Suspect Scott #669b no dot variety on cover.
I ran across this cover on ebay after doing a random search of Kans./Nebr. overprint items. To be honest I had never heard of this particular variety of the #669 and with a couple of days left in the listing I started to do a little research. It seems that two stamps on each of the two plates that were used to make the 1c Nebr. overprint lacked the period at the end of the Nebr overprint. According to the Scott 2012 Specialized Catalogue of United States Stamps and Covers the plate numbers are 19338 and 19339 and the stamps affected were positions 26 and 36 of the upper right pane. Each plate produced sheets of 400 stamps separated into panes of 100 stamps so a quick calculation gives 4 stamps out of every 800 will have the missing period or 0.5% of the stamps produced. According to the website 1847usa.com there were 8,220,000 of the #669 produced from the two plates and given that 4 out of every 800 stamps don’t have a period the total number of stamps that can be called a #669b are only 41,100 – a very small number. I did a search of the Philatelic Foundation certificate database and found no certificates have been issued for the #669b but two certificates have been issued for blocks of four of the #669 with the two right hand stamps being the no period variety. A quick search of ebay listings on 2/25/13 revealed two listings, one for a block of six (see Fig 1) and a single. A search of the Siegel Auction site came up with one block 18 (6X3) sold in 1999 for $400. It would stand to reason that this variety would be collected as a block of four or a block of 12 like the #505 5c carmine double error. For the record the Scott Specialized Catalogue does not have a listing for multiples or for used examples on or off cover.
A quick look at the suspect (Fig 2) shows a #669 pair on cover with the right hand stamp appearing to have no period after the “Nebr” overprint.
The other thing to note about the pair is the selvage at the top which tells me that this pair came from the top row of a pane. This observation alone is enough to prove that the right hand stamp is not the #669b no period variety because the two stamps without a period come from rows three (position #26) and four (position #36) and it is impossible for position #26 to have the small selvage that appears on the top row of a pane. Fig 3 shows the top half of the upper right pane of #670 (couldn't find a picture of the correct #669 pane) showing the positions of the two no period stamps as well as the selvage found on the top row.
What if the selvage on the two stamps was not present? Could the right hand stamp be proven that it is not a #669b? Yes, by looking at magnified views of the suspect the remains of the period can be seen. Fig 4 and 5 show a close up of the left hand stamps period and the same area of the right hand stamp.
The arrow in Fig 5 points out specks of black ink used to produce the over print. Fig 6 and 7 are even closer shots of the area containing the period of the two stamps.
As can be seen in Fig 7 there is definite evidence that a period was present but has been scrapped away in order to produce a fake #669b no period variety. I want to state for the record that I’m not in any way implying that the previous owner had anything to do with this alteration.
In conclusion, because the pair came from the top of the sheet and there is evidence of a period on the second stamp I have no doubt that the right hand stamps is an ordinary #669 overprint that has had the period scraped away in an attempt to fake a #669b variety on cover.
As always comments and suggestions are always welcome.
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