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The William H. Gross Collection: United States Multiples continued...

1¢-90¢ 1857-60 Issue (Scott 18-39) continued...
Lot Sym. Lot Description  
50° ogbl ImageThis magnificent original-gum block of 21 is the largest recorded unused multiple of the 30¢ 1860 Issue


30¢ Orange (38), block of 21 (7 by 3), original gum, bright color and exceptionally fresh


This block and large block of 90¢ 1860, along with other lower denomination blocks, sold to Caspary privately (Ashbrook index card note)

Alfred H. Caspary, H. R. Harmer sale, 1/16-18/1956, lot 809, to Weill

Josiah K. Lilly, Jr., Siegel Auction Galleries, 2/7-8/1968, Sale 327, lot 18, to Weill (for Bechtel)

Stephen D. Bechtel, Sr. (collection sold privately in 1993; block sold privately to Zoellner)

Robert Zoellner, Siegel Auction Galleries, 10/8-10/1998, Sale 804, lot 148, to William H. Gross


ANPHILEX 1996 Invited Exhibits (Zoellner)


Fine overall; some minor reinforcements, small tears in a few bottom-row stamps and fourth stamp at top nicked from separation


$60,900.00 as three blocks, four pairs and single


The Switch from Black to Orange

Official correspondence between the Post Office and Toppan Carpenter reveals that the decision to print 30¢ stamps in orange followed a printing in black on stamp paper. The existence of imperforate 30¢ Black stamps created controversy years ago, when some philatelists argued that the black stamps were a legitimate issue. A brief history of the early approval and production process is worth telling.

Toppan Carpenter submitted proofs of the 30¢ stamp to Third Assistant Postmaster Zevely in June 1860, suggesting printing the stamps in black to highlight the engraving. The design was approved on June 27, 1860. On July 2 Toppan Carpenter sent Zevely plate proof sheets of the 12¢ and 30¢ in black to show that the design differences were sufficient to tell the stamps apart, even if both were black, and Zevely replied with approval for the 30¢ to be printed in black. On July 11 Toppan Carpenter wrote again to Zevely, giving their opinion that it would be difficult to adequately cancel the 30¢ stamps if they were black, and suggesting that the color should be switched to "buff." Zevely approved "orange buff" color, and Toppan Carpenter promised to deliver 280,000 stamps by July 31. As with all of the stamps in circulation when the Civil War broke out, the 30¢ was demonetized in the fall of 1861. (Image)

Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com

Get Market Data for [United States 38]

E. $ 20,000-30,000

SOLD for $27,000.00
Will close during Public Auction
51° ogbl ImageA superb quality original-gum block of nine of the 90¢ 1860 Issue--one of three recorded blocks of nine, which are the largest known multiples


90¢ Blue (39), block of nine, original gum, lightly hinged, deep rich color and proof-like impression, bright fresh paper, exceptionally choice centering and well-balanced margins throughout


Alfred H. Caspary, H. R. Harmer sale, 1/16-18/1956, lot 816, to Weill (for Phillips)

Benjamin D. Phillips (Phillips collection sold privately to Weills, 1968)

Siegel Auction Galleries, 1969 Rarities of the World, 3/25/1969, Sale 350, lot 59

Louis Grunin, H. R. Harmer sale, 12/14-15/1976, lot 2667

Peter G. DuPuy, Siegel Auction Galleries, 12/8/2010, Sale 1000, lot 1026, to William H. Gross


The Philatelic Foundation (1987)


Extremely Fine; trivial natural gum bend in left vertical row, a few perf separations reinforced with tiny hinge slivers (certificate simply reads "genuine, previously hinged")


$90,500.00 as block of four, pairs and single


Young General Washington as Portrayed by Trumbull

In May 1860 President Buchanan's postmaster general, Joseph Holt, issued a new order requiring prepayment by stamps on transient printed matter, and on all foreign and domestic mail, except letters permitted to be sent unpaid by international postal conventions. Holt's order sparked public demand for stamps, especially in denominations greater than 12¢, the top value in circulation at the beginning of 1860. In response to a letter received from the Philadelphia postmaster, the new Third Assistant Postmaster General, Alexander N. Zevely, contacted Toppan Carpenter about producing new high-denomination stamps.

The 90¢ stamp was the first denomination of its kind and the highest issued in the United States from 1847 to 1893, when the dollar-value Columbian stamps were issued. The reason for a 90¢ stamp--30 times the 3¢ domestic rate--is explained in a letter from Zevely, who thought it was "necessary to have a stamp in the denomination of Ninety Cents--not only to suit that particular rate of postage, but to prepay packages, to the amount, sometimes, of several dollars." Toppan Carpenter and Zevely engaged in some back and forth discussion about the design. The printers based their engraving, a three-quarter portrait of a youthful Washington in military uniform, on one of several similar full-length portraits painted by John Trumbull. Zevely did not like it, but soon acquiesced and approved the novel design and chose the color blue, which was described as "the handsomest of them all." Philatelists agree.

The 90¢ stamps issued in August 1860 were one of the Civil War's early casualties. In August 1861 the federal government demonetized all previous issues of postage stamps and replaced them with new stamps that would be distributed only to post offices in loyal states. The purpose of demonetization was to prevent the South from using stamps as a medium of exchange. Demand for the high-denomination stamps in 1860 was limited, and the Civil War demonetization policy cut their lives short. Unused examples would be great rarities today if not for a cache of sheets discovered in Washington, D.C., which had been found in Southern post offices after the war and returned to the Post Office. These sheets were sold and traded to stamp dealers, and many of the unused 1859-60 issues come from this source.

There are three recorded original-gum blocks of nine of the 90¢ 1860 Issue, which survive as the largest recorded multiples following the division of the Caspary block of 21. The Caspary block (lot 817 in the 1956 sale) was still intact when it was part of the Benjamin D. Phillips collection, which the Weills acquired in 1968. Sometime after then, this block was divided into a block of nine from the center, two blocks of four from the bottom left and bottom right corners, and singles or pairs from the corners.

The block of nine offered here was also in the 1956 Caspary sale (lot 816), where it was acquired by the Weills for Phillips. It appeared in the Siegel 1969 Rarities of the World sale. In March 1987 the block surfaced in Switzerland at a Corinphila auction, where it was acquired by Peter G. DuPuy. It was sold by the DuPuy estate in Siegel Sale 1000 (lot 1026) to Mr. Gross. The third recorded block of nine was also offered on behalf of the DuPuy estate in our Sale 1000 (lot 1027). (Image)

Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com

Get Market Data for [United States 39]

E. $ 50,000-75,000

SOLD for $50,000.00
Will close during Public Auction

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