© Calvet M. Hahn 1984 revised 2003
The 1869 inverted center stamps were not only the first bicolored stamps issued by the United States, they were also the first errors that the Post Office Department would have classed as errors.
The four bicolored stamps that were part of the 1869 issue-15¢, 24¢, 30¢ and 90¢-were far from the world’s first bicolored stamps. The Basle ‘dove’ dates back to 1845. The 1869’s were also not the world’s first bicolored error. I believe that honor goes to the Indian four Anna with inverted head issued in 1854. However, the 1869 inverts were the first bicolored errors to be recognized philatelically, as the Indian error was not recognized until 1874.
Because they represented the first American ‘error’, the Post Office Department could be expected to be particularly sensitive about them. Because the 1869 inverts were the first such error to be recognized, they could be expected to be avidly sought by collectors. What is remarkable is the relative lack of comment about them in the contemporary philatelic journals.
Background of the 1869 Issue
In order to understand the significance of the 1869 inverts, it is useful to have some general background about the entire 1869 issue. Most of this information is not new, but it has not been presented in one place with direct application to the bicolored higher values and the inverts.
The genesis of the 1869 issue is fraught with politics. The issue was conceived during the late days of the Andrew Johnson administration. His impeachment trial was over in May 1868 and he was a hated ‘hanger-on’ insofar as the Radical Republicans were concerned. Grant, the next President, had also repudiated Johnson.
Philatelically, the old National Bank Note Company contract had been extended by one year, based upon the Charles Steel grilling process which gives us the 1868 grilled issue, and bids for a new contract were called for. Johnson’s Postmaster General Randall advertised for bids for a new four-year contract on June 22, 1868-barely a month after the impeachment trial had concluded. Four companies replied.
The high bidder was the National Bank Note company and the low bidder was the firm of Butler & Carpenter. In a move designed to insure that the award went to the national Bank Note Company (NBNC), a committee was appointed to evaluate the bids. It recommended that the NBNC get the contract because of the superior workmanship of the essayed product submitted. Essays made on July 22, 1868 were part of this bidding process. These essays were seen and commented upon editorially by the New York Evening Post of October 6, 1868.
With the committee recommendation to back him, Postmaster General Randall used his discretionary power to award the new contract to the NBNC using the grilling process as his rationale. However, to make the situation look better, his award specified that grilling or ’embossing’ as it was termed was to be provided free of charge. Thus we got a grilled 1869 issue.
The new contract was announced October 6, 1868 and was finally signed December 12th to be effective February 1, 1869. Butler & Carpenter were incensed and tried to get the award annulled but lost their case both with Randall and again in September 1869 when they approached Grant’s Postmaster General to get the 1870 issued by nullifying the old contract. There was also an orchestrated campaign to denigrate the new issue so as to justify either a new contract for Butler & Carpenter or to create a new ‘banknote’ issue upon which they could bid. The new Grant administration was not averse to replacing stamps authorized by the badly out-of-favor Johnson administration.
It would seem that the new issue was to be a commemorative one rather than a ‘definitive’ issue, as we know it. John K. Tiffany in his History of the Postage Stamps of the United States , published in 1887 noted,
“It was announced that the series was intended in some sort, to portray the history of the Post Office in the United States, beginning with Franklin, the Continental postmaster, and the post rider of the early days, followed by the locomotive of a later day, and the Ocean Steamer carrying the mails which had become so important a branch of the postal service, the most important scenes of the early history of the country, its triumphant arms, and Washington its first and Lincoln its last President.”
- Walter Scott made the first apparent philatelic notice of the issue in the January 20, 1869 issue of his American Journal of Philately wherein he described the new issue favorably and gave details of each stamp based upon the essays. It was not until the May 20, 1869 issue that he corrected the description to conform to the issued stamps.
The target date for the issue of February 1, 1869 was not met. The actual release circular, dated March 1, 1869 was mailed together with another circular, dated March 12, concerned with “At an early day, IN THE REGULAR COURSE OF BUSINESS, THE department will issue to Postmasters Postage Stamps of new designs. See description annexed…”
The notice went on to state in capital letters that the current stamps (1867-1868 grills) were to be exhausted before supplying the new issue and that stamp exchanges were not to be made or stamps returned to the Post Office Department.
In bold face, the notice added, “Special attention is called to the fact that sheets of all denominations below 15 cents contain 150 stamps. The 15 cents, and all higher denominations, contain 100 Stamps on each sheet. This must be borne in mind to prevent mistakes in counting, as in the present issue each denomination has but 100 Stamps to the Sheet. Special requests for the new style of Stamps will be disregarded until the stock of the present issue in possession of the Department is exhausted…”
From the above, it is clear that there was no general release date contemplated. The 1984 Scott Specialized Catalog gave the earliest known dates of use on surviving stamps as March 27, 1869 for the 1¢, 2¢, 3¢, with none reported on the 6¢. The 10¢ is noted as April 1, the 12¢ on April 5 and the Type I 15¢ as April 2nd. (An off-cover example from New Orleans dated March 31st is now recorded and Jon Rose indicated knowledge of a March example from Chicago.). The Type II 15¢ is noted as May 23, while the 24¢ is April 7, the 30¢ is May 15 and the 90¢ as May 10. We know, however, that all values except the Type II 15¢ were released to the postmasters in March 1869.
Reflecting a good deal of new earliest documented date research, particularly by Alan Berkun, the 2003 Scott Specialized has corrected these dates to April 1, 1869 for the 1¢, and March 20, 1869 for the 2¢. The 3¢ date remains at March 27th while the 6¢ is now reported as April 26, 1869, with the 10¢ remaining at April 1st and the 12¢ moving forward to April 1st. The 15¢ Type I is now recorded as March 31 for off-cover and April 2 for an on-cover use, with the Type II 15¢ is moved forward to April 5th, but the 24¢ remains at April 7th and the 30¢ date of May 15th is now questioned with an accepted documented date of May 22nd, while the 90¢ date remains as May 10th. Still earlier dates for many of the values may yet turn up.
The quarterly data given in the Reports of the Postmaster General combined with the “Statistics of Manufacture” data, published by John Luff in his Postage Stamps of the United States enabled William Herzog to publish in Chronicle #89 (February 1976) a new analysis of the 1869 issue by quarter. This work is now the accepted authority. It shows that substantial quantities of all values of the issue were shipped to postmasters prior to March 31, 1869.
While over 10-million 3¢ and 2.9-million 1¢ and 2.4-million 2¢ stamps were sent to postmasters in the first quarter of 1869, the figures are much lower for the bicolored values. Slightly over 777 sheets of the 15¢ (77,740 stamps), 309 sheets (30,950 stamps) of the 24¢, 167+ sheets of the 30¢ (16,710 stamps) and 50 sheets (5,020) of the 90¢ were “issued”.
This is confirmed by the April issue of the United States Mail and Post office Assistant , normally published on the first of each month. There we find, “Postage stamps of all denominations, of new designs have been issued by the Department. As they will soon become familiar to our readers we need not describe them further than to say they are a decided improvement on the old pattern.”
It would appear even smaller towns got the high values at a fairly early date for the June issue of this publication contained a letter dated May 1, 1869 from a ‘M. Quadrat, Tarheel Depot’, which comments on the ‘long looked for’ stamps . This may be a thinly disguised pseudonym for postmaster M. Spragins of Tarborough, N.C. In any case, the letter shows the high values had been seen and not liked being “poorly engraved” and “badly printed”.
Tiffany stated that the issue date was March 19, 1869, but notes somewhat earlier in his 1869 chapter that,
“…in March 1869, the greater part if not all the values were printed and ready for issue, but were distributed to the public only as the stock of the old issue was exhausted. About the end of April they began to appear, and even in September only the 1, 2,3, and 6 cents were to be obtained in the larger postoffices…”
It is quite true that many postoffices did not have the higher values until quite late, some offices never getting them. However, this did not mean that some high values were not in the public hands at an early date. The British publication Stamp Collector’s Magazine in its May 1, 1869 issue stated, “UNITED STATES. We have now before us two individuals of the new series for this country-the 2¢, and the 12¢…we have since seen the new 3¢, 6¢ and 90¢…”
The June 1st issue described the remaining values, while the August 1st issue illustrated the 15¢ Type I. The same August issue reverted back to the 90¢ seen in April during the time the editor was preparing the May issue,
“We, ourselves, recollect that a friend of ours received a copy of the 90¢ on a letter, in March last, almost immediately after the news of the actual emission arrived here…”
As the notice was mailed about March 12th, the latest the letter could have arrived would be March 31st. The last Cunarder bringing mail to England before the 31st was the Russia, leaving New York on the 17th and arriving March 26th . The Allen line’s Peruvian left Portland on the 21st and arrived at Liverpool on March 31st . Thus, if the editor is to believed, the 90¢ was issued between the 12th and 21st of March 1869 and if it were released so would all the other values.
Confirming this data and supporting Mr. Tiffany’s March 19th issue date is an internal Post Office memorandum cited on page 22-23 of Fred Schueren’s The United States 1869 Issue, An Essay-Proof History which reads, “When the Contract was executed it was supposed that the new stamps would be issued about Feb’y 1st, but the issue did not take place until March 19th, 1869, on which date by terms of the Contract the salary of the stamp clerk and the rest of the room for use of the agent ceased. Notice to this effect was given to the agent by the 3rd Assis’t P.M. General. The Company commenced furnishing the blank receipts during the early part of February. There being a considerable number of the old stamps on hand it was decided to continue their issue until all were exhausted. The Company in their bill just rendered claim 2¢ per thousand stamps, for all stamps delivered since February 1st, including both the old and new styles. Is this claim correct or should they be paid only for the stamps delivered since march 19, 1869, at which time the contract really commenced?”
Combining this new information, which Tiffany apparently knew, with the arrival of stamps in England during March 1869 means that at least one office, probably New York, sold the new issue on that March 19th date and certainly on the 20th. It does call for our re-dating the issue so that an official First Day of March 19, 1869 can be listed even if no stamps postmarked on that date are known.
Combining the information from the Stamp Collectors Magazine and the sailing dates, we can be sure that earlier dates for the 6¢ probably still exist today. Additionally, all those items cited in the magazine’s May 1, 1869 issue would have had to be issued no later than April 22nd if carried by a Cunarder, which is the date the Australasian sailed arriving May 1st, or April 18th if carried by the Allan Line’s Moravian which arrived April 18th. Again we can be fairly sure New York issued all values in the later half of March 1869.
The only contemporary evidence we have about the printing of the 1869 issue comes from a report in Scott’s American Journal of Philately of October 20, 1869 where an interview by ‘Cosmopolitan’ with Mr. Nicholls, printing room superintendent at the NBNC is given. Cosmopolitan is believed to be a pseudonym for J. Walter Scott.
This Cosmopolitan report gives us a number of facts about the production that apply to the bicolored stamps, although it clearly notes they were not in production at the time.
We learn that the paper for the issue came from a Massachusetts firm which supplied 16 tons a year and that the current (October) production was 1½-million stamps daily. As the bicolored issues had to go through the presses twice, their rate of production would be much lower.
In printing the issue, the paper was wetted first to improve its ability to take impressions and the printing plate was wiped first by cloth and then by hand. The gum used for the issue was ‘Dextrine’, the same as used by calico printers. It was whitewashed on to the sheets by large rushes at the rate of 35-40 sheets per person per minute.
After gumming, the printed sheets were dried and then ’embossed’ or grilled. They were then perforated and pressed in a strong hydraulic press. This pressing process after the grilling may account for a number of the so-called ‘pressed out grills’ that bother some 1869 experts. Finally, the lower value sheets of 300 were cut into post office panes of 150 before being turned over for shipment to the postoffices. This created straight edges, which the high values do not have.
Five ledger sheets from the Stamp Agent reports have been turned up by Jeremy Wilson and based upon that find and the data published in the Reports of the Postmaster General on stamps issued as well as the stamps turned over to the Stamp Agent published by Luff as ‘Statistics of Manufacture’ in his 1902 book already cited, Herzog published quarterly records in Chronicle #89 that are accepted as definitive today.
For the four bicolor values we do know from the ledger sheets and the quarterly reports that there were two printings of each of the bicolored 1869 stamps and there was no need for a printing in 1870 as suggested by some writers. The first printing was small and took place in February/March 1869. The second printings for the 15- and 24-cent values were underway in June 1869. The 90-cent value second printing began during the week of June 19th while the 30-cent value printing took place sometime later. All of the bicolor value printings were completed by July 1869 if not during the first week of that month.
The statistics on the issuance of the high values from the above sources is as follows:
|Period||15 cent||24 cent||30 cent||90 cent|
|Balance on hand as of 12/31/1869||700,620||1,167,425||458,080||803,460|
|Issued in 1870||662,760||95,375||92,590||12,520|
While Herzog gives the quarterly figures and the total issued, the remainders are derived by subtracting the 1870 stamps ‘issued’ from the quantity o hand according to the December 31, 1869 Stamp Agent ledger sheet and differ from Herzog’s figures. The total printed is derived by adding the total issued plus remainders as of July 1, 1870.
As can be seen from the table over 2-million high value 1869s were still in stock as of July 1, 1870 and presumably were destroyed at some later date. We have no real record of their fate. As stated earlier, it would also appear that all high values were printed prior to the ‘Cosmopolitan’ interview and probably by July 1, 1869 or very shortly thereafter.
The interview stated, “…the National Bank Note Company are working upon 2 and 3 cent stamps only, as the post office authorities propose to call in the rest of the new issue owing to the manifold objections made by the community at large…” We do know from the balance on hand according to the ledger sheets that all the lower values had printings in `1870 in order to supply the quantities ‘issued’ that year, except for the 12¢, which had its last printing the week of December 18, 1869. In transcribing this Cosmopolitan interview in the 1976 1869 Register, Michael Laurence stated there was not a shred of evidence other than J. Walter Scott’s American Journal of Philately to support the concept of a recall. This is not quite accurate.
Scott first commented about a recall in the September 20, 1869 issue of the journal, which illustrated the new stamps, stating, “Very shortly the higher values will become very scarce…” going on to quote the New York Herald’s appeal for new stamps to replace the 1869s, issue. The Cosmopolitan interview comment followed in October. John Tiffany, however, gave independent support to the idea on page 147 of his book. There he quotes a contemporary newspaper as stating, “The present miserable experiments in blue, with a meaningless legend, are to be recalled and something new in red is to be substituted…”
Tiffany doesn’t give us the date or name of the paper, but the comment ‘something new in red’ appears to refer to the November 4, 1869 NBNC essay of the proposed new 3¢ 1870 stamp in carmine. Consequently it would be appear the proposals were considered for a recall for several months in the fall of 1869 although nothing came of them .
We do record that the notice of April 9, 1870 for the new stamp issue specified that postmasters were to exhaust all their present 1869 stamps on hand before supplying the new issue and that, “…in no case, will you be allowed to make exchanges for individuals or to return stamps to the Department to be exchanged…”
The philatelic significance of the abortive recall and the decision not to allow stamps in the postoffices to be returned is two-fold. First, although there were ample quantities of the higher values of the 1869 issue on hand at the NBNC, they were apparently never ‘issued’. Second, we can be sure that the excess printing quantities were already in existence by the time of the discussions about recall.
It is important in analyzing the 1869 inverts to understand the quantities of the two printings of each of the high values.
Knowing the quantities issued during the first quarter and the fact that 34,570 90¢ stamps were finished and on hand on June 12 and June 19th we can split the 90¢ printing into a first printing of about 52,000 (17,239 issued in the first half of 1869 and 34,570 on hand when the second printing began during the week ending June 19th) and a second printing of about 786,000. If we assume the first printing was used up before the second printing was issued-a big assumption-then all 90¢ that were issued in 1869 except for a handful came from the first printing. There would be almost three times as many first printings issued, as there would be second printings.
For the 30¢ stamp, if we add the total ‘issued’ during the first half of 1869 to the finished balance on hand as of June 19th we find the first printing was about 110,000 at maximum. It may have been less if some 30¢ stamps were issued between June 19th and the end of the quarter. This printing would have run out in the beginning of the 4th quarter of 1869.
The second printing of the 30¢ was probably between 500,000 and 510,0900 and, based upon the discussions of recall, probably took place late in the 2nd quarter or during the early weeks of the 3rd quarter of 1869 rather than during the 4th quarter. It was not begun until after June 19th.
Using the same heroic assumption that the first printing was practically exhausted before the second printing was sent to the postmasters, it would be expected that all 30¢ stamps used to about mid-November 1869 were from the first printing, and the quantities ‘issued’ of the two printings would be almost equal.
Regarding the 24¢ stamp we know the second printing was underway during the week ending June 12th. Assuming the first printing was ‘finished’ before the second printing was begun we find the maximum quantity of the first printing was the balance on hand as of June 19th (44,750) plus what was ‘issued’ during the first half (62,500) or 107,300. Again the total is in the neighborhood of 100,000-110,000. If we assume the first printing was ‘issued’, then all stamps ‘issued’ during the first three quarters of 1869 and part of those from the 4th quarter would be from the first printing. This would mean the issued quantities divide almost equally between the two printings.
Skipping for a moment the 15¢ value, we find 417,550 12¢ stamps were on hand as of December 31, 1869-the exact quantity ‘issued’ during 1870, so that no 1870 printings need to be assumed. This also means the 1869 printings totaled 3,012,700 (the amount on hand at year-end plus the four 1869 quarter totals). How can the printings be divided?
Let us make two assumptions: 1) That only about 31,000 12¢ stamps were issued during the last twelve days of June 1869, and 2) That because the rate to England was being reduced to 6¢, the 4th quarter printing that was in operation during the week of December 18, was a ‘minimum’ printing of 250,000, or thereabouts. We would then get the following:
|Period||12cent issued||Balance on hand||New Printing|
|Late June||31,000 Est.|
|3rd Q. 1869||909,500||1,511,025 Est.|
|4th Q 1869||809,625||250,000 Est.|
If the above analysis is approximately true then there were two printings of the 12¢ stamp prior to June 19, 1869, with a balance of finished stamps in the safe as of June 5th of 527,800 according to the ledger sheet of June 12th.
As 876,025 12¢ stamps were ‘issued’ during the first half of 1869 and 1,250,000 printed during the period with 527,800 in stock in the finished stamp safe as of June 5th, it seems reasonable to assign the printings at 250,000 for the first printing and 1,000,000 for the second. Under such a breakdown, about 40% of the first printing would have been sent to postoffices during March, with the balance carried into the second quarter. There would be a grand total of four printings of the 12¢–250,000, 1,000,000, 1,500,000 and 250,000.
Turning back to the 15¢ bicolor value, it seems there were only two printings, a small first one and a large second one taking place during June 1869. At year’s end, there was a balance of 700,620 stamps, which covered the 1870 shipments of 662,760 and a remainder of 37,860. The question remains how did the two printings divide?
The total 15¢ 1869 stamps ‘issued’ during the first two quarters of 1869 were 194,860 so that the first printing cannot exceed that figure. It actually has to be smaller, for the second printing was underway during the week of may 15-22nd as a Type II is known cancelled on Sunday, May 23rd, and there were at least 24,840 Type II’s in finished stock on June 5th according to the Stamp Agent’s ledger sheet for June 12th. Consequently the maximum numbers of the first printing has to be below 170,000, and above 75,000 for the first quarter quantity ‘issued’ was 77,740.
As the first printing was Type I and the second printing Type II, there have been several estimates made for the first printing. Jon Rose and Elliott Coulter did an estimate based upon the survival rates applicable to Type I covers, and based upon other 1869 data developed by Dr. Richard Searing. It yielded a first printing estimated ranging from a low of 165,000 to a high of 300,000. Using the latest data on surviving covers reported in the 1869 Census , the figures would be higher and fall outside the possible limits set by the total 15¢ stamps issued during the first half of 1869.
Michael Laurence in Whole #7 of the 1869 Times (May 1977) came up with a more seductive estimate of 140,000, for it falls within the possible perimeters. He estimated 54,000 Type II stamps were shipped during the last six weeks of the quarter (9,000 per week, which was the quarterly average) based upon the use of a Type II stamps on May 23rd. Subtracting the 54,000 from 194,860 ‘issued’ during the first half left a first printing estimate of 140,000.
Using similar reasoning, I concluded that the quantity of the first printing was about 100,000-115,000 and have published a detailed analysis elsewhere of how this was derived. Basically, I reasoned that to have a Type II stamp cancelled on Sunday, May 23rd, the stamps had to be issued during the week of May 16. There are four weeks between then and the week of June 13th when no 15¢ stamps were issued. In the last of these four, 20,000 were issued and I assumed equivalent stamp quantities were issued during each of the weeks, and none thereafter.
The figure I derived is compatible with the estimates for the first ‘printings’ of the other bicolored stamps, notably the 24¢ and 30¢. It also fits with the concept that the initial shipments of the second printing were an allocated shipment rather than based on orders and similar in size to the first quarter shipment which also seems to have been allocated. I developed a line of reasoning for suggesting there was a valid reason for pushing Type II stamps out rapidly as soon as they became available. The estimate of 20,000 a week also seems more in line with the one weekly shipment known than an average assumption of 9,000 a week quarterly average.
The 1869 Inverts
It is generally agreed by all the 19th century authorities that the 15¢ invert was the first discovered. The first philatelic account published was apparently that by J. Walter Scott in the December 20, 1870 American Journal of Philately. There he states, “…after a few hundred sheets of the 15 and 24 cent stamps of the 1869 issue had been delivered, it was discovered that a few of the stamps on each sheet had the picture inverted in the frames…”
As deliveries to the postmasters prior to March 31, 1869 consisted of 777+ sheets (77,710 stamps) of the 15¢ and 309½ sheets (309,500 stamps) of the 24¢, this places the discovery before March 31, 1869, if Scott is to be believed. Even if he meant only deliveries to the New York City postoffice, this would be true, for New York received a very substantial quantity of the first shipments.
A second version of the story is given us by Mr. Luff and endorsed by George P. Sloane and L. and N. Williams. This is that David H. Anthony who obtained a sheet of the 15¢ stamps containing inverts made the first discovery. He sold one copy to a collector named Ramus and returned the balance of the sheet to the postoffice for redemption. In this report, Anthony was noted as an agent for the government for the sale of Internal Revenue stamps and who also dealt in current postage stamps, selling to the public at his office at 21 Nassau St. in Manhattan.
Note that both stories put the discovery very early-so early in fact, that the 15¢ error should have been part of the first printing, which was Type I rather than the error on Type II, which we know today.
There is some internal evidence to the story to back up the early date. A check of the New York City Doggett’s Directory shows that in 1870/71 Anthony worked as a stamp dealer at 44 Wall Street and lived in New Jersey. In the 1869 edition he was a stamp dealer at 62 Liberty Street, living at 257 West 54th St., while in the 1868/9 edition he was a stamp dealer at 21 Nassau St. living at 254 West 54th. In other words, by the time the 1869 directory was complied in May of that year he had already moved to 62 Liberty, where he was next door to J. Walter Scott’s office at 61 Liberty.
There was no evidence of Anthony being a government agent, but there was a Jacob Anthony, stationer and printer who was obviously a relative from the fact that his address shifted from 21 Nassau to 62 Liberty at the same time. Jacob was a partner with R. C. Root and A. S. Allison in a printing, lithography and engraving business.
Other evidence of the early date is found in the reference to the collector, a Mr. Ramus. There are two men by this name listed in the 1868/9 Doggett City Directory, published in mid-1868, who might be the collector involved. One was George A. Ramus, a clerk living at 141 Waverley Street in what is now Greenwich Village. His listing is not found in subsequent directories.
The second Mr. Ramus is an Isaac Ramus at 385 Canal Street, who is given the profession of ‘Furng. goods’ in the 1868/9 Doggett, and who is listed in ‘hosiery’ in the 1869/70 Doggett, published about July 1, 1869, but compiled during April or May of that year. He is not listed in the subsequent directories.
The fact that the addresses of Anthony change by May 1869, at which time the new directory is compiled is strong supporting evidence of the early date of the discovery and sale of the 15¢ invert. It consequently supports a thesis that the first error discovered was a currently unknown Type I 15¢ invert and not the Type II invert we know today. It is also interesting to note that anyone going back to look up the addresses would have normally picked the 1869/70 edition rather than the one found in the 1868/9 Doggett. This suggests the story came from a valid contemporary source.
If the initial discovery was of a Type I invert rather than the one we know today, then a number of puzzling remarks by early students make more sense. Such a discovery would also give a solid reason for issuing the Type II in May 1869, when no other bicolored value got a revised plate. Because of the importance of the problem, I should like to review from the beginning the data we have on the 1869 plate numbers. Such a review is also useful in determining the first and later printings in some cases.
Plate Numbers of the 1869 Issue
The received wisdom on the 15¢ is that the four frame plates: #19, 23, 31 and 32 were used together with only two vignette plates #19 and #23. While students have ascribed these to various Types, I wish to hold up on such attribution until the data is assembled to suggest the accuracy of such assignments. Elliott Perry made the point, and I believe correctly, that the National Bank Note Company issued and numbered plates, “in the order in which there were most needed.”
The plates may not have been completely finished or sent to press before plates bearing higher numbers were ready, but they were apparently made and numbered in order of need. We also know that the NBNC started each new issue, as they saw it, with a new set of numbers-the 1861-1869 issue numbers, the 1869 series numbers and the 1870 series numbers.
In the 1869 series, plate numbers 1 and 2 were assigned to the 1¢, 3 through 6 to the 12¢, 7 through 12 to the 3¢, 13 and 14 to the 6¢, 15 and 16 to the 10¢, and 17 and 18 to the 12¢. The bicolor values were originally assigned # 19, 20, 21 and 22 for both frame and vignette plates. New bicolor value plates #23 and #24 were then assigned before assigning numbers for new plates for the 3¢ (plates #25, 26) and the 2¢ (plates #27 and 28), and then again reverting to the 3¢ (plates #29,, 30). Finally, two more bicolor plates (#31 and 32) were assigned, and a new 1¢ reissue plate #33 added.
In his 1902 book, John Luff also records a 24¢ sheet with vignette plate #20, but with no frame plate number and a 30¢ sheet with neither frame nor vignette number. It has generally been assumed that these items, part of the proof sheets apparently loaned him by Henry Mandel (of the American Bank Note Company and a major proof collector as well) to help with writing his book were either proofs pulled before the numbers were added or trimmed proofs.
In checking out the plate number data for the 1869 issue, it should be noted that the Perry statement would normally mean plate #19 is assigned to the 15¢, plate #20 to the 24¢, plate #21 to the 30¢ and plate #22 to the 90¢ for the first printings of each.
Now let us look at the “inverted center” proofs obtained by Dr. James Petrie from a production run made after 1879 and sold by him to the Earl of Crawford around 1900. Photos of the plate positions are found in lot #164 of the Siegel 1981 Rarities sale. As expected, the 30¢ and 90¢ used plate numbers 21 and 22 for both vignette and frame. As these would be the ones logically assigned to the initial printing of the 1869 issue in February of 1869, it would appear no others were ever used. The 30¢ plate proof without plate number was apparently pulled before numbers were entered on the plates. An example of this proof was sold as lot 1448 in the Sotheby Wunderlich sale.
The 24¢ Petrie ‘invert’ proof uses frame plate #20 (the one originally to be expected) and vignette plate #24 (the second of the ‘new’ numbers assigned). This number should have been issued after the first printings of February/March 1869 but before new numbers were needed for the lower values in 1869. The 15¢ Petrie ‘invert’ proof is even odder. It uses vignette plate #23 (the first of the ‘new’ numbers) and frame plate #32-the new Type III plate found on the 1875 reprint. There is no evidence that a vignette plate #32 was ever produced.
24¢ 1869 Plate Numbers
Before returning to the 15¢, let us examine the 24¢ proofs of issued stamps. The Wunderlich sale (Sotheby Parke Bernet 2/5-8/1980) provides most of the data. There, lot #1355 is a right side block of ten in green and violet with vignette plate #20, while lot #1252 is the upper right imprint strip of four in the same color with frame plate #20. These substantiate the Perry idea that plate numbers were originally assigned in order, for plate #20 is the logical one to be expected for the 24¢ value and here we have both frame and vignette plates #20. Both should represent proofs from the first printing.
Next is Wunderlich lot #1356, a proof block of ten from the lower right in the scarcer green and red violet shade, with vignette plate #24. This is a new plate number, logically assigned after the first printing. It should be found in the second printing, the 1875 reprints and any other printings until the Petrie ‘invert proofs’ were made, and it is so found. There is no evidence from any sale that I can locate that a frame plate #24 was ever created. The shade difference may be a clue to the differences between the first and second printing. There may also be a difference in the shape of the vignette at the right.
We can date the new vignette to the second printing, for it can be found as an Brazer unlisted essay on India applied to the 15¢ Type II frame as lot #456 of the Hessel III sale (H. R. Harmer sale 11/3-6/1976). Lot 457 in that sale is the Brazer Type I essay for the 15¢, with a 15¢ vignette separate, while lot #458 is the essay for the 24¢ printing with the vignette separate.
Why was a second vignette plate needed for the 24¢ value in 1869? The total quantity of the 24¢ printed was only a third of that printed for the 6¢, 10¢ and 12¢ stamps where we know two plates were assigned. Consequently the quantity printed should not be a reason. Further, while the total printed is double the 30¢ printing, it is only 50% more than that of the 90¢, neither of which required new plates. Too, the frame plate #20 was used continuously from the first printing in February until the 1879 Petrie ‘invert’ proofs.
A logical conclusion seems to be that either vignette plate #20 wore out remarkably rapidly, much faster than the frame plate, or there was something wrong with it. Both J. Walter Scott and Tiffany hint at something being wrong. They refer to 24¢ inverts that are cliché errors like the 15¢. By ‘cliché’ they meant a subject transferred onto the plate as a position, consequently they would have referred to one or more stamps having all or part of the vignette inverted as a cliché error even though cliché type production methods were not used for American stamps.
Scott made such a reference in his December 1870 discovery statement while Tiffany in his 1887 book writes,
“There is the same error of this stamp, ‘reversed picture’ stated to be from the same cause, a defect in the plate as for the 15¢, and the same remarks apply.” The remarks were that no copy of this 24¢ cliché error ever circulated.
If both men had gotten hold of a contemporary story of a cliché error caught by the NBNC at the time of the first printing, it would explain their confusing remarks for they both knew of errors that had gotten out.
No error could have occurred in the frame plate #20, which was used from the first February 1869 printing until the Petrie ‘proofs’ in 1879. There is also no evidence that a 24¢ cliché error got out. Could one have occurred? It would have had to be a vignette error.
