The auction of the David W Gorham Collection is to be led by perhaps the finest known example of the US 5c 1880-1883 Special Printing stamp.
The December 10 sale, which will be held in New York, will see the stamp sold with a valuation of $350,000. Also featuring in the collection is an outstanding selection of the first designs and colours of the 1861 issue, as well as superb examples from the 1875 Continental Bank Note Special Printings.
The Special Printing program was initiated in 1875, with the postal administration granting permission to recreate previous issues as well as to reproduce a small quantity of the Continental Bank Note Company issue. These were sold at the same time as the regularly issued stamps, but only through the third assistant postmaster general's office.
The Special Printing continued from 1880-1883 under the American Bank Note Company, with a total of 16 stamps produced. The stamps from this issue can be distinguished from the Continental Special Printings by the soft, porous paper that was used and their ungummed state.
The 5c stamp at auction is one of only 18 recorded copies, and is undoubtedly among the finest examples. One of the most elusive bank note special printings, it boasts rich colouration and excellent centring, and is offered ungummed as issued.
Also highlighting the auction is the first design of the 90c blue from the 1861 issue. With only six examples in sound condition and it being one of the rarest of all first designs, it will sell with a $50,000 estimate.
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