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Auction: 18054 - The 'Hermione' Collection of France, 1849-1950
Lot: 221

1919-22 Type Blanc Surcharged
"GC" Paper
½c. on 1c. grey, surcharge inverted, block of thirty (6x5) with vertical interpanneau margin and Millésime "9" between the fifth and sixth rows, pre surcharging paper fold resulting in six examples without surcharge and two only traces of the surcharge and surcharge on the reverse. A superb and unique block extraordinarily combining two varieties, making a spectacular showpiece of the highest calibre of rarity in this issue; one of the greatest gems of the post-classic France. Spink Maury 157m. Photo

This is the lowest denomination in French philately. Its issue is due to the need of paying the ½c. rate applied, in accordance with their publishers, on newspapers weighing less than 20 grams and carried within the same administrative department in which the publisher was located, or sent to a neighbouring administrative department. This stamp was issued to substitute the handstamps featuring the ½ centime denomination which appeared in 1908.
The surcharge was initially printed in flat typography in sheets of 150, then in sheets of 100, and finally printed in rotary typography in sheets of 100 with dated corner.
During the flat printing period, part of the legend of this stamp was born, when some sheets (two or four according to the consulted sources) were discovered featuring the surcharge inverted.
This rare stamp became even rarer when the sheet got folded during the printing process, leaving non-surcharged stamps se-tenant with surcharged stamps. This extraordinary piece has been hidden for nearly 50 years.

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