Columbian Exposition Issue of 1893


The set of 16 stamps issued in 1893 to commemorate Chicago’s World Columbian Exposition has long been a favorite of American collectors.  Engraved and printed by the American Bank Note Company, each depicts scenes from Columbus’ voyage to the New World, with values ranging from one-cent to five dollars.  Great collections of this popular issue have been built in the past by such philatelic luminaries as Jack Rosenthal and Peter DuPuy, but the collection offered here is unarguably the finest holding of these stamps to ever be formed.

From a quick examination of the images it is obvious that this is a world-class collection. A more studied examination reveals the true passion of an individual determined to assemble a collection of these issues second to none. Wonderful and unique covers abound, including: first-day covers through the ten-cent value (well-known to specialists as the “Burger” covers), the only known complete set of all values on individual covers originally prepared by Dr. Robert Locke, the full set on a single cover, and a stunning package wrapper fragment bearing the largest recorded single use of Columbian stamps.

Off-cover stamps are just as spectacular. The inclusion of the largest known multiples of the $2, $4, and $5 stamps is surely remarkable, but so too is a full set of imprint and plate number blocks of six.  The rare four-cent error of color (Scott 233a) is represented by the unique right margin imprint block of four. Collectors had a rare opportunity to view some of these treasures in 1996 in the Court of Honor during the ANPHILEX show in New York City.
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The Trans-Mississippi Issue of 1898


Scott 285-293

This exhibit is perhaps the most formidable collection of the Trans-Mississippi issue ever formed. Build over a decades, the owner had first choice of the famous Rosenthal collection of this issue, as well as other sources to acquire every important Tran-Mississippi item necessary to make this the greatest collection of this issue ever formed. Among the most important pieces are a complete set of plate number blocks including the rare top plate block of the 8-cent imperforate horizontally (Scott 289a). There are only two plate numbers blocks in existence, the bottom, which we sold privately three times! This is the finer of the two.

An unprecedented postal history section contains almost every conceivable example of the domestic usage and an outstanding array of foreign destinations, including $1 and $2 usages overseas and usages on letters from abroad. Another highlight is the first day cover bearing the 1-cent through 10-cent values. The section concludes with the full set on cover.

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St. Louis “Bears” Postmaster Provisional Stamps

bearsThis exhibit comprises representations in stamps and covers from each of the three plates. Each item was chosen for its high quality and rarity. Included are many of the rarest stamps and covers from this important issue. We aided the owner of this exhibit in the acquisition of the core collection as well as his more recent additions. 

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fijiThe Fiji Times Express provided mail service in the absence of a government postal system. In March 1869 an effort was made to augment the British consular “post office” which had provided limited service since 1858. In September 1869 the Fiji Times newspaper was established at Levuka. The publisher, G. L. Griffith, found the consular post office too unreliable to distribute newspapers, so he established the Fiji Times Express in November 1870 to distribute newspapers and to provide the public with better postal service.

The Fiji Times Express had 14 district branches, each supervised by an agent. Nine opened on November 1, 1870; two more on November 5; two more on February 8, 1871; and the final one on June 14, 1871. The main office was at Levuka, and the other branches were located on Viti Levu (6), Vanua Levu (4), Taveuni (2), Kadavu (1) and Vanua Balavu (1).

Settings, Papers & Printings:

The Fiji Times Express stamps were printed at the newspaper office. Two settings comprising 24 stamps (6 wide x 4 high) were made. The First Setting had 6d, 1sh, 1d and 3d denominations (a full horizontal row of each in that order). The Second Setting had three 9d values substituted for the last three 3d in the bottom row.

Three distinct paper types have been identified by David E. Gillis (Fiji Times Express Stamps: The Three Issued Paper Types and Other FTE Topics, 2011). Gillis’ paper study improved the previous classification system and is used in this exhibit.

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