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Overprinted for Use in Philippines

In the summer of 1907, at the request of the Bureau of Insular Affairs, the issue of 1903-1904 was specially printed on very white paper. This exhibitor’s original research indicates that two panes of 50 of this stamp were originally overprinted on plate 1774. Both bottom plate blocks exist but this plate block is not only the largest known plate block, but the largest known multiple of the issue. Five blocks of four are recorded as well as the other bottom plate block of six stamps. It is believed that the top portion of each of the two sheets were never broken and disappeared so that no more a total of 16 singles, five blocks of four and plate blocks of six and eight for a total of 50 stamps exist. This plate block also shows the damaged “N” variety in the word “Cent”. Since this issue was provided for exhibition purposes, probably for the Queen of Italy, no used examples are known.

Philippine overprint block.

Both known plate blocks were acquired by J. Murray Bartels and sold to Economist Stamp Company prior to November, 1917, when both were sold to one of the earliest Special Delivery collectors, W. Parsons Todd, long time mayor of Morristown New Jersey. This plate block was purchased directly from Mr. Todd 30 days prior to his death and the second plate block was acquired in the Todd auction, subsequently sold a decade later and then resold to a plate block collector in the late 1990s.