1852 The Cover from Hawaii
2013 SOLD 2.25 M$ including premium
Three values are released, corresponding to the three postage rates: 2 cents for a newspaper, 5 cents for a letter to the Western United States and 13 cents to the East. Printed on thin paper, these fragile stamps poorly survived.
These 13 cents enabled to pay 5 cents for the sending country, 2 cents to the boat and 6 cents to the destination country. They were paid to the post office of Hawaii which ensured the sharing of the fee.
In 1905, somewhere in the United States, a worker cleans a factory disused for about 35 years. The previous owners had not checked the incineration of their archives. The worker discovered in a stove, almost intact, one of the wonders of the history of philately: the Dawson cover.
Shipped from Hawaii to New York on October 4, 1852, the Dawson cover did not use the stamp of 13 cents but a combination from the two involved countries : 2 cents and 5 cents of Hawaii and two stamps of 3 cents each of the United States. This is the only known copy with this mixed postage.
It was sold for $ 2.1 million including premium by Robert A. Siegel in New York in November 1995. It is now estimated $ 2M, for sale by the same auction house on June 25.
POST SALE COMMENT
Sold for $ 1.95M before fees, this prestigious piece of philately remained in the region of its lower estimate.
The file is shared by Wikimedia :
1854 Small Money in San Francisco
2018 SOLD for $ 2.16M including premium
The premises are tiny and the machines work badly. The setting difficulties accumulate, aggravated by the sinking of the boat which was bringing the nitric acid necessary for the control of the gold content. The continuation of the production is limited to the double eagle, the eagle and the dollar, more user friendly than the fractional denominations. There will be no other 1854-S half and quarter eagles.
About ten quarters have survived. This proportion seems normal. At that time the numismatists were not interested in the specificities of the mint branches. The other units were circulated, worn, melted.
The half is much rarer. Its population was increased from 3 to 4 in April 2018. This scarcity has no proven explanation. It is possible that almost all of its production was provided to a single client who melted it. In addition one of the first three specimens did not reappear after an armed robbery in 1967.
The sudden surfacing of such a rarity is an event. Having failed to convince the dealers, its owner has done a better job : requesting an analysis by one of the recognized organizations for certification, the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. The comparison with high definition photos of the remaining coins is flagrant : the new candidate is authentic.
This 1854-S half eagle was graded XF-45 by NGC which also verified that it is not the stolen coin. It will be sold as lot 5248 by Heritage in Philadelphia on August 16. Please watch the video shared in April by NGC to confirm this exciting discovery.
1854 Landscape Painting in New England
2017 SOLD for $ 1.8M including premium
Frederic Edwin Church was the only student to Thomas Cole in Catskill in the upper state of New York. He created paintings inspired from sketches made by Cole in Mount Desert. After the untimely death of the master in 1848 he visited in his own right that stunning island of Maine in which Cole desired to see the paradise on Earth.
Church now uses to make long trips during summer and to spend winter in painting landscapes in his studio for his customers. He soon lost the mystical inspiration of Cole to be more appealed by the structure of the landscape.
Humboldt had discussed the special morphology of the Andean mountains considered as a challenge for the artists. Church travels in South America for the first time in 1853. In Quito, he stays in a house where Humboldt had lived.
Influenced by the theories of the geographer, Church is even better perceiving the charm of the Appalachian Mountains, spectacular without reaching the extravagance of the Cordillera.
The work for sale is an ideal landscape that may be located in Maine or Vermont or even a mingling of both, oil on canvas 76 x 107 cm painted in 1854. In the quiet light of a late afternoon, nature is hardly disturbed by a boat in obscurity and a few cows on the lakeshore.
1855 A Dangerous Javanese Game
2018 SOLD for € 9M including premium
The action of a great violence involves ferocious beasts, together or confronted with hunters on horseback. His bestiary is too varied to be relying from personal Javanese memories : lions, tigers, deer, buffalo, boar.
The composition seems directly inspired by the hunting scenes painted by Rubens around 1620, with a swirling and vividly colored center in which the protagonists are intertwined up to the limit of readability. Men and animals express exacerbated feelings of panic and horror.
When he is in France, Raden Saleh is in touch with Horace Vernet but his more flexible lines are inspired by the Dutch landscape learned from Schelfhout. The similarity of his ardor with Delacroix's romantic orientalism is obvious, but the hunts by Raden Saleh were conceived long before the 1854 commission to Delacroix by the Beaux-Arts for a lion hunt.
Raden Saleh returned to Java in 1852, bringing with him the notoriety he acquired in Europe. Like Rubens, he is using very large formats. Like what tradition said of Rubens, he also likes to include his self-portrait in full activity among the hunters.
An oil on canvas 110 x 180 cm dated 1855 titled La Chasse au taureau sauvage Banteng (Banteng wild bull hunting) has just surfaced in Brittany, in a basement where the owners had hidden it for several decades because they were uncomfortable with its violence. Minor misses are reported. It is estimated € 150K for sale by Ruellan in Vannes on January 27, lot 1. Please watch the video shared by Interencheres.
