Rarities in Oct. 10-12 Kelleher auction include U.S. classics

May 3, 2021, 7 PM

By Michael Baadke

The imperforate 1851 1¢ type I Benjamin Franklin stamp (Scott 5) is one of the more challenging stamps to obtain when building a collection of United States classics.

In its Oct. 10-12 Flagship sale in Danbury, Conn., Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions is offering a used example of the elusive stamp with clear margins.

The stamp in the auction is additionally interesting because it is an example of the dark blue color, not the standard blue of the major variety. The dark blue is noted in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers, but no value has been assigned to it because the information needed to establish a value is lacking.

The 1¢ type I stamp is known to collectors as 7R1E, because this fully intact variety of the Franklin design and its framing ornaments occurred only in position 7 of the right pane on the early printing of plate 1.

Fewer than 100 surviving examples of Scott 5 are recorded today, most of them used. On many examples, the stamp frame has been cut in because the stamps when printed were very close to each other on the sheet.

This example, as Kelleher describes, features “four clear gigantic margins all around showing every glorious bit of the type.”

The stamp is struck with a black New York large-slug-in-circle cancel that was used on circular mail. With tiny corner creases at top, a small sealed tear at bottom and small thins, the stamp has very fine to extremely fine centering, Kelleher notes.

The stamp’s provenance includes prominent researcher Stanley B. Ashbrook, and it is accompanied by a 1957 certificate from the Philatelic Foundation and a 2018 certificate from Professional Stamp Experts.

With no Scott value listed for the dark blue shade, Kelleher notes that the value in the 2018 Scott U.S. Specialized catalog for a used stamp in blue is $67,500.

The auction firm estimates this stamp at $40,000 to $60,000, with an opening bid of $20,000.

The Kelleher Flagship sale brings together a diverse selection of material from numerous sources, including the RGB collection of United States, the Howard Herzog collection of U.S. and worldwide stamps, the William B. Martin collection of stamps and covers of the world, and others.

The worldwide material in the three-day auction includes a nice run of Germany and German states, Scandinavia and Italian area.

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More than 340 lots of Great Britain and British Commonwealth are being offered, beginning with an unusual unused example of Britain’s 1840 1-penny Mulready envelope in black (Scott U1). Named after the designer, William Mulready, this example has a manuscript endorsement across the front in Mulready’s hand, according to Kelleher, reading “Specimen of B. [British] Govt. envelope for Coll. J. Trumbull,”

It is described as “a Very Fine and unique Mulready specimen, possibly given to renowned American soldier and painter John Trumbull as a sign of admiration.”

The envelope is lightly soiled with a small wax seal hole on reverse. With an estimate of $5,000 to $7,500, it opens at $2,500.

The auction catalog for the Flagship sale can be viewed at, with online bidding options available.

For additional information contact Daniel F. Kelleher Auctions, 22 Shelter Rock Lane, Unit 53, Danbury, CT 06810.