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2021-01-11 Other articles >

When one cent equals 3 million

Only a real fan, a passionate, passionate enthusiast can solve the equation 1 cent=3 million dollars, where the unknown is a single copy of a postage stamp. We are talking about a copy of a one-cent standard postage stamp with a portrait of the founder of the United States of America - Benjamin Franklin, dated 1868. Its unique name is ' The Holy Grail '(also known as 'Z-grill' or 'Benjamin Franklin Z grill'). But don't try to draw parallels here with the Holy Scriptures or the deeds of the Knights of the Round Table. The Holy Grail brand has only one thing in common with the legendary cup - it is just as unattainable and desirable. For all philatelists in the world.
Such a sky-high value of the brand is not at all because it is decorated with a portrait of the most unique person in the history of mankind. Although the universal and polymath Benjamin Franklin is known to his contemporaries mainly as a person who has been permanently adorning the US hundred-dollar bill since 1914.
In history, Franklin entered as one of the founding fathers of the state of the United States of America, his signature stands under the three main documents of the United States-the Declaration, the Constitution and the Treaty of Versailles, which ended the War of independence of the States.
It is worth such huge money of the brand, of course, because of its limited circulation, and most importantly, because of the special impression-waxing. It was applied to its surface with a simple and practical purpose-to prevent the re-use of the postage stamp by washing off the ink of the stamp.

Already at the very beginning of issuing postage stamps, 'craftsmen' immediately invented a way to remove stamp traces from their smooth surface, using stamps twice or more times.

The phenomenon became so widespread that the US Post Office began to suffer losses. An employee of the American Banknote Company, Charles Steele, offered a way out. In 1867, he patented his invention, known today as waxing. A simple procedure is to apply a special impression on the stamp, after which a pressed impression appears on the back of the product in the form of a grid. This surface structure with micro-fractured fibers perfectly absorbs ink, and it is no longer possible to wash it off.
It is thanks to this grate that such brands have become known as grill ('grate' Eng.). The type of edges and the number of points determined the type of waxing, which was indicated by the letters from the Latin ' A ' to 'J', and a free-standing'Z'.

The letter' Z ' indicates rare brands that had been waffled with a grid of 11 by 14 mm in size for just two weeks, at the very beginning of the pressing application. First of all, this is the famous 'Holy Grail'.
Waxing did not last long, and in 1875 this procedure was no longer resorted to, considering it unprofitable. But the more valuable were the philatelic copies that were subjected to it. It is known for certain that only two waffle stamps from the standard series of postage stamps with the image of Franklin, issued in 1868, have survived to this day.

One of them is on display at the New York Public Library, where it was donated in 1925 by Benjamin Kurtz Miller, a well-known American lawyer. Philately was the ardent passion and passion of his life. As a result, he managed to collect the most complete and profound collection of American stamps, giving it at the end of his days to the New York Public Library.
The second copy excites the minds of collectors around the world, as it is in the private collection of financier Bill Gross. According to Wikipedia, this lucky person is the only owner of the collection, which contains ALL US postage stamps issued in the 19th century. It was he who swapped it with the president of the 'Mystic Stamp Company' Donald Sandman, giving in return a rare block 'Inverted Jenny', worth almost $ 3 million.
Of course, the temptation to possess such a value is quite great. Therefore, with enviable regularity, messages about the discovery of a third instance appear in the world. That hapless Tyumen collector allegedly stole this stamp greedy mistress, then suddenly it turns out that a German pensioner bought it for 20 euros, among other philatelic junk.

However, only two copies of the Holy Grail have been subjected to a reliable examination, and they represent a huge philatelic and material value today.

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