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Gross U.S. 1847 exhibit
On page 26, we present an abridged version of a longer article by Scott Trepel that appeared in the March-April issue of the Collectors Club Philatelist, house organ of the Collectors Club in New York City.
Trepel is familiar to many as the president of Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries.
In the original, he headlines his treatise with a question:
Is Bill Gross’ 1847 Collection the “Ultimate” Collection of 1847s? As you might guess, Trepel believes the answer to that question is “yes.”
He begins his defense of the exhibit with an expanded interpretation of the word “ultimate” in this philatelic context: “Simply being better than any other collection is not enough to achieve ultimate status. There must be the additional element of limited potential for expansion and improvement.”
These introductory remarks were edited out for space considerations, but we bring them up here to establish necessary context for Trepel’s arguments.
Trepel’s defense is anchored to five questions that he poses and then answers.
Of these, two are rather more provocative: “Are there any ‘iconic’ items in the collecting subject, and how many are there in the collection?” and “Apart from judging what is included in the collection, is there any significant representative item or iconic item missing from the collection, and, if so, could one reasonably expect it to be present?”
Trepel applies the term “iconic” to those philatelic items “of enduring importance/visibility, rarity and demand, which remain powerful after the test of time.”
Perhaps the most fascinating part of the article (to this writer, at least) is the finale, wherein Trepel traces the chronological history of other great 1847 collections and demonstrates how Gross was “in the right places at the right times” to acquire numerous key pieces for his collection.
The timing of this article is intriguing, given that it appears not long after Gross’ exhibit was passed over for a grand prix award at the Brasiliana 2013 international show in Rio de Janeiro last November.
We covered the controversy that erupted over the apparent snubbing of the exhibit in a lengthy page 1 story in the Dec. 23, 2013, issue of Linn’s.