Don Fernandez invert top seller at Kelleher sale of Kuske Canal Zone

Apr 27, 2021, 1 PM

By Matthew Healey

The firm of Daniel F. Kelleher offered the Donald A. Kuske collection of the Panama Canal Zone on Sept. 9 at its headquarters in Danbury, Conn. A preview of the sale appeared in Linn’s issue of Sept. 14.

As anticipated, the top seller was a 2-centavo stamp with Don Fernandez upside-down; in this case, a used single of the earlier 1907 issue showing him (Scott 23g). Compounding the erratum is the fact that the “CANAL ZONE” overprint, instead of reading from the top down, is reading from the bottom up. Just nine examples of this double error are known. The stamp sold for $7,670, including the 18 percent buyer’s premium Kelleher adds to all hammer prices.

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A used 1c stamp of 1904 showing a map of Panama with the “CANAL ZONE” overprint upside-down (Scott 9c), one of a mere six surviving, went for $2,950. Compare that to the realization for the inverted Chinese overprint described previously, which is twice as common. It pays to be from a big country.

Among the back-of-the-book rarities in the Kelleher sale, a 6¢ airmail Official stamp with inverted overprint (Scott CO14a) realized $1,534, while a 10¢ provisional postage due stamp with doubled overprint brought $266. Full results are available at the Kelleher website.