As we have proofs from both the top and bottom of plate #20 on the right side, it could not have occurred in that pane. However, we have little date from the left side pane. John Chapin in his Census of United States Classic Plate Blocks reports no multiple of the 24¢ 1869 so there is no help there. The one issued stamp record we have from the left side is the single stamp from position #95 (left side) illustrated by Markovits and Chapman in their article “1869 Plate Layout and Plate Numbers” from Volume 13 of the 1869 Times. This stamp has a violet vignette plate #20. They also illustrate a left pane position #4 stamp with part of the frame imprint in green. They presume this is frame plate #20, but the vignette could just as easily be from plate #24 as plate #20.
Should an error have occurred in the first several columns of the vignette plate, it need not have affected the release of the right pane and the remaining portions of the left pane. It would however explain the need for a new vignette plate and the Scott and Tiffany remarks about a reversed vignette cliché.
As only twenty percent of the 24¢ 1869 stamps ever printed were issued and as there were ample supplies from the beginning, there is no problem in assuming part panes were held back because of an error. This concept would also accord with J. Walter Scott’s story that he could only buy panes, even at New York, when he sould full sheets of 100 of the 15¢ and 24¢ 1869s and his complaint that the panes offered were always of the same side!
There were clearly two vignette plates used to print the issued 24¢ 1869. The plate number sequences tell us this, for plates 25 and 26 were 3¢ plates issued during the second quarter of 1869 to cover the production need for those stamps! As the second vignette 24¢ plate (plate 24) is an earlier assigned number it was also used during that quarter. Most of the 24¢ 1869s we know, both issued, inverts and 1875 reprints are made from this vignette plate.
How then can one tell a stamp printed from both frame and vignette plate #20 and one printed from frame plate #20 and vignette plate 24? Unfortunately this is not a question that vexed any of the 1869 student writers over the years. However, it is an answerable one.
1) The shift almost certainly occurred when both the 15¢ and 24¢ cliché errors were discovered in late March or early April 1869 and new plates were called for. The earliest date possible is March 25th, when one of the discovery stories reports the 15¢ Type I cliché error example was discovered and the latest is mid-April when the new 15¢ Type II’s are known.
2) During the date the first stamps reached the public (March 19 or 20 in New York City) and the production shift we have several surviving 24¢ 1869 stamped covers as well as an unknown number of first printing 24¢ Type I adhesives. There is one sure and two probable Type I 24¢ covers recorded in the 1869 Issue Cover Census published in 1986. These are: a) a 10 and 24¢ combination cover posted April 7, 1869 at New York and addressed to Shanghai that is illustrated in Chronicle #87 on page 174, b) a single 24¢ courthouse cover from New York to Mobile, AL, from the Ashbrook records posted April 23, 1869 that is the earliest example of the Type II 24¢, and c) a cover described but not illustrated in Chronicle #87 on page 176 that was posted at New York to Hong Kong April 24, 1869 with a 10 and 24¢ 1869 combination.
Front and back of the April 7, 1869 Type I .24¢ cover to Shanghai from the Ashbrook files courtesy the Philatelic Foundation.
3) The vignette was first used for the 1868 proposed 10¢ small numeral single color essays, Scott 116E-2, as seen in the Siegel Brazer sale lots 747-757 and in color in the Schiff December 1, 1989 Frederick Lopez sale lots 4177-4178 and in the Bennett May 2, 2003 Walske ‘Lafayette’ sale lots 1031-1032; by July 22, 1868, it was then brought over to the incomplete small die 24¢ value (Scott 120E1, lot 798 in the Brazer sale or lot 4187 in the Lopez sale). The small 24¢ die was then completed (Scott 120E2b Brazer sale lots 803-5, seen in color in the ‘Lafayette’ sale lots 1047-1048) and on various papers (Scott 120E2c, d, e, f, g, h, Brazer sale lots 806-811 seen in color as Lopez sale lot 4190) and with bands of color (Scott 120E2a Brazer sale lots 799-802 seen in color as ‘Lafayette’ sale lots 1045-1046).
The small die frames were adapted to the issued 24¢ Type I issued stamp by splitting it into three parts. The top was maintained and to it was added a new bottom value tablet to make up the issued frame plate #20. This small die vignette was maintained and used to make the first issued 24¢ 1869 vignette plate #20.
Two examples of the 24¢ small numeral die showing the Type I vignette carried over to the issued first printing of the 24¢ 1869.
As a comparison of the vignette in the small dies indicates, this plate #20 vignette differs from the later plate 24 vignette in being narrower-white spaces can be seen on either end inside the beaded border when it is well struck, whereas the plate #24 vignette (Brazer sale lot 812) when well-struck completely fills the area for the vignette (Brazer sale 813-814) and overlaps into the beaded border. The full width plate #24 vignette is clearly seen in some inverts such as the centered invert Trepel figure 3 (page 188 of Chronicle #151) or his south-west Invert figure 11 (page 189 of Chronicle #159).
The Type II design is clearly seen as overlapping into the pearls in the Ishikawa block and his single as well as the Green/Storrow invert and the one offered by Stolow 6/6/83 lot 197 and then by American Philatelic Brokers that July.Earliest known example of the Type II 24¢ vignette sold as lot 868 in the Laurence & Stryker sale of November 26, 1948 from the Philatelic Foundation reference files, where it received a ‘genuine use’ certificate in February 1949. Illustration courtesy of P.F.
The 15¢ 1869 Plate Numbers
Moving on to the plate numbers for the 15¢1869 stamp, it was noted that the logical plate number for the first printing was #19 and that that plate number was not used for the Petrie ‘inverted proofs’ but rather than vignette plate #23, a new one, and frame plate #32, the Type III frame variety created for the 1875 reissue were the plates used.
J. C. M. Cryer commented upon frame plate #32 in his 1977 Register article, “The Landing of Columbus-The Three Types”, stating that this reissue frame plate was close to Type I, but, “The new design (Type III) did not add more lines that theoretically could better hide the misalignments. It contained even fewer lines than the unsatisfactory TypeI. Theoretically, this would add to the printing difficulty rather than ease it.”
What about vignette plate #23? Markovits and Chapman in their previously cited article reported a plate #23 piece Type II with blue vignette color, position #95 on the left side. About it they comment, “Blue and red-brown bands at bottom, indicates frame plate may have been larger than vignette plate.”
In other words, there was a slight mismatch, which should be characteristic of the second printing.
We know there was no error cliché in this vignette plate #23. The Ackerman block of 33 from the bottom right shows vignette plate #23. (This block sold in a reduced form of a block of 20 in the 1972 Siegel Rarities sale and is illustrated in the Chapin book.) Another block of 20 from the same position sold in the 1977 Siegel Rarities sale as lot #105. It is ex-Sinkler and partially separated.
A reprint proof block of ten, Wunderlich sale lot #1505, shows the vignette plated on the lower left side, while a block of twenty from the upper left, without imprint appears as lot #1506 in the same sale.
Unlike the 24¢ plate #24, where there is no evidence a frame plate was made, there is evidence of a frame plate #23 for the 15¢. It is recorded in a block of six from the right side of Type II and sold as lot #1321 in the Wunderlich sale, as an issued stamp.
One can also find a proof block of four from the right side of frame plate #31, ex-Ackerman, in the Wunderlich sale as lot #1328. We have no information as to whether a vignette plate #31 was ever made, but presumably it was not. This ex-Ackerman proof piece leads to a very interesting conclusion. Both the articles by Markovits/Chapman and that by Cryer indicated that plate #23 was not found as a frame plate on Type II, the second printing, but that frame plate #31 was so used. This new ex-Ackerman piece means that either: a) frame plate #23 was replaced during the production in 1869 of Type Is by frame plate #31. b) Both frame plate #23 and #31 were in simultaneous production of Type Is in 1869, or c) Frame plate #31 as never used for Type II production, but was created in 1875 for the reissue. We have no information as to whether a vignette plate #31 was ever made, but as no complimentary vignette/frame plates are know after plates #23, presumably it was not.
I would argue that because frame plate #31 is numbered after the last of the 3¢ plates, which went into production in 1870, it would not have been used for production of the Type Is of the second printing which was under way in June 1869. The last 3¢ plate was the somewhat scarce plate #30.
If this analysis is correct, then frame plate #31 went to the proof press in either 1870 or 1875, before reissue plate #32, probably in 1875. I should call it the first test proof plate of the 1875 reissues, which was rejected for some reason in favor of frame plate #32.
We do know that the die used to make frame plate #31 survived, for it was later used to produce the 1904 Roosevelt die proofs, which included both Die II and Die III frames. This only leave plate #19, both frame and vignette, to have been used in the production of the 15¢ Type I and no other type of the 15¢ stamps. It was the logical plate to begin with and only the references to it have confused the issue. We have neither proof sheets nor imprint used examples to my knowledge, but the fact that all authorities have assigned it to the Type II printing is based solely upon the Luff records and those authorities interpretation that he reversed the types in his plate number listings as in the illustrations.
They have relied upon the plate number list in Luff, page 88 in the Gossip reprint edition, which goes Type I, Type II, Type I, and then Type III. How easy it would be to have a typographic error in the third listing so that it reads Type I again rather than Type II showing new plates. If such an error occurred, the plate numbers would be in logical sequence and plate #19 would be the only one used for both frame and vignette of Type I.
If this is so, one might ask why did Luff discuss the two types in reverse of how we recognize them today stating that what we call Type II was the first issued? It may well be that he believed the invert error came out immediately, relying upon the Scott and Anthony story. Consequently, as he knew the error had the diamond and frameline he assigned it to Type I, confusing everyone since.
The Luff plate number analysis, which was apparently done separately from his discussion of types, does not correspond with the discussion or the illustration in this Gossip reprint. However, with the one assumption that the second plate I was a typographic error, it corresponds exactly with the printing company logic of how plates wee assigned and what we find in fact.
Discovery of the 1869 Inverts
To summarize, the information regarding the early discoveries of the inverts suggests that invert cliché errors occurred in both the vignette plate #19 of the 15¢ and the vignette plate #20 of the 24¢ and were discovered early. Only one example, the Ramus copy of the 15¢ Type I ever got out, but the NBNC pulled the stock and cancelled several plates and prepared new plates #23 and #24 to replace them.
This error probably accounts for part of the delay in distribution of the first printing and its late use although all varieties had originally been used during March 1869. When the second printing was made, a further error occurred in which several sheets were put in upside down for the second pass through the printing process, creating the invert errors we know today. These were not caught by the NBNC and got into public hands.
Because the entire 1869 issue was politically charged, having been conceived by the Johnson administration but with the errors probably occurring during the Grant period, data was suppressed particularly as the contract was under attack. It is also possible that the change in personnel at the post office, resulted from the application of the ‘spoils’ system may have affected the ability of the postal employees to detect the error.
If the first errors did not get out, what then is the first printing error discovery? The earliest record we have on the 15¢ is that of the father of Alfred Lichtenstein, who was a junior clerk in the banking house of Balzer & Tharx. He was sent to the postoffice in the Old Dutch Church in Manhattan where he purchased 25 of the 15¢ stamps. He discovered the centers were inverted and wondered if they would be acceptable to his superiors.
The Irish window clerk on duty persuaded him to take them as “no one would notice the difference’ and they were used by Balzer & Tharx on correspondence except for one copy. The elder Lichtenstein purchased one of the best-centered examples for his own collection using his lunch allowance of 19¢ for the purchase.
This mint copy was kept by Lichtenstein père for many years until a family friend persuaded him to sell. Young Alfred, born in 1876, was there to ‘supervise’ but when he objected to the sale he was sent back to bed. The example was sold to the friend and soon placed in a Staten Island Philatelic Society auction where it brought $285; it soon found its way to Europe.
The price was an excellent one, for the used 15¢ inverts were bringing $30-70 then, while the superb deCoppet 30¢ invert only brought $220 in 1893. In Europe the copy was sold to Worthington. (Phillips may have sold it to him during Worthington’s first trip in 1894.) Worthington paid $1,200 and when it sold in the Morgenthau August 25, 1917 Worthington dispersal it realized $4,100 as lot #476. It had previously passed back into Alfred Lichtenstein’s hands when he bought the Worthington collection privately and he elected to put this item into the auction.
At the time of the Worthington sale, Alfred Lichtenstein, his father and the family friend again met and over lunch agreed that the friend would make a donation of $700+ to charity to cover the interest on the original transaction to that date. Compounded at 5%, this dates the original sale back to about 1890-1891, or if the interest was as much as $750, back to 1888-1889, at which time Alfred Lichtenstein was a youth of 12 or 13.
This copy is next found in the Hind collection, where it sold as lot #390 in the Charles Phillips Hind sale of November 20-24, 1933 for $7,000 to Elliott Perry ‘for stock’. Perry promptly resold it to Alfred R. Bingham from whose collection it passed into the hands of Josiah Lilly. The copy next sold as lot #216 in the Lilly Siegel sale of February 2, 1967 to the Weills. More recently it was sold at the Siegel 1982 Rarities as lot #241 ($135,000/180,000) to an agent for Weill with the telephone being the underbidder. For the first time, the description was no longer ‘full o.g.’ but ‘nearly full o.g..’
The 15¢ invert was first cataloged or reported in print by Moens of Belgium inn his February 1870 issue. The first of the 15¢ inverts to reach the auction market was one sold in the J. Walter Scott collection dispersal through Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge in London on March 18, 1872. It was centered to the left and bottom with the perfs in at bottom. Sold as lot #6, with the description ‘very fine specimen, very scarce’ it went for 36 shillings, or about $9, to W. Dudley Atlee. This example was obviously one of the half dozen Scott found in stock when he first learned of the inverts.
We have much less information about the discovery of the other 1869 invert values. The 24¢ invert was apparently discovered somewhat later than the 15¢ and initially was considered much scarcer. The earliest record I have been able to locate is Scott’s remarks in December 1870 when he was still looking for an example of the 24¢, but had already found half a dozen used examples of the 15¢ in his own stock. Neither the 15¢ nor the 24¢ was listed in the 1870 Scott catalog but both appear to have made the 1871 edition.
The aforementioned W. Dudley Atlee in part six of a series on errors reported, “A few copies of the lately defunct 24 cent have passed the post which show the center portion ‘topsy-turvy’. We have also seen a 3¢ envelope of the new type without colour.” This reference to the 24¢ inverts and the albino 3¢ Reay envelope appeared in the July 1871 Stamp Collectors Magazine.
Although the most logical place for the 24¢ invert to appear was in England where a double weight letter would have taken that value early in the life of the 1869 issue, we don’t find it in the early English auctions. The Scott sale of 1872 did not have an example of the 24¢ and the first that Charles Phillips recorded in English auctions was in February 1892, which is some time after the ‘upside down man’ in Liverpool found the block of six which was sold to a sacheleer and then to Thomas Ridpath, who placed it with William Thorne early enough for him to have exhibited it in 1889.
From the very limited data available, it would appear that most of the 24¢ inverts turned up during the 1880s in England greatly increasing the supply. Lester Brookman’s estimates on quantities are far below the numbers known to exist today. The 30¢ invert is first cataloged, as far as I have been able to ascertain, in the 1876 Scott. This would be the discovery copy which went into the Sanford collection and which was bought at the Sanford sale by E. B. Sterling of Trenton, N.J. It was resold in the Sterling sale of December 20, 1887 (Leavitt & Co.) as lot #164 for the same $30 price to William Thorne. At that time it was still listed as the only recorded example. There is a reasonable chance that this copy followed the path of Thorne’s block of six (reduced to a block of four as that was what he collected) of the 24¢ invert into the Crocker collection and then separately into the Moody holding.
We do know that a second example, used, was auctioned in England in April 1888, one year later, from Charles Phillips’ records. He noted it brought $35 as well.
While the first unused 30¢ invert example known in England when into the Tapling collection, Charles Phillips did not know it. Thus when he purchased ‘in a very small old collection’ a ‘fine, unused copy’ of the 30¢ a week or two ago as he put it in the April 30, 1891 Gibbons Monthly Journal, he noted that he had handled several used but hand never seen an unused one before.
This example was almost certainly placed in the Avery collection, which had one of the first unused items and the item was obtained from Phillips. This copy went to Peckitt in 1909 when he purchased the entire Avery collection. Among the key buyers of the Peckitt purchase were Ferrari and Duveen. As Ferrari did not have an unused copy (as evidenced by the auction of his holdings in the 1920s), and Duveen did, this example is probably the Duveen copy, which was sold by Phillips in 1930-1931.
There have been persistent stories of a 90¢ invert. They stem from an auction offering of May 30, 1891 of a ‘western dealer-collector, Kenyon Brewster Cox , who listed an example along with a $20 State Department invert. Phillips tells us that he bid nearly £100 for these two and did not win. He was told one sold to a collection in British Columbia and the other to Australia. Luff feels they never existed. Cox stated they came from a Mexican collection and were examined at the sale by Skinner, Davis, Picher, Lyman, Kane and others. He added one sold to a party within a 24-hour ride of Long Beach.
Nevertheless, Luff does tell us that a gentleman he knew whose sources were entirely reliable, did see a 90¢ invert example although none was ever circulated. He notes his source once saw,
“…among a lot of misprints and similar oddities, sheets of the four bi-colored values of this series all with inverted centers. Of two values there were two sheets each, and of the other two values four sheets each. But he does not remember of which there were two and of which four. Though he was not interested in stamps, he was attracted by the oddity of these varieties and tried hard to obtain copies of them, but without success, and the whole lot was burned.”
This description sounds very much like the discovery before release of inverts by the NBNC and that his source had an ‘in’ there where he would see the errors put aside for eventual destruction. It tends to support the concept of pullbacks on the first printing of the 15¢ and 24¢ although the description is one of misprinting, not cliché errors.
No 90¢ invert is known to exist today and there was never a need to revamp the plate because of the possibility. Yet the story must have been existence in 1879 when Petrie got the inverted proofs out of the NBNC, for he would not otherwise have arranged for a 90¢ inverted proof.
The 15¢ Type I Printing in 1969
© Calvet M. Hahn 1985.
Some of our leading students of the 1869 issue-Herzog, Laurence, Rose and Coulter-have tried their hands at estimating the approximate quantity of 15¢ Type I stamps issued. Each has made an estimate that takes into account some of the available data, but not all. Some seven years ago (1978), I expressed the opinion that the data were not fully reconciled. Now, I will present an analysis, which I hope accounts for all known data.
The key data are available in Herzog’s Chronicle #89 article where he has abstracted date from the five Stamp Agent ledger sheets, the Reports of the Postmaster General and the ‘Statistics of Manufacture’ from Luff’s Postage Stamps of the United States. In his article Herzog showed two ways to get the data. In the case of the 15¢ there was no difference in result caused by any mathematical errors made by Luff.
The data need to be supplemented by material relating to the finding of the 1869 inverts reported in Luff, and J. Walter Scott’s comments on the same in the December 20, 1870 issue of his American Journal of Philately as well as by the Census of the 15¢ stamp published in the Rose/Coulter article on the Type I, in the 1978 Register, and subsequent census reports by Richard Searing.
15¢ 1869 QUANTITIES PRODUCED AND ISSUED
As Herzog and others point out, the 15¢ stamp was issued during six quarters of 1869-70. For two quarters, the 15¢1869 stamp was the only 15¢ stamp being issued, so we can accept the quarterly ‘Stamps Issued’ figures found in the Reports of the Postmaster General. For the remaining quarters we must derive the data by subtracting out the 1867-1868 or 1870 stamps. Table A reconstructs these data.
TABLE A: 15¢ 1869
|Quarter||Stamps Issued (PMG)||1867-68 Stamps (Luff)||1869 Stamps Issued||1869 Stamps(Luff Jan.-Apr. 1870)|
|1Q 1869||784,160||(-) 706.420||77,740|
|2Q 1869||606,700||(-) 489,580||117,120|
|3Q 1869||470,620||(-) 372,180||98,440|
PMG = Postmaster General Reports.
Luff = Luff’s Statistics of Manufacturer.
1.This figure is the difference between Luff’s SOM for Jan-Apr. 1870 of 15¢ 1869 stamps (662,760) and the number issued during the first quarter as reported by the PMG (576,700)
Readers familiar with Herzog’s analysis of the PMG reports and Luff’s statistics will recognize the formula used to compute the missing figures. By subtracting the 1869 stamps ‘issued’ in the first quarter of 1870 (576,700) from the Luff data on the total number of 15¢ 1869 stamps delivered (or ‘manufactured’) in 1870 to the Stamp Agent (662,760), we compute the second quarter total of 15¢ 1869 stamps issued at 86,060. There is a gross difference of 100 stamps (one sheet) between the 1869 totals of ‘issued’ by quarter and Luff’s total of 1869 stamps; presumably there is a minor mathematical error in one of the sources.
Interestingly enough, the December 31, 1869 Stamp Agent ledger sheet gives a total on hand as of that date of 700,620. When we subtract from this amount the 15¢ 1869 stamps issued during 1870 (662,760), we find an unissued remainder of 37,870, not the 600,000 suggested by Herzog. This shows there was no need, and presumably no printing, of 15¢ 1869 stamps during 1870. The totals above give 1,438,840 15¢ stamps issued. Again, this is 100 less than Luff reports as being manufactured on page 88 of his book.
15¢ TYPE 1 QUANTITIES PRODUCED AND ISSUED
Assuming that the Type II stamp plate replaced the Type I plate, and that no more Type Is were printed after the Type II plate went into production, then the week of the earliest Type II clues us as to maximum production of the Type 1 stamps. The earliest dated Type II is May 23rd, so that by then production had to be of Type IIs.
Working backward from the year-end stock on hand of 700,620, and adding in the quantities issued during the 3rd and 4th quarters (total 581,220), we find the quantity on hand on July 1, 1869 would have been 1,281,840, providing there was no printing after that date. I am reasonably certain that the printing was complete or practically complete by July 1, 1869. The two Stamp Agent ledger sheets show that the major second printing was in process during the weeks of June 12 and June 19. It is not difficult to conclude that more stamps were produced during the remaining weeks of June. By subtracting, we would only need production of 307,000 to bring the totals in lie with the balance on hand on June 19th. In light of the quantities produced per wee this is a reasonable amount.
Thus, we now have data for two printings and only two printings. Even if the second printing dragged into the first week of July, the basic analysis would not change. We do know from the October 120, 1869, ‘Cosmopolitan’ interview with Mr. Nicholls, head of the Printing Department of the National Bank Note company, that production of the bicolored stamps had ceased by then. This interview, found in the J. Walter Scott American Journal of Philately, gives us good reason to assume all bicolor stamp production had ceased. The quantities found on the Stamp Agent ledger sheets in June show there was more than adequate supply before then and production was already tapering down.
How do we divide the two printings, one of which was small and must have comprised Type I only? As Type 1 is known used on April 2, 1869 on a cover from New Orleans to Bordeaux, France, (an off-cover example is dated March 31st) it is clear it must have come from the first printing made during February/March of 1869 that was shipped out to postmasters in March. We can reasonably assign all stamps sent out in the first quarter to the Type 1 printing (77,740). That gives us a minimum figure. We can also assign all stamps sent out during and after the week of May 16th to the second printing for the first example on cover of Type II is used on May 23rd, the Sunday ending the week.
It might be argued that one could pile new stock on old and ship from the new stock. However, we do know that as of June 5th, the total finished stock on hand was only 24,840, and that there were 560,000 unfinished Type IIs which were not usable for deliveries. At the rate of production shown in the Stamp Agent ledger sheets for the weeks ending June 12th and June 19th, a backtrack of the buildup would more than account for all quantities possibly on hand when the first Type IIs were shipped.
The implications of this production backtracking are that: a) No Type I was likely shipped out after the Type IIs were produced because the vaults were empty. b) The Type IIs known used on May 23rd were probably from the first week’s production of that stamp-the second printing.
No matter how the figures are sliced, it is clear that the use of the Searing cover survival formula to estimate Type Is gives up much too high figures. The latest published Searing estimate of Type Is is 135 covers2 which would yield a total of over 620,000 Type I stamps, an obvious impossibility with only 194,000 ‘issued’ of both Types in the first half of 1869 and with almost no finished stock as of June 19th.
Even based upon the new Census results of about eighty 24¢ and seventy 30¢ covers we get .00034 and .00029 as survival rates. Applying these to the 135 Type I covers now known, we get 397,000 or 466,000-both too high. Even using the .0006 factor, suggested by Rose/Coulter we get too many stamps.
It should be clear from the above that the survival factors on the 1869 high values are peculiar and should be used for predicting only when carefully analyzed and circumscribed.
Mr. Laurence has used the same approach that I am proposing with the exception that he has estimated the average delivery per week of the second quarter (9,000 stamps) for the weeks after May 23rd. I think he miscounted one week, for the stamps had to be out during the week ending May 22nd to be used on the 23rd, so that his figure should be 63,0009 and the number of Type Is by his analysis would be 132,000. Table B shows my assumptions on the production during the second quarter of 1869. As you can see I estimate a higher shipment of Type II from their first known production (week ending May 22nd) on. I have assumed that there was some urgency in getting the Type IIs out, and that the quantity shipped was similar to the initial March 1869 distribution.
Table B: Reconstruction of Activity in 2nd Quarter 1869 on 15¢ Stamp
Cumulative to 6/30 Total Stock On Hand 1,281,840
|Cum to 6/30||194,860||1,476,700||4,840E||1,277,000E|
|3/31 or 4/3 Cumulative||77,740||109,700E||31,960E||—|
E= Estimate. All other figures can be verified from official records.
A combination of factors suggests higher Type II shipments in the period immediately after they were produced: (a) The backtrack production suggests the vault was bare. (b) No stamps were shipped the week ending 6/19 but 20,000 were shipped the preceding week and presumably for some weeks before. (c) I find a motive to get Type IIs out in the analysis of the 1869 inverts, which will be discussed shortly.
We have a different approach to estimating Type I production in looking at the first printings of the other values. If we estimate that the stock on hand as of June 5th represented the balance of the first printing we come up with about 50,000 a s a printing for the 90¢ and 100,000 to 110,000 for the 30¢. A similar figure of 100,000-110,000 can be derived for the 24¢.
For the popular 12¢ stamp, assuming a print run of about one million beginning in late April with distribution at about 100,000 weekly until the week of June 7-12, we find an initial printing of 150,000 would suffice. There is no reason to assume the 15¢ stamp should have a print run larger than the 24¢ (double rate to England) so that a Type I printing of 100,000-110,000 again looks logical.
Now I should like to approach the subject from invert analysis. First, it has always been assumed that the 30¢ invert was the rarest of the three and that only one sheet ever got out3. It is surprising that Scott Trepel and I have located photographs of over 40 copies and leads on more. Even assuming two sheets we still get over a 20% survival ratio!
One reason for unusual survival ratios on the 1869 bicolors is the fact that the stamps were distinctive. It was the first bicolored U.S. stamps and there were only a few foreign issues in two colors much earlier. Once the errors were announced they would be saved as the first bicolor error. (The Indian four-anna invert of 1854 was not discovered until 1874.) On Type I, people would save them more than Type II because most people would only save one as a curio and not recognize there was a difference.
I believe that we have ignored the evidence and rejected the findings of the leading contemporary students of the 1869 issue in regard to the dates of the errors and how they were made. Luff tells us the errors were first found when David H. Anthony, an agent for Internal Revenue stamps as well as a stamp dealer, bought a sheet when they first came out, sold one stamp to a collector, Ramus, and returned the rest to the government because of defects. The early stories tell us that this happened shortly after the stamps came out and that Mr. Anthony’s office was at 21 Nassau in Manhattan. This would suggest the government learned of the error almost immediately.
Figure 1 Relevant page from the December 20, 1869 American Journal of Philately.
Scott on page 141 of the December 20, 1870 American Journal of Philately, Figure 1, tells us that,
“…after a few hundred sheets of the 15 and 24-cent stamps of the 1869 issue had been delivered, it was discovered that a few of the stamps on each sheet had the picture inverted in the frames…” Deliveries of the 15¢ stamp to the post offices before March 31, 1869, were 777+ sheets while 309½ sheets of the 24¢ were delivered in that period. Even if Scott had meant only deliveries to New York City, it would mean the discovery had to have taken place when the Type I stamps were available, and not the Type II! New York received a very substantial part of the Type I shipment as surviving covers show.
The early discovery date is confirmed by the addresses associated with the story. The Doggett City Directory is compiled in May and published about July 1 of each year. In the 1868/9 directory, published in 1868, David H. Anthony is a stamp dealer at 21 Nassau, living at 257 W. 54th St. In the 1869/70 directory, his office was at 62 Liberty while he lived at the same address. This office was next door to Scott’s office at 61 Liberty. The following year, Anthony moved to 44 Wall and lived in New Jersey.
The above directory information means that only prior to May 1869 did Anthony work at the address associated with the discovery of the inverts. It is also interesting to note that George A. Ramus a clerk living at 141 Waverley is found in the 1868 Doggett’s and no later. The data here are a little fuzzier for there was also an Isaac Ramus at 385 Canal, who also appears in the 1869/70 edition as being in hosiery at the same address. Neither are listed subsequently.
If the initial discover was of a Type I invert of which only the Ramus example got out, it would explain many puzzling remarks by our early experts.
Certainly Scott believed that only one stamp or one row of stamps on the sheet was inverted (inverted clichés). This myth, if it is a myth, continued for years. As late as 1887 John K. Tiffany in his History of the Postage Stamps of the United States of America stated in regard to the 15¢ invert, “…The error, is not as is sometimes supposed an error of printing, but in the plate. Two plates, one for each color, had to be used. Originally, there were 150 stamps as in the smaller values, (See circular of March 1st, 1869 above cited) but upon the plate for printing the picture, it is said one picture was reversed, and the error once discovered, the plate was cut down to print on 100 stamps as stated in the circular. It is probable that no copies with the error were ever circulated.”
He made a similar remark about the 24¢ error, including the one about no copies ever circulating.
It can be seen that Tiffany and Scott both accepted the cliché error thesis. And, Tiffany stated that the error never circulated. He was no fool. He was well aware that Scott had reported examples of both errors in earlier years and that they were listed in the catalogs. All the errors, including the 30¢, were in the 1876 edition of Scott, a decade before Tiffany wrote. Why then did he state the 15¢ and 24¢ inverts never circulated?
I should like to suggest these students knew something we have apparently forgotten. Just as there is excellent reason to revise the release date of the 1869 issue to Mr. Tiffany’s March 19, 1869 release date, we should reconsider whether or not a Type I error existed of which only the Ramus copy might have gotten out.
The traditional explanation for the Type II 15¢ is aesthetic. I believe Frank Goodwin first set it forth in 1919 and most recently by Mr. Cryer in the 1977 Register. It was that off-registry printing of the bicolor could leave a sizeable while gap at the top of the vignette that was unappealing.
I don’t accept this explanation. The history of the banknote printers and their policies shows that cost was paramount and that poor product was acceptable providing it could sneak past government inspection. The controversy over the 1869 gum in the contemporary papers didn’t create a change until the new issue of 1870, and perhaps not even then although it was ‘supposedly’ changed. Why should the National Bank Note officials go to the expense of two new plates if it wasn’t necessary? The existence of an error would create a reason.
