Cherrystone sells extraordinary block of inverted Argentina 1899 5-peso definitives

Jul 31, 2016, 10 AM

By Matthew Healey, New York Correspondent

While summer can seem to be a slow season for philately — many clubs are on hiatus when members leave for vacation — auction firms nonetheless continue a steady offering of exciting things to bid on.

Here is one of three international stamp auctions we’re profiling from July:

Cherrystone Auctions in New York held a sale June 7-8 of United States and worldwide material.

One of the more extraordinary items was a block of 10 of Argentina’s 1899 5-peso definitive, with the black vignette of an allegorical Liberty Seated printed upside down in relation to its orange frame (Scott 140a).

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Only a single sheet of 50 of this invert was printed. Despite its rarity, the misprint lists in the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940 at just $2,750.

The extraordinary block in the Cherrystone sale, dubbed one of the “piezas notables” (notable pieces) of Argentinian philately, is the largest multiple and comprises 20 percent of all known examples of the error. Including the 15 percent buyer’s premium added by Cherrystone to all lots, it sold for $17,250.

An interesting combination of Austria and Haiti postage graced an 1884 postal card in the Cherrystone sale. The Austria 2-kreuzer “Correspondenz-Karte” was sent from Graz, Austria, to Cap-Haitien in late April 1884, reaching its destination on May 29. But the recipient forwarded the card back to Graz on June 8, using Haiti’s first three stamps — the 1-centime, 2c and 3c imperforate issues of 1881 (Scott 1-3) — to pay the return postage.

The card passed through New York a week later and returned to its city of origin on July 1. Thought to be the only known three-color franking of Haiti’s first stamps on one cover, it sold for $16,100.