Bennett auction features 1851 1¢ Benjamin Franklin rarity

May 6, 2019, 8 AM
A used example of the rare U.S. 1¢ blue type I of 1851 will be auctioned in Boston by Matthew Bennett.

By Michael Baadke

The May 18 public auction by Matthew Bennett International will feature a used example of the United States 1851 1¢ blue Benjamin Franklin type I stamp from position 7R1E (Scott 5).

The rarity is described as having balanced margins barely touching in a couple of spots, but with all type characteristics completely visible. It is struck with a “neat red N.Y. square grid cancel.” Bennett describes it as one of the finer of the 100 or so known examples.

The stamp is accompanied by a 1995 Philatelic Foundation certificate.

Of the original five 200-subject plates used to print the 1¢ blue, only the stamp printed at position 7 on the right pane of the early state of plate I (7R1E) shows the most complete original die design.

In the 2019 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers, the used stamp is listed with a $65,000 value in italics, indicating that it can be difficult to value accurately. A red grid cancel is a value-added characteristic, according to the Scott listing.

The 370 lots in the Bennett auction include material from the Frederick J. Strieter collection of used U.S. stamps. A selection of used rotary coil waste and rotary sheet waste stamps includes a rare perf 11 example of the 1923 2¢ black Warren G. Harding stamp (Scott 613) produced from rotary press sheet waste.

More than 40 lots of China ranging from issues of the empire to the People’s Republic are also offered in this sale, as are various U.S. and worldwide collections.

The auction is taking place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 776 Boylston St., in Boston, Mass., with live online bidding available on Stamp Auction Network.

The auction lots are illustrated and described online at, or contact Matthew Bennett International, 221 Columbus Ave., Suite 203, Boston, MA 02116.

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