Elliott Perry has made the point, I believe correctly, that the National Bank Note Company issued and numbered plates, “in the order in which they were most needed.” The plates might not have been completely finished or sent to press before a plate bearing a higher number, but they were made and numbered in order of need. We also know the company started each new issue with a new number series (18611-8; 1869; 1870 etc.)
The logical number sequence for the bicolored plates was 19 (15¢), 20 (24¢), 21 (30¢) and 22 (90¢), ending the numbers needed for the first printing. A study of the issued stamp and proof plate data show the 30¢ and 90¢ used only plates 21 and 22 respectively from the first printing through to the 1879 production of the ‘inverted center proofs.’ Both stamps were issued in quantities sufficient to suggest there was no production need for additional plates.
Plate #20 was the logical one for the 24¢ and from proofs in the Wunderlich sale we know it was used for both vignette and frames. While frame plate #20 continued in use right on through the ‘inverted center proofs’, a new vignette plate #24 was made. This is a number logically assigned after the first printing of all the values. I can find no evidence a frame plate #24 was ever made.
We can date vignette plate #24 to the second printing for it can be found in an unlisted India essay applied to the 15¢ Type II frame (lot 456 of Hessel III sale). As production was not a requirement for a new plate #24, what was the reason for its existence and use? Scott and Tiffany both stated there was a cliché error in the 24¢ plate, but that copies did not get out (Tiffany). If such an error existed, there was a good reason to make a new vignette plate #24. It might be noted we have proofs of both the top and bottom of plate #20 on the right side, but only a single issued example (position #95) from the left so that a row of wrong clichés could have occurred in the first several rows.
Because there were always ample supplies of the 24¢ value, there is no objection to assuming part panes were held back because of an error. This would accord with Scott’s story that he could buy only panes, not sheets of the 15¢ and 24¢ even in New York City which should have had full sheets, and that the panes offered were always of the same side!
Philatelic writers of the last half-century have been confused by an apparent typographic error in both editions of Luff in the section where plate numbers are recorded. The listing showing 15 plate numbers reads Type I, Type II, Type I, and Type III. The third item sould have read Type II, in which case the series makes logical sense.
The logical plate number for the first printing was #19 for both frame and vignette. We have no examples showing it either on issued stamps or proofs.
On plate #23, the one used for the Type II, we have enough material to show that no error occurred in the vignette and this plate continued to be used through the 1875 reprint. Unlike the 24¢ new plate there is a frame plate #23, which can be seen as an issued stamp in the Wunderlich sale. As in the case of the 24¢ I would contend that a cliché error did occur and that it caused the scrapping of plate #19 for both vignette and frame. Further, the existence of this error was the reason for the push to get out the Type II stamps in May 1869. There was an urgent need to replace stock that might be wrong and which could be embarrassing politically if it was released.
Following through for a moment on the plate numbers, the 1875 reprint did not use frame plate #23; instead, a new frame plate #31 of the Type II frame was developed and proofed but never substituted. Rather, a second new frame plate #32 was issued and we got the Type III stamps. The reason for assuming that plate #31 is a reprint plate is that plate #30 was the last used for the 3¢ regular issue, and there was no need to create plate #31 in 1870, the date it would have had to be created in order to use it for 1869 Type II printings. Why it was rejected in 1875 I don’t know, but that is when it was prepared. It is known only in proof form.
In sum, it is my conclusion that the reason for the 15¢ Type II stamp was the discovery of inverts in Type I by Anthony and that only one example ever got out. This discovery forced the creation of a new plate #23 in both vignette and frame and it was necessary to rush out stock of the new stamp to avoid possible political embarrassment. The one question is who has the Ramus copy today, if it still exists, and could it be classed as the rarest U.S. stamp-the unique Type I invert? The total printing of Type I was 100,000-110,000 using at least three approaches to the problem of quantities. The most interesting of these, of course, is the invert approach.
A New Look at Quantities of the 1869s
© Calvet M. Hahn 1989
In a concurrent article in the Collectors Club Philatelist about the National banknotes I reexamined the basic body of knowledge of information about those issues. It is useful here to pull together some of the conclusions I reached regarding the quantities of the 1869 issue.
First, I accepted the analysis done by William Herzog published in Chronicle #89 (February 1976) and in the 1978 American Philatelic Congress book insofar as they deal with the split between the earlier issues and the 1869s. However, I depart from Herzog in his assumption that all stamps issued during the first quarter of 1870 were 1869s, although this is based upon the way in which John Luff separates the grilled statistics on pages 104 and 117 in his 1902 The Postage Stamps of the United States.
The reason for the disagreement is multifold and spelled out in detail in the Collectors Club article. Briefly, it rests upon: 1) the fact that we have several banknote stamps known on cover during the first quarter, 2) we have evidence that one of the 3¢ banknote plates cracked during January 1870 production and was replaced at that time, 3) the Herzog/Luff assumption requires press runs of the 1869 issue in the Spring of 1870. This assumption does not jibe with our current knowledge of the printing, 4) The Herzog/Luff assumptions are illogical in terms of the 1869 remainders as of December 31, 1869 known from Jeremy Wilson’s 1869 ledger sheet ‘find’ in the National Archives, which has been reproduced by the PRA.
One critical starting point was the final inventory of the 1869 issue found on December 31, 1869 as reported in the production worksheet for that week from the Wilson ‘find’. My assumption is that only the 1869s on hand as of December 31, 1869 were available for release in 1870 and that this quantity was sufficient for all low values until the 1870 banknote issue was on press. There was no need for to go back on press at all. I conclude, as did Mr. Herzog, that the 1869s were not issued after the second quarter of 1870. This conclusion is supported by the fact that the earliest known banknote covers of the 15¢ and 30¢ are found in the third quarter.
What results is a new and lower quantity issued of the 1869 stamps. In quarterly terms the stamps issued are:
1869 Stamps Issued
Totaling these figures gives us the follow quantities of 1869s issued and an unissued quantity for the three highest values, which was apparently destroyed without a record currently known to students. The logic of the records we have, forces me to conclude that this unissued quantity was destroyed sometime prior to the summer of 1873, although no record of this destruction is currently known to students. Because of its potential significance, I have taken the liberty of doing some cover projections based upon the 25-year study by Michael Laurence of the 10¢ stamp. He reported 1,038 covers. Using 1,050, as a rounded figure, we get a survival of .0003869%, which I have applied to each value for cover estimation purposes.
1869 Total Stamps Issued
|Value||Issued||Estimated Covers||Value||Issued||Unissued||Estimated Covers|
*In Chronicle #125, I broke down the 15¢ into l00,000-110,000 Type I and 1,376,700 Type II stamps maximum. This would yield about 43 Type I covers and about 530 Type II. Also a typographic error in that article gave the wrong quantities of the 6 and 10¢ values issued.
As can be seen by comparing the cover quantities reported in the 1869 Census book, the use of Laurence’s data as a basis for estimating cover totals yields a figure sufficiently large to fit all the values. There is a problem in the breakdown of the 15¢ Types, but the overall figure fits. By this approach, we should have substantially more 90¢ and 30¢ covers than are recorded, particularly in proportion to the 15¢ and 24¢ values.
It is fairly well recognized that the peak use months of the 1869s typically fell into the first quarter of 1870 as a result of stock build-ups and utilization of older stamps. The two most complete cover samples are those of the 10¢ and 15¢ values and these are shown for the five largest cities in the United States in 1870.
Use of 10¢ and 15¢ 1869 at Five Major Cities
Year New York Philadelphia Boston New Orleans Baltimore
|1869||10¢||15¢ I||15¢ II||10¢||15¢ II||10¢||15¢ I||15¢ II||10¢||15¢ I||15¢ II||10¢||15¢ II|
Note: The 15¢ Type I is found only in New York, Boston and New Orleans
We now know that the 1869s were released to major postoffices in substantial quantities during March 1869, with New York, at least, releasing them to the public by Saturday March 20th when a 2¢ value is known and when a 90¢ stamp had to be used on a letter to England (in order for it to receive the comment as reported in the English Stamp Collectors Magazine in August 1869), which arrived before the end of March 1869. Only the steamers Peruvian, leaving on the 21st, or the City of Baltimore, leaving March 20, could have carried such a letter. The Cunarder China leaving on the 24th did not arrive in England until April 2nd.
Yet, the buildup as seen by the preceding table is slow in almost every major city for the 10¢ and 15¢ values. None shows a March use, although a new early date for the 15¢ of March 31st is now reported in the Berkun list on an off-cover stamp from New Orleans and another is reported for Chicago, which city ranked sixth or seventh in size in 1870, although the later is not yet in the Berkun list of 2000. Admittedly the 15¢ use cuts off more sharply than the 10¢ value but this is because of the change in the French rates effective January 1, 1870.
It would appear that a high-speed grilling machine capable of grilling 7,500 sheets a day was available at the time of the 1869 issue and that this was used for the 1869 grills. It was introduced by the time of the F-grill. However, it is possible that because the initial production of the 1869s was small the first printing was made on an older low-speed machine with the higher speed utilized for the 1867-68 issue, but by the second quarter only the high-speed machine was needed. It might be worth checking early use grills to see if any difference can be detected, although the G grill roller would have been used for both the initial and later grilling.
By the second quarter of 1869, production would have had to be on the high-speed griller. At no point was the quantity of stamps grilled such that there was a grilling problem so that the grills should be sharp throughout.
A Look At Production
The record of stamps issued by quarter does not adequately reflect the production of the 1869s. We know that all values were released during the first quarter of the year, but there is no reason to assume that the bicolored values were printed after the second quarter of 1869. Testimony has been given in the ‘Cosmopolitan’ interview1 that only the 3¢ stamp was on press, however, this is misleading for we know from the December 1869 ledger sheets that the 2¢ and 3¢ were still on press the week of December 31st, while the 1¢ last went to press the week of December 18th. For these values press runs were frequent throughout the year. That is not true of the other values.
It is possible with the data on hand to calculate what happened to the other values. Taking the December 31, 1869 inventory and adding the stamps issued during the last two quarters tells us what was needed for the week ending July 3, 1869, which would be the end of the first half year. If the figure is more than the inventory on hand June 19th according to the ledger sheet we know a press run of known quantities occurred after that date. If the figure is less, we know the shipment of stamps of that value between June 19 and July 3rd. Only one of the higher values-the 6¢–has such a higher inventory on June 19th. Thus we obtain the following picture:
Quantities Needed On Inventory Difference
Value 7/3/69 for Last Half 6/18/69 Shipped Printed
6¢ 3,147,150 3,198,500 51,350 –
10 2,319,500 1,053,250 1,266,260
12 2,136,675 406,650 1,730,025
15 1,281,840 974,840 307,840
24 1,244,745 1,034,750 209,995
30 566,650 56,540 510,000
90 821,070 114,570 706,500
The ledger sheets also tell us certain values were in the midst of a print run in June 1869. These included the 15¢, 24¢ and 90¢ values with a high probability that the 30¢ went to press during the last two weeks of the first half. Actual quantities printed are known for the weeks ending June 12 and June 19th. I have estimated the print runs for the following two weeks:
Print Runs 2nd Half June 1869
Value W/E: 6/12 6/18 6/26E 7/3E Spoilage
6¢ — — — — —
10 — — — — —
12 — — — — —
15 250,000 160,000 160,000E 160,000E 12,160E
24 310,000 280,000 220,000E — 10,005E
30 — — 260,000E 260,000E 10,000E
90 — 80,000 360,000E 340,000E 13,500E
As can be seen this permits us to assume with a fair degree of accuracy that all bicolor production was completed during the first half of 1869. We know that the 6¢ printing was completed prior to 6/12 but not finished (gumming, embossing, grilling, pressing, and packing) until the week of 6/19. I should note that spoilage on the ledger sheets we have runs at about 1½% of print run.
In sum, we have five values-the bicolors and the 6¢–that were not on press after the first half of 1869. The remainder had to go back to press on one or more occasions. I should note as a statistical fact useful in estimating, that production of the 1869 issue was at slightly over 10-million stamps a week according to the ledger sheets.
Without the missing ledger sheets it is not possible to get exact production figures for the 1869 issue. However, based upon the data available, I have attempted an estimated reconstruction of the records. The figures should be in ballpark range. This, I believe, is the first time anyone has attempted to reconstruct the printing records. The first quarter totals have been confined to about 20-million stamps or two weeks work.
The 24-, 30- and 90¢ values have been estimated in the first quarter to fit with the print runs of June, while the 15¢ has been kept in line with my previous estimates of the Type I stamp. The 10- and 12¢ values were put at about triple initial shipments while the 6¢ quantity was augmented because the demand was much higher as evidenced by actual second quarter shipments. The 1¢ printing quantity fits neatly with about four 2nd quarter printings of 1.2-million each. As known later print runs for the 3¢ run a little over 10-million stamps, I set the quantity a bit higher to give some leeway. The 2¢ estimate was set to be about 50% over the estimated shipments or actual as they turned out.
ESTIMATED 1Q 1869 PRODUCTION
|Value||InitialPrinting||EstimatedSpoilage||ActualShipments||Estimated InventoryMarch 31, 1869|
The same procedure was used for the second quarter production, except for the fact that we have some actual ledger sheets to firm up some of the values and give us a tighter estimate on the ending inventory. The two June ledger sheets are reproduced and commented upon in 1869 Times #3 and #4.
ESTIMATED 2Q 1869 PRODUCTION
|Printing||Est. Spoilage||Shipments||Estimated InventoryJuly 3, 1869|
** No printing the last two weeks of quarter.
* There is an earlier printing than that of June of about 420,000 in April of the Type II stamps.
I have estimated 200,000 1¢ stamps shipped during the last two weeks, 500,000 2¢ stamps and 4,894,000 3¢ stamps. These may well be high estimates, for if the rates of weekly deliveries in the June 12th ledger sheet are typical of earlier weeks no deliveries would be needed, or very small deliveries during the last two weeks of the half.
The table incorporates data presented earlier as the June 5, July 3, 1869 print runs. . I have estimated that in the final two weeks of June, about 200,000 1¢ stamps were shipped, 500,000 pony riders, and 4,894,000 3¢ locomotives. These estimates may be high, for if the rates of weekly deliveries during the week ending June 12 are typical of earlier weeks, no deliveries, or very small deliveries, would be needed during the last two weeks of the quarter. I have also estimated 12¢ deliveries to postoffices for late June.
There were only five values with production during the last half of 1869-the 1, 2, 3, 10 and 12¢. The only ledger sheets we have from this half are from the last three weeks of December (1869 Times #5, 6 and 7 reproduced these). The July 3 inventory makes it clear that no 10¢ production was needed during the third quarter. For the 12¢ value, shipments during the third quarter exceeded the available inventory, so we know there was a printing. The December 18 ledger sheet shows that the 12¢ was also printed during that quarter. I have assumed approximately equal production during the two quarters. The estimated figures follow:
ESTIMATED 3RD AND 4TH QUARTER PRODUCTION
|2 Cent||3 Cent||10 Cents||12 Cents|
The 1869 Grills
If we take the production, including spoilage, and work it into sheets using 300 stamps per sheet for the low values and 100 stamps per sheet on the high values we get the following quarterly 1869 grilling in sheets.
As the high-speed griller was able to handle 585,000 sheets a quarter, there was never any serious pressure on the grilling process and most 1869 grills were well done. The same cannot be said for the Banknote issue of 1870. Admittedly, there was some loss because the grilling was done prior to perforation and sheet pressing, but we don’t find many poor 1869 grilled stamps. One machine with a G grill roller was all that was required. As discussed earlier the first quarter 1869 production may have been done on a different grilling machine than the high-speed machine used for the remaining production.
For those who have followed the detailed analysis thus far, there is a useful cross check. That is in shade analysis. Depending upon how one wishes to classify a print run-a day, a week, or a continuous period-we can draw the follow conclusions: Using the data from the two June ledger sheets, it appears that the bicolored stamps could be printed at the rate of about 52,000 stamps a day. The following table gives the estimated number of days for production of these values:
Estimated Production By Printing Days For the Four Bicolors
Value 1Q 2Q
15¢ 3 22
24 8 16
30 3 10
90 1 15-16
1) The 90¢ stamp (with frame and vignette plates #22) was on press during four weeks, in two production runs. Only one press was used. The first press run in February/March 1869 produced 52,500 stamps. The second run produced 520,000 stamps.
2) The 30¢ stamp (with frame and vignette plates #21) was probably on press for four weeks, again in two production runs, each using only one press. The first February/March run produced an estimated 111,000 stamps, while the second generated 520,000.
3) The 24¢ stamp (with frame and vignette plates #20 used for the first run in March) was on press probably for four weeks in two production runs. The first February/March production run produced 420,000 stamps of which half or more were never issued due to a printing error. The second run using frame plate #20 and vignette plate #24 began in April and generated 820,000 stamps. All known 24¢ inverts come from this production run.
4) The 15¢ stamp was on press one week for the Type I (using frame and vignette plates #19 with a printing run of about 111,000, of which about 78,000 were issued) and five weeks, in two production runs, for the Type II. All currently known inverts are of this Type II.
The lower value stamps were printed in sheets of 300. Two plates, probably used simultaneously, were used for the 1, 6, 10, and 12¢ values. The only production run available in the ledger sheets for these four suggests 1.2-million stamps were produced weekly, or 4,000 sheets. Using two presses at once this suggests the printing was at the rate of 100,000 stamps per day per press.
I am not completely satisfied with my estimates on the 2 and 3¢ stamps. I assume four plates were used at one time for the 2¢ initially, and six for the 3¢, with additional plates being brought into use in sets of two each. Plates 27, 28 (2¢) and 29, 30 (3¢) probably were used only during the fourth quarter. For the five weeks for which we have ledger sheets, the 2¢ value was produced in all but the week ending December 24. Production was 3.24-million in the preceding week, suggesting that at 100,000 stamps per press per day, six presses were needed, and all six 2¢ plates were used that week.
The 100,000 stamps per press daily assumption fits all the needs except for the quantities of the 3¢ value. We find that 10,680,000 3¢ stamps were printed the week of June 12, amounting to 5,933 sheets per day, or 1,78 million stamps. It would take almost eighteen presses at 100,000 stamps per press daily to print this. But far fewer plates were available. It is likely that only six or eight presses were available. So we can postulate that production was 750 sheets per press daily, or 225,000 stamps. Using that postulate, we can determine the printing days needed for the low values, as follows:
Estimated Production By Printing Days for the 1-12¢ 1869s
Value 1Q 2Q 3Q 4Q
1¢ 3.8 20.8 4.4 8.0
2 3.7 32,6 6.6 4.0
3 8.7 86.7 94.4 62.1
6 1.0 8.8 — —
10 .8 2.5 — 2.9
12 .8 2.0 2.0 2.0
This table is based upon the assumption that two presses were used at once for the 1, 6, 10, and 12¢ values, and that four presses ran simultaneously for the 2¢, and six for the 3¢. This analysis shows that 3¢ plates 25 and 26 had to be introduced sometime during the second quarter, so that eight plates would be on press late that quarter. The June 19 ledger sheet indicates that the plates would have been needed that week. Eight plates would have been on press for the 3¢ stamp for most of the third quarter as well, with the two replacement plates being used during the fourth quarter. A cross check on the assumptions can be made by using the earliest known uses of the replacement or supplemental plates of the 2 and 3¢ stamps.
Summarizing the lower value data:
a) The 12¢ stamp (with plates #17 and #18) went to press once each quarter for four printings, of less than one-week duration each, with both plates being used simultaneously. The initial printing run was about 355,000 while the others runs were about 800,000-900,000 each.
b) The 10¢ stamp with two plates (#15 and #16) had three printings-in the first, second and fourth quarters. Both plates would be on press simultaneously.
c) The 6¢ stamp probably had four printings, one initial and three in the second quarter. In each case probably two presses, each with a different plate (e.g. plate #13 and plate #14) would be run simultaneously.
d) The 1¢ stamp also had two plates (#1 and #2) and in all probability they were on press at the same time with about 600,000 printed from each plate at a time. This supposes that the 1¢ stamp went to press eleven times, twice in the first quarter, four times in the second, twice in the third and three times in the fourth quarter of 1869.
e) I have not been able to calculate the number of times the 2¢ value went to press, but we can fairly reasonably allocate the last two 2¢ plates (#27 and 28) to the fourth quarter press runs only.
f) The 3¢ value was printed almost continuously. The last two plates (#29 and #30) of the 3¢ value were used during the 4th quarter with plates #25 and #26 introduced for press runs sometime after mid-year 1869.
(below) The ex-Hind/Moody/Ishikawa ungrilled block of 15 with its blue plate showing two major diagonal cracks in positions 80, 79 and 89. As the Hind catalog states one crack ends on position 80, the other goes through two other stamps.
The Ungrilled 1869s and the 30¢ Cracked Plate
From the Philatelic Foundation Bulletin January-March 1985
(This report is from the January 16, 1985 Philatelic Foundation Roundtable)
Peter Robertson (Foundation Curator): As I told you, the lower 1869 values were issued in sheets of 150. The United States continued a policy that they had instituted two year earlier, that being grilling of stamps, impressing the grill on the face of their stamps. On the 1869s they were much smarter about it. Their grilling device was far smaller than was that for the earlier grills and it was square and uniformly set up.
There has been much speculation over no-grilled stamps, or stamps without grill which exist on the 1869 issue. I do not have a Brookman here, but Brookman illustrates a sheet of 150 of the 3¢ and I believe that sheet has a vertical row, which is without grill because the sheet was placed in a grilling device in an inverted manner. If it is not that sheet, there is a sheet that exists because it has been in my hands at the Foundation.
Now, stamps of the 1869s which come without grill are either manipulated proofs, 1875 Re-Issues, which were never issued with grill, or they are genuinely ungrilled 1869s due to a misapplication of the grill device, a non-application of the grilling device, or it’s very possible that a good many of the ungrilled stamps are really plate proofs on stamp paper, but they are gummed and they have o.g., so they do exist without grill.
There are a number of two, three and six-cent stamps which exist in the no-grill variety which have a thick, brownish gum. We do know that these were issued in the Northern Connecticut/Southern Massachusetts area. We have found them used on cover. An additional animal that exist up there is the three-cent gray paper variety. I look at gray papers1 and they looked toned to me, but the `1869 people feel that there really is such an animal and it was intentionally issued on a paper that is not the normal white of the issue.
Calvet Hahn: Peter, in regard to your comment on the no-grill variety, of course, the Hind/Ishikawa block of fifteen of the 30¢ 1869 is the no-grill variety…and it happens to have a cracked plate. It’s the blue frame plate #21, not the red. As I remember the two diagonal cracks are in position 80 with one going back into, I believe, position 79 and one other (position 89); the other diagonal crack ends on this stamp. Now doesn’t the cracked plate give us some clues as to when the no-grill variety could occur, because it doesn’t seem to fall into the ones that you are describing? A cracked plate would have had to be cracked in the spring of 1869 because to would have to be no later than the second printing of the stamp2. There are only two printings of the issued 30¢, the second of which was completed by summer. So if the crack was in the first printing they changed the plate, which we know they didn’t because the same plates go all the way through the inverted proofs.
…The reason I was raising this particular point is because we should have regularly issued stamps either grilled or ungrilled with the crack use…or this sheet was made at a much later time and is a completely philatelic thing pulled out at some point, and that would raise the question that all of your no-grilled sheets might be a late thing because you’ve got to have the crack on this sheet and if that was run off in the spring of ’69 there should b a large number of those around somewhere and nobody’s reported a cracked ’69 30¢.
Herbert Bloch (Chairman of the Expert Committee): I cannot agree with you 100% for the following reason. This block of fifteen, and I believe there are others…one of nine and another of six ungrilled…These blocks are exceptional in color and very well printed and the vast majority of the used 30¢ stamps which you refer to are dull and messy and it would be extremely difficult to spot a cracked plate on those. The fact that it is the same position doesn’t make it appear the same.
Calvet Hahn: But I’m just saying, out of the quantities out, somebody should have spotted one on some other stamp either unused or used…
Herbert Bloch: Well, maybe nobody pays any attention to the cracked plate.
Calvet Hahn: That’s why I’m raising the question, to see if I can’t get somebody to pay attention to it.3
Herbert Bloch: Incidentally, I want to relate here one experience I had with the ungrilled stamps. It was in a lot that had twelve loose thirty-centers. The back had a very light grill, but it was a little messy. I washed them and afterwards I had twelve ungrilled stamps. The grills were completely gone. Nobody could see a trace of them, so there is also the possibility that there is no finagling, but it does not matter because there are no gum stamps.
The Ishikawa block is the only one that is recognized, and I think it (the gum) is a good distinction, because otherwise they try to sell a lot of stamps which have the grill removed as ungrilled, but if you have the o.g., you can be reasonably sure it is an ungrilled stamp. The catalog in each and every instance says ‘without grill, original gum’ and I think it’s a very good note because otherwise you get into a mess.
William Kelley: If I may ask, to carry the no-grill regular issue one step further, the ‘Imperf No-Grill’…
Peter Robertson: Okay…the most important of them is the 24¢ invert, which was bought by a collector. It is on stamp paper. There are a number of United States stamp issues which come proof on stamp paper. There is this possibility on these Imperfs that they are proofs on stamp paper, but as a rule they don’t gum proofs and my personal opinion is that they really are stamps. It has been the Foundation’s policy to call them stamps and I see no reason to digress from that… There is always the possibility that these were made-I always get a little frightened of the Teddy Roosevelt period. We do know this is when the Pan-Am die proofs, the Cuba large die proofs and, of course, the ’85 small die proof ‘Roosevelt books’ came out. There is always a little bit of shenanigans going on and there probably always will be. I think I’m going to drop it at that.
Robert Odenweller: Very quickly and briefly, drawing the distinction between the Re-Issues and the regular issues without grill-or supposedly without grill-and even sometimes telling a regular issue from a Re-Issue where you can’t see whether the grill is quite there, bothers an awful lot of people. American collectors don’t pay any attention at all to things that collectors in other countries use as their most powerful tools. One of this is being able to see what the mesh of the paper is like, which way it runs. The mesh of paper is lined up in a direction so that when it is pulled through the press it has tension and strength. The fibers of the paper all line up in one way or the other way. This is the way paper generally is made, even before they were pulling it through presses.
It’s sometimes a little hard to see the mesh, but with a little practice you can. The best place to start looking is with the Columbians because most have a very pronounced mesh. Take a look at a Columbian and you see a lot of little diamonds lined up either vertically or horizontally.
The reason that it’s so important is that when I started looking at the regular (1869) issues and the Re-Issues with the mesh in mind I found that they fell into a very, very distinct pattern. The pattern almost has no variation.
The paper that was made had mesh that ran horizontally. All of the low values have horizontal mesh on the regular issues….the low values were made in sheets of 300, two panes of 150 and it was a fairly wide piece of paper. It could only fit into the press one way. The fifteen-cent you don’t have to worry about because you have Type I, II, or III and they sort themselves out.
Anything above the fifteen-cent was made in sheets of 100, which could theoretically fit into the press either way. What I theorize happened was instead of making a separate batch of paper, they took the large sheets and cut them in half. They were still a little wider than they were long so they stuck them in the press sideways. That resulted in having a mesh, which now became vertical, so on your regular issues, the low values are horizontal; the higher values are vertical.
Now the interesting fact is the Re-Issues are the other way around. Your Re-Issues of the low values are vertical mesh; high values are horizontal. So if you can spot the mesh, you can pretty well sell the difference (between the regular issues without grill and the Re-Issues.)
Well you know, if you let a stamp sit, the first thing you know it’s sitting there with the two sides down on the table, in which case it has vertical mesh. It’s the easiest thing in the world to spot. The only possible problem is with the thirty-cent, where there is a certain small amount of ambiguity. But anything but the thirty-cent you can be fairly reassured that the mesh will follow the pattern. You almost don’t even have to look for a grill, or the color of the gum, or the color of the paper or the size.
The thing that got it all started was something that is also very notable. You have stamps there are different widths, theoretically printed from the same die or plate. You can suspect that the paper has a mesh that goes one way or the other because when the paper is wetted for your engraved printing the fibers swell and it goes wide. It takes the (print) image and then dries and comes back narrow again. If you put the paper in one way, that will make a tall, thin stamp, but if you put the paper in the opposite way on the press, now you have a short, wide stamp. You will note that this is one of the tests that’s frequently used for testing whether a stamp is a Re-Issue or a regular issue.
Overseas Distribution of the 1869 Issue
© Copyright Calvet M. Hahn 1987
Little has been published about the distribution patterns of the 1869 Issue, particularly regarding use from such places as Panama, Peru, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, China and Japan. Similarly, data on west coast initial distribution patterns is sparse, and the basic analysis rests largely upon recorded covers.
The best evidence we have today is that the early students were correct in ascribing the date of issue of the 1869 stamps to March 19, 1869. No covers are known postmarked this early2. But it may yet prove possible to identify off-cover material killed close to this date, by a detailed date study of the killers of New York City and New Orleans, the two major sources of overseas covers with the 1869 Issue.
A good deal of evidence points to March 19 as the first day of issue for the 1869 stamps. First, we have the testimony of contemporary students such as J. Walter Scott and John Tiffany. Second, we have the internal evidence of National Bank Note Company records. Memoranda formerly in the Dr. Glenn Jackson holding, and cited in Fred P. Schueren’s book, The United States 1869 Issue, An Essay-Proof History, pgs 22-23, show that basic accounting was to change with the issuance of the 1869 stamps, and that the change did occur on March 19, 1869. We also know that New York ordered stamps on the 19th stating they were running out and that approval to supply them was immediately given.
A third point is that the quarterly report of stamps issued prior to March 30, 1869 shows 77,740 15-cent, 39,950 24-cent, 16,710 30-cent and 5,029 90-cent stamps. These went to postoffices during March 1869, in accordance with requests for stamps from those postoffices. I outlined the procedure in my ‘Getting Stamps to the Postoffices Pre-Civil War’ articles.3 While the data applied to an earlier period, there was no substantial change by 1869. Quarterly needs were estimated by postmasters, who then submitted a request during the quarter before the stamps would be needed.
The procedure by which overseas postoffices obtained U. S. stamps is unknown. However, the normal domestic method would appear to be inappropriate for Pacific points, due to the transit times involved.
On what dates were 1869 stamps available at overseas points? For the Caribbean area, distribution was rapid enough that stamps could be ordered regularly. Yet the dates of use are comparatively late. We know of the following covers sent from the Caribbean area with 1869 stamps: 10-cent May 25, 1869 from Danish West Indies to New York City; 10-cent July 14, 1869 from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico to New York City; 30-cent September 18, 1869 Cuba to Paris; 10-cent September 26, 1869 Matamoros, Mexico to France; 10-cent December ?, 1869 Argentina to New York; and 24-cent with 10-cent February 20, 1870 Cuba to New York to Lima, Peru.
It would appear likely that earlier Caribbean or Atlantic Coast datings will surface in the future. The few covers showing west coast or Pacific area origins are clues, but again earlier items may exist, and others may have been destroyed. Stamps for the west coast of South America, California, Alaska, Hawaii, Japan and China would have had to transit Panama with most distribution also having to transit San Francisco. Included in the early 1869 Issue usages from the Pacific area are the following covers:
April 27, 1869, San Francisco to Paris, France 6¢ 1869 (earliest usage known until recently), plus 24¢ F-grill (Scott #99). See illustration below:
Figure 1: This pays the double 15¢ rate to France from San Francisco. It proves that 1869 stamps were in California at an early date. Postmarked at San Francisco April 27, 1869; this is not in the 1986 cover 1869 Census Book.
May 3?, 1869 LaPorte , CA to France, 6¢
May 19, 1869 (Unknown date at Nagasaki, Japan via San Francisco May 19, 1869 to Hilo Hawaii (‘Champion’ sale lot 20, Shreve 6/6/97). This is the only year date in Pacific Crossings that makes sense for this cover to have originated in Japan.
June 17, 1869, Weaverville, CA to New South Wales, 12¢ plus 10¢ F-grill (#96).
June 21, 1869, Nevada, Colo. Terr., to Farnham, England, 12-cent, (2).
June 22, 1869, Sitka, Alaska, to Oregon, 3-cents.
June 23, 1869, Honolulu, HI, to Maine, via San Francisco, July 5, 2-cent, 3-cent, (See Figure 2)
June 30, 1869, Japan to Lyon, France via San Francisco, Miro 30-cent cover, in dispute.
June 30,1869, San Francisco to St. Thomas, DWI, 10-cent.
July 13, 1869, San Francisco to Marstica, Italy, 15-cent Type I, also Italy J9 (2).
July 14, 1869 Oakland, CA to Villenueve, France, 15-cent Type II.
July 30, 1869 San Francisco to Lima, Peru, 24-cent, 10-cent.
August 22, 1869 Callao, Peru, to New York City (Knapp II, lot 2488), 10-cent plus Peru #12, Great Britain #40.
August 29, 1869, Yokohama, Japan, to Ridgefield, CT, 10-cent.
September 18, 1869, China to New York City (Shanghai, 10/21), via Yokohama, Japan, 2l-cent (8), also 78a.
September 29, 1869, Yokohama, Japan to Ridgefield, CT, San Francisco 10/21, 10-cent.
October 14, 1869, Callao, Peru, to New York City, 30-cent plus Peru #18, Great Britain #54 (triple mixed franking, see The 1869 Issue on Covers: A Census and Analysis, 1986, p. 200).
October 21, 1869 Shanghai to New York City, 2-cent (8) plus #78 paying a quadruple rate.
October 25, 1869, San Diego to Lima, Peru, 12-cent, plus #96.
November 7, 1869, San Francisco to France, 30-cents.
November 20, 1869, Shanghai, China to New York City 10-cent (2).
Figure 2: A grilled Lincoln and a 2¢ plus 3¢ 1869 pay the 20¢ transpacific double weight rate from Hawaii to Maine, June 23, 1869. Vertical pair of blue Hawaii, #32, 5¢ King Kamehameha V pays the double internal rate. Cover proves that 1869 Issue was in Hawaii at least as early as June 1869, if not May.
Figure 3: The 2¢ brown and a strip of 3 of the 6¢ ultramarine 1869 issue with the Nagasaki distinctive ‘X’ killers and a San Francisco May 19th date (the only year where 1869s could have logically come into San Francisco is May 19 or 20, 1869 as the only other possible date is too early–May 18, 1868) addressed to Hattie Coan at Hilo, Hawaii. Similar ‘X’ killers are seen on several lots in the Sotheby Ishikawa Japan sale.
From the date the 1869 stamps were issued (March 19, 1869), sailings of mail steamers which might have carried the stamps to Panama and the west coast of South America (as well as San Francisco) took place on March 24, April 1, 11*, 21, June 1, 11*, 21, July 1, 10*, 21, 31 and August 11*. (The asterisked dates connected with steamers for San Francisco and the Orient. Sailings include May 11*, 21).
The Harmer, Rooke & Co. Port Chester find sale of May 9, 1961 gives us data on transit times to Peru. Lot 73 in that sale is a cover mailed on September 9, 1869, which was docketed at Lima on October 1; and lot 77 was posted on September 30, and reached Lima on October 17, 1869. Travel time then from New York to Lima was about 18 days.
For the 1869 stamps to be in Peru for the August 22, 1869 use at Callao, they had to be dispatched at the latest from New York City on the July 31 Aspinwall steamer, for the Aspinwall departure on August 11, 1869 would have been too late. This doesn’t mean distribution did not occur earlier. It merely means that we have no earlier authenticated date of usage.
Any early distribution of stamps to the west coast, Hawaii or the Far East almost certainly had to go via Panama, for the transcontinental railroad was not completed until May 10, 1869, and contract mail service did not begin until July 4, 1869. Note that in the U.S. Mail and Post Office Assistant (May, 1869) a new 8-cent registry rate for the Far East was announced. No implementation date is given. However, the June 1869 edition of the (USMPOA) contains a June 2, 1869 announcement regarding a new book rate to China, effective immediately. These two notices were apparently anticipatory of the July 4th contract mail date.
The notices suggest that it was at least June and probably early July not May when official mail first began moving overland to California, rather than by steamer. In fact, it was not until the August issue that we find a report that the mail is ‘regularly arriving’ from San Francisco in seven days. This statement supports the July 4th contract mail date. Confirming this hypothesis is the fact that the New York connection of the China mail service ceases to be reported with the sailing on June 11, 1869.
There are three covers critical to analysis of the early western and Pacific distribution patterns. One is the very early usage of a 6-cent 1869 on April 27, 1869 from San Francisco. Another is the mixed franking cover postmarked on June 23, 1869 at Honolulu. The third is the May 19th Coan cover from Japan. All are illustrated here.
The San Francisco-France cover (figure 1) proves that the quarterly order was received, and contained 1869 stamps on or before that date. Normal ordering procedures for San Francisco would require ordering all needed values.
Of the steamers that might have carried 1869 stamps to California, only the sailings of March 24 and April 1, 1869 were early enough for this stamp (6¢ 1869) to be on the coast in time to be used on April 27. The New York mail steamer departure of April 11, 1869, while early enough to account for all other western usages, did not reach San Francisco until May 3, almost a week after this stamp was used.
Personally, I believe the 1869 issue was sent to San Francisco on the March 24th steamer. However, the point is debatable. It is likely that the Type I 15¢ 1869 used at San Francisco July 13, 1869 (see Table above) was in that city by May 3, when the Panama steamer connecting with the Pacific Mail Steamship Japan arrived. It was probably on the coast when the April 27 cover with the 6¢ 1869 was used, so that it would have been part of the same order delivery.
The Type II 15¢ 1869, used at Oakland, CA on July 14, 1869, would have come in the second delivery, probably for third quarter needs of San Francisco. If it came by steamship, it would have been, at the latest, on the Panama steamer that arrived on July 2, 1869. This steamer connected with a June 11, 1869 New York-Aspinwall departure.
The second critical early cover is the mixed franking Hawaii example, posted at Honolulu on June 23, 1869. Ken Gilbart’s study of the Hawaiian Steam Service contract (See Chronicle of the U.S. Classic Postal Issues #99) shows that this letter left Hawaii during a gap in the official steamship service. The latest official sailing that could have brought a supply of the 1869 issue to Hawaii for use on this cover was that of the Idaho, which departed San Francisco on May 12, 1869.
By the date of the Idaho sailing, there had been three departures from New York that reached San Francisco since the release of the 1869 Issue. They were the sailings of March 26, April 1 and April 11. Only the third sailing connected with China and Japan.
DIRECT MAIL TO CHINA AND JAPAN
Notes: * = California mails, depart 1st, 11th, and 21st of each month.
n.a. = Not available
E = Estimate
In Chronicle #101, Michael Laurence reported the San Francisco arrivals and departures of the transpacific sailings. These have been combined with data from the United States Mail and Post-Office Assistant and Pacific Crossings to make up the foregoing table. We know that 1869 stamps were available on the West Coast in ample time to be sent to the Orient aboard the PMSS Japan, for use there in late May or early June. They were available for shipment to Hawaii for use there by late May, and presumably available for use in Alaska at a May or June date as well.
While the 1869 issue stamps could have reached the West Coast by overland mail, bridging the gap in the transcontinental rail line that still existed in late April, the pattern seems to fit a Panama sailing better. Certainly for onward distribution to the Orient, stamps were available by the departure of the Japan, but not apparently by the time of its predecessor, the Great Republic. For stamps of the 1869 issue to be ordered from Japan, they would have had to be ordered no later than March 3, 1869 when the Great Republic sailed for San Francisco.
The San Francisco office could have filled such an order on April 5, or it could have gone back East, arriving by steamer on April 21st. San Francisco could not have supplied 15¢ Type II stamps on an order arriving on April 21st.
A critical factor for use of stamps in overseas offices is the transit time to get orders to the supply source. If China and Japan orders were filled from San Francisco, as a sub-office order, there would be no problem. But, if San Francisco filled an order on April 5, 1869, there would be no 1869 stamps. However, if that office filled it one trip later, in May, when we know stamps had arrived in the interim, 1869 Issue stamps would have been included.
San Francisco would have been short of stamps when the Great Republic sailed back to Japan on April 5, as new supplies had not yet arrived. Stamps were available, and included those of the 1869 issue, when the next vessel, Japan, sailed on May 4, 1869.
An alternative to ordering from San Francisco would be a direct order from Washington or an allocation from Washington. A direct order to Washington placed on March 3, 1869 would not have brought the stamps to Japan before July 26. Except for the Coan and Miro covers, Far East covers are known used only after that date. However, the date is too late to account for earlier usages of 1869 stamps in Hawaii. Consequently, I would rule out the direct order procedure. It seems to me more likely that Washington made up allocated shipments of appropriate denominations, rather than await specific orders.
Is there information than can be developed from the earlier handling of U.S. stamps at the consulates abroad that would be relevant? Yes. The United States-Japan commercial treaty was signed on July 29, 1858 at Yedo Bay, Japan. The first non-governmental letter bearing the news was dated August 1, 1858, and reached the United States on November 20, 1858. (See lot 2, Ishikawa Japan sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York City, July 7, 1981.)
There was no postal rate from Japan to the United States until inauguration of the Pacific Mail Steamship service in 1867. Service to China and Japan was authorized by the Act of February 17, 1865. Bids were let and the contract was awarded on August 28, 1865 to the Pacific Mail Steamship Co. The company was to construct four ships according to specifications, and begin service on or before January 1, 1867.
The postal law governing rates for transpacific service is found in the Act of June 30, 1864, effective that July. It stipulated the prepaid 10¢ per half-ounce single rate, for carriage on steamships regularly employed in transport.
The earliest usage of U.S. stamps in Japan so far recorded is on August 24, 1867. To be in Japan on that date they would have had to cross the Pacific no later than the Colorado’s third trip, leaving San Francisco on July 4, 1867.
To order stamps for use on this date, the request would have had to be sent on the Colorado, leaving Yokohama on February 27, 1867, date of the first return of the PMSS vessel. While it would reach San Francisco on March 20, 1867, there would not be time for the order to reach Washington in time to be filled and returned for the second trip. The Colorado connection left New York City on March 11, 1867 unannounced. The Colorado made its third trip from San Francisco on July 4 bound for Japan. Its New York connection had left earlier on June 11. This one was the first trip listed in the United States Mail and Post-Office Assistant (June 1867 issue).
CHINA, JAPAN STEAMSHIP SERVICE SCHEDULE
|Vessel||DepartNYC||DepartS.F.||DueYokohama||Due HongKong||Depart Yokohama||Arrive S.F.|
E = Estimated
Henry Stollnitz has refreshed my memory as to how the consulates operated as postal agencies. As Harvey Bounds wrote in the Stamp Specialist (1947), the postmaster general, according to his Journal 363, June 14, 1867 would:
“Appoint the U.S. Consul at shanghai, China, subject to approval by the Secretary of State, United States Postal Agent, to receive, distribute, delivery, and dispatch mails conveyed to and from that port by U.S. mail packets plying between San Francisco and Shanghai, via Kanagawa (Yokohama), Japan.”
On June 11, 1867, the day the New York-Aspinwall steamer departed to connect with the Pacific Mail line, Instruction #17 of the Department of State advised Shanghai Consul George F. Seward of its approval of his appointment as postal agent. The vice-consul general made his acknowledgement on October 14, 1867. As noted above, this June 11 departure from New York was the latest possible date on which stamps could have been sent to reach the Orient in time to be postmarked in Japan on August 24, 1867, as we know they were.
It is clear from the foregoing, that the same ship which carried the official notices regarding the establishment of a Shanghai postal agency, also carried an allocation of stamps to serve that agency. It is likely that the range of stamps provided included a full run through the 90¢. We know for example of a 30¢ ungrilled Franklin (Scott #71) used in Japan; an irregular block of five 90¢, probably used in Shanghai; and the 30¢ and 90¢ grilled issues used from the Orient.
We know that the American consul at Kanagawa was also appointed a postal agent about this time, as reference to the fact is made in the 1867 Postmaster General’s Report. Even more interesting is a portion of the Act of July 27, 1868, which states:
“And be it further enacted, That the Postmaster General be, and is hereby authorized, to establish in connection with the U.S. mail steamship service to Japan and China a general postal agency at Shanghai, china, and such branch offices in other ports in China and Japan as shall in his judgment be necessary for the prompt and efficient handling of the postal service in those countries.”
The import of this is that at the time of the 1869 Issue, the Japanese offices were branches of the Shanghai office. Orders for stamps would have gone to Shanghai. In terms of shipping timetables, the Shanghai stop was one to two days prior or subsequent to the Hong Kong stop on the Pacific Mail Steamship schedule. The timing varied during the 1867-70 period.
Was there reason to believe that stamps switched from an initial allocation system to an order system? I don’t think so. The data on grilled stamps in ambiguous, however. All orders and/or allocations sent after January 1, 1868 were of grilled stamps. Existing stocks were grilled. Grilled stamps of all values at least to the 30¢ apparently were shipped, for their exists a 30¢ grilled stamp with a Hiogo post mark, although I do not record a 30¢ grilled on cover from the Orient. Ryo Ishikawa once owned the off-cover stamp. The 90¢ F grill with Japan cancel is listed in Scott’s U.S. Specialized (#101 with $600 premium). Domestic usages of the E and F grills are known for February 19, 1868 and march 27, 1868 respectively. These are the two grills known used from the Asiatic consular offices.
The earliest usage I record from either China or Japan is a cover postmarked Shanghai January 19, 1869. This is quite late. To be in Shanghai on that date, the stamps would have had to be sent no later than the China, which left San Francisco on December 3, 1868. The New York-Aspinwall connection left November 9. To make that connection, an order had to be on board the Great Republic, departing from Shanghai on August 17. It would reach New York City on October 14, 1868, via Aspinwall. This is six months in advance of known use.
If Shanghai sub-ordered from San Francisco, a possibility, the order could have been sent on the China, departing Shanghai on October 17, 1868. This is a three-month gap. If an allocation system were still in effect, the stamps could have left New York on November 9th.
Data on usage of the Bank Note issues tends to support the allocations theory. The 3¢ no grill Bank Note (#167) is known postmarked on March 1, and March 13, 1870; the grilled 3¢ on March 24 (according to Ashbrook); and a 6¢ ungrilled (#148) on March 28, 1870 at Palatka, FL. A 6¢ exists postmarked at Shanghai during May 1870.
The elapsed time between the domestic usage and the foreign usage is too short to permit orders to go from shanghai to Washington, D.C., in time to fill the order and send the stamps in time for use in May, even with the speedup resulting from use of the transcontinental railway. Again, it would appear that an allocation distribution system was in use, or there was a sub-order from San Francisco.
The fact that the April 1870 issue of United States Mail and Post-Office Assistant mentioned the new stamps being released ‘the middle of this month;’ shows that uses in March were unusual, as normal stock distribution had not been planned for that early. Stamps were being distributed by allocation or special order.
In conclusion, it would seem that the 1869 Issue was distributed to overseas consulates by allocation, with shipments being sent in late March 1869, or by April 11. Actual shipments went to Panama and the west coast either on the sailing of March 24 or April 1. It is likely that shipments were sent to other ‘route agent’ type offices in the Caribbean at the same time, but we have no philatelic evidence yet to support this.
The Miro 90¢ Rate 1869 Cover
One of the most intriguing 1869 covers ever offered was that by L. Miro, the Parisian dealer, on October 21, 1953. For more than forty years the authenticity of this cover has been in dispute, with most leading experts condemning it. The challenge began with Stanley B. Ashbrook’s strong denunciation of the cover in his Special Services (November 1953), as thereafter (See pages 230-231), 238, 245). Nevertheless, he reported the cover sold for 661,500 French francs, or then about $2,646.
What stamps and markings are on this cover? Figure 4 is a photo of the cover, as it appeared in a Miro advertisement in The American Philatelist of October 1953. There are two pairs of 1869 stamps, a well-centered pair of the 10¢ and a similarly centered 30¢ pair, both on a 10¢ envelope (Scott’s #U40, the so-called watermelon). The cover is addressed to Lyon, France, with the name of the addressee changed to disguise it.
Markings include a ‘magenta’ oval CHINA AND JAPAN/*STEAM SERVICE* and a black SAN FRANCISCO/JUL/20/CAL. circular date stamp, as well as a red NEW PAID YORK/JUL 29/18, a small red boxed “PD’, and a blue French ÉTATS-UNIS/3/1E 9/AOUT/69/3 SERV. AM. CALAIS. There is a straight-line ‘OVERLAND MAIL in the upper left, which runs partially under the stamps. The stamps and the envelope embossed 10¢ are killed with the same killer cancel, which resembles a number used on covers originating in Japan. The stamps are not tied, and the 10¢ pair is firmly stuck down, if not impressed into the envelope.
Figure 4: This is the long disputed 90¢ rate 1869 cover offered for sale in 1953 by French dealer, L. Miro. Stanley B. Ashbrook and other experts have attacked it. Hr. Hahn believes this cover originated in Japan and represents a 5¢ overpayment of the double 10¢ transpacific rate and triple 15¢ per quarter ounce rate from the United States to its destination Lyon, France. If genuine, this would be the eighth double 30¢ 1869 cover known.
Ashbrook’s analysis of this cover took two approaches. First, he attacked the rate. he pointed out that the New York marking showed a credit to France of 18¢, and that on letters via American packet such as this one, the credit is 6¢ per quarter ounce (French internal and English transit), so that the cover is triple rated. From this he concluded that the original rate was 45¢ (triple 15¢ single rate), and that the pair of 30¢ 1869 stamps was added-possibly substituted for a 3¢ and a 12¢ 1869 combination.
Ashbrook continued hs rate attack by stating: “Inasmuch as the letter was mailed direct to a U.S. Mail contract ship, which was U.S. territory, the total rate was the same as if it originated at San Francisco, from which office the single rate to France was 15¢ per quarter ounce. The small oval marking in magenta was applied at the San Francisco office. This did not mean that the letter originated in China or Japan or Hawaii (these mail ships stopped at Honolulu), but rather, it was a ‘source marking,’ indicating by what ‘source’ this letter reached the San Francisco Post Office.” (Special Services, p. 231)
Today, we know that this portion of Ashbrook’s analysis is wrong. If the letter originated in the Orient (It could not have come from Honolulu, as the steamers did not stop there), it also required payment of a transpacific rate, in addition to the 45¢ recognized by Ashbrook.
The second thrust of the Ashbrook attack was based upon the magenta ‘CHINA AND JAPAN’ oval, which one of his subscribers questioned. Ashbrook illustrated a blowup of the strike from the Miro cover, along with two others; and, noting the distinctive color of the Miro example, reported that a friend in Paris who had examined the Miro cover stated, “the fake strike of the oval is not the same color as genuine strikes” (Special Services, p. 238). Ashbrook then stated his opinion that the strike was also fraudulent. He suggested that the Parisian forger, Zareski, may have made the cover.
I maintain that Ashbrook’s conclusions on this point were also in error due to insufficient information. In fact, the cover oval should not have matched those available to Ashbrook, and the fact that it did not is a point in favor of the authenticity of the marking. The contemporary color illustration supplied by Miro suggests the color of the oval handstamp is ‘pinkish,’ the appropriate color for a genuine cover.
Before analyzing this cover in depth, I should state that I have not yet physically examined it. There are a number of tests I would put it to, the results of which might change my opinion. However, on the basis of the present data, the weight of evidence says this cover is genuine-possibly with the 10¢ stamps added, but not the 30¢ stamps!
To analyze this cover we need new data which are pertinent, but which were not available to Ashbrook. First, the cover is postmarked at San Francisco July 20, 1869. On that date the Pacific Mail Steamship (PMSS) Japan arrived, having departed Yokohama on June 30, 1869. The matching of dates to PMSS arrivals is an important test of genuineness. The ‘coincidence’ in this case lends credibility to the idea that this cover originated in Japan.
Secondly, the CHINA AND JAPAN oval on this cover was recognized as being in a shade unlike others seen by Ashbrook. he took this as evidence of fakery. Richard Graham, a student of this oval marking, reported that the handstamps used on covers arriving in San Francisco on July 20, 1869 are in a pinkish shade. In the detailed table on this marking in Opinions II: Philatelic Expertizing-An Inside View (The Philatelic Foundation, New York City, 1984 p. 69), these are the only examples in that shade.
If the marking on this cover is in a pinkish shade, then we have a second positive test of genuineness. It should be in a shade different from that found on any other C. & J. S.S. trip.
In Opinions II, Graham commented regarding this cover that, when asked some years ago if the faking was only confined to stamp substitution, he couldn’t say, but now:
“…I believe the marking to be faked because it has characteristic different from all the markings I believe to be genuine, such as the slant and shapes of the letters ‘AM’ in STEAMSHIP, and also because if the cover was sent in 1869 I believe the C. & J. S. S. markings should show more wear.”
“…If the cover had originated in the Orient, the rate would have been 55¢, adding the 10¢ transpacific rate to the presumed 45¢ for a triple rate letter from the U.s. to France. This would have required, as a minimum, two additional stamps to the value of the 10¢ embossed envelope-a 30¢ and a 15¢. If the cover originated in San Francisco, two stamps would also have been required-a 30¢ and a 5¢. In either case, it seems a safe assumption that the original stamps were missing from the cover or, if removed, were the stamps of the 1861 issues.
“I might add that the cancellations on the stamps were not typical of those appearing on other covers brought into San Francisco by the P.M.S.S. Co. steamers. And this is a key point: genuine covers between 1867 and 1869 with the marking C.& J.S.S. should have San Francisco postmark dates agreeing with those in Table I. Covers not so agreeing have to be suspect.” (Opinions II, vide supra, pg. 68).
While it is clear that Graham believes this cover to be faked, it would appear he has not necessarily thought through all the implications of the data. This Miro cover meets the ‘key test’ proposed by Graham. It has the right date for the San Francisco arrival. It meets an unstated Graham test in that the color is correct for that trip and no other trip insofar as the C. & J.S.S. oval is concerned.
Graham is inaccurate in his rate analysis. A transpacific cover that would have a triple U.S.-France rate would not take a single transpacific 10¢ rating, but a double (10¢ per half ounce or 20¢ for a letter weighing one-half to one ounce). Thus, the total rate should be 65¢, not 55¢, if it originated in the Orient. It is not unlikely that careful examination of the cover would show signs of a double rate, perhaps under the stamps.
If we examine the ‘Table of Postages from Japan to Foreign Countries,” as published by the United States Consulate at Kanagawa, printed in the Japan Herald Directory for 1870, we find the appropriate rates for 1869 (the 1870 changes not having reached Japan). The rate to France is recorded at 15¢ for under one quarter ounce and 30¢ for letters not exceeding one-half ounce. The table further states: “The Postal Letter Rate from Japan to the United States is ten cents per half ounce or fraction thereof…with the following Rates additional on Letters, Papers &c., addressed to the annexed named Countries…It is desireable that the particular routes by which Letters are to be forwarded from the United States to Europe, be distinctly shown on the cover…’Via PANAMA’ or ‘OVERLAND’. The Postage from Japan to the United States on all letters en route to other countries must be prepaid.”
From the data in this table we know: a) prepayment was needed, b) the overland routing was a desirable requirement, and c) a triple French credit of 18¢ meant 45¢ postage New York-France and double transpacific. The table confirms the 65¢ minimum prepaid rate if the cover originated in the Far East.
There is another subtle test of authenticity in this table. That is the ‘Overland’ designation for routing. On May 10, 1869 rail spanned the American continent. Shortly thereafter San Franciscans ceased designating their letters by ‘Overland’, as this was the normal mail route. This was not necessarily true for people in the Far East, as the table noted. Thus the words ‘OVERLAND MAIL’ strongly suggest an origin in the Far East, not the West Coast.
The proper rate would be only 45¢, if we assume Ashbrook and Graham are correct, and the cover originated in San Francisco. Thus, a 30¢ and 5¢ stamp would bring the #U40 envelop up to the correct rate. One, if not both stamps, would have to be from the 1861-1867 Issue as there is no 5¢ 1869. Also, the stamps would have to be struck by the same killer as the #U40 embossed. Further, the 45¢ prepaid rate would mean the cover was recognized as a triple French rate at point of origin.
The above assumption ignores the three tests passed by the cover which indicate origin in the Far East: San Francisco postmark date, color of the C. & J. S.S. oval, and the ‘OVERLAND MAIL’ marking. The Ashbrook-Graham origin theory is logical only if we can show, as Graham believes he has, that the oval strike is fake. If the cover originated in Japan, the rate would have to be at least 65¢ and could have passed with the two 30¢ 1869s and the #U40. The pair of 10¢ 1869s was unneeded. Two 30¢ 1869s and the #U40 create a 5¢ overpayment, not at all unlikely at that time or that point. If the sender mistakenly assumed the transpacific rate doubled the America-France rate, then doubling the 45¢ makes weird sense-the result being a 90¢ rate cover.
The C. & J. S.S. Oval
To progress we should examine both the killers and the oval. I propose to deal with the latter first. In his Opinions II article, Graham reports only four covers known to have been carried on the steamer Japan, arriving at San Francisco on July 20, 1869 (p. 69). He illustrates one in Chronicle #75, p. 138. It is from Hong Kong and bears the 8¢ stamp of Hong Kong (Scott #13). The C. & J. S.S. (oval strike is sufficiently poor that it cannot be compared with the Miro cover strike. I suspect the oval colors match. Two of the other examples are Walsh Hall & Co. letters to Elmira, N.Y., one with a Scott’s #68 (10¢) on a #U40 and the other with a #U40 alone (See Chronicle #73 pp. 28-29). I have been unable to locate photos of either for comparison to see if the killers match or if the C. & J. S.S. ovals match. Graham says that the covers have pinkish ovals, the same, I believe, as the Miro oval.
For my own analysis of genuineness I took transparencies of the three enlargement photos in Ashbrook’s Special Services, and laid the Miro example both over and under the other two versions which Ashbrook calls genuine. One photo is of his Hiogo cover (lot 35, Ryo Ishikawa Japan sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet auction New York City July 7, 1981). The other is if the Shanghai to Canada cover, sold as lot 70 in the same Ishikawa sale. The former was sent three months earlier and the latter five months earlier than the Miro example purports to have been.
The time differences are sufficient to cause changes in the C. & J. S.S. oval, even if the handstamp were made of steel. Richard Graham has suggested several C . & J. S.S. ovals were used, possibly as many as five (Chronicle #111). Sailing schedules make it clear at least two ovals had to be used at any time during the period when route agents handled the mail en route, for one had to be on each returning ship.
There is nothing in philatelic literature showing extent of use of this oval that I can find. However, the Reports of the Postmaster General suggest that when the service began in early 1867, about 400-600 letters were carried each trip.
It is probable that in 1869 the total was much higher, perhaps 3,000 to 5,000 per month. Inbound postage on the run as reported in the Report of the Postmaster General dated April 21, 1870 was $7,985.62 for the year 1869. Most covers, we know, were single 10¢ transpacific rates to the United States. If we assume an average of 12¢ per letter, we find 66,500 letters carried inbound or 5,500 per month. If we assume average postage of 20¢ per letter, there would be 40,000 letters or 3,000 plus per month.
The conclusion is that there is a difference of between 10 0900 and 25,000 strikes between the examples used by Ashbrook as controls and the Miro strike. Students of plating realize that even steel plates will show differences with that degree of usage. This quantitative analysis suggests, too, that Graham may be low in his estimate of five ovals.
Ashbrook did not have comparable examples. Graham’s analysis? Unless he used the other covers from the same trip, it is questionable whether his analytic conclusions are based on comparable data.
My own investigation using the transparencies does not support Graham’s conclusion of fakery. The positioning of the letters on all three strikes is quite close. The so-called slant Graham reported is such that the degree of inking or roughness of strike might readily explain it. Graham’s methodology as outlined in Chronicle 111 (See pp. 182-193) suggests he did not use the overlay underlay method.
Graham observes that there is a particularly thick bottom ring on the C. & J. S.S. oval on the Miro cover. But I would note that lots 28 and 30 (America trip leaving Yokohama 9/30/69) in the Ishikawa Japan sale shows similar thickening.
I am not alone in doubting the assertion of fakery made by Graham. Other students, who have used layovers and worked with covers bearing the oval, find Graham’s methods inadequate to substantiate his conclusion the oval is fake.
Graham said that the Miro killer cancels are not typical of those used in Japan. I am not convinced that this is correct. The killers resemble other Japanese killers I have seen. We find the killer used on the trip preceding the Miro cover offered as lot 23 in the Ishikawa Japan sale (received San Francisco 6/21/69). The killer used on the succeeding trip is found as lot 27 (received San Francisco 8/19/69). Only if killers used on other covers from the same trip (arriving San Francisco 7/20/69) differ from those on the Miro cover, would it be fair to question the Miro cover killers. The Walsh Hall covers may or may not bear on this.
It is not widely known that both cancellation inks used in Japan and China during this period, as well as the killer devices, are different from those found in the United States. It would be difficult to find a U.S. cancelled stamp with the appropriate type of black or gray ink and killer style to substitute. Western forgers didn’t use killers made from bamboo, and the U.S. inks differ in composition.
No one has claimed the 1869 stamps on this Miro cover are cleaned or damaged stamps, typical of those used by forgers for altering covers. If the killers now on the stamps are fake, it would follow the killer on the #U40 is also bogus, for it closely matches. It would be likely that the stamps are cleaned or damaged unused stamps. Does black light show evidence of cleaning or removal of either pair from the cover? Does it sow the stamps are thinned?
