CIA Invert in Cherrystone’s auction of U.S., worldwide

Oct 18, 2019, 2 PM
A single example of the United States 1979 $1 Rush Lamp and Candle Holder stamp with intaglio brown inverted, popularly identified as the CIA Invert, will be offered during the Nov. 12-13 Cherrystone public auction.

By Michael Baadke

The Nov. 12-13 Cherrystone public auction in New York City is offering United States and worldwide stamps, covers and collections, with almost 1,000 lots prepared for the two-day sale.

Cherrystone notes that the auction includes stock from the Broadway Stamp Company retail store that operated in a number of Manhattan locations for decades.

“There are numerous lots of United States, British Commonwealth and South America, much of the material offered here for the first time in 45 years,” according to Cherrystone.

Also included is specialized material from Cuba, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other countries, as well as many large lots and collections.

A modern U.S. stamp error with an intriguing history, the so-called CIA Invert, is among the offerings. The 1979 $1 Rush Lamp and Candle Holder with intaglio brown printing inverted (Scott 1610c) is known as the CIA Invert because of its discovery by office employees of the international spy agency.

An unused partial pane of 95 stamps was purchased at a post office by one CIA employee, and no other examples have turned up in the meantime. The single stamp in the Cherrystone sale is described as very fine and never hinged, with an opening price of $14,000. The error is listed in the 2020 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers at $17,000, with that value in italics to indicate that it can be difficult to value accurately.

Also on offer are four individual die proofs from the popular U.S. Great Americans definitive series of 1980-99. Three are central vignettes of Virginia Apgar, for the 20¢ stamp honoring her that was issued in 1994, and the fourth is a brown die proof on gummed paper of the engraved design for the 32¢ Milton S. Hershey stamp of 1995.

Classic U.S. material is also represented in this sale, which includes an 1845-46 10¢ black on greenish St. Louis Bears postmaster’s provisional stamp (Scott 11X2) franking a folded letter addressed to New York.

The expertizing documentation for this cover includes a 2019 certificate from the Philatelic Foundation. Cherrystone lists the cover at $10,500.

The auction catalog is posted on the Cherrystone website. Bids can be submitted in person or on the Cherrystone website, or by email, fax or telephone. Additional information is available from Cherrystone Auctions, 119 W. 57th St., Suite 316, New York, NY 10019.

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