As we reported, Siegel held its 1,000th rare stamps sale this week (December 8) with 1,352 philatelic rarities, many of which would be worthy of leading a good stamp auction, going under the hammer.
In the event, a substantial part of the sale's prices realised was carried by 1901 Pan-American Exposition Issue inverts.
The Pan-American issue was the first set of United States stamps of the 20th Century and created three inverts.
The 1¢ and 2¢ Inverts were issued through post offices. The errors occurred during the two-stage printing process—centre first, frame second—resulting from the pressman's mistake in turning the sheet 180 degrees from the correct orientation after the first impression.
Four lots of Pan-American issues achieved $202,500 between them. They included a 1c Pan-American, Centre Inverted block of four which was acquired by the owner in the Siegel 500th sale. The extremely fine gem sold for $45,000 - something of a bargain in our opinion and a strong investment.
The best performing lot of the four was a 2c Pan-American, Centre Inverted single. The 2c is the rarest of the three Pan-American Inverts. It is surmised that approximately 200 were issued through the post office, with two distinct shades known.
One estimate of those surviving suggested that only 55 unused examples remain in existence. This example has full and absolutely pristine original gum which has just one hinge mark at top, radiant colours as fresh as the day they were printed, choice centring with wide and balanced margins.
It was estimated at $55,000, but bidders pushed it past that to reach $62,500.
However, the single strongest performer of the sale dwarfed all of these: a 90c blue reissue. It is an extremely fine gem, one of the two finest used examples of the 90 cent 1861 re-issue. In fact only four used copies are known to exist.
The example boasts perfect centring with wide even margins, deep rich colour and intense impression on crisp white paper, and is neatly cancelled by New York City circular datestamp and oval grid. It sold for an impressive $190,000.