Only block to feature the rare US 'Type 1b stamp' sells for $50,000

Here's a quick look at a highlight from the first round of sales from Part Two of the Wagshal Collection, auctioned by New York's Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries Inc.

Sold for comfortably above its pre-sale estimate was this US one cent blue block of four, with a fifth stamp attached.

Dated to 1851, this is certainly no ordinary block; it happens to be the only recorded use of a block of 1851 one cent stamps from the top row of the first-ever plate.

Consequently, it is also the only block to include the rare and coveted imperforate Type 1b stamp. It can be seen in the block's upper left, and is one of the best examples of its kind.

The five Type II stamps were originally joined when the block was cancelled by a blue 14-bar grid.

According to Seigel's lot notes, the block has "large margins almost all around except at [the] upper left..."

In terms of condition, "the single has a tiny margin tear, the block has slight thin spots in top pair and faint toning at upper left."

What's more, the single stamp - grid position 10R1E - is the only Type II position on Plate One with the complete design on its top edge.

For the first time at auction, the block of four.... Plus a fifth stamp, '10R1E'

According to Seigel, this remarkable block was once cited in the Neinken book under "Large Pieces from Plate 1 Early" (page 83).

"The author knows of... only one used block of 4, in addition to the block of 6 illustrated [in the book].

"Positions of the used block of four are 8-9, 18-19R1E, Types IB, IB, II, IIIa, a very interesting combination."

As befits this "very interesting combination," it has graced a number of important collections by noted philatelists including Judge Robert S Emerson, Saul Newbury and Mortimer Neinken.

But never before had the adjoining single Position 10R1E been presented with the block (although it was offered by itself in the Emerson and Newbury sales).

No surprise then this uniquely configured block surpassed its already-considerable $30,000-40,000 estimate. In the end, it sold for $50,000.

Watch this space for more results from Part Two of the Wagshal Collection as they become available.


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