1855 The Parure by Bapst for Empress Eugénie
2014 SOLD for CHF 2.3M including premium
Eugénie was one of the greatest users of jewelry of her time. She rushes to the Crown Jewels of France that had not been dispersed and selects some of them for assembling new pieces.
Alfred Bapst then recovers the role played by his ancestors who had been jewelers to the Crown. In 1855, Eugénie commissions to Bapst a parure (ornament set) that will remain one of the most prestigious jewelry of her reign.
The parure realized by Bapst is composed of three elements: a guirlande (necklace), a tour de corsage (turn-of-bodice) to wear on the dress and a devant-de-corsage (pin-to-bodice brooch). The motifs of currant leafs (feuilles de groseillier) are made by a paving of ancient-cut diamonds mounted in silver and gold.
After the fall of the Empire, Eugénie's jewels were auctioned. Many of them have been disassembled due to the market value of their individual gems. The Bapst groseillier brooch remained however as is. It is estimated CHF 1.9M for sale by Christie's in Geneva on November 11, lot 387. It is centered with a larger diamond and decorated with three hanging pampilles.
1856 The Rudimentary Stamps of British Guiana
2014 SOLD 9.5 M$ including premium
The invention of the postage stamp in England in 1840 is a revolution in communications. Hitherto limited to shipment operations, the Post Office of British Guiana is one of the first in South America to use stamps and to develop a local delivery, through the diligence of Edward Dalton, a colonial postmaster unwilling to wait for official authorizations.
The first stamps issued by the British Guiana in 1850 are made in black ink by woodcut printing on papers of various colors depending on the face value. The work is done by the printer of the local newspaper. They are so rudimentary that each sold stamp is authenticated by the handwritten initials of the postmaster or of one of his clerks. Their rough shape is square with or without cut corners.
These first stamps of 4, 8 and 12 cents are not rare because they have attracted the interest of collectors from the 1870s. They are identified by the nickname cottonreels. A cottonreel of 4 cents on a cover circulated in 1851 is estimated € 120K in the Feldman sale.
An additional cottonreel worth 2 cents was issued in 1851. This low value intended for taxing the mail inside Georgetown was very unpopular and this variety is extremely rare. A unit is estimated € 100K in the Feldman sale.
In 1852, the government takes control of operations. Stamps for British Guiana are now printed in a specialized factory in England. In September 1855, it is a disaster. British agents had misunderstood the order and printed a quantity of stamps ten times lower than needed.
Faced with the shortage, Dalton released in 1856 a new series of locally printed British Guiana stamps, with the same rudimentary process as in 1850.
The 4 cents stamp to be used for mail is printed on papers of three color variants, magenta, carmine and blue, the latter in two variants with single or double sided blue. A blue 4 cents on a cover circulated in 1856 is estimated € 150K in the Feldman sale.
The 1 cent for the postage of newspapers is a lower denomination that had no reason to be kept by users. Only one survived. In poor condition, almost indecipherable, it is magenta in the same shade as one of the 4 cent variants. Collected in 1873 by a schoolboy in the archives of his uncle, it was formally authenticated by an expert in 1891.
The 1 cent magenta British Guiana stamp is the only British variety that escapes the royal collection. It is estimated in excess of $ 10 million at Sotheby's. Sold for $ 935K including premium by Siegel on April 5, 1980, it was already at that time the most expensive stamp in the world.
POST SALE COMMENTS
The most expensive stamp in the world was sold for $ 7.9M before fees by Sotheby's.
Here are now the prices before fees of the three stamps discussed above from David Feldman's sale: € 160K the 4 cents from 1850-1851, € 190K the 2 cents from 1851 and € 240K the 4 cents from 1856.
I invite you to play a video shared in 2008 on YouTube that I retrieved through the facebook page of Feldman:
1856 view of Constantinople by Aivazovsky
2012 SOLD for £ 3.23M including premium by Sotheby's
Shared by Wikimedia :
1857 The Laws of the Knickerbockers
2016 SOLD for $ 3.26M including premium
The spirit of competition requires fixed rules that will identify champions who will defend their title in the following season. In England, football has a similar story at the same period.
The activist of the standardization of base ball, which will later become the baseball, is the New York Knickerbockers Base Ball Club established in 1845 and named after the uniforms of the firefighters who lent to them their playing field.
The Knickerbockers were not the best in sport but they had the merit of endeavoring to impose their rules. They were also one of the two teams that played the first official match in 1846 and the first base ball club to use a distinctive uniform in 1849.
In 1857 in New York, the first congress of the National Association of Base Ball Players establishes the first regulatory body and freezes the rules that will remain virtually unchanged for ever, ending the initiatives of the Knickerbockers.
A set of three manuscripts that were almost unnoticed in an auction in 1999 gives a new vision on the fundamental and even unique role of the Knickerbockers in defining the final baseball laws.
In 1857 the President of the Knickerbockers is Doc Adams who had been a player in the 1846 pioneering game. The three documents are the first autograph draft written by Adams in 1856 (the last page is missing), an iteration annotated by him before the congress and the final laws submitted to Congress and approved.
