Arago: Exhibits


The Orangeburg Coil

3c deep violet Washington pair

1911 3c mint pair of the Orangeburg coil

The 3¢ deep violet stamp that collectors call the “Orangeburg coil” is one of the great philatelic rarities of the twentieth century. This stamp is from the Washington “ Franklin series. In 1911 pharmaceutical manufacturer Bell & Company of Orangeburg, New York, received a small number of these 3¢ coil stamps on single-line watermarked paper with gauge 12 vertical perforations. Bell & Company used these stamps to send promotional materials to doctors, most of whom discarded the envelopes.

The Miller mint pair is accompanied by a handwritten statement of provenance from its original owner, Dr. Jason S. Parker of White Plains, N.Y. In a letter to stamp dealer Philip H. Ward Jr., Parker recounted that after he received the promotional mailing from Bell & Company, he wrote them, explaining that he was a stamp collector and asking for an unused pair from that coil. The firm replied by enclosing its last unused pair with a cordial letter.