Sometimes when you encounter something rare, you can’t be a stickler about condition. Sure, condition factors into what you’re willing to pay, but ultimately at the end of the day you have to make a firm decision as to whether any faults or flaws are significant enough to dissuade you from acquiring the item… while knowing full well that if you pass it by there is likely never to be another.
Such was the case when this item came up for auction. As I’ve posted before, one of my focuses is illegal/improper usages of U.S. postage stamps as revenues from the Civil War era (all eras actually).
It is a bottom plate block of 16 of Scott #65, manuscript canceled “October the 24 1863”. The paper on the back is part of the original document; various folds align with creases in the stamps, and the manuscript cancel ties to the paper in several places. Unfortunately, the printing and handwriting on the reverse is insufficient to glean any context as to the nature of the document.
There were numerous perf separations which I stabilized with archival mending tape; it’s considerably more robust now than when it arrived. What I thought were trimmed edges on the top 3 stamps at the right turned out to be folded under perfs, which was a pleasant surprise.
Not only is it IMO a great revenue piece, but as far as I have been able to research online, I cannot find any other examples of a used plate block of #65 anywhere in any form. There are several used blocks of 15, 16 and one 18 on various covers, but none of them have margin imprints, let alone being an intact plate block. Of course there are numerous examples of mint and unused plate blocks, but not used.
I would love to have seen the complete document. Regardless, I’m thrilled to have acquired it.