Unused compound-perf 1¢ Washington block brings $18,880 at Kelleher auction

Apr 28, 2021, 8 PM
A block of the United States 1914 1¢ green George Washington stamp with compound perforations was auctioned for $18,880 in early December during the Daniel F. Kelleher Flagship sale.

By Matthew Healey, New York Correspondent

The firm of Daniel F. Kelleher held its Flagship sale of U.S. and worldwide material Dec. 8-10 in Danbury, Conn.

The star lot was an item shown on page 1 of Linn’s issue of Dec. 7, 2015: a 1914 block of four 1¢ green George Washington stamps that, at first glance, seems quite ordinary, worth perhaps $20 or $30 at most.

A closer look, though, reveals that the perforations are not consistent: The vertical rows of holes measure gauge 10, while the horizontal holes, which cut into the tops of the stamp designs, measure a tighter gauge 12. Stamps with this mix of perf measurements are listed as Scott 423A.

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The combination was not an error, but a normal transition in production at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing from the harder-to-separate gauge 10 to the more easily torn apart gauge 12. The compound perforations variety went unnoticed for some time, and most of these stamps were presumably stuck on mail and discarded.

Despite a couple of trivial faults, the block offered by Kelleher sold for $18,880, including the 18 percent buyer’s commission charged by Kelleher.