Here's a heads-up for philatelists on the lookout for a rare stamp whose historical provenance matches its scarcity: Europe's third oldest postage stamp, the Double Geneva is auctioning at Spink Shreves on July 21-23.
Dated to the stamp's year of issue, this 1843 10c Black on yellow green Double Geneva cantonal has large, balanced margins all around, full dividing lines at its right, and portions of dividing lines on the other three sides.
Spink Shreves describes the stamps as "marvellously fresh with a highly detailed impression on bright paper, beautifully cancelled by a bright and centrally-struck red rosette... very fine."
The Double Geneva cantonal is one of the rarest stamps of classic Switzerland. Issued by the City of Geneva in 1843, it was preceded only by the Zurich Fours and Sixes (in turn preceded by the New York Dispatch in 1842, and Britain's Penny Black and Twopence Blue in 1840).
Unsurprisingly, examples of the Double Geneva in any condition are seldom found on the market; and those which appear invariably have faults, repairs or are cut in on one or more sides.
This exceptional example is completely devoid of these faults.
Described as boasting a "wonderful overall brilliance and gorgeous cancel," according to experts this stamp ranks among the most eye-appealing copies available.
The historic specimen will auction with a 2009 von der Weid authenticating certificate, and carries a pre-sale value of $40,000.
If you're interested in this stamp, it's also worth remembering that a Double Geneva cover featured in Peter Rapp AG's Switzerland stamp sale in June of this year, estimated at $139,275-185,700 (150,000-200,000 CHF).
The cover was formerly in the collection of Alfred F Lichtenstein, one of the most famous American philatelists, and bears a pair of "exceptionally fresh, exquisite quality" stamps.
Marked GENEVE 12 SEPT 44 and addressed to "Task Temple... Eaux-Vives," it sold for a final price of $235,000 (270,000 CHF).
Watch this space for upcoming news on Spink Shreves' July Collector’s Series Sale. The auction will be held in Dallas, Texas.
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