Only known top-grade example of blue Franklin stamp in Bennett auction

Oct 7, 2016, 9 AM

By Michael Baadke

The next public auction from Matthew Bennett International will take place Oct. 21-22 in the Herald Square Suite at the New Yorker Hotel, 481 Eighth Ave., New York, N.Y.

The sale features United States and Canada stamps, although collectors will find some choice examples of postal history among the offerings.

U.S. back-of-the-book material is not neglected, with airmails, officials, revenues, envelope cut squares and entires, and more.

Connect with Linn’s Stamp News: 

    Sign up for our newsletter
    Like us on Facebook
    Follow us on Twitter

The revenues selection includes one example of the 1871 $200 red, blue and black documentary stamp known as the “small Persian rug,” and one of the $500 red-orange, green and black “large Persian rug” stamps issued in the same year.

A characteristic of many of the stamps in this Bennett sale is top grading — in some cases, offering the only known example of the highest grade recorded for a single issue.

That’s certainly true for the unused 1851 1¢ blue Benjamin Franklin Type II stamp (Scott 7) that was graded Gem 100J (for Jumbo) on a 2008 certificate from Professional Stamp Experts.

The lightly hinged stamp with original gum is an upper right corner sheet margin single, position 10L2, “with full top and right sheet margins and large portions of the adjacent stamps at left and bottom,” Bennett notes, adding that the stamp features a bright color and a prooflike impression.

The Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamp and Covers assigns a value of $1,000 to a Type II 1¢ blue grading very fine, but the value climbs significantly as the grade goes up. Bennett cites a $19,000 value for “a regular 100” as published in Stamp Market Quarterly.

Among the perforated issues is another stamp that is the highest graded by Professional Stamp Experts, and “the sole example,” according to Bennett.

It’s an 1894 15¢ dark blue Henry Clay (Scott 259), never hinged with original gum. Along with its exceptional centering, Bennett praises the deep rich color and the bright paper on this example.

Its 2004 Professional Stamp Experts certificate grades the stamp at Superb 98, and Bennett notes that Stamp Market Quarterly bestows a value of $22,000 for a Superb 98 stamp.

The Bennett auction also offers as individual lots both of the stamps that are the only two to achieve the highest grade of XF-Superb 95 for the 1870 90¢ carmine Oliver Hazard Perry without grill (Scott 155). Both have original gum that is lightly hinged.

Among the used stamps in the Bennett sale is a stamp that isn’t found in used condition all that often: the 1¢ green and black Pan-American stamp with center inverted (Scott 294a). And for that reason, the Scott catalog value for an authentic in-period use is considerably more than the value assigned to an unused stamp.

Bennett notes the 2016 Scott catalog value of $30,000 for the used stamp. This example is struck with a numeral 1 duplex cancel and has a light corner crease. It is accompanied by a 1999 Professional Stamp Experts certificate.

The auction opens on Friday with U.S. general and specialized collections, U.S. revenue collections, U.S. postal history collections, plus a foreign collection and collections of U.S. coins.

It will end on Saturday with a bang, offering an unused Canada 1851 12-penny black Queen Victoria on laid paper (Scott 3), followed shortly thereafter with a single 1959 5¢ St. Lawrence Seaway with center inverted, and a rare block of four of the same 5¢ invert error (387a).

The auction lots can be viewed online, with online bidding options available.

Additional information is available from Matthew Bennett International, 221 Columbus Ave., Suite 203, Boston, MA 02116.