THE FINEST CUT-SQUARE EXAMPLE KNOWN OF THE NUMERAL ERROR
1850-51, 12 cents black on pale blue, Townsend Type C, “2” of “12” with straight foot, with initials of postal clerk Wight “EDW”, cut square with almost clear margins all round, showing both Demerara and Berbice datestamps of April 1851, with the variety being clearly visible; (SG £110’000).
Only six examples are recorded of this error, including three being cut square, additionally this gem ranking as the finest with its premier condition quality.
Frederick L. De Coppet (1893)
John E. du Pont (Lot 60027, David Feldman SA, June 2014)
Note on the provenance: The American philatelist Frederick L. De Coppet left his signature on the back of the stamp. Although quite unknown to many philatelists today, De Coppet was one of the major collectors of the XIXth century as well as the most relevant of America. The sale of his collection in 1893 was the most important philatelic auction in the XIXth century, which was held by the J. W. Scott Co. Ltd. in New York, and it attracted the attention from collectors around the world. As a confirmation of the importance that British Guiana had already at that time, a 2 cents Cotton Reel offered in that sale was sold for $1’010, the record price for a single stamp then. The sale was defined in the “American Journal of Philately” as “without doubt, one of the most important events in the history of philately, as it presented to the stamp world the finest array of material that has ever been offered at public sale”.
Expertise: Signed F. L. De Coppet, J. B. Moens, Emilio Diena, cert. BPA (2014)
Census of the “Cotton Reel” Numeral Error:
– Light cancel, ex Ferrary, described then as with “tiny thin spots”
– 2 September 1851, currently in the Simon Greenwood collection (ex David Feldman Auction, Sept. 1981, sold for CHF32,000)
– April 1851, ex De Coppet and Du Pont (the example presented here)
– March 1851, ex Ferrary and Du Pont (lot 30048 in this sale)
– 19 April 1851, ex Amundsen and Frazer (2003), with surface scuff next to “British”
– 30 May 1851, slight thinning (BPA cert. 2014), S.G. stock
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