When this cover surfaced, it was relatively expensive to use unused 1869 stamps as source material for faking. The catalog value for unused singles (two 10¢ and two 30¢ 1869 stamps) at that time (1953) was about $#225. The stamps are fresh bright copies in pairs, and are well enough centered to be called very fine to superb. Forgers normally do not use stamps of this caliber.
Physical examination should show if the stamps have been switched. One should look for: a) cleaned or thinned stamps, b) soaking stains, c) black light shadows of a difference size stamp having been there (1861 issue instead of 1869 issue), c) disturbed fibers in the envelope paper, and e) indirect ties, such as ties through indentation, under stamp stains, etc. If none of these tests reveal negative factors, I would no hesitate to pronounce the cover genuine.
Emphasis should be placed upon examination of the 10¢ pair, for it was unnecessary to pay the rate; and the killers on the pair stop short, although at least one should tie the stamps to the cover.
Some experts have questioned whether these 1869 issue stamps were available in Japan in time for use on this cover. One student’s remark that the #U40 ‘watermelon’ embossed envelopes were not available in Japan is refuted by lot 31 in the Ishikawa Japan sale, which shows a use from Yokohama on February 1, 1869. In the earlier ‘Overseas Distribution of the 1869 Issue” portion of this article (See 1869 Times #38-39), I have shown that the 1869 issue was available on the West Coast in time to reach Japan on the Japan departure of May 4, 1869.
Also evidence suggest that stamps were sent on allocation to Shanghai and Japan, probably being sent from New York City on March 24 or April 1, 1869. The evidence also suggests that all values were in the allocation.
In sum I conclude that evidence adduced against the Miro cover is insufficient to condemn it. Ashbrook’s original condemnation falls apart completely in rate analysis and color of the oval handstamp. The strongest negative comments are those of Graham, which depend upon his conclusion that the C. & J. S.S. oval is fake and his opinion that the killers differ from Japanese ones. Experts who have overlaid transparencies, as I have, may not find his reasoning conclusive.
On the positive side, the Miro cover meets the tests of a transpacific cover, including those unknown at the time of its discovery. Furthermore, the stamps could have been in Japan on the appropriate date.
Ashbrook’s arguments have been completely refuted, but the atmosphere of prejudice he created lingers still. Consequently, it would appear experts are seeking ways to condemn this cover, rather than give it objective examination.
Since completing the above analysis, I have received reports from several persons who have examined the actual cover and found the following: a) the 1869 stamps are not thinned or repaired, b) there is the correct pinkish tinge in the C. & J. S.S. oval, c) there is a color offset of this oval on the back of the cover, as would appear if the cover had been handled with a group of covers, rather than as an individual item to be forged, d) there is a ‘2’ for double rate under the 30¢ pair, which is in the same ink as the ‘OVERLAND MAIL, e) the killers on the 10¢ pair, the 30¢ pair and the #U40 all match.
The above observations help confirm the conclusion that the Miro cover is genuine, a transpacific usage, double rated to the United States, and then triple rated to France. They also support the probable usage of the 1869 stamps in Japan, particularly the 30¢ pair. Note the ‘2’ double rating contradicts a San Francisco prepaid origin and supports a transpacific usage.
There are three negative observations, all dealing with the 10¢ pair. These are: 1) a killer strike on this pair that should tie the pair to the cover stops short, with two-thirds on the stamp and the rest missing, 2) there are gum points around this pair, not found around the 30¢ pair (this suggests tinkering may have occurred), and 3) the 10¢ pair is really ‘stuck down’ with an impression in the paper as though the pair were ironed on. This is not true of the 30¢ pair.
These negative observations do raise serious questions about whether the 10¢ pair originated on the cover. It was not needed to pay the rate. on the other hand, the killer match suggests that at the least the pair was cancelled in Japan, and transported on the same trip back to the United States. It is possible the pair was on another cover, which accompanied the Miro cover. Maybe the original discoverer of the cover sold by Miro found the pair on a damaged cover and used it to enhance this cover.
While I believe the Miro cover to be genuine, I do have reservations about the 10¢ pair, but I would not remove it from the cover, even though the stamps represent overpayment, and may have been added.
The Provenance of the 15¢ 1869 Inverts
© Copyright Calvet M. Hahn 2003
It was the discovery of a 15¢ 1869 Type I invert in late March of 1869 that caused a major reworking of the plates and resulted in new plates for both the 15 and 24¢ values. It was these new plates that produced the currently known inverts for these two values. Only one example of the Type I 15¢ inverted vignette ever got to the public-it was sold by stamp dealer and Internal Revenue agent David H. Anthony of 62 Liberty St. (next door to J. Walter Scott’s office at 61 Liberty), to a Mr. Ramus; Anthony apparently returned the rest of the sheet on March 25th to the postoffice because it was defective. A new plate and printing was urgently begun with the result that the Type II 15¢ reached the public for use in New Orleans by April 5, 1869. The Type I stamps had the invert errors stripped off so that Scott complained he could only obtain right half panes at the postoffice. In the investigation that followed the invert discovery, it was learned that there was also an error in the 24¢, but all examples were called in and apparently none ever reached the public; nevertheless a new vignette plate was made for this value as well.
Unused 15¢ 1869 Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #135 page 197
H1 no illustration, may not have survived-This would be the unique example of the Type I invert that Anthony sold to Mr. Ramus. All other examples below are Type II.
H2 22578-Deep rich color, perfectly centered, one toned perf lower left and one nibbed perf at top (4th from right). This comes from the quarter sheet purchased by Alfred Lichtenstein’s father in 1869 for his employer. He bought the one example with his lunch money and returned the rest to the postoffice for a correctly printed quarter sheet. It was traded by Lichtenstein’s father for other stamps and next appeared in a Staten Island Philatelic Society auction selling for $285 and going to Europe where it was acquired probably from Charles J. Phillips for Worthington ($1,200).
It was purchased with the rest of the Worthington collection by Alfred Lichtenstein and consigned as lot 476 in the first Worthington sale at Morgenthau August 21-23, 1917, where it brought $4,100 from Hind. It next appeared in the Phillips Hind sale of August 20-24, 1933 as lot 390 selling to Elliott Perry ($7,000) who sold it to Arthur Brigham possibly through Warren Colson, whose ‘W.H.C.’ backstamp is found on it. It was bought by Raymond Weill at the Kelleher Brigham sale December 1, 1950 and placed it in an important New Jersey collection until repurchasing this ‘Penn’ collection for $4 million in the late 1960s.
It was then sold to Lilly and was lot 216 in the Siegel Lilly I sale of February 1, 1967 selling to the Weills for $35,000. It was then placed in the Texas holding of Houghton Phillips until the Weills reacquired it in 1979. It next appeared as lot 241 at the Siegel 1982 Rarities where an agent acting for Weill for $180,000 bought it; it was then sold privately to Ryohei Ishikawa along with examples of the other unused inverts. It was sold as lot 740 in the Ishikawa dispersal ($195,000 to an agent). It next appeared as lot 1331 in the Walske ‘Lafayette’ collection at Matthew Bennett May 2, 2003 ($375,000 to Columbian Stamps).
H3 26532-No gum, centered to left and bottom, with fresh good color but slight marginal soiling and several nibbed perfs, signed by Ashbrook. It was lot 254 in the 7th Ferrari sale, selling to an agent, possibly Philip Ward for Wharton Sinkler. It next surfaced in the M. Heathcote holding and then was lot 288 in the Harmer Barrett Hindes sale of January 23, 1968 selling for $17,500 to the Weills. It then surfaced as lot 30 in the Kelleher February 1, 1974 sale where it was part of a set, which apparently remains a set today.
H4 10048-Centered to top, negligible toning with nibbed perfs at top left, this has a rich color. It first became known when Houghton Phillips obtained a 1958 PFC. It was acquired by the Weills when they bought the Phillips holding. It was lot 211 in the 1988 Siegel Rarities.
The 15¢ Invert Cover
H5 39854-“Crease in grill, tiny tear in right margin, segmented cork killer. One cover is known; it had this 15¢ on it, but the two are now separated. It is illustrated in Chronicle #181 page 26 as figure 29A. Its first owner, Eric Kling reported in the November 1924 American Philatelist (pg. 106) that it was found by him in a correspondence located in Sweden. It first appeared in auction, along with the 24¢ invert cover, in the Laurence & Stryker sale of December 14, 1959 as lot 491A, selling for $800 to the book.
The invert stamps were offered off their covers at the time, but the catalog shows the stamp on cover as ‘originally found.’ The damaged and repaired cover also had a 10 and 3¢ 1869 both tied along with the untied 15¢ invert, which has the perfs cutting into the design at left. The stamp is centered to the bottom left and shows traces of a second stamp on the perf tips at right. It has a crease in the grill and a tiny tear in the right margin; it is killed with the same segmented-cork squares as the other two stamps, positioned at the same angle. These segmented corks replaced the red New York leaf circa April-May 1869. The cover is addressed to Herr C. M. Stridbeck, Carlscrona, Sweden, headquarters of the Swedish navy, 290 miles south southwest of Stockholm. The 28¢ rate and the ‘8’ credit is double the 14¢ NGU Direct rate (May 1869-July 1870) to Sweden. The cover would have left New York May 4, 1869 on HAPAG’s Germania arriving at Hamburg on the 17th.
As Mr. Trepel points out the problem is that there is no way to prove the stamp was originally on this cover. In fact, the killers on the stamp should have tied the stamp either at the left or bottom; they don’t. The cover, once property of John Dupont, has disappeared, but the off-cover stamp sold at auction in 1987.
Dating New York City 1869 Invert Killers
In March of 1869, New York was still using a red leaf type supplementary mail killer although by July 27 1869 (Kuffel lot 2257 Siegel 1869 sale 12/13/99) and September 14, 1869 it was in black (Kuffel lot 2250) as on September 21st (Census book pg. 145), by April 1st it used a 4 segment cork square (Rose lot 590) still used April 7th (Census book pg. 132), apparently replaced by a 6 V’s handstamp (by May 4th (Walske lot 1173), which was in turn replaced by a 8-wedge rosette by May 26 (Walske lot 1272), May 29 (Rose 604). June 19th (Walske lot 1220), June 23rd (Rose lot 580) and July 7 (Kuffel lot 2255).
During this period there was also the quartered cork seen on June 26th (Kuffel lot 2299). Versions of the 8-wedge rosette were still in use on July 15th (Walske lot 1222), August 23rd (Walske lot 1111) and August 30th (Walske lot 1213) with a blurred modified version known January 25, 1870 (Walske lot 1207). By August 9, 1869 there is a 4 hearts killer (Walske lot 1254) and August 11th (Kuffel lot 2262) that can be interpreted as a quartered cork as early as August 22nd (Census book pg. 145) and September 7, 1869 (Rose 592) and September 28th, which was damaged by February 27, 1870 (Rose lot 527).
A slotted segmented cork was used by August 12, 1869 (Census book pg. 146) and is still seen on January 16, 1870 (Kuffel lot 2163) with the so-called clothespin killer (Kuffel lot 2244) seen by February 2nd. The New York fancy circle of V’s is seen clearly by May 20, 1870 (Kuffel lot 2293). The New York registry department used a fancy cross roads killer February 26, 1870 (Kuffel lot 2310) and then various versions of a segmented globe as seen on July 2nd (probably 1870) (Kuffel lot 2301) and a slightly different version later in 1873 (Kuffel lot 2134).
Among the other 15¢ invert items was a pair that was owned by Chapman as a part of a set of invert pairs and which was stolen at the end of the 1911 show. While I believe I have identified the 24¢ singles and Mr. Trepel has commented upon possible 30¢ singles that may have been part of this theft, no identification of the 15¢ items that would have been broken out of this stolen pair is available.
Used Centered 15¢ Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #181 p.19
Mr. Trepel showed six centered used examples. These are:
H6 European pen guarantee on back, 2035-Sound, fresh colors, light killer, tiny corner perf crease, lot 75 Siegel 1973 Rarities March 22, 1973 ($4,000)
H7 no certificate-Faulty with repairs on right side, closed tear and three short perfs at right near bottom, with small star killer. Lot 185 Heiman Col. Green sale January 8, 1946 ($400), lot 496 John Fox June 28, 1955 ($575), lot 63 John Fox sale March 1984.
H8 46103-Bold quartered cork killer, two grills, one fake; improved defects, repaired. Lot 155 Siegel 1997 Rarities (did not meet reserve).
H9 34413-Genuine but defective with small tear at top and thins. Circle of wedges rosette cork killer. Offered in Harris & Co. advertisement of December 31, 1938 for $685 net, lot 389 in Harmer sale of February 25, 1965 ($825 to J.M.), offered with PFC in Barr sale of September 9, 1971.
H10 No certificate-New York segmented cork killer, ‘short perf, small tear at left, normal crack in grill.’ Lot 177 Koerber February 24, 1973 ($2,300).
H11 No certificate-‘Extensively repaired’ cork killer. Lot 611 in Harmer Hessel II sale June 10, 1976. (See Hessel photo at end.)
Centered Left Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #181 page 20
H12 no certificate-‘Small filled thin’, rich colors, lightly cancelled circle of wedges rosette cork killer. Lot 47 Siegel 1967 Rarities ($1,750).
H13 no certificate-Circle of V’s killer according to Trepel, but sold as crossroads killer, rich deep colors. Lot 486 Harmer sale of February 17, 1970 ($3,800 to DES), lot 282 Siegel 1984 Rarities ($7,500).
H14 76213-‘crease and stain at left’, repaired corner, quartered cork killer. Lot 461 Siegel 1991 Rarities ($4,500 to agent).
H15 15850-‘Genuine’ circle of wedges rosette killer, perfs touch at left. Lot 154 Harmer Rooke March 9, 1963 ($1,150).
H16 13837 PSE-Fresh color, ‘faulty, tiny pinhole, thin, and a heavy crease ending in tears’, with light cork killer. Lot 81 John Fox February 20, 1961 ($925 to Fred Lopez), lot 4033 in Schiff Lopez sale December 1, 1989, lot 460 in Siegel 1991 Rarities ($5,000 to book).
H17 125146-‘Small horizontal crease at top left and thin at bottom right, lightly killed.
H18 49219-‘Defective spot in grill, cork killer.
H19 20625-‘Defective’ including small tear at top and thins, well centered, circle of wedges rosette killer. Lot 168, H. C. Ball sale of September 9, 1971 ($1,700), lot 284 Christie’s Back sale March 12-13, 1991, lot 461 in Siegel 1991 Rarities April 20, 1991.
H20 74195-Rich color, black circle of wedges rosette killer, partial red cds at lower left, ‘expertly repaired’, tiny thinning, minute paper absorption of glue in paper on verso. Lot 582 Harmer sale February 14, 1979, photo October 16, 1979, lot 1242 Southeastern Stamp January 24, 1985 offered as ‘finest in existence’, lot 107 in Siegel 1986 Rarities (color photo) ($4,500 to agent).
H21 18779-New York segmented cork killer, faint age toning, ‘Minute defect at top’, thin in grill. Lot 202 John Fox sale October 28, 1953 ($850), lot 45 Siegel Rarities February 27, 1964.
H22 no certificate-Perfs touch at left, ‘small corner perf thin, circle of wedges rosette killer. Lot 183 Heiman Col. Green sale January 8, 1946 ($550), lot Siegel September 21, 1986.
H23 no certificate-‘Small skillfully closed tear’; small defects, black cork killer. This may be lot 418 from the W. W. MacLaren sale by Sloane of January 10, 1929. Lot 161 Harmer Rooke Allen sale May 23, 1950, lot 314 Kelleher sale of February 27, 1970, lot 76 Siegel 1973 Rarities March 22, 1973 ($2,600).
H24 993l-Sound, fresh color, segmented grid killer, black grill killer ‘S. L. Insur.’ Ex-Burrus but not in Burrus sale, lot 600 Shanahan June 14, 1958 ($1,350).
H25 no certificate-‘Small faults, repaired tear’, rich colors, light cork killer Lot 87 Siegel 1968 Rarities March 28, 1968 ($2,000 J. S.), lot 459 Siegel 1991 Rarities ($8,500 to book).
H26 RPS 1948 certificate-“Partially reperfed, light crease, short perf upper left’, quartered cork killer and red NYC credit cds. Lot 118, Heiman sale May 6, 1953 ($550), lot Siegel September 12, 1979.
Centered Right 15¢ Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #181 page 21
H27 24841-Described as ‘reperfed at right and small defects’ Trepel questions reperfing. Small star killer. Lot 84A in Scott sale of October 17-19, 1884, lot 145 Siegel December 7, 1966 ($925 to JM), lot 9, Jesse sale April 16,1972 reserve $2,250), Kelleher sale April 24, 1976, lot 234 Kelleher sale February 3, 1978, mail sale lot 56 in J. Tell’s Americana sale February 1986.
H28 6560-‘Repaired’ corner, ironed out creases, Cincinnati town cds killer. Lot 113 Harmer sale June 7, 1948, lot 832 Siegel February 1, 1956 ($825 to book but had $1,000)
H29 29684-‘Thinned in grill-tiny holes’, circle of wedges rosette killer, Weill certificate. Lot 223 Siegel 1987 Rarities May 2, 1987 ($12,000 to JO), lot 213 Siegel 1989 Rarities ($11,000 to book).
H30 17841-Target killer, ‘pinhead thinning in grill’, displaced vignette to top. Lot 70 John Fox sale February 26, 1958 ($540), lot in Herst July 28, 1961, Papadopolus sale lot 1291A December 1963, Siegel lot 365 April 27, 1966 ($1,825).
H31 no certificate-‘Two faint creases not visible on surface, possibly reperforated and some blunted perfs at top right,’ described by JM as ‘well doctored’, heavy cork killer. Lot 591 Harmer Ltd. Waterhouse sale June 27, 1955 (£180 or $504), lot 106 John Kaufmann Gems sale November 28, 1978 described with ‘small faults’.
Centered Top 15¢ Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #181 page 22
H32 27458-Genuine, tiny corner perf crease, deep rich colors, target killer. Discovered in 1950 reported in American Philatelist June 1950 by P. H. Feibes in Australia and sold for Australia £750. A lady inherited it from her grandmother who had it 50 years. Lot 362 in Herst sale of February 20, 1965 ($3,750) to Siegel for DeVerymont, lot 138 in Siegel deVerymont sale April 23, 1970 ($4,000), lot 1196 in A. T. Seymour sale, lot 227 in Siegel October 19, 1976 sale going to Ishikawa, lot 743 in Christie’s Ishikawa sale ($14,500 to Columbian Stamp).
H33 710l-‘Perfs trimmed off sides, clipped top, reperfed bottom and left’ small star killer.
H34 35888-‘Sound’, rich colors, one of finest, black NYC large star killer. Lot 176 Harmer Moody sale November 6, 1950 ($1,900), lot 158 Siegel Ambassador sale April 27, 1966 ($5,700 to Weill), lot 68 Siegel 1971 Rarities March 23, 1971, ex-Wunderlich, lot 281 Superior sale October 29-30, 1984.
H35 43380-‘Defective, reperfed at right’ lightly cancelled.
H36 59055-‘Light thinning, small repairs’, light killer.
H37 no certificate-Expertly restored faults, fine gorgeous deep color, single nibbed perf at bottom left corner, stitch watermark, double vignette, one inverted (finest of the three recorded), black light small circular cork killer. Lot 641 Siegel Newbury sale sold as normal October 17, 1966 ($3,600 Weill), lot 127 Siegel 1983 Rarities ($26,000 to Jon Rose), lot 1337 Walske ‘Lafayette’ sale at Bennett My 2, 2003 ($29,000 to DP).
H38 no certificate-‘Faults around the edges, tiny indentations, clipped perfs’, small star killer. Lot Harmer sale 4/19/1967.
H39 no certificate-Target killer. The Tapling copy in the British Library. This and the Curie example H61 probably originated on the same cover.
H40 36031-‘Extensively repaired, additional partial offset’, discovery copy of double vignette, one inverted, small circle of wedges cork killer. Lot 28 in Harmer Rooke sale November 17, 1970 ($1,400 to JM who sold it to SG who sold it to IW), lot 69 Siegel 1971 Rarities ($4,600), lot 686 Siegel sale April 7, 1972, lot 51 in John Kaufmann Gems sale December 4, 1982.
Centered Top and Left 15¢ Inverts Illustrated Chronicle # 181 p. 23
H41 1998 PFC-‘Small tear at right, wrinkle in grill’, black circle of wedges rosette killer. Lot 401 Harmer Caspary sale November 19-21, 1956 ($900), lot 242 Siegel 1982 Rarities April 24, 1982, lot 634 Siegel Rose sale September 27, 1997 ($14,500 pass), lot 312 Siegel 1998 Rarities sale May 9, 1998.
H42 no certificate-Fine bright colors, ‘Bottom right corner repaired, perf added’, black cork killer. Lot 379 John Fox sale June 6, 1956 ($775).
H43 PFC-‘Top right corner perf crease’, rich colors on bright paper, large NYC star killer. Lot 298 Siegel Zollner sale ($28,000 to book).
H44 35159-‘Genuine’, good color small black cork in center, some nibbed perfs. Lot 128 Costales Col. Green XXVIII sale October 28-November 1, 1946 ($575), lot 169 Harmer December 8, 1958 ($850), lot 552 Harmer October 10, 1970 ($2,300)
H45 40533-‘Light creasing’, fresh dark shade, black small star killer. Breuchig ad October 24, 1942 net $875, Lot 181 Stolow December 18, 1972, lot 107 in Kaufmann Gems sale November 22, 1977.
H46 no certificate-Circle of wedges rosette killer. John Fox June 6, 1956.
H47 no certificate-Cork killer. Lot in Harmer sale February 18, 1970.
H48 no certificate-‘Slightly defective’, segmented cork killer of NYC. Lot 957 Laurence & Stryker March 22, 1955 ($540), Gerber lot 190 June 22, 1955, Cleveland Stamp Auction January 24, 1973.
H49 no certificate-“Repaired tear’, excellent color, double vignette, one inverted, black small circle of wedges killer matching H37. Lot 184 John Fox July 13, 1961 ($570 Molesworth), lot 120 Simmy’s June 19, 1964 ($1,250).
H50 no certificate no Trepel photo-‘corner creases, defects, light killer (JM says ‘dog’)’. Lot 176 Harmer Rooke July 20, 1939, lot 577 Harmer Rooke February 9, 1940, Lot 153 Fifield sale October 29, 1957 ($575), and Mercury sale June 3, 1970.
Centered Top and Right 15¢ Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #181 page 24
An item which fits in this class, and which is probably recorded below had bright color and small creases at upper left as well as a smudge cork killer. It was lot 2 in the J. Schiff Elite sale of December 10, 1981 ($8,500 to book).
H51 14751-‘Numerous defects’, corner problem, black circle of wedges rosette killer. Lot 122 Kelleher November 16, 1957 ($540), lot 615A Fifield May 31, 1961 ($865), lot 348 Harmer sale September 25, 1961 ($460 JM), lot 79 Stolow May 23, 1963 ($700 JM), lot 134 Siegel 1980 Rarities ($5,500 Weill).
H52 391-Defective, ‘too poor to render opinion’, probable NYC large star killer. This may be lot 222 in the Kelton & Sloane Clarence Eagle sale January 22, 1923 described as lightly cancelled, well centered, repaired on back lower half to protect against a bad crease visible on the face near the bottom. Lot 221 Harmer Rooke January 123, 1953 ($380), lot 1336 Bennett Walske sale May 2, 2003 ($5,000 to book).
H53 14863-‘Repaired’ mostly at top. Target killer. Lot 523 Harmer Ltd. September 25, 1961 ($365 to JM), Cleveland lot 79 June 24, 1963 (Net $700)
H54 1982 cert. 106318-‘Crease at top left’, smudged small star killer, lot 1335 Bennett Walske sale May 2, 2003 ($8,500 to RC)
H55 2951-‘Tear’ announced at Fifield but JM says he couldn’t find when he owned it, tiny creases upper left and upper right perfs, light circle of wedges rosette killer, perfs just touch at top. Lot 102 Fifield sale May 31, 1961 ($1,150 to JM), lot 81 Siegel 1965 Rarities February 24, 1965 ($1,700), lot 214 Siegel 1989 Rarities ($5,250 to book).
H56 29683-‘Faults’ cork killer
H57 2085-Circle of V’s killer
H58 111990-‘Reperfed at left’ (Trepel is not sure), small star killer, vivid shade light cancel, pressed out crease in upper left corner. Lot 26 Harmer Rooke Col. Green sale November 12, 1944, lot 123 Harmer sale May 9, 1949, lot 444 Stolow July 9, 1952 in color ($1,450), lot 84 John Fox sale December 18, `953 ($560), lot 107 Siegel 1977 Rarities March 23, 1977 ($6,000), lot 154 Siegel 1997 Rarities ($5,750).
H59 Swiss certificate-‘Faulty’, small star killer. Lot 509 Herst sale December 7, 1961 ($575 to JM).
H60 BPA 1971 Certificate-‘Creased, internal tear at bottom left, some ironed out creasing and other faults’, lightly killed. Lot 213 Robineau sale November 24, 1959 ($700) sold as repaired, JM disagreed, lot 275 Siegel sale February 25-6, 1967, lot 678 Stan Gibbons sale April 27, 1971 (£450 or $1080).
H61 no certificate-‘Tiny grill break near value’, perfs cut frame at top, two diagonal creases, light target killer. Lot in Harmer Rooke ‘Charles Curie’ sale May 3, 1939 lot 424 Fifield March 30, 1948 ($800). (See Tapling copy).
H62 no certificate-Lightly cancelled target killer, fresh good color, top perfs just clear. Lot 108 in Mozian Robinette sale of March 27, 1951, lot 147 Harmer sale November 26, 1956 ($925)
H63 no certificate-‘Lower right corner repaired’, light killer. Lot in Kelleher February 26, 1971.
H64 no certificate no Trepel photo-centered right and bit to top, black geometric killer. Lot 50 in unknown sale.
H65 no certificate no Trepel photo-‘Perf flaws, corner crease, centered to and right, two long perfs at left 3rd and 4th down, small star killer. Lot 600 Siegel February 26-28, 1986 sale.
H66 no certificate no Trepel photo-‘Slight nick at left, partial photo. Lot 60 in Harmer Rooke sale of November 11, 1954 ($625 to book).
Centered Bottom 15¢ Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #181 page 25
H67 46000-‘Tiny margin defects at left’, quartered cork killer. Lot 245 Shreve February 23-24, 2001 described as ‘reperfed at left with thins’.
H68 20401-‘Two tears at right’, New York segmented cork killer. Lot 423 Siegel June 18, 1964 ($1,000 to Drazin).
H69 no certificate-‘Trivial crease’ lightly killed. Lot Pitcher sale , lot Siegel November 14, 1973.
H70 no certificate-‘Bottom left corner repaired’, quartered cork killer. Lot in Sanabria Hale sale May 8, 1939.
H71 no certificate no Trepel photo-‘Upper right corner tear expertly repaired, neat killer’. This is very close to H69 the Pitcher item, but the vignette shift is different. Lot 307A Stamp Auction May 5, 1952, lot 52 Harmer Rooke April 14, 1954, ($340 to JM).
Centered Bottom Left Illustrated Chronicle #181 page 26
H72 no certificate-‘Sound’, lightly killed, part of black circle at right. Lot 92 Siegel 1969 Rarities ($4,800), lot 568 Siegel 1992 Rarities.
H73 3503, 134935-Double vignette, one inverted, lightly killed, short perf 2nd from left at top. Lot 207 John Fox October 16, 1956 ($320), lot 283 Siegel 1984 Rarities ($22,000).
H74 RPS certificate 104800-Light cork killer. Lot 1140 Balasse Klep sale March 27, 1956, lot 314 Stolow June 27, 1956, lot 88 Stolow November 9, 1956, lot 59 Stolow November 8, 1962 ($950 to book as JM killed $1,500 bid), Sotheby sale October 1979.
H75 RPS certificate, 55696-‘Genuine’, fine color, circle of wedges rosette killer. Lot 88 Stolow November 9, 1946 ($750), lot 267 Harmer Rooke ($460), lot 314 Stolow June 27, 1956 ($860).
H76 101799-‘Small creases in one corner’, double struck small cork killer, red transit cds portion at lower left. Lot 556 Siegel July 22-23, 1981 ($12,000 to agent), cover color photo.
H77 46535-‘Tiny thin spot’, cork killer. Lot Siegel January 9, 1975.
H78 no certificate-‘Minor filled thin in grill, tiny crease, short perf’, cork killer. Lot Siegel June 12, 1980.
H79 12168-Deep rich colors, ‘Repaired lower left corner’, tear at bottom, tiny thin in grill, light cork killer. Lot 111 John Fox June 30, 1964 ($1,500), lot 198 Siegel 2000 Rarities ($6,000 to agent).
H80 no certificate-Light segmented cork, rounded corner perf, owner ‘MKV’ handstamp on back. Lot 212 Siegel 1988 Rarities April 23, 1988, lot in Isleham sale.
H81 no certificate-‘Tiny filled thins in grill, small tears top right and bottom’, cork killer. Lot 57 Bruce Daniels sale November 5, 1953 ($420 to JM), John Fox sale June 30, 1964, lot 150 Siegel 2001 Rarities.
H82 no certificate no Trepel photo-Centered far left and far bottom. Lot 254 Ferrari VII sale.
Centered Bottom Right 15¢ Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #181 page 28.
H83 7696-‘Thin and repaired; segmented cork killer.
H84 no certificate-‘Sealed minute margin break’, cork killer. Ward West sale April 26, 1943, lot 69 Siegel 1966 Rarities sale February 24, 1966 ($1,900).
H85 32538 APS certificate reperfed right top-‘Genuine and sound’, light circle of V’s killer. Lot 268 Stolow June 2, 1954 ($1,700 reserve), lot 89 H.R. Harmer Ltd. November 17, 1958 ($1,600), lot 590 in the Siegel A. T. Seymour sale November 25-26, 1969.
H86 35357-‘Genuine invisible repair’, cork killer. Lot 184 Heiman sale of January 8, 1946 ($350) at which time it still had the lower left perf missing in PF photo.
H87 45216-‘Slight creasing, small tear at top’, light killer.
H88 115789-‘Tiny perf crease bottom right’, sealed margin break at bottom, rich colors, very light circle of V’s killer. Lot 284 Harmer Rooke Crocker sale November 24, 1938, lot 91 Harmer Rooke sale September 15, 1959 ($625), lot 69 Siegel sale February 14, 1966? ($1,900), lot 409 Harmer sale May 5-6, 1971 ($4,000), lot in Metro sale September 25, 1980, lot 93 Stolow June 13, 1983, American sale July 1983.
H89 16188-‘Closed tiny tear in top margin; several filled thins’, cork killer. Lot Siegel October 8, 1974.
H90 13101-‘Lightly cancelled.
