Lot #: 143940

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THE EARLIEST KNOWN USED BOOKLET SHEET STAMP: 28 OCT 1929 postmarked commercial cover on imprinted business postal stationary, sent from TIBERIAS to SAFED & franked 8m for the period postage rate for extra weight inland letter (5m initial 20g letter weight + 3m additional 20g weight), using pictorial series 3m single & 5m single with half-cropped left gutter (both on thick vertically ribbed paper) & tied by single strike of the local postmark; backstamped same day SAFED arrival.

The unusual half-cropped vertical gutter (or sheet selvege) was a unique byproduct of the production of booklet stamps: a standard stamp sheet (documented so far as being only on thick vertically - or horizontally - ribbed paper) was guillotined into multiple column vertical sections for the initial preparation of stamp booklet sheets; based on the location of the internal gutter columns, the booklet sheets were sliced out as 3x2 panes from the columns where a half-cropped left or right sheet selvedge or gutter could serve as the inner margin of the booklet panes to enable them to be stitched or stapled together. The remaining guillotined columns which were not 3 columns wide or did not have an adjoining selvedge or gutter were leftover stock relegated to be used as regular postage stamps.

Bearing the 'ladder' type gutter design the 5m stamp here came from a Plate 1 type sheet, and with the gutter being on the left - and the stamp being neither guillotined on the top or bottom, as would be for a booklet stamp - this stamp came from the unused portion of the sliced sheet, specifically the 5th column from the right. Both the 5th and 4th columns from the right were part of the unused stamps derived from these guillotine-prepared booklet sheets.

The discovery here is that the 5m stamp's use pre-dates the presently known date of the 1st ever order of booklet stamps, Requisition #3377 documented in the Crown Agents Requisition Books (compiled by Norman Collins), dispatched on 12 Nov. 1929. This anomaly can be explained: first, this cataloguer has researched and confirmed that Collins' compilation of purchase orders is incomplete, lacking at least 40% of the possible orders that exist. Second, specifically with regards to this order there exists another order (#6082) which appears in 2 different sections as being both an order for regular postage stamps as well as an order for machine vended coil stamps; that order generally references a single date as its date of dispatch (2 July 1934), but the portion of the order for regular postage stamps actually splits out part of that portion into two different sets of dispatch dates, with the split out part being dispatched between "8 June to 2/7/34".

As such, here too, the intial order for booklets mentions that remaining sheet stamps not used in the construction of the booklets are to be "sent to the Colony along with the booklets". As the cropped gutter is such a unique and rarely encountered characteristic - rare enough not to appear in Arthur Hochheiser's two part article "Peculiar Palestine Pictorial Perforations" Israel Philatelist 1978 vol 29 issue 9-10 p.13 & issue 11-12 p.36 - with the usage date here being so close to the dispatch date, it is undoubtable that these remaining stamps were sent physically separate from the booklets at a slightly earlier date, just as observed with order #6082, and indeed entered use as regular postage stamps. Ben-Arieh certification enclosed.