Despite the minefield of spurious items in the auction, there were still some pieces of interest. I was outbid on several items, but wound up with 3.
First, an uncommon example of a very common stamp. A jumbo example of R5a with a blue 1863 Wells Fargo handstamp cancel. Presumably an upper-left or upper-right sheet corner position. Those side margins are so large, I’m surprised that the next stamp at right (or left) is not visible.
Next, an R41a that is not only well centered, but the allure is the cancel. Arkell, Tufts & Co. was a NYC ship broker. The cancel normally found from this company is a very attractive circular handstamp with a 5-pointed star at center (see second image below for comparison). This earlier handstamp is of a completely different design with an 8-pointed star within the ring of the cancel. This is the first example I have ever seen of this particular cancel.
Lastly, an item that I find lovely, but some others may not, given that it is very faulty. This item was in one of the Siegel Curtis Collection balance lots, the most expensive lot at $47,500, purchased by Michael Aldrich. I examined this piece and several other items on approval back in November, but ultimately returned it because I thought the asking price was too high. Fast-forward 4 months and he put it in his auction, and I was able to obtain it for less than half of the original asking price.
1st issue part-perforate stamps are generally found imperforate horizontally. Some of them (indicated in Scott with an asterisk next to the value) can also be found imperforate vertically. In all cases, the imperforate vertically examples are more scarce than their horizontally imperf counterparts, in some cases dramatically more scarce.
This is a horizontal pair of R32b on piece, one of only two reported multiples of the imperf vertical type in existence. It is quite faulty, but with populations this small, one can’t be too choosy. I also like the fact that it is still on piece.