips. The river town of Donaldsonville in Ascension Parish was a low-volume source.

Signed by Stanley B. Ashbrook and illustrated in his Special Service, #1, p. 3, photo 3. Illustrated in Hill, The United States Five Cent Stamps of 1856-1861 (p. 13) and Frajola-Mayer, The United States Five Cent Stamp of 1856 (p. 57). Ex Hill, Wunderlich, Grunin, Ishikawa, Mayer and Gross. With 1993 P.F. certificate.

E. 20,000-30,000
15,500