These documents are grouped as the lot 1 in the online auction organized by SCP Auctions with bidding close out on April 23. I invite you to watch the video shared by the auction house.
We are record setters here at SCP #Auctions. Remember when we sold The Laws of Baseball for over $3,000,000? We’d love to help you with your #sports #memorabilia in our Summer Premier Auction. Send in your #consignments before it’s too late. pic.twitter.com/jVT7YCG3vh— SCP Auctions (@SCPAuctions) July 7, 2019
1857 The Only 3-Skilling Yellow
1996 SOLD 2.875 MCHF including premium by David Feldman
2010 SOLD over 2.3 M$ in private auction sale
No other copy will never be found, making this stamp the rarest and most desired piece on the philately market. Its story is told on the Treskilling Yellow page of Wikipedia, where it is illustrated. It was canceled in 1857.
It is a mistake and not a fake. This sample has all the characteristics of an 8 Skilling stamp, yellow, unless it bears the engraving of the 3 Skilling, which is green for all other known copies. The hypothesis to keep is that one of 100 clichés of a printing block of 8 Skilling was damaged, and the operator has inadvertently changed it by a 3 Skilling cliché. Nobody went aware of the error, and there is no way of knowing how many wrong copies were produced.
It was sold in 1996 2.875 MCHF including premium by David Feldman.
A scoop of the Telegraph has just announced its forthcoming sale without giving details, and it took me a few navigation tips to find the source: the 3 Skilling Yellow comes on May 22 in Geneva at private auction by David Feldman, with a specific catalog. You are now part of the happy few: here is the link to the catalog shared by the auction house.
David Feldman has done a quick calculation. Reduced to its weight, this small artefact of 26.75 milligrams is valued $ 70 billion per kilogram! Who says better?
POST SALE COMMENT
The Treskilling was sold for over $ 2.3 million to a group of buyers who required that the exact amount was not disclosed . I remind that it was a private auction.
Shared by Wikimedia :
1858 Kebab Merchants of Scutari
2009 SOLD 3.4 M$ including premium
He made long stays in the Middle East. During his returns to London, he exhibited at the Royal Academy the paintings he had created from his travel sketches. This was the case of "the Kibab (Kebab) Shop, Scutari," an oil on panel 53 x 79 cm, which was admired by John Ruskin when he displayed it in 1858.
This scene of life in the Middle East is remarkable in its details that recreate an intense life. The characters are seen in close-ups, quietly engaged in their business. The shop is very realistic, and Chinese import plates add a surprising touch of truth. It opens up entirely on the street animated by pigeons, two goats, a dog.
Sotheby's estimates this work at $ 1.5 million and is selling it in New York on April 24.
On 15 June 2005 in London, Christie's went close to £ 2.5 million including expenses for a midday meal in Cairo. This oil on canvas, bigger, with more characters, was the last work of Lewis (1875). Personally, I prefer the Kibabs Store, which I find more intimate and passionate ... and is an important milestone in Orientalist art.
POST SALE COMMENT
The price obtained, $ 3.4 million including expenses, paid tribute to the quality and earliness of the artwork. Forget the estimate, which was too low.
1857-1860 The Class III Restrike of the 1804 Silver Dollar
2014 SOLD 1.88 M$ including premium
The records of the Philadelphia Mint indicate a production of 19,750 $ 1 coins during the year 1804. The tools from previous years were not worn. All these coins were marked with a previous year.
In 1834, the U.S. government is preparing a prestigious gift for the King of Siam and for the Sultan of Muscat and Oman: a copy in perfect condition of all the official coins of the United States.
To overcome the lack of $ 1 marked 1804 they reused the old dies for a new strike. Additional copies were retained by the factory and its managers. This edition is identified as the 1804 silver dollar Class I.
The 1804 silver dollars Class II and III, partially using the old tools, are much more mysterious.
A single copy of the Class II survives. It was struck over a Swiss thaler dated 1857 and is the only U.S. $ 1 dated 1804 with a plain edge.
Six specimens of Class III are known. The assumption that their production was stopped in 1860 to end an illegal lucrative activity involving some employees of the factory seems to become obsolete. Indeed, the ownership until 1887 by a director of the Mint of one of the currently remaining coins is not matching the logics of a covert operation.
A Class III coin graded PR58 by PCGS was sold for $ 2.3 million including premium by Heritage on 30 April 2009. Another Class III coin, graded PR55 by NGC, is for sale on August 6 in Chicago by Stack's Bowers, lot 13146.
Made at an unidentified date between 1859 and 1872, the first Class III coins appeared for the first time in 1876 at the same time as novodels of same type dated 1801, 1802 and 1803.
All these coins have undoubtedly been struck at a time when the American numismatics was beginning to attract collectors and experts. We may indeed imagine, although I have not read such an assumption, that the other Class II were destroyed because their quality was poor.
POST SALE COMMENT
This mysterious restrike coin in very good condition was sold for $ 1.6M before fees.