Colonel E H R Green was a famous collector, heir to a huge fortune from notorious trader Hetty Green. Best known to numismatists as the man who held all five 1913 Liberty Head nickels (one of which is soon to be auctioned), he was also an avid stamp collector who held the original sheet of 100 Inverted Jennies.
Green separated the sheet into blocks of four (and one of eight) and singles, and sold many of them. Some individuals have sold for over $1m, and a block of four was part of the most famous swap in philately to complete Bill Gross's US stamp collection which we referred to in our recent newsletter.
One of the ones he kept, however, he placed in a locket for his beloved wife Mabel, on whom he lavished many luxury gifts.
It was an unusual gift, but Mabel Green obviously treasured it, as she kept hold of it after the Colonel's death in 1936 despite selling on the rest of his stamp collection.
Now the locket is coming up for sale at Heritage Auctions's rare stamp sale in New York City.
This example of the stamp has a straight crease at the top, and at the corners where it has touched the locket, but is in general an exceptionally fresh and bright example of the world famous stamp.
It has been placed back to back with a regular 24c Jenny stamp. Original gum is assumed (as Green possessed and broke up the original sheet himself) but not proved - Heritage Auctions have no intention of opening the locket to check.
A unique and cherished example of the coveted philatelic variety will no doubt draw many to Heritage's auction, which takes place/concludes on December 12. The minimum bid is $100,000.
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Image: Heritage Auctions