Mint plate blocks, mint panes of 2¢ Warren G. Harding elusive in marketplace
By Henry Gitner and Rick Miller
Warren G. Harding certainly looked the part of president of the United States. Handsome, stern without being forbidding, having gravitas without being leaden, he was at the height of his vast popularity when he died suddenly on Aug. 2, 1923, while on a tour of the Western states.
The shock and grief of the nation was real, although subsequent scandals and revelations have brought his reputation down near the bottom of the presidential list.
As a reflection of the national mourning, the Post Office Department rushed memorial stamps into production, the first of which went on sale a scant 29 days after the president’s death.
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The 2016 Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers values the flat-plate printed 2¢ Warren G. Harding stamp perforated gauge 11 (Scott 610) at $1.10 in mint never-hinged condition.
The stamp was printed in plates of 400 subjects, which were divided into four panes of 100 for distribution and sale. Plate-number blocks of six in mint never-hinged condition are valued at $47.50.
This is still a common stamp, easily acquired in mint never-hinged condition, but finding mint never-hinged plate number blocks and full panes of 100 in grades of very fine or better is surprisingly difficult. Both are much scarcer in mint never-hinged condition than most of the higher priced commemorative stamps of the same period.
Plate number blocks are worth full Scott catalog value, and mint panes of 100 sell for $190 or more. Both are good buys at these prices.
A few minor perforation separations are acceptable on panes of 100, but not on plate number blocks. Full top position plate number blocks in mint never-hinged condition and in the grade of very fine bring a strong premium. Watch out for plate blocks that have been trimmed or have reattached perforation separations.
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