Siegel presents five auctions in three days; sales include Pony Express, Jenny Invert

Jun 6, 2014, 6 AM

During a three-day stretch in the firm’s Rarities Week, Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries is presenting five very distinct sales.

The June 24-26 auctions will offer the New Helvetia collection of Western Express and California mails, Confederate States’ postmasters provisionals in part 1 of the Brandon collection, a part of the Wade Saadi “Struck on Stamps” collection, the Daniel H. and Marcel V. collection of birds of the world, and the 2014 Rarities of the World sale.

Each sale is presented in individual full-color catalogs that can be browsed at, or downloaded from the website as PDF documents.

The sales are taking place in the Siegel galleries at 60 E. 56th St. in New York City, with online bidding, phone bidding and absentee bidding available.

The 2014 Rarities of the World sale will take place June 26 and will include some familiar rarities along with others rarely seen.

The auction begins with a selection of autographs and free franks, including an outstanding cover bearing the signature free frank of the legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett during his tenure as a United States congressman from Tennessee.

The extensive range of U.S. stamp and postal history material on offer includes an example of the 1918 24¢ Jenny Invert airmail error (Scott C3a) from position 73 of the discovery pane of 100.

The stamp is lightly hinged, with deep rich colors and choice centering, according to the auction description, which also notes “possibly a small thin spot but not visible to the eye or in fluid.” A 1970s certificate noted a “small thin spot,” which Siegel discloses but adds that its own examination shows no evidence of a thin.

The stamp, encapsulated by Professional Stamp Experts, which graded it as fine-very fine 75, is listed with the 2014 Scott catalog value of $450,000.

As reported by Jay Bigalke in the June 2 Linn’s, this sale will also offer a full pane of six of the upright variety of the 2013 $2 Jenny Invert, purchased in a post office earlier this year by David and Gail Robinson. This first example of a full pane of six to be offered at public auction is listed by Siegel with an estimate of $40,000 to $50,000.

One rarity in the sale has been held by its original discoverer for 70 years and is now heading to the auction block for the first time.

Robert B. Hopler was 12 years old when he bought the 6¢ airmail envelope in the Madison, N.J., post office in 1944.

Recognizing its unusual character, he followed advice to have it expertized by the Philatelic Foundation three years later, and obtained a new Foundation certificate authenticating it in 2013.

The envelope has been in his possession since the day he bought it, Hopler told Linn’s.

Andrew Titley of Siegel told Linn’s that the firm has sold only one other example of the error envelope (Scott UC6a), and is now unaware of that envelope’s whereabouts.

“This rarity has been missing from all of the prominent collections of Postal Stationery formed in recent memory, including Floyd, Saddleback, Wanamaker, Schiller and Scarsdale,” Siegel stated in the auction description.

The unused airmail envelope offered in the auction is described as having a few “inconsequential” slight vertical creases, and is listed by Siegel with the 2014 Scott catalog value of $15,000.

The rarities in the June 26 auction also encompass U.S. back- of-the-book stamps, U.S. possessions (including two Hawaii Missionary stamps and other issues), classic Canada proof sheets, worldwide stamps and covers, and more.

The first sale in the current series opens June 24 with a selection of Western Express covers, followed by 1860-61 transcontinental Pony Express covers and stamps, 1862-65 Virginia City Pony Express material, British Columbia and Vancouver Island mails, and concluding with numerous California covers and foreign mail covers.

Four pages in this catalog are devoted to a single item, a June 3, 1860, westbound Pony Express cover franked by Sen. Milton S. Latham (1827-82), described as “Delayed due to Paiute Indian War, and carried with military escort.”

The cover is one of four recorded westbound Pony Express covers delayed by the 1860 war, according to Siegel, and one of the two that carry Latham’s free frank.

The cover bears a clear strike of the running pony oval date-stamp and the senator’s handwritten free frank across the top. It is offered with a presale estimate of $75,000 to $100,000.

The catalog for part 1 of the Confederate States collection of Ralph Brandon (1931-2012) serves as a history lesson for the many typographed or lithographed adhesive stamps and printed envelopes locally created to accommodate the need for prepaid postage before the Confederate general-issue stamps became available.

The catalog for the June 24 sale includes a list of the 88 post offices represented by stamps or envelopes in this sale, complete with Scott catalog numbers and the names of the issuing postmasters.

A highlight of the collection is one of only two recorded covers franked with the 10¢ red and blue Greenville, Ala., provisional stamp (Scott 33X1). The 1862 cover is addressed to D.B. Taylor of the Pensacola Rangers at Richmond, Va. Formerly in the collections of Seebeck, Caspary and Lilly, the cover is offered with an estimate of $47,500.

The Wade Saadi collection of postmarked stamps is described by Charles Shreve as containing “a dazzling group of cancellations of all kinds — different colored inks, unusual ‘killer’ designs, straightline markings, foreign postmarks, pictorial fancy cancellations and private express company datestamps, to name a few of the broad categories.”

The stamps in the June 25 sale are all classic U.S. issues of 1851 to 1868. Among the choice items are three used examples of the 1860 blue 90¢ George Washington (Scott 39), and one of the scarce blackish violet variety of the 1863 24¢ George Washington (78c) marked with a neat seven-bar grid cancel.

The sale also includes several color varieties of the 1861 5¢ Thomas Jefferson, but just one of the elusive olive yellow shade (Scott 67b), and it’s a particularly nice and sound example. Boldly struck with a grid cancel and barely touched by a red cancel at top, this stamp is listed with its $4,000 Scott catalog value.

The Daniel H. and Marcel V. collection of birds of the world is an extensive selection of material featuring birds in the design, including proofs, essays, imperforate stamps and more.

A wide range of appealing errors in the June 26 auction includes two familiar key issues: Western Australia’s 1879 2-penny lilac Swan error of color (Scott 31a) and Canada’s 1959 5¢ Seaway Invert (387a).

The Swan error has a large part of its original gum and is uncharacteristically well centered, according to the catalog description. It is listed with the 2015 Scott catalog value of $20,000.

The Seaway invert is described as wonderfully well centered, with rich colors and free of faults. It is listed in the auction catalog at $12,000, the 2014 Scott catalog value.

With its focus on birds, this sale also includes a number of U.S. federal duck stamp singles, multiples and errors.

For additional information about any of these sales, visit, or contact Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, 60 E. 56th St., New York, NY 10022.