Why a cover from 1881 topped $132,000 in Spink auction

May 2, 2021, 8 PM

Auction Roundup — By Matthew Healey, New York Correspondent

In New York, Spink offered the Robert Van Buren Emmons collection of United States and Hawaii Jan. 24.

The standout lot was an extraordinary registered cover sent in 1881, franked with six stamps in addition to the 2¢ stamp indicium preprinted on the envelope.

Remarkably, three of those six stamps are reissues of the 1869 Pictorial series: the 2¢ and 3¢ from 1875 (Scott 124-125), and the 1¢ brown orange from 1880 (133a). 

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This is the only cover known bearing that 3¢ reissue, and there are only three other covers known with the 2¢. Pitched as ideal for anyone wishing to assemble a medal-winning exhibit of the 1869 issue, the cover sold for $132,350, including Spink’s buyer’s premium of 15 percent plus $100.

A very scarce, sound used example of the $20 State Department official stamp of 1873 (Scott O71), with a light blue oval postmark, sold for just over $11,000, while an “amazing” used example of Hawaii’s 1859 1¢ light blue Numeral (Scott 12), with a discreet red nine-barred cancel, formerly in the famous Caspary collection, brought $26,550.