1869 30¢ Pictorial invert headlines Cherrystone sale in New York

Dec 17, 2016, 2 PM

By Michael Baadke

The first public auction of 2017 for Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers will take place Jan. 10-11 at the Cherrystone galleries in New York City.

The auction will offer a range of stamps and postal history from the United States and around the world, with a strong selection of flight covers (including zeppelin flight covers) from numerous countries.

This sale also includes a sound used example of the rarest invert from the U.S. 1869 Pictorial series. The error variety of the 30¢ Eagle and Shield with Flags stamp (Scott 121b) is printed with the ultramarine (blue) design elements inverted, most notably the U.S. flags flanking the red shield displaying the stamp’s denomination.

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Just 47 examples of this striking error are known to survive: seven unused and 40 used, including two used examples in museum collections.

“Of the 38 available to collectors, only 13 are sound or potentially sound (six are based on decades-old descriptions and need to be reexamined for condition). Of the confirmed sound copies, this is nearly perfectly centered, with unobtrusive cancel,” according to the auction catalog description by Cherrystone.

The stamp is marked with a segmented cork cancel, and it is accompanied by a 2004 certificate from the Philatelic Foundation.

The 2017 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the used 30¢ invert at $100,000; this top-notch example is offered with a minimum bid of $72,500.

The auction includes other U.S. inverts for the collector, such as the 1¢ and 4¢ stamps from the 1901 Pan-American issue (Scott 294a and 296a), the 1979 “CIA” invert of the $1 Candleholder stamp (1610c), and the 1992 25¢ Stock Exchange Bicentennial stamp with the black intaglio printing inverted (2630c).

Among the flight covers is a 1912 example from the air circus in Manitoba, intended to be flown by pilot Thomas McGoey. It is described by Cherrystone as “the only known item from this flight,” and “considered to be the greatest rarity of Canadian Aero philately.”

The picture postcard is franked with the 1¢ green of the Admiral series and postmarked Winnipeg, May 10, 1912, “creased at lower left and expertly restored, otherwise fine.”

The minimum bid for this postal history item is $4,750.

This auction is featured on the Cherrystone website, with online bidding options available, or contact Cherrystone Auctions, 119 W. 57th St., Suite 316, New York, NY 10019, for additional information.