1893 Columbian Sheets – 100-stamp Rarities of the 1st U.S. Commemoratives
The Columbian Series is a milestone in American history. Its impact on stamp collecting was so great that the series' degree of completion is often the "yardstick by which a US collection is measured" (Max Johl, 1947).
The 1893 Columbian Exposition stamps were like none before them. They were the first US commemorative stamps and created a worldwide phenomenon. Expertly engraved and large in size, the Columbians are among the most sought-after of all US stamps.
The Unusual Story of the 100-Stamp Columbian Sheets
A British medical student, 22-year-old Robert W. Dodgson, was touring the stamp exhibition at the Chicago World's Fair when he saw a line. He was told it was the first line ever formed to buy stamps, so he joined it and spent 150 British Pounds on the Columbian stamps. Most of the stamps were in sheets of 100, rarer than the 50-stamp sheets sold at post offices elsewhere. He bought 10,422 Columbian stamps for $1,313 – including two sheets of 100 $1 Columbians.
Dr. Dodgson passed away in March 1952, and on November 29, 1954, the British auction firm H.R. Harmer held their 2,500th auction in London. At this event, one lot included a group of 1,300 mint US Columbian stamps with 91 full sheets of 100 and other multiples. This lot included the only two $1 sheets of 100 stamps known to exist.
The Dodgson lot was purchased by Raymond Weill of the Weill Brothers. Mekeel's Weekly Stamp News reported it was "easily the world's record price ever paid for a single lot at a philatelic auction. It exceeds by a considerable sum the $33,000 which the late Arthur Hind bid for the 1¢ British Guiana of 1856 at the Ferrari sale in Paris. This has long been the record price for a single lot in a philatelic sale."
The vast majority of Columbian sheets are 50-stamp subjects, as the smaller sheets were the only ones able to fit in postal clerk drawers. A limited number of double sheets of 100 were sold in Chicago at the fairgrounds. We believe sheets of 100 were only sold at the Columbian Fair and all existing came from the Dodgson collection.
In 1999, Columbian Stamp Company sold the second sheet of the $1 Columbian. That sheet was broken into singles and blocks, leaving the one remaining sheet of 100 in Mystic's possession. This is your chance to get the one-of-a-kind $1 sheet along with the 1¢, 2¢, 3¢, 4¢, 5¢, 6¢, 8¢, 10¢, 15¢, 30¢, and 50¢ sheets. Each is a rare piece of philatelic history every US collector dreams of owning. Give us a call today to add these 12 100-stamp Columbian sheets to your collection: 1-866-660-7147
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