Unique J-Grill essay expected to star at $22,500 in Siegel auction

A unique example of the 1876 30c Continental Bank Note Co J-Grill essay will sell as the lead lot in Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries' October 9 auction of United States Essays and Proofs in New York.

Continental grills
The majority of known Continental grills came from the archives of Charles F Steel, who patented the grilling machines

The stamp, the only example certificated as genuine by the Philatelic Foundation, is valued at $22,500.

It is widely believed that Continental Bank Note Company grills were made experimentally in 1875, following renewed fears of stamp reuse. Most, if not all of the examples in collectors' hands came from the archive of Charles F Steel, who patented the grilling machines used between 1867 and 1873.

The term "grill" refers to an embossed pattern that allows the ink of the cancellation mark to be absorbed more easily into the stamp, making it much harder to clean the stamp for reuse.

The 30c J-Grill, so-called due to the shape of the embossed pattern, is unused and shows a clear grill pattern against crisp white paper. It boasts a fine impression with fresh colour, marred by a slight paper fold.

1867 Grilled issue National Bank note Charles Steel essay wove paper
One of the most important items of the grilled issues

Also expected to sell well is an 1867 National Bank Note Company sheet of wove paper, which bears four different types of grill impressions and is signed "First experiments of grill, Chas. F Steel".

The idea of grilling the stamps was first suggested by Charles Steel, a supervisor at the National Bank Note Company, making this one of the most important grilled issue items in existence. It is expected to sell for $9,000.

The auction forms part of a trio of sales at Robert  A Siegel Auction Galleries on October 9-10, which also includes The Dr Irvin Heimburger Collection of 1869 Pictorial Issues and The Beverly Hills Collection of United States Inverts.

Paul Fraser Collectibles stocks an impressive selection of rare stamps for sale, including some legendary rarities.

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