We've already given regular readers a heads-up about Cherrystone's upcoming auction with a mention of the exciting rarities for Columbian stamp collectors: se-tenant and tete-beche variety blocks regarded as being amongst the 'Aristocrats' of the country's philately.
However, as you'd expect with Cherrystone, these are by no means the only highlights. A particularly intriguing section is that of the Italian states, in which there are a few different choice lots from 1852.
Firstly, there is a lower left sheet corner margin block of twelve 1 scudo carmine rose, unused with full original gum. The top four stamps are hinged whilst the others are never hinged and incredibly fresh, signed Alberto Diena, Gulio Bolaffi etc., with 2004 Bolaffi "Ad Honorem" (top quality) certificate.
A sensational multiple (catalogued as two hinged blocks of four and singles), the block bears the modest estimate of $25,000.
Secondly, there is a First Day Cover sent on New Year's Day 1852. Franked with a bottom sheet margin vertical pair of 5 bajocchi black on rose, it is tied by Roma First Day Cancel departure postmark, with a red arrival stamp on the back.
Very fine, signed A. Diena, E. Diena, Raybaudi and Giorgio Colla, with 1966 and 1984 Diena certificates, this is a beautiful FDC from Stato Pontificio, without the usual filing folds, illustrated in Sassone's well known textbook. This is listed at $30,000.
Finally, there is a spectacular 8 bajocchi black on cream, intact cross-gutter sheet of 100, folded between stamps horizontally and vertically, causing minor paper splits at all four sides with hinge reinforcements at top, bottom and both sides, (hence only eight stamps are hinged).
This remarkable sheet demonstrates various plate flaws, and could provide endless fascination to a specialist collector (or a strong investment). It is expected to achieve $40,000, but will likely go for more.
Cherrystone's auction takes place on April 6-7th in New York.