A cover that bears three of the most desirable 1851 1c blue stamps is to lead a US auction on February 23-24 in New York.
The auction comprises three major collections: The Weston Collection of United States Stamps, The Robert R John "Gold Rush" Collection of the US 1847 Issue, and The Towson Collection of Worldwide Stamps.
The 1851 1c cover is expected to sell for $50,000-75,000. It bears a rare multiple containing the most sought after position on plate one early.
The three horizontal stamps originate from positions 7-9R1E, with the cover being one of only six recorded containing position 7R1E - the only true Type I stamp among the 1,000 positions on the five plates used for production.
The 1851 1c stamp is renowned for the wide array of varieties and types that were produced, with Stanley B Ashbrook stating in his book on the subject:
"This first one cent value is a unique stamp, and in my opinion it is the most interesting stamp of the whole catalogue, for there is no other stamp among all those issued by the U.S. Post Office Department that offers such a wide field for specialism and philatelic study."
All three stamps are in good condition, though are cut slightly at the upper left and position eight (the middle of the three) has a light crease. They all share large margins all round, with the adjacent stamps just visible at the bottom. Each is tied to the "Buckeystown, MD, November 17th" cover by neat manuscript X cancellations.
The lot will be accompanied by a 2006 Philatelic Foundation certificate, signed by Ashbrook with his notes on the reverse.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a magnificent selection of rare stamps for sale, including the largest and most desirable multiple from plate three of the 1840 Penny Black.