Friday, 24 May 2013

The World’s Most Valuable Stamps

There are literally billions of stamps in the world but only a very small number are worth collecting, as any good philatelist will know. The ultimate collection would obviously include nothing but the world’s most valuable stamps, the top five of which are detailed below.

So in reverse order according to worth.

5. The British Guiana 1 Cent Magenta

This exceedingly rare magenta stamp dates back to 1865 when British Guiana experienced a shortfall in the number of stamps arriving from England. People continued to demand stamps though, so the Postmaster asked the local newspaper to print a series of stamps with one and four cent values. The stamps produced were very basic and easy to forge so each true stamp was initialled by a member of post office staff to prove authenticity. 

Only one copy of the 1 Cent Magenta stamp is known to remain. It was last auctioned in 1980 
when it achieved the sale price of $850,000 in New York.

4. The Post Office Mauritius Stamp 

This stamp is what is known as an ‘error’ stamp. In 1847 the wife of the Governor of Mauritius wanted to hold a ball and make to the invitations unique the Mauritius Post Office designed and printed a new stamp in the style of the British stamp. Unfortunately the copper plate used to print the stamps was incorrectly engraved with the words ‘Post Office’ instead of ‘Post Paid’.
A total of 240 stamps were sold before the mistake was noticed, and only 26 are known to remain. The last one to be auctioned was a blue 2-penny stamp in 2011 when it sold for an amazing £1.05million or $1.67million. 

3. The Inverted Jenny Stamp

When it comes to valuable stamps this is one of the more famous. First issued in 1918 it was the first stamp used for airmail and features the Jenny plane. Each sheets of 100 stamps was passed through the printing machine twice – once to print the red background colour and again for the blue plane. It seems that a few sheets of stamps were accidentally put into the printing machine the wrong way for the second pass, meaning the Jenny plane was printed upside down.

Around 100 inverted Jenny plane stamps are known to exist today. The last ones sold went as a block of 4 stamps in 2005 when they achieved $3million.

2. The Penny Black

The 1840 Penny Black is the oldest stamp in the world and a true giant when it comes to valuable stamps. The black stamp was only printed for nine months because the red cancellation mark was difficult to distinguish. After this the stamp changed to red and the cancellation mark became black. 

Most Penny Blacks in existence today were issued on the scheduled date of May 6 1840 but two are known to be early issues, released on May 2. These are the two that are of true value, the last one being bought for over $5million a few years ago.

1. Treskilling Yellow Stamp

The Treskilling Yellow is a three-skilling Swedish stamp printed in error in 1855. Normally green, the stamp was inadvertently printed in the yellow colour of the more expensive eight-skilling stamp and at present only one stamp is known to remain in the world.

The stamp has been auctioned numerous times over the last 20 years, the last time being in 2010 when an anonymous buyer bought it for an undisclosed amount. How do we know it is top of the valuable stamps list then? Because auctioneer David Feldman was quoted as saying ‘it is more expensive than any other single postage stamp in the world’.

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