Berman collection of outstanding U.S. stamps in June 22 Siegel auction

Jun 2, 2023, 9 AM
This 1875 Continental Bank Note Co. special printing of the 5ยข bright blue Zachary Taylor stamp will cross the auction block on June 22 when Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries offers the Nelson Berman collection of outstanding United States stamps.

By Charles Snee

Nelson Berman began collecting in the late 1970s and came within nine issues of having a complete collection of classic-era United States stamps.

On June 22, Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries in New York City will give bidders the opportunity to capitalize on Berman’s efforts by adding items from his outstanding collection to their own holdings.

“It is now time to pass these treasures on to other collectors,” Berman said in a statement in Siegel’s catalog for the sale.

Among the rarities in the collection is an 1875 Continental Bank Note Co. special printing of the 5¢ bright blue Zachary Taylor stamp (Scott 181). The stamp is without gum as issued.

Siegel describes the stamp as having “deep rich color on fresh bright paper.” The perforations show evidence of having been cut with scissors to remove the stamp from the original pane.

The 5¢ bright blue Zachary Taylor is the rarest of all special printings. Siegel’s census records just 10 examples, one of which is in the Miller collection owned by the New York Public Library, thus making it unavailable to collectors.

According to Siegel, the eighth stamp in its census “was certified in 1952 and needs to be reexamined for condition and identification.” The sixth stamp in the census has what Siegel describes as a “confirmed fault.”

The Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers notes that 317 examples of Scott 181 were sold.

Berman acquired the 1875 5¢ special printing from the renowned Robert Zoellner U.S. collection, which Siegel sold during a three-day sale in October 1998. Included with the stamp are expertizing certificates issued by the Philatelic Foundation in 1955 and 1979.

Siegel lists this 1875 special printing of the 5¢ bright blue Zachary Taylor at the Scott catalog value of $450,000. The value is italicized to indicate an item that trades infrequently in the philatelic marketplace.

The sale concludes with 16 balance lots from the Berman collection. One of the lots consists of 13 unused 1893 Columbian Exposition stamps, several of which are in mint, never-hinged condition. Four of the stamps have expertizing certificates, Siegel said.

Siegel has prepared a single catalog for the sale. Full details of the auction, including a downloadable version of the catalog and online bidding options, are available on the Siegel website.

For additional information, contact Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, 6 W. 48th St., Ninth Floor, New York, NY 10036.

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