The first stage of the auctioning of the grand Wagshal collection of rare US stamps is near...
As we reported, the extraordinary Wagshal collection of rare stamps and covers is soon to be sold in a series of sales at Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries.
The collection is so substantial, in fact, that the auction house has taken the unusual step of starting a blog just to keep interested parties up to date with interesting discoveries they make as they go along.
Nevertheless, the first auction is to go ahead in just under a month's time: looking at 1845-69 issues overall.
Bear markets are a good reason for investors to run scared of the stock market, but whilst this sale is also dominated by bears they can be confident - the bears are those of famous St Louis, Missouri provisional 5c and 10c stamps, and very valuable.
The first key lot is a St Louis 10c black-on-greenish stamp on cover. Specifically, it is the very earliest known use of the stamp, shortly after their production was announced in the Wednesday, November 5, 1845, weekly edition of the Missouri Republican.
It is unclear from the announcement whether the stamps were available immediately, or only following the next announcement in the paper a week later but the cover, graded extremely fine, and dated November 12 is the earliest ever found, and listed here at $30,000-40,000.
However, this is not the expected top lot in the sale. That honour goes to a St Louis, 10c Black on Bluish Pelure bear stamp - the earliest use of pelure paper known - which is the only example of any US postmaster provisional to be printed on both sides.
Specifically, there is a 5c Black bear stamps impression on the reverse of the stamp, and the digit 5 is visible through the paper. The piece is in very fine condition and expected to achieve $50,000-75,000.
The auction takes place in New York on September 29, and we'll be bringing you more information on the exciting Wagshal collection before then. Alternatively, if your interest is more in British stamps, a range is on offer right now.