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

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

Category — Ten-Cent: Type II, Off-Cover (Scott 14)

Lot
Symbol
Photo/Description
Cat./Est. Value
Realized
346
bl
Sale 1242, Lot 346, Ten-Cent: Type II, Off-Cover (Scott 14)10c Green, Types II and III (14, 15). Vertical block of 21 (three by seven) from Positions 1-3/11-13/21-23/31-33/41-43/51-53/61-63L1--the first three vertical rows from the top left corner of the left pane, which is one of the most fascinating sections of the 200-subject plate from a philatelic perspective--Positions 1L and 2L are the Misplaced B Relief Transfers of B Relief instead of A Relief, producing Type III stamps from those positions instead of Type II; also contained in the block are two major double transfers, Positions 31L and 51L, the former being the most pronounced of all 10c double transfers--the entire block contains ten Type II and eleven Type III stamps in alternating rows, mostly large margins except touching right and top, incredibly deep rich color and early impression, neatly cancelled by multiple strikes of "Columbia Cal. Jan. 19, 1857” circular datestamp, a few negligible wrinkles

EXTREMELY FINE. THIS BLOCK--THE "COLOSSUS"--WAS USED TO MAIL A VALENTINE FROM GOLD RUSH CALIFORNIA IN 1857, AND FOR THE CENTURY SINCE ITS DISCOVERY THE BLOCK HAS BEEN UNCHALLENGED AS THE LARGEST MULTIPLE OF THE 10-CENT 1855 IMPERFORATE ISSUE.

According to George B. Sloane (Stamps, Feb. 11, 1956), this block was discovered on a cover used to enclose a large Valentine from Columbia, California, to Portland, Maine. At the height of its Gold Rush glory, the town of Columbia was the second largest in California, with numerous hotels, banks, stores and churches serving thousands of residents. A devastating conflagration in August 1857 burned down anything that was not made of brick. Eight months earlier, fire was burning in the heart of a nameless soul, who took three dollars to the post office, bought thirty 10c stamps, and affixed the massive block--almost one-third of a sheet--to a large envelope containing a Valentine for his sweetheart in Portland, Maine. At 10c per half ounce for postage, the Valentine weighed in at a hefty 15 ounces--one wonders if it contained a gift of gold nuggets.

After its discovery by philatelists, the bottom three Type I stamps were removed (91-93L1). After that another block of six was removed (71-73/81-83L1), which was later reduced to a block of four (71-72/81-82L1). The Colossus block of 21 was offered in an auction held at the 1922 American Philatelic Society convention. It was described in that sale as having "condition so remarkable that the most hardened critic succumbs to its charm and is lost in wonder, love and praise." The buyer who succumbed was Arthur Hind. Alfred H. Caspary bought the block in the 1933 Hind sale, and, when the Caspary sale was held in 1956, the catalogue devoted a full page to the Colossus block, which may have helped catapult the realization to $7,250, paid by Mozian, a New York dealer.

Illustrated in Stanley B. Ashbrook, The United States Ten Cent Stamp of 1855-1857 (p. 50) and Special Service #60 (pp. 482-483); Lester G. Brookman, United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, Vol. I (p. 165); Mortimer L. Neinken, The United States Ten Cent Stamps of 1855-1859 (p. 37); Jonathan W. Rose, Classic United States Imperforate Stamps (p. 79); and exhibited at World Stamp Show 2016 Court of Honor (Gross)

From a B. L. Drew sale (as block of 21), Aug. 17, 1922, lot 69, to Kennett for Hind; ex Arthur Hind, Phillips-Kennett sale, Nov. 20-24, 1933, lot 135, to Colson as agent for Caspary; Alfred H. Caspary, H. R. Harmer sale, Jan. 16-18,1956, lot 482, to Mozian; Robert Lehman, Robson Lowe Geneva sale, Apr. 30, 1976, lot 1137; Robert Faiman and Andrew Levitt (according to personal communication with Faiman; sold privately to Ishikawa through Garrett, 1979); Ryohei Ishikawa, Christie’s Robson Lowe sale, Sep. 28-29, 1993, lot 163, to Gross; William H. Gross, Siegel Sale 1188, Oct. 3, 2018, lot 37, to Mr. Eubanks.

With 1976 P.F. certificate

E. 75,000-100,000
100,000