A block of four 1857 10c green stamps has highlighted a US philatelic auction, held August 23-25 in Boston, US.
The spectacular block originates from the renowned 1857-1861 US classics issue, which was the first of the country's stamp series to feature perforations. Five major types of the perforated 10c stamps were initially issued, with the block at auction printed from the 1851 imperforate plate. Only Type V of the 10c was printed using a new plate.
A rare combination block, the top two stamps were of Type II, while the bottom two were Type III, in positions 62-63/72-73L. Boasting superb colouration and impression, with only lightly hinged original gum, they sold for $11,500 against a $10,000-15,000 estimate.
The addition of perforations to US stamps is said to have confused some of the less astute postal clerks, who failed to recognise the purpose of the new addition and continued to divide the stamps using scissors. This often destroyed the perforations and resulted in quality stamps with their perforations intact becoming something of a rarity.
Also featuring in the sale was a stunning example of one of America's oldest stamps, the St Louis Bear. An extremely rare unused example, the stamp sold for $7,000 at the top end of its $5,000-7,500 estimate, despite multiple faults including a sealed tear at the top edge.
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