An Alexandria, VA postmaster's provisional is set to highlight a New York stamp auction on June 26.
The very fine example will lead the provisional issues in the sale, being one of just six recorded examples of the stamp on buff paper. The Rarities of the World auction will also feature a superb example of the legendary Inverted Jenny, estimated at $450,000.
The provisional issue stamps are revered by US philatelists as they pre-date the country's renowned 1847 issue, which were the first official postage stamps to be issued in America. The idea of a provisional issue was created by postmasters between 1845-1847 as a method of prepayment for envelopes and stamps while they waited for the government to authorise production of the 1847 stamps.
The well-documented Alexandria stamp is one of just three recorded examples of the Type I, featuring 40 of the characteristic decorative ornaments around the edge. It is estimated to sell for $200,000-300,000, a potential bargain for collectors considering another example sold for $550,000 earlier this year.
Among other notable lots from the provisionals section are some stunning examples of the Baltimore stamp, including one of only two to appear on bluish paper, which has been valued at $60,000. A collection of the famed St Louis bears will also sell at around $55,000.
Also featuring in the auction will be Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, which is expected to make $2.4m. Read Paul Fraser Collectibles' preview here.
We currently have a magnificent range of investment-grade stamps in stock, including this extremely rare plate from the 1840 British rainbow trials.