1c Blue, Ty. II, Plate 3 (7). Positions 17-20/27-30R3, horizontal block of eight, Positions 20R and 30R major double transfers, original gum with slight disturbance and some black offset,
large margins to slightly in, beautiful deep shade and impression shows surface cracks typical of Plate 3, partly broken vertical crease at center with some gum soaks in top pair, slight creases affect a few other stamps
APPEARANCE. THIS IS THE FAMOUS "ARMITAGE" BLOCK, WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE-CENT 1851 ISSUE ITEMS EXTANT, BEING THE LARGEST RECORDED MULTIPLE FROM THE SHORT-LIVED PLATE 3.
According to Ashbrook and Neinken, Plate 3 is believed to
have been made in March or April 1856, possibly to replace the defective Plate 2 and/or to meet the increased demand for stamps concurrent with the April 1855 change in postal regulations requiring prepayment of postage. For an unknown reason --
possibly a severe defect that arose in the plate -- very few stamps were printed from the new Plate 3 before it was retired. All positions on Plate 3 are Type II and were entered from the same T-A-B Relief roller used for Plates 1 and 2. Plate 3
stamps bear a close resemblance to those from Plate 2. Surviving Plate 3 examples are rare, and unused examples or multiples of any kind are exceedingly rare.
An enlarged photograph of this block appears on page 230 of the Neinken book and page
228 of Ashbrook Volume 1. Regarding the origin of this block, we quote from Ashbrook (page 227): "The largest block known from this rare plate is the former 'Armitage block' of eight... which includes positions 17-20R3 and 27-30R3. It will be noted
that 20R3 and 30R3 are two of the major Double Transfers. I have been able to trace this block back to the 35th sale of the Nassau Stamp Co., held on May 16, 1913. At that time the piece was a block of 15 and was described as follows: 'Lot 43 -- 1c
Blue, Type II (31), block of 15, unused, O.G., four of the stamps cut into the design, nevertheless fine and rare in so large a block.' The price realized was but $34.00. Mr. Kleeman of the Nassau Stamp Co., recently informed me they have no record
of the name of the buyer. It would indeed be interesting to know what became of the seven stamps which were so wantonly trimmed from this rare block. To the buyer they were simply unused Type II stamps, for he had no idea at that time that they
actually came from a rare plate. I borrowed this block from Mr. George W. Armitage of Liverpool, England, in 1923 and made the photograph from which the illustration was made. At that time I made the notation that the color of the block was not the
typical Plate Three, but rather more like the common impressions from Plate Two, being neither deep nor pale blue."
There are four unused Plate 3 blocks confirmed by photo or mentioned in various sources: 1) Positions 17-20/27-30R3, block of
eight with original gum offered here, ex Armitage, Lilly, Neinken, 2) Positions 39-40/49-50R3, block of four originally joined with the block of eight, part original gum, ex Armitage, 1978 and 1989 Rarities sales, Rogers, 3) Positions 19-20/29-30R3,
block of four, condition unknown, ex Hollowbush (see Neinken book, p. 231), and 4) Positions 77-78/87-88R3, block of four, condition unknown, ex West. Only numbers 1 and 2 on this list are known to remain intact. In addition, there are two recorded
used Plate 3 blocks.
The unused block of four (listed above as number 2) comes from the original Armitage block in the adjoining Positions 39-40/49-50R3. It was offered in the 1978 and 1989 Rarities of the World sales, and it last appeared in
the Bennett sale of the Mark D. Rogers collection in April 2005. We do not know the whereabouts of the remaining three stamps from the original Armitage block.
Ex Armitage, Lilly and Neinken. Scott value for eight singles without premium for
double transfers or the multiple is $72,000.00. (Image)
Search for comparables at
SOLD for $16,000.00
Will close during Public Auction