Second example of once-unique error found, to be auctioned

Dutch Country Auctions of Wilmington, Del., will auction this newly identified example of United States Scott 1688k, the 1976 Bicentennial souvenir sheet with two stamp values inverted.

By Michael Baadke

A second example of a once-unique United States stamp error has come to light.

Dutch Country Auctions of Wilmington, Del., has plans to auction a newly identified example of the 1976 24¢ Bicentennial souvenir sheet with the denomination inscriptions omitted on two stamps.

Those denominations, which should appear at upper right on the fourth and fifth stamps, instead appear inverted directly below the first and second stamps.

That error variety is identified in the 2014 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers as Scott 1688k and is listed with a value of $40,000 in italics.

A Scott catalog listing in italics generally refers to items difficult to value accurately. In this instance, the value is likely influenced by the 2009 sale of a souvenir sheet with the same error offered by Spink Shreves in the auction of the Robert H. Cunliffe collection.

That example, described in 2009 as “the only example known of this error and the rarest of all the errors found on the series of four 1976 Bicentennial souvenir sheets,” sold for $40,350, a figure that includes a 20 percent buyer’s premium added to the hammer price up to $2,000, and 15 percent of the amount exceeding $2,000.

Kristin Sundin of Dutch Country Auctions told Linn’s Stamp News that the souvenir sheet consigned to the firm was first purchased in Blackwood, N.J., in the early 1980s by a collector who believed it was Scott 1688g, a similar but less valuable error that has the same two denominations missing, but not inverted.

A buyer of the sheet in the 1990s also did not spot the inverted values.

The true nature of the error was not revealed until the second owner’s collection was consigned to Dutch Country Auctions.

The firm’s former owner, Keith Marsh, examined the souvenir sheet and made the discovery that it was not Scott 1688g, but rather, the much more valuable Scott 1688k.

“Imagine the shock and surprise as the consignor was told his sheet did not have a Scott catalog value of $450 but of $40,000,” Sundin said.

The souvenir sheet has since been authenticated by Professional Stamp Experts, receiving a certificate dated March 23 and identifying the item as Scott 1688k. The certificate additionally states, “it is a genuine unused, o.g. [original gum], never hinged, pane of five, the USA / 24c of d and e inverted, with a small gum disturbance not affecting any stamp.”

The error souvenir sheet will be featured in the July 18-19 Dutch Country Auctions sale No. 293, according to Sundin.

This American Bicentennial souvenir sheet pictures Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emmanuel Leutze.

For more information about Dutch Country Auctions, visit online at www.dutchcountryauctions.com, or contact Dutch Country Auctions, 4115 Concord Pike, Second Floor, Wilmington, DE 19803.

Published 4/11/2014 11:00 AM