One of the world's most important philatelic items, The Dawson Cover, is set to see outstanding interest as Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries presents The Steven C Walske Collection of Hawaiian Postal History on June 25 in New York.
The cover is the only known example to feature the Hawaiian 2-cent Missionary stamp and the only intact cover with two different denominations from the Missionary issue.
Valued at $2m-3m, it is the rarest and most famous of all Hawaiian and United States covers.
The cover gets its name from the fact that it is addressed in the hand of William C Dawson to "Miss Eliza A Dawson, Care Jacob H Dawson, 273 Cherry Street, New York".
It was also an astonishing find, considering the cover was bundled into a factory furnace along with other correspondence in 1870.
Fortunately, the package was wrapped so tightly that the fire went out and the cover remained unharmed (aside from a small scorch mark).
It was only discovered 35 years later when the factory had been abandoned, and a cleaner preparing the space for reuse found it among the ashes.
The cover has appeared at Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries before in 1995, when it sold for $1.9m. It was last sold publicly for $2.09m.