State Dept. Official ‘Specimen’ sells for $17,250 in Bennett sale

May 3, 2021, 1 AM
A highlight of the Dec. 11-12 Matthew Bennett sale in New York was this $2 State Department Official stamp with a red “Specimen” overprint, which realized $17,250.

By Matthew Healey, New York Correspondent

The firm of Matthew Bennett held a sale Dec. 11-12 in New York of U.S., Canada and worldwide material.

The standout item, depicted on the front cover of Linn’s issue of Dec. 14 previewing the sale, was an 1875 Special Printing of the $2 Department of State Official stamp.

The stamp lacks gum and is overprinted “Specimen” in red. These attributes show how the Post Office Department avoided legal difficulties in offering collectors reprints of Official stamps, which private citizens were not authorized to use.

Just 32 examples of this stamp were sold, of which just 20 are thought to have survived, with a mere five or six being sound and well-centered, according to the late Robert Markovits, who was widely acknowledged as a leading expert on U.S. Officials.

The stamp sold for $17,250, including Bennett’s 15 percent commission.

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