Robert A. Siegel - The William H. Gross Collection USA
June 14th - 15th, 2024

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Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries

Auction Date: June 14th - 15th, 2024

Siegel Auction Galleries, Inc.
21 West 38th Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10018-2246
Tel.: +1 212 753 6421
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TX 75219 Tel.: +1 214 754 5991

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Starting prices will be determined at the auctioneer's esteem using reference estimate prices.
The purchase price payable by the buyer will be the sum of the final bid and a commission of 18% of the final bid (“buyer’s  premium”), together with any sales tax, use tax or customs duties due on the ...more

Starting prices will be determined at the auctioneer's esteem using reference estimate prices.
The purchase price payable by the buyer will be the sum of the final bid and a commission of 18% of the final bid (“buyer’s  premium”), together with any sales tax, use tax or customs duties due on the sale.

Lot 31 United States 1867 Grill Issue

  • Scott85A

The only example of the 1¢ Z Grill, Scott 85A, in private hands DESCRIPTION 1¢ Blue, Z. Grill (85A). Perfectly centered, bold strike of Philadelphia circular datestamp, strong grill impression and part of a second impression, Extremely Fine PROVENANCE William L. Stevenson reported the first and only 1¢ Z Grill he had examined up to that point in an article in the January 1915 Collector’s Journal—he reported the stamp offered here as the second known example for the first time in a May 1916 Mekeel’s article—this establishes the 1915-16 period in which this stamp was identified as a Z Grill This stamp resurfaced in 1957 when Lester G. Brookman acquired it from Henry Kuhlmann and Carl Subak, and sold it to Schilling Wilbur H. Schilling, Jr. (acquired privately from Brookman); the stamp was certified by the P.F. on 11/4/1957, certificate 8537 Siegel Auction Galleries, 1975 Rarities of the World, 3/25/1975, Sale 468, lot 84, realized $42,500 vs. Scott value $25,000, to Andrew Levitt Sotheby Parke Bernet, 5/25/1977, Sale 1, lot 105, realized $90,000 vs. Scott value $50,000, to Superior Stamp & Coin Co. (agents for Dr. Buss) Dr. Gerald “Jerry” Buss, Superior Stamp & Coin Co., 11/10/1986, lot 186, realized $380,000 (plus 10%) vs. Scott value $110,000, to Zoellner Robert Zoellner, Siegel Auction Galleries, 10/8-10/1998, Sale 804, lot 226, realized $850,000 (plus 10%) vs. Scott value $450,000, to Sundman Traded by Sundman/Mystic to William H. Gross, 11/2/2005, in the “Greatest Stamp Swap in History” (Mr. Gross traded the 24¢ Inverted Jenny plate block bought two weeks earlier for $2.97 million) CENSUS, LITERATURE AND EXHIBITION REFERENCES Siegel census no. William L. Stevenson, United States Grills: Handbook Number Sixteen, 1916 Lester G. Brookman, United States Postage Stamps of the 19th Century, Vol. II, p. 133 Don L. Evans, The United States 1¢ Franklin 1861-1867, p. 47 Ken Lawrence, “The 1-cent Z Grill Mystery,” 1995 American Philatelic Congress Book ANPHILEX 1996 Invited Exhibits (Zoellner) World Stamp Show 2016 Court of Honor (Gross) CERTIFICATION The Philatelic Foundation:1957 (Nov. 4), 8537, to W. H. Schilling, Jr., signed Louise Boyd Dale1975 (May 5), 48943, to Andrew Levitt Inc., signed John H. Hall, Jr.1987 (Jan. 22), 168893, to Christie’s (Zoellner), signed Herbert J. Bloch1998 (Dec. 4), 330751, to Sundman/Mystic, signed Alex Rendon2024 (Apr. 17), 602301, to William H. Gross, signed Larry Lyons Professional Stamp Experts, 2005 (May 3), 1011501, XF 90, signed William A. Litle HISTORY AND COMMENTARY The 1¢ Z Grill, Scott 85A—A Critical Key to Completion During the life of the 1861 Issue, postal officials grew concerned with stamp cleaning and reuse. The National Bank Note Co. began its first experiments with grilling stamps in 1867, using a device patented by Charles F. Steel. By August 1867, the first stamps with the experimental A Grill were in use, followed by stamps with the C Grill. These tests satisfied postal officials, and regular production of grilled stamps started. In January 1868, the first regularly produced stamps with grills became available at post offices. For the next four years, postage stamps were issued with grills. In 1916, a philatelist from Flint, Michigan, named William L. Stevenson, published a booklet on the U.S. grilled issues, based on his earlier series of articles that established the system of grill classification we use today. That system was adopted by the Scott Catalogue in 1926 and led to the listings and albums collectors still use to define a “complete” collection. When we talk about A, B, C grills—and so on up to J—we are referring to the letters and characteristics used by Stevenson to distinguish different grill types, which are based primarily on size. The letter Z was used by Stevenson to identify a distinctive grill that is approximately the same size as an E grill, but has different shaped embossed points. The top of each grill point forms a horizontal ridge that looks something like >—<. None of the other grills have this point shape. Stevenson had difficulty placing this grill in his system, so he gave it the letter Z. In 1915, Stevenson had examined only one example of a 1¢ Z Grill. It is the stamp with a grid cancel Stevenson owned and sold to Elliott Perry, who in turn sold it to Benjamin K. Miller on December 16, 1923. Miller donated his collection to The New York Public Library in 1925, removing one of the two 1¢ Z Grill stamps from the collector market. In Stevenson’s 1916 article and booklet, he updated the number of 1¢ Z Grill stamps he had seen to two. The second 1¢ Z Grill is the stamp offered here, cancelled by a Philadelphia datestamp. Its whereabouts between the time Stevenson first recorded it in 1916 and its reappearance in 1957 is not known. In 1957 it was bought by Lester G. Brookman from two Chicago dealers named Henry Kuhlmann and Carl Subak. Brookman sold it to a collector named Wilbur H. Schilling, Jr., whose name appears on the first certificate issued for the stamp on November 4, 1957 (8537). When the Schilling collection was dispersed in 1975, the stamp was offered in the 1975 Rarities of the World sale and realized $42,500 versus its $25,000 Scott value. In May 1975 it was again certified by The Philatelic Foundation. In 1977 the stamp was sold at Sotheby’s for $90,000—doubling its Scott value—to Superior Stamp & Coin Co., on behalf of Dr. Jerry Buss, owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. When the Buss collection was sold through Superior in 1986, the 1¢ Z Grill smashed all records, selling to Robert Zoellner for $418,000 (with 10% premium), nearly quadrupling its $110,000 Scott value. On January 22, 1987, the P.F. issued its third certificate, signed by the preeminent expert, Herbert J. Bloch. In October 1998, at the sale of the Zoellner collection, an 11-year old Zachary Sundman held the paddle for his father, Don, owner of Mystic Stamp Company, when they outbid Mr. Gross’s agent for the stamp at $935,000 (including the 10% premium). In 2005, the “Greatest Stamp Swap in History” happened when Sundman and Charles Shreve traded the 1¢ Z Grill for the 24¢ Inverted Jenny plate block bought by Mr. Gross at a Siegel auction two weeks earlier for $2.97 million. Acquiring this stamp completed Mr. Gross’s U.S. collection

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Public Auction

Estimated price
4000000.00 - 5000000.00 USD

Estimated price

4000000.00 USD

End date of bidding:

Friday June 14th, 2024, 16:30 EDT

Current Auction Time (MET): Tuesday 18th 2024 June 2024 - 23:58