The results are now in for Cherrystone's anticipated stamp auction: the Mahendra Sagar Collection of Inverted Centres.
An inverted centre exists when a design element is inverted with respect to the rest of the design. This includes inverted embossing, background, colours, inscriptions, or values.
Inverted Centres are often called the Aristocrats of Philatelic Errors. They are the most recognisable rarities in the world of philately. When exhibited, inverts immediately become a centre of attraction.
After all, who hasn't heard of the Inverted Jenny or 1854 inverted Queen Victoria from India? Less known, however, is the fact that such printing errors have occurred in almost all stamp-issuing countries. There have been only a handful of collectors who have specialised in collecting these "rarest of the rare" stamps.
Undoubtedly, the Mahendra Sagar Collection was one of the greatest offerings of the inverted centres. But which were the strongest offerings among the 578 lots?
As was commonly expected, the United States 1869 pictorials produced some of the strongest results, especially the 24c green and violet.
One 1869 24c green and violet, imperforate without grill and with the centre inverted boasts huge margins, fresh colour and paper, and is generally very fine. It hailed from the fantastic collections of Philipp von Ferrary and Col E H R Green (sold in the Eugene Costales 1945 Sale).
Cherrystone had listed in at $75,000, and it sold for exactly that.
Defeating it however was an 1869 24c green and violet with the centre inverted, tied in combination with an 1873 3c green (158), paying 9-times the letter rate on a slightly reduced legal size cover to the Common Pleas Court at Paducah, Kentucky.
In fact it is the only recorded usage of an 1869 Inverted Centre on cover.
It was previously a part of the celebrated Ackerman, John DuPont and Walske (Lafayette) collections, and realised $75,000 in a 1984 Rarity Sale by Cherrystone's New York rival Siegel. In this case, Cherrystone sold the fantastic item for $115,000.