D'oh! What's Wrong With This Picture?

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October 10, 2011

This one had me doing a facepalm... for myself, the seller, and everyone else on eBay at the time this auction was going on.

I was going through all my unfiled revenue "stuff" tonight, looking for 1st issue silk papers to add to my site, and as what usually happens as I'm pawing through piles of stuff, I come across a few items that I don't ever remember purchasing.

The picture below is a small portion of a giant 2ft x 2ft indenture on vellum (sheepskin) that I bought on eBay 4 years ago. I'm told that due to the stamps' glue not adhering well to the vellum, it was common practice to either score the vellum, or to tear off part of the surface, so the stamps would have something to better adhere to.

Well, in this case, the [insert epithet here] who originally affixed the stamps decided to score the vellum THROUGH the stamps rather than beforehand, thus damaging them.

Regardless, I thought it was a neat item anyway, so I threw out a bid. I don't recall what my max was, probably $20 or so. I was the only bidder in a 7-day auction, and won it for $7 + shipping. I paid a whopping $10 for it.

I received it, gave it a cursory glance (as the seller must have done), and filed it. Looking at it tonight again for the first time in years, I did a doubletake, pulled out my magnifier to verify what I thought I saw, and sure enough... no one had caught it.

Let's see if you can pick out what I noticed that, even with the damage, makes this a completely different animal. Below the picture is a link to a high-resolution version of the picture...

High resolution image

Spoiler space...

An R100c (perforated), which the seller, myself, and apparently anyone else who saw it on eBay thought it was, catalogs $200. An R100a (imperforate), which is what it actually is, catalogs $1,600.

The overlapping stamps at right and bottom, along with the printed position outline on the document at left, give the optical illusion that the stamp is perforated.

Even though the stamp is damaged from the cuts and grommet, it is a legitimate usage on document (which adds appeal), and the document is still probably worth $200-250 as is. Not bad for a ten spot.

I think that the R100a being the bottom-most stamp, with the perfs of the other stamps on top of it makes it easy to miss at a glance.

The seller is the biggest revenue specialist dealer in the U.S., so it just goes to show that anyone can miss something from time to time.

If the auction title had said "R100a..." rather than "R100c..." who knows where it might have gone.

It's not worth a fortune, but still a cool unexpected thrill.

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