H91 15397-‘Repaired upper right corner tear’, rich colors, perfs touch at bottom, light cork killer. Lot 82 Siegel Rarities February 24, 1965 (1,400 to Ward), lot 122 Siegel December 3, 1985.
H92 38213-Blue French transit cds at bottom, light circle of wedges rosette killer, perfs in right and bottom. Lot 127 Costales Col. Green XXVIII sale October 28- Nov-ember 1, 1946 ($650), lot 103 Siegel 1986 Rarities ($5,000 to agent).
H93 49397-‘Genuine’, rounded corner perf, circle of V’s killer. Lot 283 in Christie’s Back sale March 13-14, 1991, lot 569 Siegel 1992 Rarities, lot 2097 in Siegel Kuffel sale December 13, 1999 ($14,000 to Columbian Stamp).
H94 no certificate-Cork killer, slight invisible repair. Lot 184 Heiman Col. Green XXIV sale January 1946 ($350).
H95 no certificate-‘Few faint creases, three minute perf tears, small thin’, cork killer. Lot Christie’s October 3, 1984, lot 138 Siegel 1985 Rarities ($7,500 to book).
H96 1992 PF certificate-‘Small repair at left some minor thinning two small tears, circle of V’s killer. Lot in Siegel January 30-31, 1992 sale, lot 199 Siegel 2000 Rarities ($8,000 to Internet).
H97 no certificate no Trepel photo-Centered trifle to bottom right, long 7th perf on left and nibbled 11th perf, long 3rd perf on top, cork killer. Lot 224 Siegel 1987 Rarities May 2, 1987 ($8,000), lot 168 Siegel 1993 Rarities November 30, 1993 ($6,500 to book).
H98 no certificate no Trepel photo-‘Sealed tear in grill and reperfed at right; light cork killer. Lot 102 Christie’s ‘Troy’ sale April 21, 1983 ($4,800 to telephone).
H99 no certificate no Trepel photo-‘Tear’, faint age toning, light segmented cork killer, similar to but not identical with
An Examination of the 24 Cent 1869 Imperforate Invert
© Calvet M. Hahn 1989; Revised 2003
The 24-cent imperforate invert stands out because of a number of unusual or unique characteristics. These include the fact it is the only imperforated invert; the only ungrilled invert; and one of a handful with unusual vignette centering as well as unusual impression, figure 1. This item was an offering from the Scott firm inserted into the Ferrari XIV sale lot 33l. It was not part of the Ferrari holding.
It next surfaced in the Colonel Green collection where it sold as lot 20 in the Eugene Costales Green XIX sale of February 19-23, 1945. There it was part of a series of seven unique imperforate 1869 values described by Costales as having been found in various parts of the Green collection. The others were the 1, 3, 12, 15 Type I, 30, and 90¢–all uncancelled and, except for the 24 and 90¢, with almost full gum, figure 2. The inclusion of the 15¢ Type I suggests these came from the first printings of February 1869.
Interestingly enough there were also six unique imperforate examples, all cancelled, which came from lot 482 in the Third Ferrari sale of April 4, 1922. That sale illustrated the left sheet margin Type II 15¢; the others in this lot were the 2, 3, 6, 10, and 12¢. Here, the inclusion of the 15¢ Type II, figure 3, suggests this group came from the April 1869 or later printings. Currently the 2003 Scott Specialized does not recognize any of these thirteen unique 1869 imperforates.
There are ‘sets’ of the 1861 issue also known imperforate-about three are recorded with most stamps pen cancelled with an x although some are uncanceled. They are on stamp paper with some values being gummed. The difference is that they were carefully cut out and in terms of the Blackjack value did not use the late plates suggesting a different source than found for the 1869 values. Too, some of the 1861 imperforates can be tracked back to lot 993 in the Clarence Eagle sale of April 4-10, 1923 held by Morgenthau.
The 24-cent imperforate 1869 invert subsequently appeared with the other uncanceled 1869 imperforates in the Lilly sale held at Siegel February 2, 2967, where it was lot 219. It more recently sold as lot 96 in the William A. Kelly March 16, 1989 sale of Steve Ivy, where it was acquired by David Zlowe. In this catalog it is stated it is believed Colonel Green acquired the set of imperforates when the files of the National Banknote Company were dispersed. On the face of it, this appears unlikely for three reasons: a) this particular copy was a separate item inserted by the Scott Stamp & Coin company into the Ferrari 14th sale, b) only seven of the ten values were ever reported imperforate unused although all values are known imperforate, c) the seven unused imperforates were known to have been distributed through various portions of the Green holding rather than located in one spot as would be more likely if obtained at one time.
The 24-cent imperforate invert has also appeared at a number of other auctions among which are the Siegel sale of April 23, 1970 (lot 142), the Siegel Rarities sale of March 27, 1974 (lot 78) and the Rarities sale of April 14, 1984 (lot 285). It is currently in the Walske ‘Lafayette’ sale at Matthew Bennett May 2, 2003 as lot 1334.
Students of the 1869 issue know only one frame plate was used throughout the printing of the 24-cent value of this issue, plate #20. Two plates were used for the vignette, plate #20 for the initial February 1869 printing and plate #24 for the bulk of the printings beginning in April 1869, including the inverts, the reissues and the card invert proofs.
Plate #24 is so laid out that it is impossible to correctly fit all vignettes into the frames. When the majority are centered, as on the proof sheet of the reissues, there are a few positions that will be too high and a few too low.
Contemporary reports suggest that an inverted cliché or row of the 24-cent value did occur during the first printing but that no examples reached the public. This seems to be the reason for scrapping the original vignette plate #20 and substituting plate #24. Additional research is needed to determine just what did occur and why.
The 24-cent imperforate invert is on postage stamp paper, ungrilled, with particularly wide margins at left, suggesting it would come from the first column. Jon Rose who has examined the stamp feels this is certain and finds position 41 a logical candidate. I am not convinced the left margin is that wide. The measurements I have made, and other students confirm this, is that the stamp can barely fit into an interior position-almost by a whisker.
The most obvious ‘plating mark’ on the imperforate 24-cent invert is a violet dot at upper left. If not a stain, but rather a position dot, it is in the expected invert position. Violet position dots are found chiefly in the right margin column with positions #53, 20, 40, 60, 80 and 90 having dots that might transfer to the upper left in an invert.
However, there is also a fair chance the marking on the imperforate stamp is a stain and not a plating mark. There are other position dots in violet, but most overlay the green dots and are hard to see, so will be ignored.
There are several features of the imperforate invert that may enable us to position the piece in addition to the aforementioned dot. One is a green position dot at lower left and another at lower right. There is also a bit of guideline out from the design to the dot at lower left.
Plating the 24-cent 1869
The green frame plate #20, used to print all the 24-cent 1869s has a series of plating characteristics that enable us to plate many of the multiples as well as individual stamps. First, is the dot in the ‘T’ of ‘POSTAGE’. It is found in all positions except #1-10.
“““““Figure 4--The ex-Kapiloff proof sheet of the 24¢ Reissue of the 1869 issue.
The dot can be centered near the right side or touching the right side of the ‘T’. About fifteen positions show the dot touching the right border of the ‘T’. These include: positions #16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 52, 54, 55, 56, 57, 67, 93, and 99.
A second border plate #20 plating characteristic is the green position dot. All stamps have either a weak or strong green position dot at the right of each stamp. A much weaker position dot is also found at the right top of each stamp, but this is probably visible only on proofs in most cases. There is also a green position dot to the left of all positions of the first column (positions #1, 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71, 81, and 91) as well as is positions #4 and #52.
The purple vignette plate has these dots as well but on the printed stamp the two tend to overlap so that a separate discussion of that plate is not needed for plating purposes.
A third plating characteristic is the guideline that crosses the triangles to the left or right of the ’24’. There are eighteen positions where the line crosses on the left: positions 10, 11, 20, 22, 32, 48, 53 (faint), 56 (faint), 57, 59 (faint), 71, 81, 82 (faint), 83 (faint), 86, 93 (faint), 97, and 99.
There are also eighteen positions where the gap is crossed to the right: positions #10, 26, 35, 41, 53 (faint), 56 58 (faint), 59, 60 (faint), 68, 72, 77 (faint), 78 (faint), 82 (faint), 83 (faint), 85, 87, and 100.
There is also a fourth plating analysis possible from a vertical guideline that can be seen across the gap to the lower left of the ‘U’ of ‘U.S.’, the gap just below the vignette at left, in both gaps, and along most of the left side. These lines can be seen as follows: top gap positions 74, 11, 21, 51 (faint), 61 (most of side), 71 (most of side), 81 (bottom gap) and 91 (both gaps). In addition to the three vertical positions where the guideline crosses both vertical gaps, there are five positions where the horizontal guideline crosses both the bottom gaps: positions 10, 53, 56, 82, and 97.
The fifth plating pattern is the green guideline running between stamps horizontally. This can be found between positions 19-20, 24-25, 25-26, 29-30, 41-42, 43-44, 56-57, 69-70, 74-75, 79-80 (partial line), 85-86, 89-90 (strong), 97-98 (from the position dot to 98), 98-99 (from the position dot to 99), and 99-100 (faint line.)
A vertical green guideline can be seen between positions 41-51, and 61-71. A portion of the horizontal guideline that divided the sheet in half is seen between positions 41 and 51 and 50 and 60. There is a horizontal blur at the top between 79 and 80.
A sixth plating characteristic is the portion of guideline showing from the stamp design to the right position dot. The positions involved include: #21, 30, 48, 51, 53, 60, 62, 65, 68 (and beyond), 70, 71, 76, 77, 80 (and beyond), 82, 83, 85, 90, 91, and 100.
There is a guideline from the stamp design to the left position dot in the following positions: 11 (and beyond), 21 (and beyond), 41 (both green frame and purple vignette plate), 61 (to the dot), 71 (through the dot to the sheet margin), 81 (strong line to the dot and beyond), 91 (to the dot).
The imperforate invert position has a position dot that is medium-centered; it has a position dot at bottom both to left and right as in class two. As the imperforate invert does not show the guideline in any of the class three positions we can eliminate them from consideration. In the case of class four positions, the imperforate invert shows none of these guidelines. It also does not show the guidelines of either the class five or class six groups of stamps.
Using the plating characteristics of the six groups above, we can now plate the imperforate invert as position #41. It has the proper dot in the ‘T’, and the strong violet position dot normally found at bottom right transfers to the top left, as it should in an invert when the vignette plate is inverted. Several of the other guideline marks are also available for identification, although the stamp is poorly printed.
The imperforate invert differs from the other 1869 inverts in two unique cases. First, it is the only imperforate invert. Second, it is the only ungrilled invert. Both features make it necessary to consider whether it is a contemporary product or the result of later fiddling as appears to be the case of many of the 30¢ 1869s found without grill.
There are other differences as well. The centering of the vignette in the frame is unusual. It shows a shift downward with parts of the white background at both upper left (quite noticeable) and upper right (a thin line).
Of the numerous photo records of the 24¢ inverts I have1, only #21, the Picher copy, (Trepel’s Table L #16) shows a similar centering. Copy #28, lot 963 in the Laurence & Stryker sale of March 21, 1955 (Trepel’s Table L #11), shows a similar right margin but not the left, while my copy #71 shows the entire frame filled. It is not an item I find among the Trepel photo records.
Another difference is that the vignette is particularly poorly printed, while the frame shows numerous line breaks not found in other examples of position 41. The colors also appear to me to be somewhat off. If this is contemporary, and I have severe reservations that it is, it is a dry print example of printer’s waste and not a stamp that was issued.
It is, I believe, quite safe to state that this is not from the first printing-the one where a cliché error might have occurred. The quality is too poor and the colors don’t match. It has the appearance of printer’s waste produced at the time Mandel arranged for the invert cardboard proofs. A check of the gum may help on this.
Special Position Markings
A number of special singular markings help identify some positions. These include a scratch across the left position dots in position 1, a scratch across the right triangle on position 15, a purple vignette guideline across the left triangle and to the left margin of the sheet on position 41, a vertical blur between positions 21 and 22, a blur of color under the right triangle below position 68, a bit of guideline under the ‘TS’ of ‘CENTS’ below the stamp, a line between 82 and 92 about midway between the stamps that runs a third of the width of the stamp, a dot of color between positions 94 and 95 to the right of the position dot and a blur of color around the upper right position dot on position 94.
Plating the 24¢ Multiples
The most significant of the 24¢ multiples is the bock of four of the inverts that was in the Thorne, Crocker, Souren, Martin, Leslie White, Weill, Ishikawa and most recently the Walske ‘Lafayette’ holding among others. It plates as positions 41-2/51/2. The Charles Schaefer invert pair that was supposedly part of this block removed by Thorne can be shown not to be from positions 61/2 as it lacks the guideline at left, and not to be from 31/32 as it seems to have a guideline across the left triangle of the left stamp. It appears to be from position 53/54, leaving a second invert pair to be the one removed from the Thorne block.
The largest of the unused multiples is the block of nine, ex-Worthington, Lozier, Sinkler, Gibson, Ward, Weill, Klein, Forster and now Walske. It plates as positions 61-3/71/3/82/3. This is particularly interesting as it is trimmed at the right after the perforations as though it came from the right sheet margin. It is sharply detailed and position #73 seems to show sufficient margin between the vignette and the beaded border to suggest it comes from the first printing, lending credence to the story that the first printing had an inverted cliché that never got out. J. Walter Scott noted that he could only buy half sheets of both the 15 and 24¢ stamps when he learned of the inverts. In the Zollner sale, Trepel also reported the existence of an off-centered block of six and one of four.
Figure 5-The ex-Worthington/Walske unused block of nine.
Figure 6-The ex-Bechtel unused block of 4
There are two other centered unused blocks. One is the ex-Grunin, Wunderlich, Ishikawa, Zollner unused block of four plates as positions 22-23/32-33, while the other is the ex-Moody and P. G. Rust block, centered to bottom; all four stamps of which have a dot in the tail of the 24 and a strong double guideline between the top two pairs.
Figure 7-The ex-Grunin/Ishikawa unused block Figure 8-The ex-Moody/Rust unused block of four.
Jon Rose records six used blocks of four not counting the invert block. These are: 1) the ex-Hessel Rose block with a fancy circle of Vs, 2) the Bechtel block with a circular cork cancel on each vignette, 3) the ex-Ishikawa block with a heavy circle of wedges killer (positions 41-41/51-52), 4) the ex-Anderson, Walske block, centered to top right with circle of wedges killers, which seems to plate as 56-57/66-67, 5) the ex-Klein block centered to left with quartered cork killers (positions 72-73/82-83 as told by the guidelines across the bottom gaps, the unusual strength of the violet guidelines and the weak upper left corner of position 83).and the 6) ex-Lopez block with perfs in at right and cork killers.
Figure 12-Klein block
Figure 13-The Waterhouse/Lopez block
The multiples not plated above were not physically available for me to plate conveniently or in good quality color photographs. The black killers make it difficult to see the light colored guidelines in even fairly good color photos. The plated items show the green frame plate #20 appearance on stamps rather than the reduced picture of the full proof sheet.
I have alluded several times to two vignette plates and their use on the issued stamps and would like to suggest that close examination of both the stamps and proofs may well reveal design differences. We know the frame essay was shifted from three border lines in the vignette are to two. I have elsewhere suggested that the small 24 numeral essay vignette was that used for the first printing with plate #20 vignette and that it did not completely fill the space between the frame beads on well-printed examples.
We know that the vignette as shown on the cover of the Sotheby Juhring I sale of June 14, 1978 differs from the one used. The one used is cut down at top, at the left the pen and one background figure is eliminated, and at right one or two background figures are removed. The printed vignette on the essay that sold as lot 1346 in the Sotheby Rudolph Wunderlich sale on February 5-7, 1980 along with the two-border frame differs in shape from the Juhring vignette. It clearly differs over the right doorway and is cut down at left, while being of an odd asymmetrical shape. Which printing was it used for?
Figure 14-The inverted proof sheet made in the 1880s show the green plate characteristics of positions 4-8 and 14-18.
Figure 15–The Charles Schafer invert pair is believed to be positions 53-54.
The Provenance of the 24¢ Inverts
© Copyright Calvet M. Hahn 2003
In the late 1970s I began a major research project to identify all the U.S. inverts including the 1869s. I had already developed index cards with photos and provenance of a large number of the 1869s at the time Scott Trepel began his publication identifying the 1869s. I stopped because his photos were better than mine. For identification purposes in the article I have adopted Trepel’s photo identifications and worked my records around his. All of the 1869 24¢ inverts came ; not the first printing which also had 24¢ inverts, none of which ever reached the public, but from the April through June 1869 printings using frame plate 20 and vignette plate 24.
One of the reasons for identifying the copies was to estimate the total number surviving and the total number printed. Mr. Trepel is quoted by Jon Rose as feeling that the number of recorded 24¢ inverts may reach 90 to 95 copies, and that “as many as five sheets of the 24¢ inverts were issued, the same number as the 15¢.” It is my opinion that these figures are way low in light of the published survival estimates of high value 1869s by Rose and others. Even using the older classic issue 4-6% survival ratio, it would seem the quantity would be between 15 and 25 sheets reached the public.
Unused 24¢ 1869 Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #135 pg. 197
There were four unused 24¢ Inverts in both our lists although six are recorded. Mr. Trepel did not include the C. T. Reid example and the Baron Otto Von Transke-Roseneck example sold in 1899 to a German dealer. Trepel illustrated these in Chronicle #135 (August 1987). By certificate number these are:
H1 242, 2968-Finest example, centered to the right, ‘small thin in grill’, ex H. Phillips (Weill’s big Texas client), purchased by Weill from Phillips. Sold by Weill to Ryohei Ishikawa. Lot 741 in Ishikawa sale September 29, 1993 ($205,000 to ‘Sonny’ Hagendorf). Lot 1332 in Bennett ‘Lafayette’ Walske sale. Exhibited at Amphilex.
H2 26533-Centered to the left and top, good color, fresh, few short perfs, signed Ashbrook. ex Scott Stamp & Coin, to Philip Ward, who sold it to Wharton Sinkler, to M. Heathcote. This example seems to be the one, centered slightly to left with PF certificate offered by Weill in a Mekeel ad of May 10, 1948 for $625. It was lot 239 Harmer Hindes sale January 23, 1968 to Weill ($10,000); lot 2231 Kelleher sale 1974 ($10,000).
H3 37170, 41107-Centered to top and right with two tiny margin creases, ex-Lichtenstein, possibly the Ayer copy, lot 478 Worthington sale at Morgenthau August 21, 1917 ($2,850), lot 394 Phillips Hind sale November 20-24, 1933 ($1,400 to Gibson) lot 86 John Fox sale December 18, 1953 ($1,300), lot 110 L. Gerber sale July 8, 1954, lot 128 H. R. Harmer sale.
H4 No certificate-Centered to right and bottom, nibbed perforation top center acquired pre 1889 by Tapling. It is now in the Tapling collection in the British Library.
H5 1665, 58071-Position 41, the unique imperforate example that was inserted by Scott into the Ferrari XIV sale as lot 331. It was not part of the Ferrari holding ($ ). It next surfaced in the Colonel Green collection where it sold as lot 20 in the Eugene Costales Green XIX sale of February 19-23, 1945. The 24-cent imperforate 1869 invert subsequently appeared with the other uncanceled 1869 imperforates in the Lilly sale held at Siegel February 2, 1967, where it was lot 219. It more recently sold as lot 96 in the William A. Kelly March 16, 1989 sale of Steve Ivy, where it was acquired by David Zlowe ($30,000).
The 24-cent imperforate invert has also appeared at a number of other auctions among which are the Siegel sale of April 23, 1970 (lot 142 $4,750), the Siegel Rarities sale of March 27, 1974 (lot 78 $21,000) and the Rarities sale of April 14, 1984 (lot 285 $52,500 to the book). It most recently appeared in the Walske ‘Lafayette’ sale at Matthew Bennett May 2, 2003 as lot 1334.
Used 24¢ 1869 Cover and Multiples
Among the used invert items are a unique cover and three multiples, the block of four, and two pairs, one of which was ex-Thorne and then apparently ex-Chapman from whom it was stolen the last day of the 1911 International; there is no report of recovery and the stamps were apparently separated into singles.
H6 1960 PFC and 11718-Illustrated by Trepel as figure 39 on page 191 of Chronicle #159. The unique cover with a large sealed tear to Common Please Court Clerk, Paducah, KY, docketed March 10, 1874 has a 24¢, centered to bottom (perfs into design) and right along with a 3¢ green (Scott 147), both killed by quartered cork. It was offered, ex Ackerman, as lot 491B off cover, but replaced and hinged back on the cover, in the Laurence & Stryker sale of December 14, 1959 ($700 to SL). It next surfaced as lot 287 in the 1984 Siegel Rarities selling to the book for $75,000 (John Dupont who consigned it told Mr. Siegel in my presence that Mr. Siegel now owned it as there had been no reserve.) It most recently was lot 1338 in the Walske sale at Bennett.
H7 Block of four-This well-centered block has segmented cork killers, the upper left stamp has a marginal scrape and tiny thin in the grill. Exhibited at Amphilex.
Discovered in the 1880s by Thomas Ridpath, a well-known Liverpool stamp dealer as a block of six on a package wrapper addressed to a Liverpool import firm. Sold to ‘office boys for £5 who sold it to Henry Collins of Scott in December 1888. Collins, in turn, sold the block for $200 to William Thorne of New York, who collected blocks of four. Thorne split the block into the surviving block of four (exhibited in 1889 at the Eden Musée show, and again in 1897 at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolors), and a pair (apparently the pair that was stolen from Chapman at the 1911 International and never recovered so it may now be two singles).
Thorne sold the block to A. W. Batchelder of New England Stamp who sold it back to Thorne and in the Thorne dispersal Crocker bought it for $800. It was lot 285 in the Harmer, Rooke Crocker sale of November 23-25, 1938 selling for £2,500 or $12,500 to Y. Souren (in a philatelic first transatlantic telephone bid arrangement with his agent, Theodore Behr) who sold it to E. B. Martin that year and bought it back. Souren then sold it to Leslie White (not the death bed purchase story in which Weill supposedly bought it from Souren) who sold it to Weill. After several private sales and repurchases (one supposedly to Adolph Menjou and the other to H. Phillips), Weill sold the block to Ryohei Ishikawa.
It was lot 746 in the Christie’s September 28-29, 1993 sale selling to Scott Trepel for the reserve of $450,000. Mr. Trepel placed it with Walske in whose ‘Lafayette’ dispersal at Bennett May 2, 2003 saw this as lot 1341.
H9-A fine horizontal pair sold as lot 354 in the F. W. Hunter sale at Scott January 10-18, 1900 ($242). This is probably the Thorne pair that went to Chapman. If the stolen Chapman pair is the Thorne pair, and was broke to disguise it, it would have similar cork killers to the block and would have had to come from the left side where portions of the block’s killers would not be visible on the stamps. There are seven single items that fit this: (H13, H17, H43, H47, H61, H66, and H86.)
Mr. Trepel suggests that the Thorne block was accompanied by two singles rather than a pair and in Chronicle #162 indicates that these could be found among H43, H66 and H86 because of comparative centering to the bottom. However, they could not have made a vertical pair among them due to the killers. More likely would be H13, reperfed on all sides and H47 with clipped perfs at top. The vignette centering is right and the reperfing and clipped top could have been used to disguise stolen stamps. The killers also look to be correctly angled.
H10 13742, 33103-Trepel’s figure 40 on page 191 of Chronicle #159. This is a rich colored VF pair with a neat black cork rosette killer. I record it in the John Fox sale of February 20, 1961 as lot 85 selling for $4,000 to Cole. It was lot 83 in the Siegel 1970 Rarities and as lot 84 in the Siegel sale of January 9, 1973 selling to AL for $13,000. I next record it as lot 2072 in the Kelleher Charles Schaefer sale of February 1, 1974.
Used Centered 24¢ Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #151, pg. 188
There are two used items I have not identified. One was lot 88 in the Cleveland sale of February 10, 1961 that sold for $1,200 to Van Rucker and the other is lot 353 in the Christies sale of October 3, 1984 that sold to the telephone for $9,500. Both may be listed below. Among the 82 used 24¢ 1869 inverts in Trepel’s list there are five that he classed as centered. They are illustrated in Chronicle #151. These are:
H11 No certificate-Light segmented black cork killer, nibbed 7th down left side perf, large margins, brilliant color sound. Lot 194 Moody sale at H. R. Harmer November 6, 1950 ($2,000), lot 161 ‘Ambassador’ sale at Siegel April 27, 1966 ($4,600 to Weill), lot 70 Siegel 1971 Rarities ($8,500), and Grunin sale at Siegel April 15, 1975.
H12 46536-Circle of 8 wedges, short perfs and a nick, described as having margins added all around. Lot Siegel sale January 6, 1975.
H13 RPS certificate-Segmented cork killer. Fine appearance repaired, reperforated all sides. Lot 61 Harmer, Rooke sale November 9, 1954 ($425), Harmer sale February 4, 1975.
H14 No certificate-Circle of wedges rosette killer, bright fresh colors, three sides reperfed. Lot 194 Siegel sale May 9, 1957 ($425), lot 182 at Harmer January 19, 1971.
H15 No certificate-Cork killer reperforated on at least one side, tiny sealed tear. Lot 82 Siegel March 24, 1970 ($950).
H16 133724-Centered, invisible repair, good color /s/W.H.C., corner perf crease. Lot 186 Heiman Green sale January 8, 1946 ($475), lot 494 Harmer sale February 17, 1970 ($6,750 DES), illustrated lot 286 Siegel 1984 Rarities (18,000 to Rose), lot 635 in Siegel Rose sale September 27, 1987 ($26,000 to agent).
H17 (unknown photo not matching Trepel’s)-Centered, black segmented cork killer, vignette fills its space, two long perfs above ‘OS’ of POSTAGE.
Used Centered Top Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #156 page 267
H18 No certificate-Heavy cork killer, large filled thin and pinholes, Mozian sale March 1949; Wunsch sale at Siegel May 12, 1978.
H19 12169-Cork killer, short perfs ‘extensively repaired.
H20 Holcomb certificate-Lightened segmented light cork killer, pinpoint thin 1-mm tiny tear in margin, pressed out crease, Lot 647 Newbury II Siegel October 17, 1961 (2,700 to K), lot 1324 Wunderlich Sotheby sale of February 5-7, 1980, Lot 11487 in Feldman May 23-25, 1988 ($23,000).
H21 157926-Reperforated at right, circular cork cancel.
Centered Top and Left (illustrated Chronicle #156 page 268
H22 2952-Thin, light quartered cork cancel, Lot 103 Fifield sale May 31, 1961 ($750 JEM).
H23 No certificate-Tiny paper fold near lower right corner, one of finest, circle of wedges rosette killer. Lot 32 Costales Green sale XXVIII October 26-November 1, 1946.
H24 9656-Corner crease, circle of 8 wedges rosette. Lot 379 Fox sale October 28, 1958 and lot 64 John Fox sale March 1984, Southeastern Stamp sale January 24, 1985 lot 1244.
H25 15398-Vivid color, few blunt perfs at right from scissor cut. Light cork killer. Lot 255 in Ferrari VII sale, lot 296 in Harmer Rooke Duckworth sale December 11, 1962 ($1,000 to Dales), lot 114 Siegel October 6, 1964 sale ($1,100), Siegel sale January 7, 1972
H26 16731-Left perfs touch, corner perf crease, and light black cork killer. Lot 59 Daniels November 5, 1953 ($475), lot 82 Stolow May 23, 1963 sale ($1,200 to book), lot 314 Wolffers September 16, 1976 sale ($3,500).
H27 880, 137039-Fresh color, sound with circle of 8 wedges rosette killer, bit of red town transit ‘W O’ cds (New Orleans), lot 137 1980 Rarities ($11,500 to book).
H28 58870-Left perfs cut into design, with cork killer. Possibly lot 137 in Sanabria sale of May 8, 1939, Spencer Anderson ad June 10, 1942 net $600, lot 963 Laurence & Stryker March 21, 1955 ($470), lot 113 Fox sale June 30, 1964 tear announced on floor ($950 HM), Stolow sale December 13, 1972, lot 84 sale January 28, 2974 and Stolow sale December 1, 1975.
H29 3507-Nibbed bottom perf. Cork killer. Lot 136 Sanabria sale May 8, 1939, lot 209 Fox sale October 16, 1956, ($560), Christies’ October 6, 1987.
H30 47177-‘Tiny defect at top’ cork killer.
H31 (No Trepel photo but his figure 14) No certificate-Light segmented cork cancel, town cds through 24 at bottom, ‘minor marginal faults’ illustrated as lot 137 Gerber sale April 7, 1957. This seems to be identical to H32, which sold to Gerber although there may be differences in the top perforations.
H32 No certificate-Closed tear at right, perfs touch at left, circle of wedges rosette killer, small repair. No tear, lot 2 Picher sale Ward October 23, 1946; lot 120, Heiman sale May 6,1953 ($360), no tear, lot 58 Apfelbaum sale June 23, 1961 ($930 to Gerber), lot 107 September 9, 1961 with tear, filled-in thin ($740 to book), lot 44 Mercury sale December 5, 1962 $700 to Edgewood), lot 121 Simmy sale June 19, 1964 ($1,275).
H33 No certificate-Very rich colors, small creases, light cork killer one grill point has pinhole, lot 114, Harmer Rooke January 13, 1953 ($450), lot 70 Siegel February 24, 1966 sale ($1,300).
Centered Top and Right Illustrated Chronicle #156 pg. 269
H34 20034-Light blue cork killer and part of red town cds at bottom, perfs touch at right, upper right corner perf crease. This may be lot 223 in Clarence Eagle sale at Kelton & Sloane June 22-23, 1923 ($102.50) as it is the only one noted as very lightly cancelled, lot 3674 Laurence & Stryker Col. Green II October 5-8, 1942, lot 309A Stamp Auction sale May 5, 1952, lot 2128 Sotheby Samuel Kharasch sale November 20, 1978 ($5,750), lot 123 Siegel sale December 3, 1985.
H35 23993-Reperfed at left, closed tear, light crease, blue killer (1 of three recorded). Lot 1138 John Fox September 24, 1957 ($700), lot 384 Siegel August 9, 1966 ($1,050), lot 1118 Siegel April 4, 1967 ($700), Siegel sale January 26, 1971, Herst sale May 12, 1971, Mohrmann sale October 15, 1973, Schepke & Lang sale December 5, 1974, lot 2098 Siegel sale of a European 1869 holding, ($4,750 WL), lot 251 Shreve February 23-24, 2001 ($6,000).
H36 15851-Small closed tear, odd cork killer and partial Cincinnati cds. Lot 162 Harmer Rooke sale March 7, 1963, lot 86 Siegel 1965 Rarities ($875).
