Monday, November 14, 2011
International Blue-per #8: An Overpriced Overprint of Mauritius
I haven't been making posts on random problems in the Volume One because Jim is doing a comprehensive country-by-country analysis, but I couldn't resist commenting on an errant overprint from Mauritius that I came across the other day. As shown in the illustration, the current Blue has spaces for three overprinted stamps issued in 1891-92. So if we go to the Scott Classic Catalogue to lookup the numbers, the first stamp is Scott 89, 70¢ used; no problem there. The second is #90, $1.50 unused, again, straight forward. I'm preparing to pencil in 91 for the third stamp, but no, 91 belongs to the first of the Coats of Arms set from 1895. As I stare more closely at the album cut, I'm not even certain what I'm looking at and have to fetch the scanner to enlarge the illustration enough to identify. And the winner is not the reasonable choices of #86 or 87 from 1891 which catalog $4.50 and $3.25 respectively, but Scott #85 (SG 119) which is worth $110.00 according to my 2007 catalog.
OK, such an unnecessarily expensive stamp is irritating but there is precedent elsewhere in the album. But still curious, I dutifully haul out my trusty dusty first edition of the Blue to verify that #85 had been in the album from the very beginning. But it wasn't. In the first edition, the first two stamps are the same but the third stamp is #86 ($4.50). So what happened? Perhaps in redesigning the page at some point before 1947, the cut for #86 was lost/damaged, and the editor in a panic substituted the much more expensive #85. Perhaps the editor intended to keep the same stamp but mistakenly picked the wrong cut. Or perhaps the editor just thought it would be a fun joke to play on collectors. Unlike some of Scott's "jokes," at least you can find this one without much trouble for around $50-$60.