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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stamp Investment Tip: U.S. 1935 3c Byrd Antarctic Imperf., Cross Gutter Block (Scott #768)

   In 1933, the U.S. issued a 3c stamp honoring Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Antarctic Expedition (Scott #733). The stamp is notable in that it's design is based on a sketch by America's most famous Philatelist-President, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The design was replicated in two later issues, an imperforate souvenir sheet of 6 issued at the National Stamp Exhibition of 1934 (Scott #735), and as an ungummed imperforate stamp - one of the notorious "Farley Issues" of 1935 (Scott #768).

    The Farley Issues are interesting because they can be collected as positional pieces, the most popular of which is the cross gutter block. The Farley version of the Byrd Antarctic Stamp (Sc.#768) was issued in panes of 25 sheets of 6, and each pane contained 16 gutter blocks. 267,200 of #768 were issued, so about 28,500 blocks were possible. 

   As these stamps were not gummed, it is likely that most were collected unused, rather than used and discarded, but it's also likely that many of the panes of 150 were broken up and collected as sheets of 6, mimicking the format of the earlier souvenir sheet. Scott '13 values the cross-gutter block unused at $20.00, which seems cheap to me, even if all of the original 28,500 survive.

    Furthermore, the issue has appeal as a Polar/Antarctic topical and as a Map topical.

    Those interested in becoming part of an international community of stamp collectors, dealers, and investors are encouraged to join the "Stampselectors" group at Facebook. The  group hosts lively discussions concerning stamp investment and practical aspects of collecting, and provides a useful venue for those who wish to buy, sell, or trade stamps. 

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