Lot 1981California State Telegraph Co., 1870, black & blue, complete sheet of 12 comprising two panes of six with horizontal interpane gutter, original gum, handstamped serial no. 104 on all stamps (some double strikes incl. top two stamps); slightly toned, light horizontal crease and central crimping at center as usual since these were folded and stapled into booklets, top right corner rounded, Fine.
Scott No. 5T1 $9,500 as two panes.
ONE OF THREE RECORDED COMPLETE SHEETS OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE TELEGRAPH COMPANY 1870 "BUSINESS" FRANK STAMP. THIS IS THE LARGEST POSSIBLE MULTIPLE, A GREAT TELEGRAPH STAMP RARITY.
The California Telegraph Company was the product of the 1861 consolidation of four companies responsible for the first transcontinental telegraph line. The 1870 Blue & Black typeset "Business" frank was the first issue. The black type was printed from a setting of six subjects repeated twice in a sheet of 12, with a blue background of ornaments also arranged in six subjects repeated twice in a sheet. Position 1 (top left in each pane of six) has an inverted ornament in the blue background at lower left (bottom row, second ornament), which breaks the pattern of diamond shapes. Position 3 has a repeating flaw in the "F" of "Free".
Booklets of 100 stamps were made by inserting 16 panes of 6 (96 stamps total) plus four additional stamps. The Kramer book speculates that stamps with red crayon serial numbers were added to the the booklets to make up the 100 count.