H37 5911-Few short perfs circular cork killer. Lot 142 Harmer Rooke Curie sale May 3, 1939, lot 598 (ex-Curie slight stain) Harmer Ltd June 17, 1955 ($672), Lot 143 Harmer Rooke sale of October 15, 1957 (withdrawn noted as skillfully repaired but offered as sound). Trepel records as ex-Waterhouse.
H38 42475–Defective, short perfs, closed tear, segmented cork killer. Lot 568 Harmer sale November 10, 1952 ($330), lot 163 Harmer, Rooke sale March 6, 1963, lot 115 Rasdale sale January 24, 1979.
H39 No certificate-Fresh bright colors, described by Siegel as reperfed at top, light marginal corner crease, short perfs at right, red 5-bar grid killer. Lot 46 Siegel sale February 27, 1964 ($1,350 book), lot 182 September 12, 1979 sale and the Siegel Dr. Don Silsby sale June 1980.
H40 No certificate-New discovery, corner crease, short sealed tear, cork killer. Lot Christie’s June 13, 1989 sale.
H41 No certificate, no Trepel photo-‘Reperfed faded vignette’, light NYC segmented cork killer and traces of a red cds. Lot 104 Christie’s ‘Troy’ sale April 21, 1983. ($6,300 to telephone.)
Centered to Bottom Illustrated Chronicle #159 page 188-9
H41 112529-Small filled in thin and closed tear at left, reperfed at top. Segmented cork killer with parts of red NYC transit cds at top. Lot 257 in Harmer Rooke Col. Green VIII ‘Storrow’ sale May 26-28, 1943, lot 574 Siegel sale July 22-23, 1981 ($5,750 to Sachs), Bruce Curhan’s ad in Linn’s May 1, 1983 ($8,500).
H42 12683-Bottom perfs touch, small tear at left. Sold in Harmer Richard Engel sale May 23, 1950, Christie’s Frank G. Back stock sale March 12-13, 1991.
H43 133724-Perf crease at upper right, segmented cork killer, blue W.H.C. backstamp. Lot 186 in Heiman Col. Green sale January 1946 ($475), Harmer sale February 18, 1970, lot Siegel 1984 Rarities, lot 635 in Jon Rose sale September 27, 1997 ($26,000).
H44 23664-Cleaned to erase part of smudged cork 8 wedge rosette killer also erasing part of design, poor color as a result several pressed out perf creases. Lot 136 in Robson Lowe May 16, 1966 sale (£550 ($1,550), lot 228 in 1987 Siegel Rarities ($8,500 to Hugh Clark).
H45 No Certificate-Faulty, unusual four squares cork killer. Lot 46 Harmer Rooke sale January 11, 1955 ($460).
H46 6040-Short perf at top left, blue circle of 8 wedges rosette killer. Lot 500 in John Fox sale June 18, 1955 as repaired ($440), sold as VF as lot 110 in 1977 Siegel Rarities $7,500.
H47 144131-Clipped perfs at top, faint creases, small tear at bottom, Lot Herst sale February 6, 1964.
H48, 31050-Two tiny top margin tears over ‘G’ of POSTAGE, stain, faint crease on all top margin perfs, single nibbed perf at bottom, neat black 8-wedge rosette killer. Lot 653 in Waterhouse sale, Puttick & Simpson November 11-14, 1924 (£75), Harmer sale May 28, 1964, lot 62 in Harmer sale May 25, 1969 ($4,800), Robson Lowe Americana sale lot 140 in sale of October 8, 1974 didn’t sell, illustrated lot 105 Siegel 1976 Rarities ($4,250), lot 97 Siegel 1979 Rarities ($9,000), lot 243 Siegel 1982 Rarities ($9,000 to JK customer)
H49-Perfs touch design at bottom, lot 200 in Kelleher Col. Green III sale October 17, 1942, lot 156 in John Fox sale April 21, 1952 (est. $1,200).
The Invert Block of 4 falls into this class.
Centered to Bottom Left Illustrated Chronicle #159 page 189
H50 55126, 121309-Certificate says reperfed at left (Trepel disagrees), some nibbed perfs on this side. Circle of wedges rosette killer Ward West sale, illustrated in color lot 55 J. Kaufmann Gems December 4, 1982, light rosette of wedges killer, portion red transit at upper left, lot 133 John Kaufmann June 1, 1983.
H51 331 33744 50374-Small tear at bottom, light crease, faint killer, way off-center perforated. Lot 162 in Harmer Rooke ‘Allen’ sale of May 23-24, 1950, lot 269 Stolow sale of June 2, 1954, lot 60 in Stolow sale November 8, 1962, lot 32 Harmer Rooke sale November 17, 1970 ($1,000), lot 95 with certificate October 19,1971, July 6, 1972, lot 96 Schiff sale November 19, 1972, lot 201l in Kelleher Schafer sale of February 1, 1974, lot 5164 in Corinphila sale of May 30, 1974, and again in a 1975 Kelleher sale estimated $6,000, lot 285 in the Christie’s Frank Back sale of March 12, 1991.
H52 8502 219845–Red town cds, filled-in thin, Lot 282 Siegel sale August 27, 1957 ($560), lot 4939 Schiff Lopez I sale December 1, 1989, lot in Christie’s Frank G. Back stock sale.
H53 28145-Repaired and rebacked to conceal flaws leaving pink look, 2½ margins added, cork killer with red transit cds at lower left, lot 89 Siegel Rarities March 28, 1968 ($1,600 JC), lot 276 Siegel sale February 9, 1971, offered Sotheby sale October 1979, Lot 3 Schiff sale December 10, 1981 ($4,400 to book).
H54 32217 -‘Internal crease in grill’, minor corner perf crease, Circle of 8 wedges ‘rosette’ killer. Signed ‘H.F.C.’ (Colman) Siegel sale November 25, 1969, illustrated in color on cover as lot 108 J. Kaufmann Gems November 22, 1977, lot 583 Siegel A. T. Seymour sale November 25-26, 1964, lot 744 in Ishikawa sale ($16,000 to Colombian Stamp).
H55 115790-Fresh bright color, sound, minor crease, light black cork killer similar to H52 but different centering and perfs. Lot 197 Stolow sale June 6, 1983, American Philatelic Brokers July 1983, Frank G. Back stock sale at Christie’s.
H56 122789-Bright fresh color, corner perf crease, black four-segment cork killer, backstamped ‘S. L. Insur.’ Lot 612 Shanahan sale June 14, 1958 ($825), lot 442 Shanahan sale August 30, 1958 ($665), lot 513 Shanahan November 15, 1958 ($770), upper right corner missing or repaired lot 1476 Sotheby sale July 127, 1983 ($8,000)
H57 no certificate-Small repairs, cork killer. Lot 124 Kelleher Albert Claflin sale November 16, 1957 (510), Harmer sale October 1974.
H58 no certificate-Fine appearing, faint toning, and upper right perf creased, thin spot, circle of 8 wedges rosette. Lot 83 Harmer Rooke sale March 22, 1949 ($310), lot 104 Siegel 1978 Rarities ($1,050).
H59 179203-Sound one of the finest, circle of 8 wedges rosette killer. Lot 278 Harmer sale June 17, 1980, Lot 647 Siegel Sheriff sale December 11-12, 1984 ($19,000 withdrawn).
H60 190753-Margins added and parts drawn in. Cork killer.
H61 190753 RPS 190753-Sound, part of red transit, segmented cork killer. Lot 1162 Balasse Consul Klep sale March 27-8, 1956, lot 811 Siegel Clifford C. Cole sale February 24-26, 1988.
H62 No certificate, no Trepel photo-Margin tear at upper left, light quartered cork killer, several light creases. Lot 608 Siegel sale February 27, 1976 ($5,750 to book).
Centered to Bottom Right Illustrated Chronicle #159 pages 191
H63 59552-Creases. Circle of 8 wedges rosette killer, Lot 612 Harmer Hessel sale June 10, 1976.
H64 No certificate-Creases, Circle of 8 wedges rosette killer. Lot 269 Stolow sale June 2, 1954 ($1,200).
H65 6161-Sound, circle of wedges rosette killer. Sold in Harmer sale May 2, 1979,
H66 10326-Closed tears at top and bottom, nibbed perf, segmented cork squares killer. Lot 144 Apfelbaum sale March 25, 1959, lot 248 Gerber private treaty offer October 7, 1959 ($660).
H67 31427, 144305-Badly faded vignette, closed tear at bottom, heavy cork killer. Lot 384 John Fox sale June 6, 1956 ($510), Gerber lot 111, June 16, 1965 ($250 bid no sale), lot 242A Kelleher sale March 23, 1968 ($775), lot 70 with certificate Eastland sale December 11-12, 1969 ($850), lot 2070 in Kelleher Schafer sale February 1, 1974 (now missing 6th perf on right),
H68 no Trepel photo-This may be the Sloane MacLaren sale item offered as lot 419 January 10, 1929, Siegel sale, lot 138 Harmer Prestige sale October 27, 1983 lightened climatic staining mostly on back ($6,250 to IW), Irwin Weinberg private treaty January 1986 with toning specks on back and described as exceptionally fresh with vignette not faded, part of killer in left margin differentiating it from 31427 ($9,750 net), Kelleher sale February 1, 1979.
H69 43592-Cork killer, which covers all of the ‘2’ and most of the ‘4’ in 24, vignette not badly faded, closed tear at bottom. Eugene Klein ad December 10, 1938,
H70 116415-Sound, Cork killer.
H71 20402-Trepel’s figure 29. Fine sound example, Red and black killers. Harris net price advertisement October 31, 1958, lot 390 Harmer Ltd. February 25, 1964 ($1,550)
H72 no certificate-Centered to bottom, but not touch perfs, light black rosette of 8 wedges, 1½-mm tear upper right and closed tear in left margin, /s/ W.H.C. (Colson). Lot 94 Harmer Rooke Col. Green sale June 26, 1941, lot 426 Fifield sale March 30, 1948 ($600), lot 179 Daniels sale November 19, 1952 ($400).
H73 no certificate no Trepel photo-Small hole in grill, Black circle of 8 wedges rosette killer. Mercury sale June 3, 1970.
H74 no certificate-Part of red ‘PD’ in oval, cork killer, lot 120 Siegel 1978 Rarities (5500), lot 168 1981 Siegel Rarities (8,500).
H75 no certificate—Corner perf crease, bottom perfs into frame, smudged cork killer. Siegel sale June 12, 1980.
H76 no certificate-Sound? Circle of 8 wedges rosette killer. John Fox sale April 21, 1952.
H77 141417-Small repairs closing tears at left center, faintly cancelled, fresh colors. Lot 407 at Caspary sale Harmer November 19-21, 1956 ($580), lot 353 Christie’s October 3, 1984 ($9,500 to phone.)
H78 no certificate-Top perfs clipped off, thin spot, black circle of wedges rosette killer, lot 119 John Fox sale January 18, 1961 ($675 to book), lot 385 Siegel sale August 9, 1966 ($475 to SR).
H79 no certificate no Trepel photo-Right margin and perforations added, Segmented cork killer. The Tapling collection example.
Centered Left Inverts illustrated Chronicle #153 pg. 38
H80 29686-Sound, circle of 8 wedges rosette killer
H81 33104-Tiny ink spot on back, circle of 8 wedges rosette killer along with part of red oval ‘PD’ cancel. Advertised byLevitt in Stamps October 16, 1971 ($5,500), January 1972 which stated ‘only a dozen used 24¢ 1869 inverts exist’, lot 81 Siegel 1970 Rarities ($3,400), lot 374 Kelleher sale January 30, 1976.
H82 448, 38542, 61384-Bright fresh colors, faint internal crease and tiny tear at top, Circle of 8 wedges rosette killer. Lot 37 Harmer Rooke Col. Green XVII sale November 13, 1944, Siegel March 25, 1969 sale, June 4, 1970 sale and April 6-7, 1972 sale, lot 5165 Corinphila A. Richard Engel sale May 10, 1975.
H83 no certificate-Corner creases, circle of 8 wedges rosette killer, lot John Fox sale June 26, 1958.
H84 No certificate-Short blunt scissor-cut perfs at right, perfs touch frame at left, unusually vivid colors, very light circle of wedges rosette killer. This was lot 255 in the Ferrari VII sale, where the killer appeared to be heavy. It next sold with a light killer as lot 276 in the Harmer Rooke Duckworth sale December 11, 1962 ($1,000 to Dairs), lot 114 Siegel sale October 7, 1964 ($1,100 to book), Siegel sale April 6-7, 1972.
H85 No certificate-Small tear, corner crease, circle of wedges killer, Ex-Matthies Siegel sale November 14, 1973.
Centered Right Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #153 page 39
H86 35158, 169765 BPA certificate-Good color tiny thin spot but described as ‘EF one of finest’, segmented squares cork killer, trace of red cancel at upper left. Lot 32o in Harmer sale January 18, 1965 ($1,200), lot 560 in Harmer sale of October 13, 1970 ($1,900), lot 167 Kelleher sale June 13, 1971, lot 3006 Schiff sale November 21, 1971 ($3,800), lot 2275 in Corinphila sale February 24, 2980, lot 285 in Superior Pepperdine sale of October 29-30, 1984, Wiltshire Stamp Co. sale April 1, 1981 ($26,000).
H87 No certificate-Short perfs at left, horizontal crease, cork killer. Sold Kelleher sale February 28, 1971.
H88 No certificate-Reperfed at top with thin spot in grill, cork killer. Siegel sale August 14, 1968.
The following items do not appear to match or are omitted from the Trepel photos:
ANALYSIS OF A 30¢ COVER FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO COGNAC, FRANCE DECEMBER 15, 1869.
©Calvet M. Hahn 1999
This item received a negative opinion in an earlier Philatelic Foundation decision. It came to me with an interesting analysis by Walter Mader of the auction house of Ivy and Mader, which featured it on its front cover. However, Mr. Mader did not discuss several important areas that I felt need discussing.
1) Possible Registry–The first point is one raised by a note from the Stanley Gibbons firm on the back, which suggests the rate involves registration. At this time the registry rate was 15¢ and would account for the extra 15¢ just as well as Mr. Mader’s double weight thesis. However, as there is no indication on the cover or in its contents, this potential explanation falls by the way.
2) Dubious Correspondences–Jon Roses’s 1869 Census book notes a large number of 30¢ 1869 covers including a list of 27, which were fraudulent, to which my expertizing notes add three. This cover is not on either list. Among the dubious material are six examples from California. Among the unchallenged 58 covers, on two come from California, one along-the example cited by Richard Searing-is from San Francisco. Consequently we can conclude that 30¢ 1869 covers from San Francisco were a major area of operation for fakers, with 20% of all the known fakes being from San Francisco correspondences. Michael Laurence in his article in Opinions V, noted,
“Covers to France are favored victims of such tinkerers.…The first thing that might raise suspicion about the illustrated cover (PFC #120843, which is not this San Francisco cover) is the position of the stamp. By 1869, the practice of placing stamps in the upper right corner of the envelope had been well established. Any cover from this era (or later)-especially from a business correspondence-on which the stamp occupies some other position ought to be scrutinized with extra care.”
3) Routing–Mr. Mader did not discuss the routes involve with this cover. Checking the Richard Winter book on transatlantic sailings, one finds the French line steamer, Ville de Paris, departed New York on December 25, 1869 and reached Brest January 5, 1870, after the end of the Franco-American treaty. Thus this is a cusp cover. In point of fact there were two departures Christmas Day from America-the other via the Inman Line and only one later in 1869-A Cunarder sailing of December 29th. The dates on this cover do fit the French steamer sailing.
On November 3, 1869, the U.S. published a confirmation of its much older decision to suspend the French mail treaty. This is found on page 164 of George Hargest’s work and was also printed in the United States Mail & Post Office Assistant December issue which was sent out December 1st or 2nd, so that both New York and San Francisco would have been aware of the change prior to the posting of this letter. This letter, if determined to be genuine, would have had to go on the last trip under the French direct treaty mail. The Cunard voyage would have been ‘open mail’ via England.
In France, a decree of December 22, 1869 provided that letters arriving in France after January 1, 1870, which this letter supposedly did, were subject to a collection of 80 centimes (8 decimes) per ten grams. No such rating is found on this cover. Only by construing that arrival on the Ville de Paris is equivalent to arriving in France would this degree not apply to this letter as it did not reach Brest before January 1, 1870. New York City practice generally was to postmark letters on the day or the day prior to departure and foreign vessels with agents tended to mark arriving letters under their control the same day, which answers one of Mr. Mader’s questions regarding procedure.
4) Credit Marking-The ’12’ in the New York cds reflects a credit to France of a single rated letter carried by French Packet (French inland and sea postage being 12¢ and the U.S. inland being 3¢) Major ports and exchange offices, such as both New York and San Francisco, had clerks well-versed in the rates. They almost never made errors in rating, unlike inland postoffices or individuals who would put stamps on covers. Both the London and Paris offices were also well staffed with knowledgeable clerks and their ratings concurred with those of New York.
5) Overpayments-Mr. Mader made a valid point in noting that the sender, Pascal, Duredat had used overpayments of postage in at least four other cases on its letters. These are on a correspondence to Loano, Italy (near Genoa on the Italian Rivera in what was the Two Sicilies).
These covers are to be seen in the Siegel sales of March 27, 1997 (lots 1072 and 1073), 10/29/96 (lot 549) and 12/14/95 (lot 939). Each shows a 40¢ payment in stamps when the postage for closed mail to Italy was 30¢ or less during the relevant period from January 1868 to March 1870. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the overpayment on this cover to France is part of a pattern of the company’s practice e of overpaying.
6) Difficulty of forgery-It would be difficult to fake the killer on the stamp as both it and the killer on the cover are identifiable by a tiny break in the bottom ‘V’, which extends into the corner of the ‘V’ above it. Both are found in the same position. This is a point that forgers in the Zareski era didn’t recognize. Mr. Zareski, the proposed forger, also had little or no knowledge of ship sailings so that his additions don’t fit the appropriate dates when stamps were added, just as he had little knowledge of rates and receiving markings, which was not common knowledge until my write-up of the Leon Reusille holdings in the Zimmerman sales of 1972-3 and George Hargest’s transatlantic mail book published circa 1972. Further most early forgeries were not done under UV so that that test usually will indicate when something was added.
7) Matching the San Francisco killer-Although I had been unable quickly to locate a direct match for this San Francisco killer, I do know the time gap in which it could appear is fairly narrow. Different killers were used by January 14, 1870 (lot 1579 in the ‘Patrick Henry’ sale shows a quartered cork while San Francisco was using a different cork in plum color prior to October 21, 1869 as seen on lot 28 in the Sotheby Ishikawa ‘U.S. in Japan’ sale.)
As I have noted on other covers, I do not have the San Francisco postmark book for a detailed listing of killers and their dates of use. However, studies I have done regarding the fancy killers of Waterbury suggest only a very narrow frame for a given cork killer due to wear at a major office such as San Francisco. However, I don’t accept Mr. Mader’s description of the black mark on the left edge of the cover as being part of the San Francisco duplex; rather it looks like part of a killer not the cds due to its irregularity.
Dr. Irwin Heimburger, the potential purchaser of this cover, supplied a potential match for the killer from one in his holding on a cover from San Francisco to Florence, Italy posted December 8, 1869, which transited New York on December 15, 1869 on the Cunarder Cuba, according to the Winter transatlantic sailings book and arrived at Queenstown Christmas Day 1869. The 10¢ 1869 is not recorded in the Michael Laurence 1986 records in the 1869 Census book.
This cover with 10¢ 1869 and 5¢ Jefferson stamps was posted at San Francisco December 8, 1869 reached New York on the 15th to be put on the Cunarder Cuba for transit via Queenstown on December 25th to its destination Florence, Italy. There is a crack in the wedge section struck over the left ’10’ of the 1869 (as well as seen in the strike on the Jefferson stamp), which is not seen on the 30¢ cover. The killers are similar, being in the same family, but not identical.
The problem with this 10¢ cover is the fact that the double strikes of the killer obscure the tiny identifying breaks. It may well be that the strikes on this cover and those on the 30¢ cover may be identical or they may be only closely related. While this 10¢ cover does narrow the time gap discussed above, there is a crack across the wedge over the left ’10’ of the eagle stamp, which is not seen on the 30¢ cover; this indicates the two strikes, while probably related, are not identical.
8) Stamp Substitution Possibility-Mr. Mader is correct in his analysis that this stamp has been on the cover for a long time. Under UV an impression of the adhesive can be seen on the verso in precisely the location of the present stamp as indicated by shining the UV lamp through the stamp and observing the verso. It is not off-measure, as might occur with a substituted stamp, particularly one of a different series and shape of the 1869 stamps. Further, the impression is also transferred to the sheet opposite the verso. In my studies, this does not occur unless the stamp was put on over 100 years early, more likely closer to 150 years. There is also no sign under UV examination of a substitution on the face of the cover. The UV examination also did not indicate a damaged or thinned 30¢ adhesive or evidence that a cancel was removed.
Conclusion: The 30¢ 1869 stamp originated on this cover and represents an overpayment of the single 15¢ rate, possibly because the sender wished to insure the cover would be sent prepaid despite any possibility of overweight questions. The cover also has extra pizzass as representing the last trip under the U.S. French direct treaty rate.
The proposed forger, Michael Zareski, was practically out of business by the time this cover first surfaced in 1966 so if he was involved, the work would have had to be done earlier. As Stanley Ashbrook noted in his condemnations of Zareski, the man did not understand rates and routes and most of his forgeries are readily detected because of that flaw. More important, Zareski’s technique was to create ‘ties’ rather than full cancellations; he also changed the dates of covers to fit his creations. His recorded fakes do not show that he had either the knowledge or talent to pick up the subtle shading of breaks in cancellations he was faking.
The Provenance of the 30¢ 1869 Inverts
© Copyright Calvet M. Hahn 2003
The 30¢ invert was the last of the 1869 inverts to be recorded in philatelic literature. It was first cataloged in the 1876 Scott Catalog, when the discovery copy went into the Sanford collection. As late as December 1887, this Sanford, Sterling (lot 164), Thorne copy was the only example reported; however the following April Charles Phillips purchased an example at auction for $35. By April 1891, Phillips had handled several used examples, but was not aware of the unused example that had gone into the Tapling holding, now in the British Library. At that time he reported purchasing an unused example, which went into the Avery holding; it sold to Peckett in 1909. There are records that both Caspary and Gibson had unused examples, but the Caspary sale doesn’t show one. The Gibson copy was no gum and fine centered; it came from Ward who acquired it from Rachitoff.
In Chronicle #135 (August 1987), Scott Trepel illustrated five of the seven-recorded unused examples; the sixth was illustrated as figure 2 on page 122 of Chronicle #138, and the seventh was on page 189 of Chronicle #151 (August 1991). He listed them by Philatelic Foundation certificate number as follows:
H1 66364-traces of o.g. ‘thin spot, corner perf strengthened’ ‘W.H.C.’ backstamp’ ex Col. Green (Harmer, Rooke sale VIII lot 262); Christies Frank Back sale March 12-13, 1991, lot 188.
H2 No certificate–This appears to be the ex-Hind, Duveen, Avery example. ‘Short 12th bottom perforation.’ Ex-Col. Green Harmer Rooke sale 11/13/44 lot 38. Lot 126 Siegel sale of 5/312/72 sold to U.S. Trust ($32,000), Siegel 1975 Rarities lot 103 sold to Weill for $32,500.
H3 33196-Well centered, rich color, tiny top wrinkle. Ex Siegel 1970 Rarities, lot 86 $3,200 purchased for Weill Texas client; repurchased in 1979 by Weill, Siegel 1981 Rarities lot 173 ($125,000). Sold privately to Ishikawa. September 29, 1993 Ishikawa sale lot 742 $105,000 to Ivy).
H4 3618 (also 13195)-centered to left and bottom, bright fresh color, ex-Ferrari, Green (November 1944 Harmer, Rooke sale lot 38), February 11, 1954 John Fox sale lot 394 ($4,800), Harmer sale October 10, 1960 lot 130 to Dumont for $6,000. Lot 173 Siegel 1981 Rarities ($125,000)
H5 29687-Centered to left ‘defective, reperforated at left’, ex H. Phillips, purchased by Weill from Phillips, sold to Ryohei Ishikawa;
H6 26534-centered to top and right ‘Faint staining’, signed by Ashbrook, ex-M. Heathcote, ex-Hindes Harmer sale January 23, 1968 lot 240 sold to Weill $13,500; Kelleher sale February 1, 1974 lot 2232.
H7 232679-Well-centered, fresh color, part o.g. This was ex-Worthington/ Lichtenstein sold as lot 480 in the Worthington sale at J. C. Morgenthau August 21-23, 1917 to John Klemann for $3,550; It has the ‘W.H.C.’ guarantee backstamp of Colson; sold Christies 1991 $175,000; lot 1333 Walske ‘Lafayette’ sale
Mr. Trepel listed 37 used 30¢ 1869s beginning in Chronicle #138 (May 1988) with five wide-spaced used examples, his figures 3-7. I believe he has missed the two in Waterhouse and the Ferrari example, which is different from the Green example reputed to be ex-Ferrari. The Earl of Crawford also has a number of 30¢ inverts in his 1912 sale, which have not been identified below. Too, C. E. Chapman had three invert pairs (one of which was 30¢) that were stolen on the last day of the 1911 show with no recovery ever reported. As I believe I have identified the two 24¢ 1869 invert items that were stolen and altered, it is probable that two of the similarly killed items below came from this source. Mr. Trepel suggests H35 and H36 may be a separated horizontal pair, although H37 might be an equally good candidate.
A ‘fine’ example sold as lot 357 in the F. W. Hunter sale at Scott January 1-16, 1900. It has not been identified. The Heydiger sale at Nassau Stamp December 11-12, 1930 had a 30¢ 1869 that sold for $1,300. It, too, has not been identified. A number of the stamps have killers that have been identified with those used at New York City during either the spring (March-May) or summer (August) of 1869.
Wide-spaced Inverts illustrated page 122-123 Chronicle #138
These are readily identified by the space between the stars below the shield and the beginning of the perforations at bottom.
H8 45163-This has a cork leaf killer and part of a blue Calais transit cds of style 1788 used December 1867 to February 1869; via American packet possibly May 1869. Repaired at upper right, filled in thin slight corner crease. Lot 80 in Siegel March 27, 1974 sale ($15,500 to Weinberg), Weinberg November 1974 list net $27,500, Lot 292 Siegel 1984 Rarities ($20,000 to Weill)
H9 17459 and 55684-Cork leaf cancel matching an August 1869 use cover see page 75 in 1982 1869 Register; Thinned’. Lot 215 in Robinson sale of November 24, 1959 ($3,650 to DeVerymont) 1968 sold $13,000 to Siegel, January 16, 1976 Siegel sale $32,000; Ryohei Ishikawa holding.
H10 No certificate-Centered to left, NYC 8-wedge cork rosette cancel; lot 95 in Harmer Rooke sale June 26, 1941
H11 67193-A four V’s cork killer and at lower left a partial red marking. (Rose reports only five known with red killers.) Lot 165 Wolffers sale of February 23, 1978; lot 11489 David Feldman May 23-5, 1988.
H12 No certificate-This example with short perfs #3-5 and 12-13 at top has a NYC rosette cork killer and a red French transit cds. It is ex-West (lot 1141 Ward sale April 26, 1946 ($1,400) and Picher lot Ward sale October 23, 1946; lot 72 Siegel sale of February 24, 1966 ($7,000) (See May 1980 1869 Times.)
Centered Inverts (illustrated Chronicle #139 page 196-7)
The 30¢ invert that was lot 862 in the Clarence Eagle sale should be among this group. It was described as lightly cancelled, well centered although corner perfs gone except at lower right ($410). The two examples with perfs at lower right (H18 and H20) have not lost their other perfs. Thus, the most likely candidate is H14, the ex-Klep item.
H13 109494-Light black cork killer, ‘two internal cuts’ cork killer matching PFC 2354, ex-Caspary lot 418 ($2,900), 1982 Siegel Rarities lot 244 ($42,500).
H14 69000-‘Perfs partially clipped at right, small 3-mm tear at left’. Circle of wedges rosette killer. Ex-Herst; Lot 115 John Fox sale June 30, 1964 lot 115 ($3,200); Klep sale at Balasse March 27, 1956, lot 1181; Wunsch Siegel sale May 12, 1978 lot 530. This is possibly the ex-Eagle example.
H15 12170-Circle of wedges rosette killer repaired at right, faded. Ex-Juring sale Sotheby Parke Bernet June 1978, Lot 189 Superior sale March 25-6, 1985.
H16 No certificate-Quartered cork killer; several short perfs. Lot 903, Laurence & Stryker sale May 7-10, 1948.
H17 61643-‘Circle of ‘V’s killer, bit of red transit cds, possibly the finest known, lot 142 1980 Siegel Rarities $70,000 to Weill. Lot 300 Zoellner sale October 8-10, 1998 ($95,000).
H18 306-Cork killer and part of red NY transit, H.R. Harmer sale February 6, 1945; Ex-‘Country Gentleman’ lot 295 sale of November 29, 1972, lot 256 ($40,000 to P.B.) Siegel September 21-2, 1983 sale.
H19 2354-Incorrectly noted as ex-Ferrari in Costales Green sale February 14, 1950 lot 352, cork killer matches H13 PFC #109494, two small tears at left. Lot 113 Siegel Rarities sale March 23, 1977 ($17,000); lot 61 J. Kaufmann Gems sale December 4, 1982. .
H20 14917-Circle of wedges rosette killer matches PFC #11012 etc. illustrated in Brookman page. 25 lot 657 in Siegel Newbury sale II October 17, 1961 ($6,000 to Engel); lot 5168 Cornphila sale 5/30/1975, lot 289 Christies Back sale 3/11-12, 1991.
H21 11012–two corner creases, 3 x2 wedge killer. Lot Harmer Rooke March 25-26, 1946 Col. Green sale, lot 163; Siegel ‘Ambassador’ collection April 27-8, 1966 ($6,000 to RK); lot 1325 in Wunderlich Sotheby Park Bernet sale February 5-7, 1980, where described as ‘finest’, Now in Elliot Coulter estate.
H22 Uncertified-Faded example, with red cork circle of wedges rosette killer, nibbed perf at top, blunt perfs at right, and pinhole. Sold as lot 114 1986 Siegel Rarities ($14,500 to LS.).
H23 Uncertified No Trepel illustration-Centered, ultramarine and pale carmine, with a missing perf replaced at right, circle of ‘V’s NYC killer. It matches none of the copies illustrated by Trepel, although close to several; it is very close but not identical to the strike on H39. Lot 658 Waterhouse sale Puttick & Simpson November 11-14, 1924 (£195).
Centered Left Inverts Illustrated Chronicle # 140 pages 268-9
H24 115791-Circle of wedges rosette killer, 8th bottom perf nibbed. Lot 199 Stolow sale June 3, 1983.
