Discovering a 99R2

July 18th, 2010

One of the advantages of knowing something about 1c 1851-57′s is it can often lead to discoveries of misidentified stamps among dealers’ stocks and auction listings. Dick Celler found a 7R1E in a dealer’s stock, and Jerry Wagshal routinely found scarce or rare varieties in his search of stocks and auctions.

Mary Wagshal, who has never been a stamp collector by choice, but learned a thing or two about classic U.S. by osmosis, must have earned Jerry’s undying love and admiration the day she recognized a 99R2 at a dealer’s booth at the Garfield-Perry show in 1990. Although the stamp was identified as a more common Type II, Scott 7, she spotted the wide breaks in the top and bottom outer lines and pointed the stamp out to Jerry. He immediately identified it as 99R2. The price was $75. If only all spouses could spot 99R2′s.

Largest Imperforate Block from Plate 4

July 16th, 2010

The block of ten illustrated below is the largest recorded imperforate multiple from Plate 4. The types are:



It is illustrated in the Neinken book on p. 282. Neinken also notes that he “does not recollect seeing any other used imperforate blocks, although they probably exist”.¬† We would be interested in hearing of any other used imperforate¬† blocks from Plate 4.

Top Row Plate 4 Stamps with Break at Bottom

July 16th, 2010

The stamp shown here is from Position 2L4. Traditionally, all top row positions of Plate 4 have been classified as Type II, and they are prized because these entries from Relief A have the complete design at top.

While the top row Plate 4 positions have Type II characteristics, there is a complication. Certain stamps have a break in the bottom outer line, which would qualify them as Type IIIa (consistent with 81L and 100R on Plate 1 Early). A detail of the 2L4 stamp below shows a clear break at bottom to the left of the “C”. This presents a bit of a conundrum.

The bottom outer line on certain top row Plate 4 positions was weak to start. Plate wear probably accounts for the breaks evident in certain impressions. Positions 2L4 and 3L4 are prime examples. Collectors should be on the alert for stamps offered as Scott 7 from Plate 4. Even as Type II, they are scarce. With a break in the bottom line, they may be separately classified and regarded as extremely rare.

Plate 1E Type IIIa with Break at Bottom

July 16th, 2010

Type IIIa is defined by a break in the outer line at top or bottom. The break is usually in the top outer line. However, there are two positions on Plate 1 Early that have a break in the bottom outer line that qualifies each as Type IIIa. Representative examples are shown here.

Position 81L1E

This is one of the three Inverted Transfer positions on Plate 1E (71/81/91L). It also shows a wide break in the bottom line, which Ashbrook described as “a marvelous break…the finest example of Type IIIA on Plate 1E”.

Position 100R1E

The early impressions from 100R1E have a weak but complete line at bottom (Type II, Scott 7). However, as the plate wore, a break opened up, qualifying stamps with the break as Type IIIa (Scott 8A). This example shows a clear break.

Plate 4 also produced some stamps with a break at bottom. More about these to follow.

If You’ve Got the Balls (of 7R1E)

July 15th, 2010

This strip of three comes from Positions 16, 17 and 18 in the right pane of Plate 1 Early. Just above these positions on the plate are 6, 7 and 8R1E, which of course are Scott 5A (Ty. Ib), 5 (Ty. I) and 5A (Ty. Ib). The large top margin manages to capture the essential elements of the coveted Type I, Position 7R1E – the balls and plumes. Position 17R was short transferred at the top, creating a Type IIIa entry and preserving the bottom of 7R1E because, unlike other entries on the second row of the right pane, there was no “ironing out” of 7R1E. See Dick Celler’s article in the 1851 Sesquicentennial book.

Although owning a 7R1E is every collector’s dream, the cost is prohibitive for most. However, for a fraction of the price of an average 7R1E, one can own this strip. Some might say, to possess the balls of 7R1E is to possess the essence.

Strip (above) and detail of 7R1E elements (below)

Sheet-Margin Copies of Type IIIa on Plate 1 Early

July 15th, 2010

Here is a Position 96R1E, a Type IIIa (Scott 8A) with bottom sheet margin.

Looking at the distribution of types on Plate 1 Early (Neinken book, page 66), it is apparent that only three bottom-row positions can be Type IIIa (all others are Type II). Two are “swing” positions: Type II before the plate wore and Type IIIa after it wore enough to cause a break in the line (100L and 100R). Position 96R1E is a strong Type IIIa, and it comes from one of the five misplaced A Relief entries in the bottom row. Elsewhere around the perimeter of each pane, only six other positions offer the possibility of a Type IIIa sheet margin stamp (none in the top row).

The stamp shown here, judged by statistical rarity and by its outstanding quality, is a marvelous example of the 1c 1851 Imperforate.

Philadelphia Carrier Use

July 14th, 2010

Although it appears to be an ordinary use of the 1c 1851 to pay the carrier fee in Philadelphia, this cover is very unusual. The combination of a 1c and 3c 1851 is found from Philadelphia beginning in 1856 when the supply of Eagle Carrier (LO2) stamps was exhausted. However, this cover was mailed in May 1852 with a 1c stamp from Plate 1 Early paying the carrier fee “to the mails”. At this time, the Eagle Carrier was used almost exclusively.

Position 7R1L

July 7th, 2010

Below is an image of a remarkable stamp. It is Position 7 Right 1 Late, and comes from the reworked state of the plate. In the early state of the plate, this was the only position to produce the rare Type I stamp, Scott 5 (7R1E).

Scott No. 5 Census Updated

June 25th, 2010

The Wagshal census of Position 7R1E has now been posted to the Siegel website as a PDF file. It has been added to the Census section of our website, which is available at: