Cover with seven $5 Calvin Coolidge stamps sells for $1,051

A collector from New York bested three other bidders on eBay to capture this registered cover franked with seven $5 Calvin Coolidge stamps from the 1938 Presidential series, nicknamed the Prexies.

By Charles Snee

A registered cover franked with seven $5 Calvin Coolidge stamps and mailed in March 1950 from New York City to Denver, Colo., sold March 2 for just north of $1,000.

Based on New York and Denver backstamps (not shown), the cover left New York March 21 and arrived in Denver March 23.

The total franking of $36.34 is paid with 10 stamps from the 1938 Presidential issue.

Along with the seven Coolidge stamps (Scott 834), the cover bears a single $1 Woodrow Wilson stamp (832), and single 4¢ James Madison (808) and 30¢ Theodore Roosevelt (830) stamps comprising the remaining 34¢.

The stamps are all tied to the cover with multiple mute oval cancels.

The seven-day Internet auction on the eBay commerce site attracted just 10 bids from four sellers.

The winning bidder, described to Linn’s by the seller as a “doctor in New York,” swooped in during the last five seconds of the auction and launched a snipe bid that secured the cover for $1,051.

Dealer Mark Baker of Mark Baker Enterprises in Pollock Pines, Calif. (goldrushpaper.com), told Linn’s in early March that he bought the cover from another dealer during the Gold Rush Paper show held Jan. 25-26 in Sacramento, Calif.

“The dealer happened to be my father,” Baker said, “who purchased the cover in a group of boxes filled with junk stamps and low-end covers and postcards.”

Baker opened the auction with what he called “a very reasonable start bid of $95.”

Bidding during the first two days took the price beyond the $1,000 threshold, to $1,026. Then all was quiet until the final seconds of the last day, when the cover sold for $1,051.

Multiples of the dollar-denominated Presidential, or Prexie, stamps are not hard to find on registered bank tags.

Frankings such as the one on the cover described here are decidedly less common.

The Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the $5 Prexie on cover at $250. This value is for a single $5 stamp used in combination with other stamps to pay various combinations of postage and associated fees, such as registration.

In this case, the registry indemnity was substantial. A possible rate breakdown is 9¢ postage (for a 3-ounce letter) plus $36.24 registry ($1.50 for the first $1,000 indemnity and $34.74 for $193,000, at 18¢ per $1,000) for a total of $36.33.

Thus, the sender allowed for a 1¢ convenience overpay.

Published 4/17/2014 6:55 AM