H25 163512-Nibbed perfs at top. Rosette killer (8 wedges) left flagpole is into perfs. Lot 1125 ‘Isleham’ collection ($12,500 to SR)
H26 30527-Light circle of wedges matching H27. Lot 286 Harmer Rooke Ltd. Crocker sale of November 23-5, 1938 (£650); lot 203 Harmer Moody sale November 6, 1950 ($3,300) lot 95 in Siegel Rarities March 25, 1969. Illustrated in L. & M Williams book. Cancel matches H 27.
H27 380, 449, and 29688-Cancel matches H26. Center to left with bottom perfs #6-8 nibbed. Sold in Ward Pitcher sale of October 23, 1946.
H28 No certificate-Small repairs, tiny red speck at tip of right flag, extra long lower right perf, circle of V’s NYC killer matching H20 and H21. Ex. Dr. Donald H. Silsby, Ex-Eno, Lot 879 in Siegel sale June 12-13,1980 (Esty Forster, Sr. estate). 198066 Private treaty (IW?) offer $35,000.
H29 43574-Circle of 8 wedges rosette. Thin, corner fault and tear at bottom. Left flagpole touches perforation. Advertised by Eugene Klein, December 15, 1930; lot 184 Siegel November 14, 1973; Simmy sale March 21, 1975.
H30 59554-Circle of V’s NYC killer matching H28, several short perfs. Certificate says ‘reperforated at left’ (Trepel disagrees), Lot 613 Harmer Hessel sale June 15, 1976.
H31 49398-Fresh color with circle of V’s NYC killer slightly blurred similar to H27, two corner creases, Lot 523 Grunin sale at Siegel April 15/1975 and lot 473 Sheriff sale December 11-12, 1985 ($23,000 withdrawn). Lot 112 Siegel Rarities March 23, 1977 ($23,000). Manning sale December 1978 .
H32 No certificate-Light circle of wedges rosette killer. Described as reperforated and repaired (‘dog’ example) with small tear, two thins, when sold as lot 427 in Fifield sale of March 30, 1948 for $835. Lot 227 in Harmer Rooke sale of January 13, 1953 for $1,100.
H33 No certificate-Circle of wedges rosette killer. Recorded in June 29, 1942 Spencer Anderson advertisement for $2,500. Ex-McBride.
H34 No certificate-Recorded by Trepel in Tapling collection.
Centered Top Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #143 page 190
H35 101593-Red ‘leaf’ killer (known NYC circa March 1869), Position dot on lower left perforation, two perf and corner creases, and top left corner strengthened. Lot 187 Irwin Heiman sale of January 8, 1946 ($1,050), lot 588 Siegel Eno sale of July 22-23, 1981 ($47,500 to Jack Molesworth for Jon Rose). Sold as lot 636 in Rose sale ($61,000).
H36 69848-Red ‘leaf’ NYC killer, matching H34, H36 possibly a separated horizontal pair, Faded blue color; Lot 593 Juring sale at Sotheby Parke Bernet June 14, 1978; Lot 289 Kelleher October 1979.
H37 No certificate-Red ‘leaf’ NYC cork killer, nibbed bottom perf, possibly reperfed, lot 163 Harmer Rooke, May 23, 1950 Frank B. Allen collection, lot 812 Siegel Cole sale February 24-6, 1988.
H38 No certificate-Costales described as one of the finest copies he had seen. Black cork killer, slight discoloration at lower right. Lot 137 Costales Col. Green XXVIII sale of October 28-November 1, 1946 ($1,750).
Centered Top Right Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #143 page 191
H39 No certificate-Light circle of V’s NYC killer, creases, and blunt corner perf. Lot 62 Harmer Rooke sale of November 11, 1954 described as ‘defective, well centered’ ($1,700); Gerber lot 77 in May 31, 1955 sale described as ‘light flower killer’ ($1,700). Lot 88 ‘Prime U.S.’ sale at Siegel 1/9/1973.
H40 PFC and APS 1939 (signed Klemann, Bartels and Barrett)-Circle of V’s NYC killer, toned at top left corner, slight creasing and small thin. Offered in Eugene Klein ad of December 10, 1938 at $3,100 net. Lot 170 in Stolow ‘dApery’ sale of June 2, 1954 ($4,250 to McL) Lot 102 Harmer sale November 17, 1858 ($3,500) and lot 355 Christies’ sale October 3, 1984 ($23,000 to Dr. K).
Centered to Bottom Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #144 page 271
H41 PSE 1500l-Black quartered cork killer matching H42, short perf at right thin in grill and crease at lower right. Lot 87 John Fox sale February 20, 1961.
H42 No certificate-Deep color, tiny tear in corner perf, removed leaving rounded perf with quartered cork killer matching
H41. Shanahan sale lot 613, June 14, 1958, lot 129 November 15, 1958 ($3,500), lot 894 sale of February 7, 1959 still with the weak damaged perf. Lot 329 Siegel sale December 10, 1959 ($2,200 to book), offered as lot 21, 1971 Rarities ($25,000), lot 108 1976 Rarities ($22,000); lot 112 Siegel 1977 Rarities ($23,000)
Centered Bottom Right Inverts Illustrated Chronicle #144 pg. 271
H43 20403-Segmented cork killer with sealed tear at left. Fine appearing. Lot 391 H. R. Harmer sale February 25, 1964 ($3,200 to book)
H44 No certificate-Indistinct quartered cork, small thin, nibbed seventh perf down at right. Lot 268 Costales Green XXV sale February 18-21, 1946 ($1,125).
H45 No certificate-The Ferrari copy was lot 256 in the 7th sale on June 13, 1923 selling for 3,200 francs. It is a well-centered example with a killer that is similar to H19 (the Green example) but not the same having different corner perforations at bottom.
H46 No certificate-The used Worthington copy, lot 481 in the August 21-23, 1917 sale ($1500) has not been identified. It was finely centered and lightly cancelled.
Centered Bottom Left Inverts-Not illustrated.
H47 No certificate, no Trepel illustration-The only example that fits this category is the ex-Ferrari item from the VII sale lot 256. The stars at bottom come very close to the perforations, the flagpole at left points into the perforation while the one at right is quite clear. Described as a very fine example, the cancellation resembles that on H13 and H19 (with which it was confused in the Green sale write-up). However, this example has a perf at lower left (similar to H13 but not H19 eliminating the latter). Too, the word POSTAGE is almost completely visible as on H13 but not H19. However, this example has a full perf at lower right, and the left flagpole points into a perf not a perf hole, both unlike H13.
The Clarence Eagle sale at Morgenthau May 15-17, 1923 had a Wolle 30¢ invert counterfeit as lot 863, which sold for $5.25. This Wolle counterfeit is the only 1869 example of his work I remember seeing offered at auction. Wolle was the man Perry accused of making a number of the Henry Needham forgeries in Pat Paragraphs.
Not illustrated by Trepel are the following:
90-Cent 1869 Salmagundi
© Calvet M. Hahn 1987
Originally I had been prepared to discuss some of the plating characteristics found on copies of this stamp and had a draft article done, but enough new data has turned up to postpone that discussion. Rather, I will focus on several other oddities.
First, it is not reported in the philatelic text, or in Scott, but the 90-cent stamp is found on paper with blue silk threads. Eliot Landau who found three examples in his holdings-two on the issued stamp and one on the 1875 reprint brought this fact to my attention.
While silk threads were introduced for banknotes by 1844 and where a standard security measure by the time banknote printers began printing postage stamps, they are apparently not a security measure introduction for our early classic postal adhesives, although they have been reported on some of the Continental issue of 1873.
Roy White in his Papers and Gums of United States Postage Stamps 1847-1909, notes that silk fibers were considered undesirable in paper-making because they were difficult to bleach, so efforts were made to kept them out of the pulp. Clarence Taft has suggested that many of the so-called ‘silk’ threads were actually cotton or linen. The fibers reported on the Continental issue are short and black rather than blue as on the 90-cent 1869. In the later issue they were deemed worthy of catalog listing and presumably should be for the 1869 90-cent, with three examples showing up in a random pick of just one collector’s holding.
A second interesting feature deals with the P3 India paper proof of the 90-cent 1869. This proof shows a fine set of cracks similar to what would be termed gripper cracks on 29th century issues. They run from the center left from the margin into the vignette. A possible explanation is that the plate was handled by tongs during the hardening process baths and that could yield fine cracks similar to those found on some of the proofs.
A third interesting observation deals with the die proof, which apparently comes fro an essay rather than a true proof. The reason for this observation is that the vignette die proof differs from the issued stamp in that under magnification we find the left collar lines are strengthened, with some lines added at lower left and upper right in the design added. There are also line additions around the shoulder of the coat. Most important, however, is the fact that the issued stamp has a second frame line surrounding the vignette, which is not found on the proof.
Plate Varieties of the 90¢ 1869
Little work has been done on plating the classic U. S. stamps outside the 1851-1858 issue. The 1861 and 1869 issues have been particularly neglected. The reasons ascribed in philatelic literature are: lack of interesting plate varieties as the printing process was so much more advanced than in the 1851 issue and b) ready availability of large multiples.
The problem is that the large multiples are being rapidly broken up throughout classic stamps without being photographed while the few varieties that are recorded are not plate positioned. Future students will have no way to reconstruct the material. In the case of the 90-cent 1869 issue we have a number of varieties ‘recorded’ but no data on their plate positions.
Jon Rose has written more about the varieties of the 90¢ 1869 than anyone else in his article on the 90¢ varieties in issue #31 (February 1985) of the 1869 Times published by the Pictorial Research Associates.1 He cited the varieties offered in the P. W. Pickard sale held by Eugene Klein August 14, 1940, which offered 35 unused and 207 used 90-cent stamps. He reported Pickard had varieties such as short transfers, cracked plates, and dots in the 90 and in the ‘O’ of POSTAGE. But, he did not give plate positions that were not listed in the Klein sale. To try and solve these plating problems, I have carefully examined color transparencies of one of the surviving 1869 90¢ reissue proof sheets from the Kapiloff holding and attempted confirmation of the markings on the Ackerman issued 90¢ proof sheet deposited in the Philatelic Foundation.
Almost all of the markings described below are found on both indicating that the issued stamps and the reissues have the same flaws ab initio. Although two printings took place before the reissues, the quantities printed were low enough that reentry was not required. Consequently all plating varieties found on the original issue would still show on the reissue proof sheet as well as new varieties introduced during the printing or during storage between 1869 and 1875 (scratches or rust spots). The same two plates (one red and one black) with the same plate #22 were used for both the original and reissue printings.
It is readily apparent from the color transparencies that over 60% of the sheet can be identified by plate varieties of one sort or another. Most important are the 36 marginal stamps. The stamps cannot be properly registered on a full sheet. If the top is in register, then the bottom is off and if the left is in register the right is slightly off. It is not clear if this results from paper shrinkage between the frame and vignette printings or if it is caused by poor layout coordination between the vignette and frame plates.
In his Congress Book article, George Brett suggests that the frame shading lines and the thin oval line surrounding the vignette were added individually to the plate.
Guide dots and guidelines-The top ten positions have guide dots at the upper right of each stamp as well as the guidelines across the top of the stamp. The bottom ten positions have the guideline below each stamp with the guide dots at the lower right of each stamp. Between positions 5 and 6 and 95 and 96 we get a pane divider line that runs the full length of the marginal stamps. It is not found in the interior of the sheet.
The right and left margin stamps have guide dots in the center of the stamp opposite the tip of Lincoln’s nose. Parts of the guidelines crossing the sheet are still visible on most of these border positions.
The four corner positions are unique in that they have crossed guidelines at the outside edges. Vertical guidelines can be found on many of the stamps in the interior of the sheet, but they do not have guide lots. There is, however, a marginal guide dot between positions 41 and 51 and 50 and 60.
In the U.S. Classics publication Chronicle #59, Len Mason commented upon a used stamp showing a guideline across the face with two small horizontal scratch lines at the right about where the guideline crossed the vertical guideline. Markings such as he described can be found in two positions, #11 and #84 with #84 the more likely. it does not have a guide dot at left and less of the cross line is visible but the scratches are more obvious.
Short transfers-Pickard had a stamp with a short transfer at the left. This is position #41, where the bud growing on the frame of the label surrounding U.S. POSTAGE is almost non-existent and the figure 90 above it is partially open at the top of the ‘9’. Position 51 has a minor version of this short transfer. Jon Rose reports an apparent transfer at the top copy. I do not find this likely as a plating variety and suspect it is a printing variety, entirely possible from the top row.
Shift-The Pickard holding sale had a stamp with a ‘shift’ in the lower left corner. I suspect that this is a false shift found in position 61 where a line between the ‘T’ and ‘Y; of NINETY (found in almost every stamp) combines with a long top bar on the ‘T’ to give a double letter appearance to the ‘Y’. This stamp also has an extra line dropping down from the first ‘N’, which augments the appearance of a shift. I doubt a genuine shift of the 90¢ exists; a kiss print may.
Dots in collar-The Pickard collection had a dot in collar variety. This mark can be found halfway down the white collar almost directly under the furrow in Lincoln’s cheek. Several stamps show it. A strong example, looking something like an asterisk, can be found in position #88, while a smaller example looking like a period is found in position #45. Position #6 shows a very weak example.
Barred P-Not found in the Pickard sale is an example of position #48, with a red bar across the stem of the ‘P’ in POSTAGE.
Dot in ‘O’ of POSTAGE-The F. W. Pickard sale had a stamp with a dot in the ‘O’ of POSTAGE. While several items on the reissue proof sheet might qualify, the most likely is position #78, where we find a small red check mark in the ‘O’. I was unable to locate this on the Ackerman proof sheet black and white.
Dashed 9-The Pickard sale had an example of a dash in the ‘9’ of 90. There are a number of markings that could fit this. Position #77 has a red dash across the loop of the left 9, at the outer edge. Of the right 90s, position #55 has a dash across the lower base of the ‘9’, just before it curves. We also find right ‘9’ dots. Position #22 has a red dot just where the loop of the ‘9’ reaches the base (the dot is in the base), while position #5 has a dot in the loop of the ‘9’ just at the top stamp frameline and position #9 has a vertical dot in the loop of the ‘9’ just about the same location as in position #5. Position #29 has a dot in the main stem opposite the middle of the loop.
Dotted zero-F. W. Pickard identified a stamp with a dot in the ‘0’ of 90. Several stamps qualify in this regard. In the right 90s, we find position #93 ha a dot (on the left side of the zero), while position #54 has a similar dot (on the right side of the zero), just on the edge of the zero. Position #81 has a vertical line in the loop that is not part of the red guideline.
In the left 90s, there is a clear dot on the left side of the zero in position #18. It is right next to the ‘9’ toward the bottom. In position #15, there is a small scratch in red on the left of the zero near the bottom that is rather faint.
Rust spots-Pickard did not note the rust spots on the 90¢ but by the time of the reissue proof sheet, several can be found. A quite noticeable rust spot can be found in the black cross-hatching opposite the ‘S’ of CENTS in position #65. A lesser rust spot in the same location can be seen in position #75. Position #69 has a similar rust spot in the cross hatching opposite the ‘NT’ of CENTS.
Marginal Markings-The black scratches of positions #11 and #84 have already been discussed. Black marginal markings (which can shift depending upon centering) that may be plating marks can be found as follows: position #12 over the ‘S’ of POSTAGE; #57 has a black speck just below the center guideline which can be seen between it and 58; position #58, at the right, has the center guideline on both sides; position #65 shows the guideline at right; position #77 has a black spot over the ‘O’ of POSTAGE; the cross guideline can be seen between positions 74 and 75 while #84 has two dots over the right side guideline.
Red marginal markings can be seen as follows: position #11 has a red spot over the ornament at right, opposite the ‘E’ of POSTAGE; position #21 has a red spot almost opposite the eye at right; position #40 has a spot over the ‘P’ of POSTAGE; position #61 has two large red marginal marks one above the right 90 and the other opposite the nose and right; position #72 has two dots outside the left 90 bracketing the ‘9’. Position #83 has a red dot at right opposite the mouth line; position #91 has a dot over the ‘AG’ of POSTAGE, while there is a red dot between position #93 and #94 opposite the top of the ear.
Markings in the U.S.-The Pickard collection did not record stamps with plate markings in the ‘U.S.’ at the bottom of the stamp. There are three positions that appear as though they may have plating marks in the U.S. Position #62 has a red bar across the right leg of the ‘U’, while position #72 has two spots in the same right leg of the ‘U’ and position 7 has what appears to be a vignette 3-dash horizontal line to the right of the ‘S’ crossing the vertical guideline.
Red Eyebrow-Pickard does not record a red circumflex above Lincoln’s left eye, but such an inverted circumflex is seen on position #29. It seems to be a real plating mark as it is also found on the Ackerman proof sheet.
Cracked plate marks-Cracks are among the more dramatic markings on any classic stamp. F. W. Pickard apparently had one in his holding. Ben Chapman and Jon Rose both reported it in the 1869 Times, but the illustration chosen to show what it was appears to be that of a preprinted paper-fold on the 1¢ 1869 stamp. Neither the Scott Specialized nor Lester Brookman’s The 19th Century Postage Stamps of the U.S. records a cracked plate on the 1¢ or 90¢ 1869.
Nevertheless there may be cracks in the 90¢ plate. I use may because I am working from the Kapiloff color transparency of a sheet, which may have been creased to create the appearance of cracks. The observed markings are in black only and from position #32 through #37, horizontally. One set of markings runs just below the mouth level while the other crosses in the eye and forehand area. I am inclined to believe that the observations are those of creases, but this area is the only portion of the sheet where a crack could exist, on the issued stamps. I was unable to confirm such a crack from the Ackerman proof sheet of the issued stamp. Eliot Landau has been checking copies for some time to see if he can find such a crack.
Scratch on Face-Position #95 has a confirmed scratch between the eye and forehead.
Position dot specks-On position 70 there is a cluster of dots surrounding the position dot, almost as though there were four position dots.
Missing Wedge-While largely obscured by the black vignette lines, off-center copies of position #7 has a missing wedge of the horizontal vignette registry lines in the oval under the ‘E’ of POSTAGE. Also in position 11 the shading lines do not butt up against the panel containing the ‘E’ of POSTAGE but leave a tiny oval gap.
Vignette registry lines-In the issued stamp, there are 81 to 83 5-mm long background lines spaced approximately 1-mm apart over which the vignette is superimposed as can be seen in mis-registered copies. In position 31 these lines do not meet the frame, while in position 35 the bottom registry line is broken in the middle.
Outer vignette oval line-This line seems to be a free-hand drawing. In position 31, the bottom outer oval line is quite close to the vignette and there seems to be a slight bump at top under the TA of POSTAGE, while in position 60 the join is irregular at top under the PO of POSTAGE. In position 32, the outer line seems slightly indented between the shirt and collar at right. This is also seen in position 22, but the indentation is less.
The 90¢ Plating
Two sources for the plating data are available-the Ackerman proof sheet in the Philatelic Foundation files and the Kapiloff reissue proof sheet transparency, which is what I used. On the first following page (5) are enlargements of rows 1-10, 11-20; the second page (6) contains enlargements of rows 21-30 and 31-40. There was a crease across much of 32-37-it is not a crack. The third page (7) has enlargements of 41-50 and 51-60, while the fourth page (8) has the enlargements for 61-70 and 71-80, with the final plating page (9) showing positions 81-90 and 91-100.
Multiples of the 90¢
Figure 1-The Walske block of 8
Figure 2--The ex-Caspary block of six
The largest unused multiple of the issued 90¢ is the rejoined block of eight, figure 1, ex-Walske,
which was made up of two of the six unused blocks of four.
Figure 3-The ex-Ackerman block of six.
The top pair was lot 96 in the 1969 Rarities while the bottom was lot 119 in the 1986 Rarities. One of these two blocks was ex-Clarence Eagle. There are also two unused almost identical blocks of six, one of which, ex-Caspary (figure 2), is in the Hertzel holding in the Swiss Postal Museum. The second is ex-Ackerman, Hind, Sinkler, Ward, Zollner and Bechtel, figure 3, pos. 77-8/97-8
Figure 4-The damaged block of twelve of the reissue, ex Walske.
In blocks of four unused, the Worthington/Lichtenstein sale had two, one very fine in the carmine shade with dark brown part o.g. This appears to be the ex-Green, Caspary, Lilly, Wunderlich and Ishikawa block that is described as deep carmine, figure 5. The Juhring holding sold at Sotheby lot 307 included a similarly centered example that was a privately perforated India proof block on India. I was unable to track the second Worthington item, but it is probably among those described here. Jon Rose reported two blocks of four in the carmine shade with original gum in the Hertzel holding in the Swiss Postal Museum.
Figure 5-The ex-Caspary/Ishikawa block of 4.
As both are centered high and left, neither seems to match the Worthington description of very fine. The remaining unused block of four is the deep carmine shade centered well left, with reinforced perfs and it is rejoined vertically. It has a PFC and sold in the Suburban auction of October 24, 1984.
In used multiples a block of six, in the dark carmine shade, ex-Gibson and Pitcher is now in the Hertzel holding as is a carmine shade block of four. The finest of the five used blocks is in the carmine shade and is ex-Anderson, West and Rose, figure 6. It is the example illustrated in Brookman.
Another block, in the medium carmine-rose shade, with three creased stamps is ex-Hessel and Ishikawa, figure 7.
Figure 7-The ex-Hessel/Ishikawa block.
Figure 10-The Clarence Eagle Strip of six.
The ex-Lopez ex-ample, centered top and to the left with heavy black killers is seen as figure 8.
Finally, there is a vertical strip of seven in the carmine shade and a vertical strip of six, ex-Clarence Eagle lot 858, figure 10.
The 1869 Double Bisects of Clove New Jersey
© Calvet M. Hahn 1976
The bisects of the 1869 issue have been long sought by specialists. They are elusive, particularly the bisected 3¢ stamp. The bisected 2¢ is somewhat easier to obtain, but one of its more unusual uses is found from Clove, N. J. The cover has been in my possession for almost a decade and in searching my bank vault recently I was reminded that the story behind it had not been written up.
Clove is a small town located in Sussex country-in the extreme northwest corner of New Jersey. While there were 34 Sussex county postoffices in 1859, the area is still rural-as well I know having been a student in a one-room schoolhouse when I lived there. Maps from the 1866 period show only two roads and ten towns. Clove is not among them.
The United States Mail and Post Office Assistant pg. 122 records that the Clove post office was established in February 1863. It was still listed in the U.S. Postal Guide of October 1874 but was not in the issue of January 1875.1 Clove was obviously a short-lived post office. A check with the outstanding New Jersey collection of Stephen Rich showed that he recorded no example of a Clove marking. However, William C. Coles in his 1983 work The Postal Markings of New Jersey Stampless Covers does record that the postoffice existed from January 7, 1841 to February 4, 1848 and was reestablished June 22, 1848 and again discontinued August 23, 1853.
Figure 1-The unique example of a double bisected 2¢ 1869 manuscript cancelled from the short-lived Clove, N. J. postoffice (1863-1874) used by postmaster James Decker in 1870 on legal correspondence. It uses two Scott #113s and two Scott #113ds, tied to the cover by a pen cancellation through the perforation holes.
The Register of Offices and Agents, Civil, Military and Naval, in the Service of the United States issue covering 1869 shows that for the quarters ending September 1869, Clove postmaster James B. Decker was paid $13.00-the minimum fee-and owned the government nothing. The 1871 issue shows the minimum fee for Decker but records that he owed the government $2.40 for the four quarters ending September 1871. The net proceeds of the Clove post office during the period of issue of the 1869 stamps must have been miniscule. It is understandable, therefore, that no other example has so far been recorded.
The cover in question, illustrated as figure 1, is a legal-sized envelope addressed to the county clerk at the county seat of Newton. The cover bears a manuscript postmark of ‘Clove N.J. Oct. 19th ’70.’ Manuscript markings are typical for an office this small. The cover bears two 2¢ 1869 bisects, each attached to a complete stamp and tied by a manuscript cancellation to the cover. The unique use of two bisects on the same cover will be discussed further on.
The cover has been examined and the ink pronounced genuine (and identical) both on the stamp cancellations and the manuscript postmark, by a number of experts, including Roy Spiller, the late Kelly Stryker and David Jarrett. The question of authenticity is naturally raised because of the rarity of the Clove postmark and because of the peculiar cancellation typing the stamps. Both pairs, being Scott numbers #113 and #113d, are cancelled with what appears to be a manuscript ‘113’. The use of the current Scott number for a cancellation certainly raises a question.
But Scott first assigned number 113 to the 2¢ 1869 in the edition of 1900-a quarter of a century after the Clove office was discontinued. The preceding edition of 1897-8 had a different number for this stamp. Additionally, the manuscript cancellation survived the Henry Meyer water test, suggesting that the ink was not recently applied. Several possible explanations for the cancel are offered in declining order of probability. The most likely is the observation that the cancel is two pen strokes and a ‘3’ for the rate. Jarrett cites territorial covers, which show similar markings.
The second possibility is that the postmaster kept a numerical records of his postal customers-not stamp sales, for the same cancellation is used on both stamps-and that this was the 113th stamp customer of either the year or the month. This hypothesis must be considered in light of the low receipts of the office and the date of the postmark.
A third possibility is that Decker recorded important letters-such as legal papers or money letters-even when not registered. At this time the registry fee was 15¢. Some 113 such transactions might occur in ten months at a relatively tiny office.
Can bisected stamps have legitimate use for postal purposes when two of the same denomination are on the same cover? An adequate philatelic definition of a bisect has not been located. Konwiser’s American Stamp Collector’s Dictionary and the authorities he cities-Stanley Ashbrook, Michael Miller and John Luff-do not fully cover the problem. Even if a past definition, generally acceptable, had been printed, this cover would probably require rewriting the definition.
The first question to be asked with a bisect is, “Was it legally authorized?” Despite the Post Office circular of November 10, 1853 stating that, “neither does the law authorize the use of parts of postage stamps in prepayment of postage,” it has long been recognized that the 1869 bisects were locally accepted because of spot shortages of stamps in some offices. The 1853 notice is definitely not indexed in the Postal Laws and Regulations of 1866, the applicable regulations for the issue of 1869, and I did not spot it un-indexed.
What the 1866 PL&Rs do require is that the Postmaster General supply “suitable postage stamps of the denomination of three cents and of such other denominations as he may think expedient…” (Laws XVI, Sec. 298). Conversely, postmasters in the smaller offices had the obligation to “order such quantity as, upon a careful estimate, may be deemed a sufficient supply of the various kinds of stamps and envelopes for three months from the date of the order…” (Regulations XVIII, Sec. 163). The Regulations also provide that “Postmasters who fail to supply themselves from the department must purchase temporary supplies from the nearest offices…’ (Regulations XCVIII, Sec. 161).
These regulations leave loopholes. If the postmaster ordered and the department failed to supply the requested stamps, he seems legally free to bisect. He is also legally free if the nearest offices have also run our of the stamps. As a matter of practicality, the department could not compel an office to expend the postmaster’s personal funds to travel to the next office and obtain stamps because the order was not fully satisfied or the estimate had been unexpectedly low.
Whatever the circumstances, bisecting did occur and bisects were accepted as full prepayment by receiving offices. In browsing through the United States Mail and Post Office Assistant I had not come across a discussion of the problem until I encountered a reply of May 1869 to correspondent J.C.K. of M–, Pa.” (p. 414 col. 4) stating, “The fraction of a stamp has not a fractional value in other words, one-half of a stamp is not worth for postage one-half of the whole stamp, consequently one two-cent stamp and half another are not worth three cents in payment of postage.”
This reply notwithstanding, 2¢ bisect covers do exist in some quantity. Jon Rose in the 1869 Pictorial Research Associates Interphil 1976 Publication lists some 17 examples of 2¢ bisects of the 1869 issue. All of these covers appear to have been accepted by the receiving postmasters.
Was the Clove, N.J. use of two bisects to pay a six-cent rate a legitimate use? The instinctive reaction would be to say that the use of two bisects on the same cover proves that a bisect was not needed and that therefore its use cannot be legitimate. But the physical evidence of this cover suggests otherwise. Legitimate occasions can occur when only two bisects can pay a rate!
Figure 2. Close-up of the stamps and cancellation showing :a) the tie through the perforations of both upper and lower sets; b) the overlap-note the arrow-of the bottom set over the top and c) the disappearance of the bottom tail of the top ‘3’ from the 14-mm to the 3-mm area and its reappearance at the 3-mm point on the top pair.
The analysis of what happened at Clove runs as follows: Decker ran out of 3¢ 1869 stamps and did not receive (or ran out of) the subsequent 3¢ banknotes. To make up any three-cent rate, he had to bisect a 2¢ or use 1¢ stamps.
Presumably he also did not have 1¢ stamps as well. On this cover, he applied a 2¢ and a 2¢ bisect then postmarked the letter. All this would be normal bisect use. Then he realized the letter was overweight. The only way he could make up the second three cents was by using a second bisect. Thus did two bisects legitimately occur on a rerated letter.
Did this cover undergo re-rating? The overall photograph of the cover, figure 1, shows that the postmark is sufficiently close to the top 1½ stamps as to make it impossible to put three stamps in a row. There would be no other logical reason for cutting one stamp in half and putting 1½ stamps right below the other set. Had anyone wished to apply three stamps prior to giving the cover to the postmaster, there would have been ample room. there was also ample room at the left for the postmaster to have applied three stamps and he mistakenly put the postmark on first.
The detailed photograph of the cancellations, figure 2, shows how the bottom pair is superimposed over the top pair, as indicated by the arrow in the photograph. To the left of the arrow, note that the down stroke of the upper ‘3’ sweeps under the bottom pair and comes back up onto the top pair as a thin stroke in the margin. Clearly, the top pair were cancelled prior to the application of the lower pair. In fact, the slightly darker ink used to cancel the lower pair suggests that the postmaster re-dipped his pen prior to its cancellation.
Both points support the thesis that the cover began as a bisect use for a three-cent rate and that after applying the upper stamps and canceling them, postmaster Decker realized that the postage was insufficient and that only by using a second bisect could he reach the six-cent rate required. He applied the second set and cancelled it in a slightly darker ink, having re-dipped his pen, which had dried out while he weighted the cover to ascertain that it was overweight.
Had the Clove postmaster not rerated this cover it would still be a very interesting postal history item. For the New Jersey postal historian it represents a possibly unique example of a small short-lived postoffice. For the 1869 specialist it would represent one of but a handful of recorded covers showing a 2¢ 1869 bisect. However, having been rerated to require a second bisect, it becomes the only cover so far recorded show two 2¢ 1869 bisects. And here the cover moves out of the exclusive interest of the 1869 specialist and into the areas of the general U.S. specialist. For, to the best of my knowledge, excluding the confederate bisects, there is no other legitimate double bisect in classic U.S. philately.