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The Mysterious Earthscapes “Error”—Major Error or Minor Hoax?
Stamp News Publishing
The Mysterious Earthscapes "Error" is one of the many interesting and informative articles and commentary you will find in our publications.
The Mysterious Earthscapes "Error" . . . Letter from our Anonymous Mailer
"Hello, I came across this stamp which I found very unusual. After talking with several people including some stamp collectors (who offered to purchase it from me) I realized it might be worth more than they offered me. No one seems to be able to shed any light on this rare stamp pane! I have enclosed a color copy of the rare pane and a black and white of what the original stamp pane looks like. There are several mistakes on this pane. The perfs are in the middle of each stamp, Forever and USA are upside down, and the name of each stamp is labeled by the wrong stamp and flipped the wrong way!"
"Could you please put this in your magazine, and see if anyone knows what is up with this…
…stamp pane. I would like to then contact you, but remain anonymous, and see what you think I should do? Thank You"
No address on the envelope…
…And to date, no further word from our mysterious mailer
This despite our publishing it, as requested, in our June 24 Mekeel's & STAMPS Magazine and in our July U.S. Stamp News**.
Here was what we published:
"And thank you, Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous. Please do contact me at email@example.com or 603-424-7556. If this is what it appears to be, and not a Photoshopped or other altered image (which it does not appear to be), you were smart not to accept any offers. I also will not make you an offer. Instead, I can tell you some specific steps you should take to enhance the value of this pane."
"(And if anyone else out there has any information to contribute regarding what appears to be a major error on this 2012 Earthscapes pane, Sc. 4710, please call toll free at 603-424-7556, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send your letter to John Dunn, Stamp News Publishing, 42 Sentry Way, Merrimack, NH 03054 - Attention: Earthscape)"
"John F. Dunn"
(Publisher and President, Stamp News Publishing)
**You can see coverage of this story in our July 2016 U.S. Stamp News Magazine Sampler. (U.S. Stamp News Magazine may take a moment to load.)
Major Error or Minor Hoax?
While not as dramatic looking as the C3a Airmail Invert, that valuable error was discovered in a full pane of 100. IF—and we emphasize IF—this turns out to be genuine, so far it would be the only known example. But until we flush out the sender and the piece, all bets are off.
So, is Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous the extremely cautious holder of a valuable error—a one of a kind error—or just someone having a little fun playing with Photoshop?
It is difficult to tell much from the photocopy that was sent to us. (Perhaps that was to avoid being found out by sending a sharper image?)
The language used seems a bit contradictory…early on it reads like something written by a non-collector or novice, then there is the reference to “perfs,” which suggests more knowledge than that of a novice.
Likewise, at first the piece is erroneously called a “stamp”, then later properly referred to as a "stamp pane."
Finally, if as our submitter states, “No one seems to be able to shed any light on this rare stamp pane!”, it doesn't say much about either the knowledge or the ethics of the collectors to whom he or she states they turned.
What do you think: Major Error, or Minor Hoax?
(And Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous, we are still here to confidentially pass along our 45+ years of experience.)
If you have enjoyed this article in our July 2016 issue of U.S. Stamp News Magazine, please click here to subscribe [PDF Order Form]. (U.S. Stamp News Magazine, Mekeel's and Stamps Magazine and Stamp News Online Magazine are now also available on your cell phone and tablet/ipad.)
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