Jenny Invert, other top U.S. rarities in July 10 Cherrystone sale

Jul 2, 2019, 12 PM

By Michael Baadke

The July 10 public auction from Cherrystone Philatelic Auctioneers is a single-owner sale of United States material dubbed the New Amsterdam collection.

This sale includes some of the rarest stamps in U.S. philately, including one of the only two known examples of the 1867 15¢ black Abraham Lincoln Z grill, and a 1918 24¢ Jenny Invert airmail error stamp.

Many of the stamps in this collection have not been offered publicly for decades. A used 1867 10¢ green George Washington Z grill (Scott 85D) has not been seen since 1958, according to Cherrystone’s description. It is one of only five examples available to collectors, all of them used. A sixth is in the New York Public Library’s Miller collection.

The 15¢ black Z grill (Scott 85F) is an even greater rarity, with two examples known — the same number, Cherrystone points out, as the famous 1¢ blue Franklin Z grill (85A), which is the most valuable U.S. stamp in existence. Granted, one of the 1¢ stamps has made a permanent home in the Miller collection.

The two existing 15¢ black Z grills differ in grade, and Cherrystone notes the $800,000 value for the Very Good-50 stamp as listed in the 2019 Scott Stamp Values-U.S. Specialized by Grade, a detailed table included in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers.

The auction’s opening bid for this example is $600,000.

“This stamp is definitely a key to forming a complete U.S. stamp collection,” Cherrystone said.

Not far behind on the rarity scale is a stamp impressed with the B grill: the 1867 3¢ rose George Washington (Scott 82).

The four known examples of this stamp were once affixed together in a row on an envelope mailed from Mason, Texas, to Darmstadt, Germany. The 12¢ affixed postage paid the 10¢ rate to Hamburg and an additional 2¢ fee for delivery from Hamburg to Darmstadt.

The four stamps were removed from the envelope long ago and sold individually, but this stamp has been hidden away for half a century. The original envelope, now minus all of its stamps, is included in the lot.

The auction description states: “The example offered here is centered to upper left (as all four copies are), has a natural straight edge at right, light diagonal crease, fine, with a photograph of the 1969 PFC [Philatelic Foundation certificate] for the original cover showing the four stamps (removed and hinged back) and 2019 PFC for this single copy.”

The Scott catalog confirms there are four known examples, valued by Scott in the grade of fine at $900,000. Cherrystone has bidding opening at $450,000.

As the individual who formed the New Amsterdam collection came close to completion, he turned his attention to U.S. inverted centers, and this sale offers some choice examples of these varieties as well.

First among these chronologically are three from the 1869 issue: the 15¢ (Scott 119b) and the 24¢ (120b), both used, plus a sound unused example of the 30¢ ultramarine and carmine Shield, Eagle and Flags with the ultramarine flags inverted (121b).

Six of the seven known unused 30¢ inverts have no gum, and the stamp on offer is one of those six. But it is also one of only three sound examples, according to Cherrystone, and it was last offered publicly in a 1960 H.R. Harmer sale.

Against a Scott catalog value of $300,000, Cherrystone is offering the 30¢ invert with an opening bid of $240,000.

The auction also includes single unused examples of all three inverts from the 1901 Pan-American Exposition issue: the 1¢ green and black (Scott 294a), the 2¢ carmine and black (295a), and the 4¢ deep red brown and black (296a).

The Jenny Invert in this sale is from position 27 on the discovery sheet of 100 stamps.

The carmine rose and blue error stamp with the Jenny biplane printed upside down (Scott C3a) is described by Cherrystone as a desirable sound example, attractively centered and having deep rich colors and full original gum with minor hinge remnant.

The back of the stamp has a small handstamped “Sanabria, N.Y.”

This example was purchased in a 1990 Robert A. Siegel auction for $126,500 (including the buyer’s commission).

The Scott catalog value today for the Jenny Invert is $450,000; the position 27 stamp in this sale is listed with a starting bid of $325,000.

Cherrystone has included the following notice with regard to the New Amsterdam collection auction: “Due to the exclusive nature of this particular auction, we ask that interested internet bidders register for CherrystoneLIVE access to the live sale. This applies to both established clients and new bidders. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and reiterate that this process is for the New Amsterdam sale only.”

The link for registration is on the Cherrystone website, which is also where the auction lots can be viewed. A PDF of the auction catalog can be downloaded at the same site.

For additional information, contact Cherrystone Auctions, 119 W. 57th St., Suite 316, New York, NY 10019.

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