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U.S. Photo Essays & Autographed Plate Blocks

We are pleased to offer you photo essays and designs and autographed plate blocks from the estate of Sol Glass, renowned US philatelic writer and longtime member of the US Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee. This committee helped select and approve designs for US stamps. Mr. Glass was also intimate friends with most of the designers and engravers of US stamps. Most of his material is extremely scarce with only a handful known of each item. Whether you wish the Photo essays or designs or the autographed plate blocks, they are ideal for serious exhibitors and collectors of any topic!

Photo Essays and Photo designs

Photo essays were photographed proposed designs of stamps that were never issued and often contain topical elements not found in the issued stamp. Approved photo designs are also listed and these are usually signed by the designer or engraver. Here is a sample of a photo essay for the 2 Red Cross, Scott# 702, issued in 1931.

Here's another example showing the 15 Liberty, Scott# 566, issued in 1922.

Autographed Plate Blocks

These are mint plate blocks autographed by the designer, lettering and frame engravers. Also listed are plate blocks that are signed by the famous individual who inspired the issue. Here are two examples. The first is for Scott# 1068, 3 Old Man of the Mountains, New Hampshire issue from 1955. The second is for Scott# FA1, 15 Certified Mail, also issued in 1955.

Some of our clients have approached us with questions about verifying the authenticity of photo essays. Here are some answers to their concerns:

How can I tell these are the real thing?

The photo-essays listed here have a pedigree -- when the estate of Sol Glass was consigned to auction we were fortunate enough to place the high-bid on these photo essays. Sol Glass had these photo essays because he was a member of the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee that approved the designs. Mr. Glass was also a well known philatelic writer, member of the APS board of Vice-Presidents (check out the image below -- we found this stationary on a contemporary FDC), and president of the BIA. Mr. Glass often wrote articles for the BIA about these issues as they were being considered and approved for printing. Because of his close involvement with both the CSAC and BIA, he maintained a collection of these essays. Since we bought these essays from the source, we know these are the real thing!

Isn't it easy to re-photograph an existing photo essay to produce a fraudulent copy?

The problem with this idea is that the new photograph would be very inferior to the original photo essay. It would be like someone photocopying a fax -- the resulting quality of the image would be very different from the original. There would also be a great difference in the photographic paper used -- remember that these photo-essays were produced between 1929 and 1959. The quality of photographic paper and processing today is very different from the quality of that time period. This difference would be immediately evident.

It might be possible that someone could create a new photo essay from the original photographic negatives. If these negatives exist, they are part of the US government's archives and certainly not accessible to the public -- especially not for reproduction! If someone were able (and dumb enough) to steal these negatives, they would have a very hard time faking the period photographic paper that the originals have.

Can't someone simply re-photograph the original artist's essays?

These photo-essays are the only existing copies of the artist's original designs. The actual die proofs of the approved art work generally do not exist in public hands (there are some exceptions in the 1929-1959 time period -- see the Scott US Specialized Catalog). It is possible that these exist in the US government archives, but, like the photographic negatives above, if they do exist they are not available to the public -- and especially not for reproduction! In our 20+ years of business, we have never seen the original art work up for sale!

Remember, these photo essays are the actual items that the Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee used to decide what the new stamp should look like. They are, in this sense, the original essays.

O.k., o.k., but how can I be really sure?

Still not convinced? Well, some people prefer to collect the photo essays that are signed by the designers and/or engravers. Such photo essays are accepted as genuine without question, because the names of the designers and engravers (and their actual signatures) are easily verifiable.

Photo Essays and Photo Designs

The following is a small sample from our enormous stock. If you are seriously interested in anything, please feel free to request photocopies or images. All are essays of proposed designs unless noted as approved design. Click on the following link to view our Price list: US Photo-Essays & Autographed Plate Blocks


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