A unique 1852 13c blue Hawaiian "missionary stamp" pair is up for auction at Robert A Siegel.
It's valued at up to $70,000 ahead of the October 29 sale.
The lot consists of the type I and II variations of the stamp tied with a seven-bar grid cancel. A San Francisco datestamp is visible, indicating the route the mail travelled.
The stamp was the first issued in Hawaii and was originally printed for the use of missionaries during the 1850s. It was designed by local postmaster Henry M Whitney.
Siegel comments: "This pair was part of Henry J. Crocker's plating study of the Missionaries, which also included the 13c 'Hawaiian Postage' strip on cover, which was subsequently in the Honolulu Advertiser collection and is now part of the permanent collection at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum…
"Together they represent the only known multiples of the Missionaries. Little is known of the origin of this pair, though it is possible that it emanated from the Dawson find and was removed from a damaged cover.
"The two positions show an interesting skewed alignment of the framelines. Type II (the right stamp) has the characteristic missing period after the 'U' of 'U.S.'"
The stamps have long been prized collectors' items. The Dawson cover, the only example in the world to display a 2c specimen of the issue, sold for $2.2m in a 2013 auction.
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