US 1918 $2 block of eight to auction with $15,000 estimate

A block of eight $2 orange-red and black stamps from the US 1918 issue is set to lead bids in a March 16-18 philatelic auction to be held in Connecticut.

19181 $2 orange red block
The colour error was only revealead two years after the stamp's release, leaving a few collectors somewhat miffed

The top plate block is expected to sell for $10,000-15,000, as one of the lead lots of the Keystone Collection of US Booklets and Booklet Panes.

The 1918 issue replaced the stamps of 1902, and saw the first two colour stamps issued in the US. The $2 Franklin stamp was originally printed in an orange-red colour, such as the example at auction, but was later changed to carmine.

As this colour change came into effect, many collectors thought they had discovered a rare colour error and, understandably, rushed to buy the new stocks. However, it was discovered two years later that the orange-red was actually a mistake. By this time, it was too late for collectors who had overlooked the once-unremarkable stamp.

All of the stamps included in the present lot are unhinged and in immaculate mint condition. Boasting a bright colour and sharp impression, the block retains its selvedge. Described by the auction house as "one of the scarcest and most desirable of the 20th century bi-coloured issue plate blocks", it will be sold with a 2011 PSAG certificate.

Holding the highest estimate of the sale is an "exploded" booklet of 1917 $3 black on green stamps which, with only seven intact booklets thought to exist, will sell with a $15,000-20,000 estimate.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a magnificent collection of rare stamps for sale, including this spectacular mint block of 12 Penny Blacks, which is one of the largest surviving multiples from Plate 3.

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