An attractive example of the 15c Brown & Blue centre invert from the 1869 Pictorial Issue holds the highest estimate in Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries' July 16-17 auction of United States stamps.
The used stamp is estimated to sell for $20,000. There are just 97 used copies of the 15c invert in existence, with two of those housed in institutional collections - the Tapling Collection at the British Library and the Miller Collection at the New York Public Library.
The 1869 Pictorial Issue was released during the first weeks of the Grant administration, with 10 stamps ranging from 1c to 90c.
However, the post office began distributing a revised version of the 15c stamp just a few months later, as the original had been poorly aligned. This revised version is now considered the 11th stamp of the series.
The invert at auction is of the first type, which is listed as Scott 119b. It boasts rich colours and detailed impressions with an unobstrusive cork cancel. Its condition is marred only by a faint horizontal crease, and the stamp has been expertly reperforated at the right.
A set of three plate number blocks of six from the 1930 Graf Zeppelin stamps is expected to see the second highest bids of the auction, valued at $15,000.
With each denomination (65c, $1.30 and $2.60) represented, this well-centred set makes for a brilliant piece for collectors of the commemorative stamps. Each of the blocks is in good condition, though there are a couple of small tears, as well as the usual gum skips and creases found on this issue.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a brilliant range of rare stamps for sale.