I wanted to hold off posting about this one until it came back from the Philatelic Foundation. The vast majority of claimed R53a on the market are fakes, and there are even arguments that they all are, since there are no horizontal pairs known to exist.
I’ve handled any number, both with and without certs, and very rarely do I encounter one that seems plausible.
Well, at COMPEX I happened to be going through Gary Posner’s inventory and stumbled across this one. I did a double-take, as I could have sworn that I had seen the stamp before somewhere, either in an auction catalog or somewhere online. Thanks to wonders of large-screened smartphones and cellular data, I was able to do some research sitting right there at his table.
As it turns out, I *had* seen the stamp before… almost. There is another R53a in the Philatelic Foundation database, that they deemed authentic, with the exact same handstamp cancels, canceled on the exact same date:
So knowing this, and being able to arrange the purchase on extension (contingent upon the stamp receiving a cert from the PF), I proceeded.
It’s not perfectly sound, having a few minor creases, but aesthetically it’s very nice, having large margins for the type and being one of the few examples with a handstamped cancel.