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    HB-29 EP-34 Scott-15 Reed-AS03SM 3¢ Ayer's Sarsaparilla Small Ayer's About New.
    Numerical grade: 85case.85stamp.80mica. = 250

    In this cataloger's opinion, neither Reed nor Hodder-Bowers gives the rarity of this piece its due. Reed considers it an R-2 (51 to 100 known) and prices it at just a hair more than the very common Medium Ayer's 3¢. The HB reference does the same. Our experience is that the Small Ayer's variety is far rarer than the Medium, and several times rarer than the Large. The Reed auction census shows 102 appearances for this piece, 267 for Medium and 139 for Large. While it's purely speculation on our part, we have always suspected that early auctioneers, when confronted with two sizes of "Ayer's," a Large and a Medium, called the Medium piece "Small," throwing off the census. Our experience is that the Medium is massively the most common (everyone agrees), the Smalls are easily 20-to-1 rarer than the Medium, and the Large about 3-to-1 rarer than the Medium. This one is a lovely example and in fact the finest we've seen of a 3¢ Small Ayer's. There is a touch of silvering behind many of the letters, and the case is a nice natural light tan color. The stamp's centering is very nearly perfect, and its color is strong. The mica is as clear and problem-free as these ever come. If this is not the finest known of this piece, it's got to be very close. The Stack's June 2004 sale had three, including the Lilly piece, all with problems and grading Very Fine. The Perl, Dunham and Massachusetts Historical Society pieces were all well below the quality of this lovely piece.
    From The Frederick Mayer Collection

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    Auction Dates
    September, 2007
    26th-28th Wednesday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 275

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