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Curiosities From The B E P Certified Proof Collection

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Posted 04/11/2021   9:16 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add GregAlex to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
When the Bureau of Engraving & Printing turned over their archive of certified proofs to the Smithsonian in the 1960s and '70s, about 50,000 philatelic proofs went to the National Postal Museum and some 300,000 went to the National Numismatic Collection, housed in the National Museum of American History (NMAH). The reasoning was that anything done in service of the Treasury was more appropriate for numismatists.

However, there are probably more philatelic-related items in the NMAH holdings than there were in the postal acquisitions. These include virtually all revenue stamps, savings stamps, special tax stamps, even NPS Trailer Permit Stamps. There are some really amazing pieces in this collection, which is a researcher's gold mine.

The NMAH began a digitization program 6-7 years ago, to create high res images of about 80 percent of the certified proof collection. These have been available online for some time now, but they are almost completely unsearchable, except for National Bank Notes, which were well documented and transcribed by volunteers.

Fortunately, numismatic writer and researcher Peter Huntoon created a finding tool, which he shared with me. This has a rudimentary breakdown of which items are stored in which boxes, and their scan numbers. I've been going through a lot of the bonds and currency proofs for a paper money forum, but I often veer into the esoteric revenues for fun. I thought it might be fun to share some of the interesting discoveries with the philatelic community, too.

Here's one I found today among the private proprietaries. Apparently, after the Bureau called in the printing plates from National Bank Note Co., all they did was deface the NBNC imprint and add their own. I've seen this on quite a number of M&M proofs now. Here's an example on a 3¢ revenue for GG Green. These stamps have an added curiosity of being printed tete-beche in alternating rows. Any thoughts on why this would have been done?

Here's a link to the proof sheet. To see a close-up, click on the NMAH image and wait for the pop-up to load.
https://americanhistory.si.edu/coll...nmah_1624352
If anyone would like to peruse these particular proofs, they can be searched, using the NMAH ID numbers: NU.297219.158999 through 159130.



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Edited by GregAlex - 04/11/2021 9:23 pm

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Posted 04/11/2021   9:40 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Eagle Collection has a large block as well. I have long felt that G.G.Green might have had both a 75 cent and a $1.50 priced bottle and wanted the two stamps to both face the correct way on the top.
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Posted 04/12/2021   7:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 04/12/2021   7:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I've come across this on several proofs now; missing subjects at the bottom right in order to make the sheets come out to a total of 125 stamps. Are there known M&M multiples with "blanks" attached?

https://americanhistory.si.edu/coll...nmah_1622996

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Posted 04/12/2021   8:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Yes, the Piso stamp of 1898 also comes that way.
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Posted 04/12/2021   10:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revenuermd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Centaur Company with the Fletcher signature (RS284) is well known with a single blank in the lower right corner of the sheet. Both the Piso and Centaur blocks of three with a blank in the lower right are frequently offered. I suspect that Od Chemical and Radway have a blank in the lower right position, but mint remainders showing this have not appeared in the philatelic marketplace. I also believe that the Antikamnia has not been seen in the philatelic marketplace with the three blanks in the lower right.
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Ron Lesher
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Posted 04/12/2021   10:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have never seen the Antikamnia with blanks.
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Posted 04/12/2021   11:09 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I will keep an eye out for other sheets with open "holes". I also found another range of private proprietaries, searchable by entering the ID numbers NU.297219.157627 to 157703 in the Search field.

Here was another impressive find as a full sheet proof...


https://americanhistory.si.edu/coll...nmah_1624419
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Posted 04/13/2021   12:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add locals4me to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, GregAlex, a truly amazing resource. I hope someone will find time to make a cross-reference of Scott numbers to Smithsonian ID to facilitate research. Has anyone looked for double transfers or other engraving varieties on these?
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Posted 04/13/2021   4:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@revenuermd - You are correct about OD Chem, and here are a couple others.



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Posted 04/13/2021   5:44 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Thanks, GregAlex, a truly amazing resource. I hope someone will find time to make a cross-reference of Scott numbers to Smithsonian ID to facilitate research. Has anyone looked for double transfers or other engraving varieties on these?


We are trying to find out how the Smithsonian stores it's data and whether they could export it into an Excel spreadsheet. That would make it much easier to attach descriptions and Scott numbers.

When the NMAH first started scanning the National Numismatic Collection, they created a huge project for digital volunteers to help transcribe all the national bank notes. There was a big contingent of collectors who jumped in (including me), and the result was a very searchable database using a number of key search tags. But those only represent maybe 20% of the certified proofs. The NMAH continued on with their Rapid Capture Project.....

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......which was so quick that it soon outpaced the ability for transcription to keep up. But they had done all the work, so they dumped the images into their massive database with the only functional search tag being "certified proof". Without Huntoon's search tool, there would be no way to find anything, and even with it you still have to pull up images one at a time, to see what exactly is in each "box". I am hoping they will organize more volunteer projects to add subject tags to various sections of these proofs.

@locals4me, regarding your question about double transfers and engraving varieties -- as far as I know no one has ever studied the proofs for this sort of thing. How would you like to be the first? :-) I have Huntoon's permission to share the finder tool with anyone interested. Just let me know!
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Edited by GregAlex - 04/13/2021 5:52 pm
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Posted 04/13/2021   8:36 pm  Show Profile Check ericjackson's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add ericjackson to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I would be interested in the finder tool. It would be very useful.
Thank you,
Eric
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Posted 04/13/2021   8:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Sure thing, Eric -- I will email it to you directly.
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Posted 04/13/2021   9:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add locals4me to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
GregAlex,
Yes, I would like to try the search tool and see what I can learn. If I can find one DT or variety, I will be encouraged and so will others.
An Excel spreadsheet with a cross reference look-up ability would be a wonderful service for revenue stamp collectors.
John Bowman
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Posted 04/13/2021   10:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add GregAlex to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 04/13/2021   10:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add revcollector to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Eagle Collection at the Postal Museum can be looked at by appointment. It has a stunning array of M&M proofs, as well as a number of other rare proofs and essays. Including at least a few double transfers and foreign entries.
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