Forster 1869 Pictorial postal history collection in April 18 Siegel auction

Mar 30, 2023, 11 AM
Among the gems in Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries’ April 18 sale of the Jeffrey M. Forster collection of the U.S. 1869 Pictorial issue used in international mails is the only recorded example of an 1869 Pictorial and Danish West Indies mixed franking.

By Charles Snee

On April 18, Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries will auction Jeffrey M. Forster’s gold medal-winning collection of the United States 1869 Pictorial issue used in international mails.

For 50 years, Forster collected postal history of the 1869 Pictorial stamps with discipline, patience and a keen eye for items considered the finest of their kind.

In his introduction to the Forster collection catalog, Siegel president Scott R. Trepel offers an overview of Forster’s life and collecting pursuits. Trepel first met Forster in 1977; their friendship spanned 45 years.

“In 1975 [Forster] became one of the earliest and youngest members of the 1869 Pictorial Research Associates, the collector society which focused exclusively on the 1869s (the group dissolved in 1991),” Trepel said.

“During the formative period of Jeff’s collecting career, he was mentored and encouraged by collectors such as Elliott Coulter, Duane Garrett, Bob Paliafito and Ryohei Ishikawa. Jeff collected 1869s alongside Michael Laurence, chief editor of the Chronicle and 10¢ 1869 specialist.”

According to Trepel, Forster’s 1869 Pictorial collection “evolved from a traditional presentation of stamps and covers to a survey collection of domestic and foreign mails, and then finally into its most recent form, the Large Gold medal exhibit titled ‘1869 Pictorial Issue Used in International Mails.’ ”

“This is the collection the Siegel firm is honored to offer on behalf of Jeff’s trust,” Trepel said. “All of his prized 1869 covers are presented in this sale catalogue.”

One of those prized covers that will cross the auction block is the only recorded example of an 1869 Pictorial issue and Danish West Indies mixed franking. The cover is franked with the 1869 10¢ (Scott 116) and a Danish West Indies 1866 3¢ rose on white paper (2).

In its overview of the cover, Siegel notes that it is pictured and described in Michael Laurence’s book, Ten-Cent 1869 Covers A Postal Historical Survey.

“According to Laurence, it was carried outside the mails by private forwarder from Venezuela to St. Thomas, then posted there for transport on the United States and Brazil Steamship Co. steamer South America, departing St. Thomas October 14, 1869,” Siegel said.

“The 3c stamp paid local Danish West Indies postage (as required, but usually paid in cash), and the 10c stamp paid the contract ship rate to the U.S.”

Siegel is offering this spectacular U.S. 1869 Pictorial and Danish West Indies mixed franking cover with an estimate of $50,000 to $75,000.

Siegel has prepared a single catalog for the sale of the Forster 1869 Pictorial collection. Full details of the auction, including a downloadable version of the catalog and online bidding options, are available on the Siegel website.

For additional information contact Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, 6 W. 48th St., Ninth Floor, New York, NY 10036.

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