The only known combination cover to feature the 1851 13c "Hawaiian Postage" stamp led the highly anticipated sale of Pimco founder Bill Gross' collection at Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries on April 9.
The cover sold for $65,000, making a 30% increase on its $50,000 estimate. It is one of six covers with a mixed franking of Hawaiian Missionary and United States stamps.
The Hawaiian Missionaries were the first stamps to be issued in the Kingdom of Hawaii. They were given their name as they were mainly found on correspondence from missionaries working on the islands. Released in 1851, they are famously rare, with Robert A Siegel stating that its census - which it believes to be complete - records only 29 covers bearing the stamps.
The example at auction was one of the last Hawaiian Missionary covers to be discovered, found in a steamer trunk of papers with the 3c 1851 stamps pasted over the exceedingly rare 13c. It was sold with minor cosmetic restorations, though the 13c is intact without any paper addition or painting-in, as is commonly found on these stamps.
The sale's second highest bids were seen by a lot consisting of two complete sheets of 50 US 1847 reproduction plate proofs on India paper. With one sheet of the 5c Red Brown and another of the 10c Black, this is believed to be one of only two sets from this issue in existence, warranting a sale price of $62,500.
As with all of Bill Gross' stamp sales, the profits were donated to charity, benefitting Doctors Without Borders and Millennium Villages.