TWO-DAY SALE AT PHILIP WEISS AUCTIONS REALIZES A RECORD $5.2 MILLION AS RARE STAMPS, PEANUTS COMIC STRIPS AND MORE BRING DIZZYING PRICES

. May 21, 2008

The top lot was an exceptionally rare vertical coil pair of 1908 2-cent stamps that brought $644,100

(Oceanside, N.Y.) – Rare stamps, original “Peanuts” comic strips, rare books, autographs and more combined for a dizzying $5.2 million gross at a two-day sale held May 17-18 by Philip Weiss Auctions. It was a record take for the firm. “Not long ago, $5 million would have represented an entire year for us,” said Philip Weiss, “and we did that in a single weekend. I’m tired, but it’s a good tired.”

2-cent-stamp.jpg The key to the weekend’s success was Part 2 of The Newport Stamp Collection, which featured some of the most rare and coveted philatelic U.S. examples in existence. Five stamps alone accounted for nearly $2.3 million The Chesapeake Collection (so-named because it was compiled in that region of the country, in Maryland) brought $425,000. One of the 50+ albums alone made $53,675.

Part 1 of The Newport Collection made headlines when, on February 9, an unused 1869 24-cent inverted stamp, #120, one of only four known, soared to $1.271 million. It was a new record for a U.S. invert and the highest price ever paid for a single U.S. stamp. Part 2 did not record any million-dollar stamps, but many strong sellers did cross the block. Part 3 will be held sometime in September.

In all, about 1,000 lots were offered at the weekend event, held in Philip Weiss Auctions’ spacious showroom in Oceanside. Around 150 people attended the auction over the course of the two days, plus there were strong online bidding components (through LiveAuctioneers.com and the Stamp Auction Network). The 1,500 combined registered phone and absentee bidders made about 3,000 bids.

Following are highlights from the sale. All prices quoted include a 13% buyer’s premium.

The top lot of the sale was a 1908 2-cent vertical coil pair, with original gum (Scott Catalog #321). Valued by Scott at $375,000, the stamps – the rarest coil in U.S. philately, with only four pairs known – sold for an astounding $644,100. The stamps, depicting George Washington, had been graded Extremely Fine. A small crease didn’t deter bidders, who were impressed by the exceptional centering.

4-cent-stamp.jpg The second top lot was another coil pair – two 4-cent stamps from 1908 depicting U. S. Grant (Scott Catalog #314A) – that changed hands for $497,200. The horizontal pair, with original gum, had been graded Extremely Fine and was one of only six unused pairs known. And of those, this is the finest centered pair. The last time a pair hit the auction block was 1975 (hammer price: $30,000).

Two lots realized identical prices of $440,700. One was an 1875 Continental special printing of a 5-cent stamp featuring an image of President Zachary Taylor (Scott Catalog #181).

continental-stamp.jpgThe stamp, graded Extremely Fine, is one of only nine 5-cent Continental special printings in existence (a tenth is in The Miller Collection). This example was perfectly centered, top to bottom and side to side.

The other was a 5-cent American special printing of an 1880 stamp, also depicting Zachary Taylor.The stamp (Scott Catalog #204) was graded Extremely Fine and had been printed on soft, porous paper, adding to its desirability. It is either the finest or the second-finest centered example of the 18 that are recorded. Only a tiny margin nick prevented it from commanding an even higher price.

The Chesapeake Collection comprised more than 50 super U.S. albums, loaded with foreign mint sets, singles and other premium material. Additional stamp, coin and paper money lots crossed the block – all on May 17 – in addition to The Newport and Chesapeake Collections. Part 3 of The Newport Collection, in September, will feature more ultra-rare U.S. stamps. Philatelists take note.

The May 18 session was more eclectic, with many fresh-to-the-market offerings in a broad range of categories. As in many Philip Weiss sales, this one included more than one original “Peanuts” comic strip by Charles Schulz. A Sunday page, dated 6-3-62 and featuring a classic kite flying scene, sailed to $79,100; and a daily strip, dated 1-11-64 and showing Snoopy in the doghouse, hit $36,160.

An early Kentucky long rifle, made and signed by S. Miller in the early 19th century, hit the mark at $8,756.50. The all original rifle, exhibiting just a little edge wear, was about 57 inches in overall length. Also, a large edition copy of “Big Game Hunting” by Theodore Roosevelt (Putnam, 1899), signed by the former president and #457 of just 1,000 copies printed, changed hands for $5,650.

An original Disney production cel from the classic 1930s film “Fantasia” achieved $5,085. The cel, featuring an image of the Pegasus family, measured about 13 inches x 9 inches (framed, 24 inches x 19 inches), with a certificate of authenticity attached to the back. Also, a signed studio photo of Humphrey Bogart, black and white and taken by photographer Henry Waxman, gaveled for $2,835.

Philip Weiss Auctions’ next big sale will be a three-day event scheduled for the weekend of June 20-22. The Friday evening session (June 20, beginning at 6 p.m.) will feature about 300 lots of high-end art; pottery; porcelain; silver; and more. Already consigned are original works by Emilio Grau Sala; Eduardo Cortes; and Caroline Bell; plus an important Spanish painted panel from the 16th century.

The Saturday session (June 21, starting at 10 a.m.) will include 700-900 lots of mostly vintage trains; toys; and toy soldiers. Highlights will include Part 3 of The Steve Rathkopf Collection, comprising 1940s-’60s TV and comic character material; 200 pieces of mint-in-box or on-card Corgi, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Solido, Schuco and Johnny Lightning cars; and outstanding sets and box lots.

On Sunday (June 22, beginning at 10 a.m.), 700+ lots will be sold, starting with the Ken Schultz Collection of ocean liner and World’s Fair memorabilia; then Part 2 of a vintage collection of porcelain and metal litho advertising signs; thousands of sports autographs, to be sold in group lots; more original “Peanuts” comic strips; Golden Age comic books; and historical Long Island material.

Looking a little further into the year, Philip Weiss Auctions also has sales planned for September and October (times and dates to be announced). The September auction will feature a military collection that, according to Mr. Weiss, “must be seen to be believed.” Also on tap for autumn is a pair of fantastic aviation collections. Watch the website as fall approaches: www.prwauctions.com.

Philip Weiss Auctions conducts its sales in a spacious showroom facility, located at #1 Neil Court, In Oceanside, N.Y. (on Long Island). The firm is always accepting quality consignments for future sales. To consign an item, estate or collection, you may call them directly, at (516) 594-0731, or e-mail them at phil@prwauctions.com. To learn more about the firm, click on www.prwauctions.com.

Category: Auction News

Comments are closed.