If you check the Scott US Specialized catalog, Scott #85F is the 15Ę Lincoln with a Z grill. The catalog price is $2 million. There are only two copies known. This stamp is almost as valuable as its 1Ę cousin, Scott #85A of which two copies are known, but only 1 copy is in private hands. Bond king William Gross owns the only public copy of Scott #85A. The other copy is in the Miller collection which is on loan to the Smithsonian.
A collector in New York sent me a letter along with about a dozen photographs of his collection. He was looking to sell it and wondered if I was interested.
He had a photograph of his 15Ę Lincoln and in his letter, he stated that it had a Z grill. Of course he mentioned the catalog value too. He also had photographs of some rare Washington-Franklin coil pairs where the perforation holes are slightly out of line with one another. Did I mention that on genuine copies, the perforation holes are always perfectly in line?
He had another stamp (I forget the Scott number) where the issued stamp was blue. But his used stamp was in green ink. This unlisted error was sure to rock the philatelic world. Oh yes, I wanted to mention that the Scott catalog only lists errors of color on mint stamps with gum because itís too easy to chemically alter stamps to change their color. Itís a little hard to chemically alter a stamp ink color without disturbing the gum.
The rest of the collection showed otherwise very ordinary looking stamps in average condition with the usual faults. However, Iím sure there were some other goodies in the collection Ė a $25,000 stamp here and a $10,000 stamp there. He probably forgot to include the photo of the #C3a with the upside down airplane.
Unfortunately, I declined his offer to buy his collection. I didnít have $2 million dollars burning a hole in my pocket. Looking back, I could just kick myself. How could I let one of the rarest of US stamps slip through my fingers? What was I thinking? I am a complete idiot.