CIA Invert, Monaco overprint rarity in May 9-10 Cherrystone auction

Apr 26, 2023, 12 PM

By Charles Snee

Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers will offer almost 1,500 lots of rare stamps and postal history from around the world during a sale to be held March 14-15 at its gallery in Teaneck, N.J.

The two-day auction will take place over four sessions, with sessions each day at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Eastern Time.

Highlights among the United States and possessions offerings include graded stamps, plate blocks and modern errors.

“In the Worldwide section we are pleased to offer Great Britain and British Commonwealth, European Countries, Asia and the rest of the world,” Cherrystone said.

Also up for bids is “a splendid collection of Egypt and Orient Zeppelin flights, featuring three of the four known Suez dispatches, plus other rarities,” according to Cherrystone.

The sale concludes with more than 200 large lots and collections. Here bidders will find single country albums, specialized collections and large cover lots offered intact, Cherrystone said.

One of the more notable U.S. items is a mint, never-hinged 1979 $1 Rush Lamp and Candle Holder with the engraved brown inverted (Scott 1610c), popularly known as the CIA Invert because a single pane of 100 of the error was discovered and purchased at the McLean, Va., post office by a CIA employee.

Of the original pane of 100, 93 examples found their way into collector hands.

According to Cherrystone, the CIA employee who bought the pane “teamed up with some colleagues to purchase the pane from a post office.”

“Saving a copy each, the group later sold the bulk of the sheet to a prominent stamp dealer,” Cherrystone said.

“News of the error reached CIA officials who sought to claim ownership and US Postal authorities who tried to recover the stamps. Official queries, threats, and even job losses followed the group until the sale of the pane was ruled legal.”

The CIA Invert in the Cherrystone sale is accompanied by a 2014 graded extra fine-90 certificate from the Philatelic Foundation in New York City.

A mint CIA Invert is valued at $17,000 in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. The value is in italics to indicate that limited market data is available to establish a value.

Cherrystone is offering this CIA Invert with an opening bid of $14,000.

Among the seven lots of Monaco items is a mint, never-hinged 1946 100-franc red King Louis II airmail stamp with a double overprint (Scott C9b).

The doubling of the blue overprint is most easily seen to the left of and slightly below the airplane

The stamp is signed by airmail specialists F.W. Kessler and Nicolas Sanabria, according to Cherrystone, and just 10 examples of this Monaco rarity are recorded.

A mint example of Monaco Scott C9b is valued at $22,500 in the Scott Standard Postage Stamp Catalogue. The value is italicized to indicate an item that trades infrequently in the philatelic marketplace.

Cherrystone lists this Monaco airmail error stamp with an opening bid of $9,000.

The catalog for the May 9-10 worldwide stamps and postal history sale can be viewed and is available for download on the Cherrystone website, with online bidding options available.

Information also is available from Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers, 300 Frank W. Burr Blvd., Second Floor, Box 35, Teaneck, NJ 07666.

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