$55,000 Special Printing stamp may be the finest of its kind in the world

In a week's time, Matthew Bennett International will commence its series of rare stamp sales with an auction featuring an exceptionally beautiful set of Columbian proof blocks, and an intriguing Confederate cover featuring John C Breckinridge.

That is just the first auction. The second auction is much smaller in terms of the number of lots - 100 compared to the near 1,000 lots of the first - but it makes up for it in terms of quality.

It is composed of the selection of the hundred finest from the Golden State collection of US gems. In fact almost one half of the stamps are the highest graded to date by the PSE.

The first highlights is an 1893, $5 Columbian. With flawless centring within wide and balanced margins and as fresh as the day it was printed with intense colour on brilliant white paper, the single bears a deeply and finely etched impression.

Perfectly spotless, never hinged and with its original gum, the stamp is graded XF-Sup 95 by the PSE and described as being "the stamp that epitomizes the quest of the Golden State collector". Its listing (based on Scott's catalogue) is $10,500.

Three Postage Due issues are also unmissable for any classic US stamp collector: a 1916, 1¢ rose with excellent centring, lovely fresh colour, it has never been hinged and carries its original gum. The very fine example is listed at $10,000.

A Postage Due, 1914, 50¢ carmine lake displays near perfect centring and has full fresh original gum that has only been lightly hinged. Listed at $12,500, it is probably the finest example of the exceptionally rare stamp, and represents an excellent investment.

Postage Due 50c Carmine
Postage Due 50c Carmine

A Postage Due, 1879, 2¢ deep brown, Special Printing is almost certainly the finest in existence. With centring, colour, impression and gum all virtually beyond reproach, it is listed at $19,000.

Perhaps the overall stand-out, however, is an 1880 Special Printing, 10¢ deep brown, the extremely fine stamp possesses outstanding centring within very wide margins, along with amazingly fresh colour and paper.

Special printings are usually a dilemma for a collector who wants real quality. The hard paper versions typically come with scissor separated perforations whilst the soft paper varieties are often faulty, often with thins due to the somewhat fragile nature of the paper.

Special Printing 1880
1880 Special Printing

This soft paper version is probably one of the finest Special Printings available in any denomination, and carries an estimate of $55,000.

The auction takes place in Maryland on September 22, with online bidding available, following the conclusion of the first (September 21-22).


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