An 1869 “Shield, Eagle and Flags” 30-cent pictorial stamp (US Scott #121) realized nearly $45,000 ($35,000 USD) at a Robert A. Siegel sale earlier this month, exceeding pre-auction estimates of $6,500 by about 600 per cent.
The sale, which took place April 7 in New York City, saw the first part of the Hanover Collection of “superb-quality” U.S. stamps auctioned off to bidders, of which there were many with deep pockets. Among the highlights was the Shield, Eagle and Flags stamp, which is graded XF-Superb 95, making it one of the three finest known examples to exist.
The stamp was likely issued in April 1869, during the administration of former U.S. President Ulysses S Grant, and was the first official U.S. series to portray something other than former politicians. Its earliest known use was on a cover dated May 22, 1869 and sent from New York to Hong Kong. To date, there are about 60 known covers sent with the 30-cent stamp affixed to it.