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2020 Rarities of the World continued...

1902-08 Issues
Lot Sym. Lot Description  
190° c Image2c Carmine, Ty. I, Coil (321). Bright color, used with vertical pair of 5c Blue, Imperforate (315), tied together by "Indianapolis Ind. Dec. 20 11:30AM 1908" duplex datestamp and oval grid cancels on legal-size cover with return address for "Law Offices William Pirtle Herod, Fletcher Bank Building, Indianapolis" and addressed to "A. M. Travers Esq., Post Office Department, Washington D.C.", marked "Personal" at left, manuscript "Special Delivery" below stamps, nice range of backstamps including "Graf. & Cin. R.P.O. Dec. 20, 1908 TR.2" duplex struck twice, another similar strike from Dec. 21, "Washington D.C. Dec. 21 2-PM 1908" machine cancel, purple "Special Delivery, Washington D.C. P.O., Dec. 21 P.M." datestamp, 2c with tear at top right and light horizontal crease, 5c pair lifted and reaffixed and top stamp with few tiny surface scrapes, light vertical file folds do not affect stamps

VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A PHENOMENAL COVER BEARING THE RARE 2-CENT VERTICAL EXPERIMENTAL GOVERNMENT COIL, SCOTT 321, WITH ONE OF THE FINEST PAIRS OF THE 5-CENT IMPERFORATE, SCOTT 315. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THE STAMPS HAVE BEEN REUNITED ON THIS COVER IN MORE THAN HALF A CENTURY. WE REGARD THIS AS ONE OF THE GREATEST COVERS IN ALL OF 20TH CENTURY UNITED STATES PHILATELY.

The first government coil stamps were experimental, and philatelists at the time were generally unaware of or indifferent to their existence. Sheets of 400 were printed and perforated in one direction. They were then cut into strips of 20 and hand-assembled into rolls for sale in vending machines. Only small numbers of these experimental coils were produced before the Washington-Franklin series superseded them. One of the rarest stamps in the world is Scott 321, the 2c Shield Vertical Coil. In February 1908, four rolls of 1,000 were produced, and the vertical format was never repeated. A supply was sent to the Parkhurst Vending Machine Co. in Indianapolis, the only city where Scott 321 is known to have been used.

This cover is well-known among students of 20th Century philately both for its rarity and for its highly unusual history. It was sent by William Pirtle Herod, an Indianapolis attorney from a prominent political family. The recipient was Arthur M. Travers in Washington D.C., who was promoted around this time to Acting Third Assistant Postmaster General after serving as Chief Clerk to A. L. Lawshe before the latter's breakdown and resignation. In 1911 Travers earned philatelic notoriety when he was arrested in connection with the Steinmetz-Travers Bluish Paper scandal. His interest in stamps is reflected in a note he affixed to this cover (which accompanies this lot), which reads: "Note the 2 imperforate 5c stamps. Only 13000 of such were issued and less than 10000 were used for postage purposes. A.M.T. Dec 21, 1908." It is noteworthy that Travers did not point out the much rarer 2c coil on this cover. Like most philatelists at the time, he probably did not regard experimental coils as separate issues.

The Herod-Travers cover remained intact until at least 1954, when the first Philatelic Foundation certificate was issued. The cover, without the 5c pair, was offered in Siegel's November 30, 1971, auction of the Louis Grunin collection of 20th Century United States. Just like Travers, our firm's describers at the time failed to appreciate the importance of this cover and did not even photograph it in the sale catalogue. Following the Grunin sale, the cover disappeared from public view for the next 48 years.

All of our efforts to locate the fabled "321 cover" resulted in dead ends. Hans Stoltz and Walter Mader, two Siegel describers from the period, had no recollection as to its whereabouts.

In 2007 the 5c pair was found in an old-time estate and recognized by us as having originated on the cover. The pair was offered in Siegel Sale 930 (lot 2368), where it sold for $22,000 plus premium to the current owner, who had bid on the other 321 cover offered in our 1998 Zoellner sale almost a decade earlier. His fervent desire was to reunite the pair and the cover--owning the pair got him part of the way. On July 10, 2019, the opportunity to reunite the pair and cover finally presented itself. The Herod-Travers cover appeared in the "New Amsterdam" collection offered by Cherrystone Auctions. The consignor was a collector who had been relatively inactive for decades, but was active in the 1970s and probably bought the cover at or close to the time of the Grunin sale. Our client successfully bid on the cover with the 2c coil in that sale and realized his decades-long dream of reuniting the pair with its 2c coil partner on the original envelope.

Our census of Scott 321, available at https://siegelauctions.com/census/us/scott/321 , contains five pairs and two covers with singles. One of the pairs is part of the Benjamin K. Miller collection, currently on long-term loan to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, and will never be available to collectors. That leaves only four pairs plus the two covers available to collectors. Siegel has not offered a pair since before 1994. The Zoellner collection, which was complete, contained the other cover. We resold the ex-Zoellner cover in the William H. Gross U.S. Stamp Treasures auction for $260,000 hammer (Sale 1188, lot 104). A pair was also offered in the same 2019 Cherrystone auction, where it realized $700,000 hammer.

With 1954 P.F. certificate for cover with Scott 315 and 321. The Scott 321 alone on cover is ex Grunin and "New Amsterdam" (with 2019 P.F. certificate). The Scott 315 with 2007 P.F. certificate as an off-cover pair. The Scott value quoted is for a single 321 on cover. (Image)

Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com

Get Market Data for [United States 321 ]

$ 310,000.00

SOLD for $110,000.00
Will close during Public Auction
191 P Image$2.00 Dark Blue, Panama-Pacific Small Die Proof (312P2a). 24 x 27mm, very faint overall toning as usual for a Panama-Pacific proof, tiny nick in right margin

VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE $2.00 1902 ISSUE PROOF MADE FOR DISPLAY AT THE 1915 PANAMA-PACIFIC EXPOSITION. ONLY THREE TO FIVE OF EACH VALUE ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN PRODUCED.

One other was offered as part of a complete set in the Brody sale held by Shreves in 2002; it was notably more toned than the example offered here.

Ex "Cheshire". (Image)

Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com

Get Market Data for [United States 312P2a ]

$ 2,500.00

SOLD for $1,800.00
Will close during Public Auction
192° og Image2c Carmine, Coil (322). Intense shade and impression, outstanding centering with wide margins

EXTREMELY FINE GEM. A SUPERB ORIGINAL-GUM EXAMPLE OF THE 1908 2-CENT HORIZONTAL COIL, SCOTT 322, GRADED XF-SUPERB 95 BY P.S.E.

Issued on July 31, 1908, and intended only to be used by private vending machine companies, Scott 322 is only known with the Die II widened line at lower left.

With 2017 P.S.E. certificate (OGph, XF-Superb 95; SMQ $12,000.00). Only two stamps grade higher (highest is 98) and no others share this grade (Image)

Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com

Get Market Data for [United States 322 ]

$ 7,000.00

CLOSED
Will close during Public Auction
193 og Image2c Carmine, Coil (322). Lightly hinged, deep rich color and well-centered for this rare coil issue

FRESH AND VERY FINE. A PARTICULARLY CHOICE PAIR OF THE 2-CENT 1908 HORIZONTAL COIL.

Issued on July 31, 1908, and intended only to be used by private vending machine companies, Scott 322 is only known with the Die II widened line at lower left.

Ex Dr. Puliafito. With 1978 and 1996 P.F. certificates (Image)

Search for comparables at SiegelAuctions.com

Get Market Data for [United States 322 ]

$ 17,500.00

SOLD for $8,500.00
Will close during Public Auction

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