St Louis Bear strip makes $23,000 at stamp auction

A strip of three 1846 10c St Louis Bear stamps has provided a highlight of Schuyler Rumsey Philatelic Auctions' recent online sale.

The vertical strip, which shows all three types of the stamp, features "mostly large margins" and a pen strike cancellation.

St Louis Bears
A clear pen strike cancellation
features on all three stamps

Only a small surface rub and slight wrinkle to the top stamp prevented the lot from achieving more than $23,000 at the April 24-27 auction.

Rarity was a major factor in the lot's popularity, with it being one of just "two off cover vertical strips of three of the 10s St. Louis provisional on grayish lilac paper showing all three types", according to the auction house.

The hugely collectible provisional stamps, issued in 1845-1846 in three denominations, pre-date the introduction of official government stamps in the US in 1847.

Eleven cities released provisional stamps, but the St Louis issue, based on the Great Seal of Missouri, is the most popular with collectors due to its striking design.

Another notable performer was what the auction house described as the "the finest mint example of the 1918 $2 orange red and black issue in existence".

The flawless, own gum, never hinged beauty, with superb centring and margin, hammered for $17,000, making a mockery of its $1,200 Scott catalogue valuation.

A mint example of the 1869 90c carmine and black also put on a good show, achieving $15,000 against a catalogue valuation of $12,000.

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