Saturday, May 23, 2009

"Ice House" Cover To Be Auctioned

The Times of India reports, the "Ice House" cover will be auctioned off in New York City next month.

The envelope (shown above) was mailed in 1873 by an ice exporter in Boston to his office in Calcutta. It is dubbed the "Ice House" cover because it is addressed to Mr. James H. Bancroft, Ice House, Calcutta, East Indies (now India).

The stamps are from the 1869 issue of pictorial stamps, which included the first U.S postage stamps printed in two colors. The portrait of Lincoln is printed in black, while the surrounding frame with the 90-cent denomination is printed in red.

Although numerous examples of the 1869 90-cent Lincoln stamp are available to collectors, this is only one which is still attached to its original envelope according to reporter Chidanand Rajghatta.

Rajghatta pens, "It was discovered in 1914 by a collector touring India and passed from collector to collector until its theft in 1967 from the home of an Indianapolis philatelist J. David Baker, now deceased."

He goes on to say, "In 1974 the FBI recovered the stolen Baker collection, except for the 'Ice House' Cover. Most collectors thought the thieves had soaked off the 90-cent Lincoln to make it more saleable.

"In January 2006, an elderly couple walked into a small stamp shop in Chicago and inquired if three stamp items had any value. Two were worthless, but one was recognized by the dealer as having great value. After consulting another dealer, he determined that the item was the legendary stolen 'Ice House' Cover."

Baker’s widow consigned the item to Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, which has agreed to offer it for between $300,000 to $400,000 at their annual ''Rarities of the World'' philatelic auction on June 13 in New York City.

Collectors, however, are predicting it will fetch $1 million or more according to the article.

To read the entire article, click here.

For more on the "Ice House" cover, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM