most expensive stamps

Ten the most expensive stamps

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British Guyana One Cent Black on Magenta 1856

Swedish Treskilling Yellow 1855

Orange-red and blue Mauritius 1847

Bermuda Postmaster Provisional 1848

Penny Black - first postage stamp in the world 1840. Penny Red

Benjamin Franklin Z-Grill 1868

Inverted Jenny 1918

Hawaiian Missionaries 1851 - 1852

Red Revenue Small 2c - "The Red Lady in the Green Dress" 1897

Tiphlis Unique, or Tiflis stamp 1857

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Most expensive stamps
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British Guyana One Cent Black on Magenta

1856

British Guyana One Cent Black on Magenta 1856

British Guyana One Cent Black on Magenta British Guyana

British Guyana One Cent Black on Magenta 2 British Guyana One Cent Black on Magenta 4

Most expensive Stamps

The British Guiana 1¢ magenta is among the rarest of all postage stamps. It was issued in limited numbers in British Guiana (now Guyana) in 1856, and only one specimen is now known to exist.

It is imperforate, printed in black on magenta paper, and it features a sailing ship along with the colony's Latin motto "Damus Petimus Que Vicissim" (We give and expect in return) in the middle. Four thin lines frame the ship. The stamp's country of issue and value in small black upper case lettering in turn surround the frame.

The original stamp, a one-cent issue crudely printed with black ink on lilac-colored paper it was found by a Scottish schoolboy in 1873 and sold to a local dealer for six shillings (about $1.60 in those days). It is now owned by a murderer John E. du Pont, famous stamp collector and philatelist, owner of the rare 1856 British Guiana One Cent Magenta Stamp (bought at auction for US$ 935,000) sentenced to prison in 1997 for the irrational murder of an Olympic wrestler, David Schultz, died in prison, at the age of 72.

The second copy, turned up in Romania in the mid-1980′s, when it was bought by an unidentified dealer from Bremen, Germany. The German dealer said the seller, a dancer, had inherited the stamp in a collection from her grandfather, who was a servant to a Russian nobleman. Initial microscopic tests have show that the paper and ink are appropriate to a stamp issued in 1856.

Within a few years its rarity came to be recognized, and it passed through the hands of several prominent stamp collectors: Count Phillippe von Ferrari of Paris, Arthur Hind of Utica, N.Y. (who paid $35,250, a record stamp price, in the 1930′s), and Frederick T. Small of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

In March 1970 Mr. Small sold the stamp to a syndicate for $280,000.

The syndicate sold the stamp in 1980 for $935,000 to a buyer who was anonymous at the time but whom Stamp Collector and others have identified as John E. du Pont.

The exact present whereabouts of the 1¢ Magenta is unknown - but is believed to be in a bank vault in Philadelphia

Swedish Treskilling Yellow

1855

Swedish Treskilling Yellow 1855

Most expensive Stamps

Swedish Treskilling Yellow keeps its title as the world's most expensive stamp after changing hands in Geneva. One of the world's rarest stamps has fetched a record price at auction in Switzerland, organisers told the BBC - 22 May 2010.

However the buyers have chosen not to disclose how much they paid. All bidders in auction were sworn to secrecy.

The stamp Treskilling Yellow - a version of a 1855 three shilling stamp which was meant to be printed green - is believed to be the last of its kind.

The stamp was last officially sold in Zurich in 1996 for 2.88 million Swiss francs (then about $2.3 million).

The stamp been in the hands of a host of different figures, including a Romanian King. It is said to have been discovered in 1885 by a 14-year old schoolboy from Stockholm who found it while looking through his family's correspondence.

Orange-red and blue Mauritius

1847

Orange-red Mauritius one penny 1847blue Mauritius two pence

Most expensive Stamps

In 1847 the first two stamps of Mauritius is the first two series of stamps issued by the British colonial government. There was only one fruit with the conditions of the first stamps and three stamps unused second also with unused condition. In 1993, David Feldman auction Mauritius stamps belonging Hiroyuki Kanai produces the highest record. The first orange-colored stamps sold for $ 1,072,260 and the second at $ 1,148,850.

The words "Post Office" appear in the left panel, but on the following issue in 1848, these words were replaced by "Post Paid." A legend arose later that the words "Post Office" had been an error.

One version was that the man who produced the stamps, Joseph Barnard, was a half-blind watchmaker and an old man who absent-mindedly forgot what he was supposed to print on the stamps. On his way from his shop to visit the postmaster, a Mr. Brownrigg, he passed a post office with a sign hanging above it. This provided the necessary jog to his memory and he returned to his work and finished engraving the plates for the stamps, substituting "Post Office" for "Post Paid."

The stamps, as well as the subsequent issues, are highly prized by collectors because of their rarity, their early dates and their primitive character as local products. Surviving stamps are mainly in the hands of private collectors but some are on public display in the British Library in London, including the envelope of an original invitation to the Governor's ball complete with stamp. Another place where they can be seen is at the Blue Penny Museum in Mauritius. The two stamps also can be seen at the Museum for Communication (Museum für Kommunikation) in Berlin and in the Postal Museum of Sweden in Stockholm.

Mailed to Bordeaux France - ordering 30 barrels of wine!

1847

The envelope is franked with the Mauritius stamps

The envelope is franked with 
the 1d and 2d ?Post Office? Mauritius stamps

Most expensive Stamps

Priciest stamp item ever

The "Bordeaux Letter" sold for 5,750,000 Swiss Francs to a Singapore collector in 1993. Adjusted for 18 years of inflation, this is around 10 million Swiss Francs in today's money - or about $US 10 million.

The ?Bordeaux Letter? was purchased by European collector-dealer Guido Craveri, who also paid over $US2 million for a 1851 Hawaii cover in a Siegel Auction in New York in 1995.

And close behind in price to the Mauritius, is the GB 1840 1d Black on May 3 cover that sold by Harmers Lugarno Switzerland for at that time 3,400,000 Swiss francs in March 1991.

Both these sales FAR eclipse what either the Swedish or British Guiana stamps have so far obtained. And that would surprise most in the stamp trade - and certainly nearly all collectors.

Bermuda Postmaster Provisional

1848

Bermuda Postmaster Provisional 1

Bermuda Postmaster Provisional 2 Bermuda Postmaster Provisional 3

Most expensive Stamps

Gems of Philately

The Postmasters' Provisionals of Bermuda are among the rarest and most valuable stamps in the world. Surrounded by considerable mystique, each of these small treasures has its own history and provenance.

From 1818, postmasters were permitted to retain any postage paid at their respective office for Inland mail. A small slot was available in the Bermuda Post Office, through which one would would slip their mail and any postage paid. Often the amount of mail and the necessary money for postage did not match, and rather than penalize those who had been dishonest, some mail was effectively sent post free.

In 1848, mostly in order to counder such fraud, William Bennet Perot, postmaster at Hamilton, introduced his own "stamps". They were essentially handstamps produced from an already existing datestamp, with the name and date of the month removed, leaving only the year date. They were sold to customers wishing to post letters after the post office closed. In 1848 and 1849, the impressions were struck on pieces of paper in black. Shortly afterm the ink pad was changed to red. There are ten known examples, four in black and six in red (plus one later one known from 1856). White paper was used up until 1854, when blue paper was employed by Perot's counterpart at St. George's, J.H. Thies, and Perot's successor at Hamilton, Robert Ward. It was believed that the value of the franking was 1p, but this was not indicated on the Provisionals.

The Robert Dickgiesser Collection of Bermuda, sold by Cherrystone in October 1999, contained four different provisionals. The cover below is the First Perod Provisional, one of only two known on cover and the only black type known on cover. It is one of three Perot issues from 1848 (the first year) and it is the only one with a postmark (28 March 1848).

The provisional was struck on the reverse of a folded letter to Henry E. Higgs at St. Georges from N.J. Butterfield at Hamilton. The contents are quite interesting and they discuss a leaking ship and the crew's reluctance to sail in her. As stated above, this is one of three Provisionals from 1848, the other two being in the Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth. The cover is ex-Sir Henry Tucker and it is listed in Stanley Gibbons as O1 (cat. 120,000 off cover) and Scott's X1 (cat. $160,000 for used on cover).

The provisionals were replaced in 1865 with the issuance of Bermuda's first stamps, bearing Queen Victoria.

Penny Black - first postage stamp in the world. Penny Red

May 1, 1840. 1841

Penny Black - with a red cancellation Penny Black Penny Red - with black cross

Most expensive Stamps

As most stamp collector already know the Penny Black is the world's first adhesive postage stamp and was issued by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on May 1st 1840. Due to its significance this stamps is very popular. The Penny Black is not that rare a stamp, as there were 68,808,000 issued, yes 68 million! A substantial number of these have survived, largely because envelopes were not commonly used yet, letters being written, folded and sealed with wax, with the stamp and the address on the obverse. This meant that whenever a letter was filed in a lawyer's office, bank, etc., the whole thing would be kept. The stamps were printed in sheets of 240, from engraved steel plates, on gummed paper with a single small crown watermark on each stamp. They were imperforated and had to be cut out with scissors. Over time, due to excessive wear, eleven different printing plates were used , and it is possible in almost every case to work out which plate any individual stamp was printed from by little characteristics. Some plates are scarcer than others, plate 11 being the rarest, intended originally solely for the new red stamps, only 16800 stamps were printed from this plate. These are now very rare. A special postmark was also introduced to cancel the stamps. Popularly known as the Maltese Cross. It was to begin with, in black. But since it was difficult to see a black postmark on a black stamp the color was changed to red. Many used examples of the period have killer cancellations, so that it could not be used again. The postal authorities were clearly worried that people might "clean" the stamp so that it could be used again. The colour of the Penny Black was later changed to red for this very reason. Used examples with a light cancellation command a much higher premium on the market than heavily obliterated ones. A specimen of this stamp with a red Maltese cross cancellation sold at auction for more than $2.4 million.

Benjamin Franklin Z-Grill

1868

Z - Grill: Gross collection 1868 1-cent Z-Grill from the Benjamin K Miller Collection

Most expensive Stamps

This American stamp, with a Z-grill, is considered to be the rarest stamp. Only two copies are known to exist, only one of which exchanges hands between private collectors. Thus, only one collector at a time can possess the entire collection of USA stamps.

A "grill" is a method of preventing counterfeiting. It consists of embossing a specific pattern of tiny squares into the paper with a high-pressure press. As a result, the cancellation is more readily absorbed into the paper and becomes very difficult to erase. The z-grill was the first grill ever used, and is more visible from the back of the stamp.

The first collector to possess a complete USA stamp collection was Robert Zoellner. In 1998, Mr. Zoellner's complete USA collection was sent to auction, and Donald Sundman, president of the Mystic Stamp Company, acquired the Benjamin Franklin Z-Grill for $935 000. In October 2005, financier Bill Gross exchanged his block of four famous "Inverted Jennies", which he had acquired for almost $3 million, for the celebrated Z-Grill 1868.

Inverted Jenny

1918

Block of four rare USA - Inverted Jenny - 24c Airmail stamps Inverted Jenny - 24c Airmail stamps

Most expensive Stamps

The Curtiss JN-4 biplane is the subject of the three first air mail stamps issued by the United States. The 24¢ red and blue with inverted center is probably the most famous American philatelic error and is known under the name of "Inverted Jenny". In the 1910's, the US Post Office test runs aerial mail transportation. Their efforts result in the inauguration of regular air mail service May 15th, 1918. Stamps are quickly engraved on May 4th, and printed on Friday, May 10th. Quick printing results in at least three misprinted sheets representing the plane upside down, which are found and promptly destroyed.

However, as in other instances in the past, other sheets of the two-colour stamps with inverted centers make it through despite vigilant efforts to prevent this, and collectors rush to try and track down the stamp. On May 14th, W. T. Robey sees the postmaster take out a complete sheet of 100 stamps with inverted centers, and, with pounding heart, hurries to purchase the sheet. Robey then contacts several stamp collectors and journalists regarding his incredible find, and also hides his sheet from visiting postal inspectors. He quickly sells the sheet to a dealer in Philadelphia, Eugene Klein, for $15 000. Mr. Klein immediately re-sells it to Colonel H. R. Green for $20 000. Based on advice from Klein, Colonel Green separates the sheet in order to sell the stamps for the highest possible price: a block of eight, several blocks of four, and the rest as singles. Colonel Green keeps many of them, and even mounts one in a locket for his wife. On May 18th, 2002, Mrs. Green's locket is sent to auction, but has no buyer. The philatelic press reports however, that a private sale is subsequently conducted for an undisclosed amount. In October 2005, a block of four "Inverted Jennies" is sold to financier William H. Gross for the sum of $2 970 000. This is the famous block which he then exchanged for one copy of the 1868 Benjamin Franklin Z-Grill.

The block is the only one in existence that features the plate number upside down and in the stamp selvedge.

The most famous stamp in American philately... the Inverted Jenny

Described as "a rare fine to very fine sound example of this iconic stamp... the most famous stamp in American philately and one of the best-known World rarities," Interasia's Inverted Jenny will appear with an estimated value of HK$ 3,500,000 - 4,000,000 ($512,997).

Hawaiian Missionaries

1851 - 1852

Hawaiian Missionaries two cents 1 Hawaiian Missionaries two cents 2 Hawaiian Missionaries two cents 3 Hawaiian Missionaries two cents 4

Hawaiian Missionaries five cents 1 Hawaiian Missionaries five cents 2 Hawaiian Missionaries five cents 3 Hawaiian Missionaries five cents 4

Hawaiian Missionaries 13 cents 1 Hawaiian Missionaries 13 cents 2 Hawaiian Missionaries 13 cents 3 Hawaiian Missionaries 13 cents 4

Hawaiian Missionaries 13 cents 5 Hawaiian Missionaries 13 cents 7 Hawaiian Missionaries 13 cents 6

Hawaiian Missionaries 13 cents 8

Most expensive Stamps

In 1851 the Kingdom of Hawaii authorized the printing of postage stamps to prepay the rates on outbound mail. Henry M. Whitney, Hawaii's first postmaster, printed the blue stamps on a hand-operated press in the Honolulu office of the government newspaper. Known as the "Missionaries" because of their use by Christian missionaries who wrote back to the United States, the first three issues featured the text "Hawaiian Postage" in two, five, and thirteen-cent values. In 1852, a revised thirteen-cent stamp featured "H.I. & U.S. Postage" to clarify that the stamp prepaid postage for Hawaii, the ship fee, and delivery in the United States. 197 examples of the Missionaries have been recorded to date.

The Hawaiian Missionaries from the National Philatelic Collection include one example of each of the first four issues plus four envelopes mailed to the United States during 1851-52. The cancellations include a circular datestamp, a crayon marking, a sugar cane marking, and three types of cork killers.

Only 16 copies of the 2¢ issue have been found to this day. The Dawson cover, showing one 2¢, and one 5¢ missionary stamp, and also two more 13¢ stamps, sold in 1995 for $1.9 million.

Red Revenue Small 2c - The Red Lady in the Green Dress

1897

Red Revenue Small 2c - The Red Lady in the Green Dress - China stamps

Most expensive Stamps

Among the rare philatelic specimen are of the most important items in China is Qing Dynasty philately.

Firstly, the 1897 Red Revenue Small 2c (stamped over its original 3c value) Green Surcharge, colloquially known as the "The Red Lady in the Green Dress", estimated at HK$8,000,000-10,000,000 (nearly $1.3m).

Regarded as a trial printing, there are only nine properly recognised examples of this rarity of which only seven examples are available to collectors (another is in the China National Postage Stamp Museum)

Tiphlis Unique, or Tiflis stamp

1857

Tiphlis Unique or Tiflis stamp 1857 Tiphlis Unique or Tiflis stamp Tiphlis Unique or Tiflis stamp 1857

ტფილისის უნიკა

Tiphlis Unique or Tiflis stamp - Paris copy Tiphlis Unique or Tiflis stamp - Paris copy - black and white version Tiphlis Unique or Tiflis stamp - copy of number 2

Paris copy - black and white version - copy of number 2 (1870 - 1880)

Most expensive Stamps

A 6k local stamp, imperforate and embossed without color on white paper, was issued in November, 1857, at Tiflis by authority of the viceroy. The square design shows a coat of arms.

Philatelic name is very rare postage stamp, issued in the Russian Empire (in modern Georgia) for the city post in Tiflis (now Tbilisi) and Kojori in 1857. Term yield and symbolism suggest Tiphlis Unique as the first Russian stamp

This is one of the oldest stamps of the Russian Empire. Now collectors are arguing about how much it could cost such a unique brand. While the average price set by collectors, is 8 million dollars.

Only three specimens known.


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