10 cent black stamp from the first US issue leads Siegel's last auction of the year

Stamp auction giant Siegel is getting its final auction of 2011 underway today. It is a three day long affair with over a thousand lots of US stamps, including the Dr Christopher and Anne Thacher Collection.

The sale also includes a fantastic group of classic US corner copies, as well as imprint and plate number singles and multiples.

One of the greatest multiples in the auction is surely a block of six stamps of the 6c dull brown 1894-98 Bureau Issues. The block has an error: it is horizontally imperforate.

Aside from the interest of the error, this is a very attractive piece. It bears the bottom imprint and plate no. '28' mark in its selvedge.

6c Dull Brown stamp block horizontally imperforate
The fine 6c dull brown stamp block, which is horizontally imperforate

In fine condition with its original gum, few hinge marks and brilliant colour, the unique block is expected to bring $30,000.

The other highlight is outstanding not primarily because of its rarity but its quality. This is an 1847 10 cent black stamp with its original gum, light hinging at the top and huge to large margins. The detailed impression clearly shows every detail of the engraving on the fresh deeply blued paper.

An extremely fine gem, this is easily one of the finest original-gum examples of the 10-cent 1847 issue in existence with four large margins. The 10 cent is notoriously difficult to obtain in completely sound original-gum condition.

US first issue 10 cents stamp gem
Aging well: George Washington on the US first issue 10 cents black stamp

This superb stamp is a true condition rarity and a marvellous example of the first United States general issue. It is expected to sell for $35,000. The auction starts today (December 13) in New York with full internet bidding available.

Early stamps in good condition are always coveted by collectors. We've recently acquired a piece of philatelic history which goes one stage further: an extremely rare Great Britain 1840 Rainbow Trial presentation sheet - trials which would result in the Penny Black.

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