Collectors battle over Groten collection of Civil War labels at Spink Shreves

Spink Shreves have concluded their special auction commemorating the sesquicentennial of the attack on Fort Sumter that began the United States Civil War, plunging the nation into a murderous conflict that would last four years and claim over 600,000 American lives.

One great highlight for stamp collectors was Lot 2, the Arthur Groten award-winning exhibit collection of Union Patriotic Labels of the Civil War, offered intact on the exhibit pages, comprised of 70 covers plus a few on unused envelopes and some in sheets.

Dr Arthur Groten is renowned as a world-class expert on Civil War labels and has published several articles on the subject, the latest being found in the March-April 2011 edition of The Collector's Club Philatelist.

Groten Confederate cover
Covers from Groten's extraordinary collection

This collection contains 79 of the 101 known labels, six of the covers have the label tied by the cancel, which is very rare, another two are tied by the manuscript address, some are arranged by manufacturer, while others are presented by theme.

The collection includes the earliest documented usage of a Civil War label, a couple with contents including one describing the Battle of Second Manassas, three rare usages to the West Coast, one with a Blood's local, two franked with a 2c Black Jack which is seldom encountered, plus there were some unused sheets.

The collection was expected to fetch $10,000-15,000, but bidders intrigued by the historical offering and it finally left the auction block for $23,000.

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