Scarce U.S. 1873 Official plate proof sheet in May 16-18 Dutch Country auction

May 9, 2023, 9 AM
Dutch Country Auctions of Wilmington, Del., will offer this complete sheet of 10 of the United States 1873 $20 Department of State plate proof on India paper (Scott O71P3) during its May 16-18 sale of U.S. and worldwide stamps and covers.

By Charles Snee

Dutch Country Auctions will conduct a 1,618-lot sale of United States and worldwide stamps and covers May 16-18 at its office in Wilmington, Del. Each day’s session will begin at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

Among the more intriguing highlights of the auction are a sea captain’s correspondence of 22 stampless letters and a massive holding of roughly 6,000 submarine covers, according to Dutch Country.

The U.S. offerings include “many nice high quality and desirable stamps along with a host of accumulations and collections,” Dutch Country said.

This auction, like Dutch Country’s March 21-23 sale, features a strong selection of U.S. Official and revenue multiples.

One of the scarcer Official items up for bids is a complete sheet of 10 of the 1873 $20 Department of State plate proof on India paper (Scott O71P3) that is pressed onto a card.

Dutch Country notes the presence of “minor toning spots” and states that the proof sheet is one of two known.

An intact sheet of 10 of Scott O71P3 is valued at $4,000 in the Scott Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers. The value appears in italics to indicate an item that trades infrequently in the philatelic marketplace.

Dutch Country is offering this 1873 $20 Department of State plate proof sheet of 10 on India paper with an opening bid of $1,500.

Similar sheets of 10 of the $2, $5 and $10 Department of State plate proofs (Scott O68P3-O70P3) are also up for bids in separate lots. Each of these sheets is also one of two known, Dutch Country said.

The sale concludes with worldwide collections and large lots that offer myriad possibilities for an adventuresome bidder.

A representative example is a substantial accumulation of thousands of mostly 20th-century issues housed in hundreds of glassine envelopes, album pages and stock pages.

Some more desirable items include British Empire omnibus issues and stamps from Ireland, Romania, Ryukyu Islands and Saar.

Dutch Country lists this large lot with an estimate of $600 to $700 and an opening bid of $300.

The catalog for the May 16-18 U.S. and worldwide sale can be viewed and is available for download on the Dutch Country website. Online bids may be placed through Stamp Auction Network.

Information also is available from Dutch Country Auctions, 4115 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE 19803.

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