Spectacular 1877 Italian offices abroad registered cover highlights Sept. 12-13 Cherrystone auction

Aug 28, 2023, 12 PM
This rare 1877 registered cover featuring a six-color franking of Italian offices abroad stamps is among many gems of postal history that will tempt bidders during Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers’ Sept. 12-13 sale of rare worldwide stamps and covers.

By Charles Snee

Exactly 1,500 lots will be up for bids when Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers in Teaneck, N.J., presents its Sept. 12-13 sale of rare stamps and postal history of the world.

The two-day auction will take place over four sessions, with sessions each day at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

Collectors of the postal history of Italian offices abroad will want to pay particular attention to lot 881, an 1877 registered cover from the Italian post office in Tunis, Tunisia, to Oldenburg, Germany, featuring a six-color franking of the 1874-78 general issue overprinted “ESTERO,” Italian for abroad.

The eye-catching cover is front and center on the cover of Cherrystone’s catalog for the auction.

From left to right across the top of the cover, the stamps are the 1-centesimo olive green (Scott 1), 2c orange brown (2), 30c brown (8), 40c rose (9), 60c lilac (10) and 2-lira vermilion (11). The 1c and 2-lira stamps have “minor flaws,” Cherrystone said. Immediately below the 2-lira stamp is a Tunis registry label.

A major key to the cover’s rarity is the 2-lira vermilion, the top denomination of the 1874-78 issue, which is valued at $27,500 on cover in the Scott Classic Specialized Catalogue of Stamps and Covers 1840-1940. That value is italicized to indicate an item that is difficult to value accurately because of limited market data.

According to Cherrystone, the letter was mailed March 30, 1877 (as indicated by the “Tunisi Poste Italiane” circular datestamp at lower left), transited through Rome and arrived in Oldenburg on April 5.

Two expertization certificates attest to the cover’s genuineness: one issued in 1985 by Enzo Diena and one from Giorgio Colla Asinelli in 2001.

The cover is also signed by Italy and states specialist Alberto Bolaffi Jr.

Cherrystone is offering this significant piece of Italian offices abroad postal history with an opening bid of $19,000.

Almost 250 large lots and collections will close out the auction on Sept. 13. The third lot in that category to cross the auction block will be a United States 1847-1940 collection, which Cherrystone describes as a “mostly complete collection formed by a European gentleman.”

The collection begins with attractive used examples of the 1847 5¢ Franklin and 10¢ Washington (Scott 1-2), the nation’s first adhesive postage stamps.

Additional highlights include complete sets of stamps of the unwatermarked 1894 and watermarked 1895 First Bureau Issues (Scott 246-263 and 264-278), 1902 Second Bureau Issue (300-313), 1893 Columbian Exposition (230-245) and 1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition (285-293).

According to Cherrystone, the collection includes more than 30 Civil War patriotic covers, back-of-the-book items, postage due stamps and plate proofs of high-denomination Official stamps.

Cherrystone lists this substantial classic-era U.S. collection with a starting bid of $14,000.

The catalog for the Sept. 12-13 worldwide stamps and postal history sale can be viewed and is available for download on the Cherrystone website, with online bidding options available.

Information also is available from Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers, 300 Frank W. Burr Blvd., Second Floor, Box 35, Teaneck, NJ 07666.

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