Top 12 philatelic sales 2017

April 14th, 2018

There were many stamp auctions in 2017 and the team of decided to make a review of the brightest philatelic sales of the previous year. It is interesting to note that many of the top results were for the stamps of India and China - indicating growth in these markets. So this article will give you the quick look of the top philatelic sales of 2017 according to the version of our website.

1. 1948 Indian Gandhi stamps

The most expensive lot that was sold in 2017 was a rare strip of four 1948 Indian Gandhi stamps, which realized $668,510 in a private UK sale in April. The seller claimed that this is the highest price ever paid for Indian stamps. The block of four was sold to a private Australian collector for the highest ever price for Indian stamps. This stamp issue was released to mark the year anniversary of Indian independence. Stanley Gibbons previously sold one of these singles for £160,000 to a client in Uruguay last year.

2. 1918 Inverted Jenny stamp

1918 Inverted Jenny stamp was offered during the public auction that took place on Feb. 15. The lot was offered by Leslie Hindman Auctioneers and was sold for $299,000. The stamp was part of a collection that has been in the same family for generations. There is only one other Jenny (Position 49) with a similarly obscuring history, making this lot so valuable in the eyes of stamp collectors. 

3. British Guiana 'Cottonreel' stamp

British Guiana 'Cottonreel' stamp is a very rare philatelic item that was auctioned for $225,000 at Spink in London on January 24. The stamp has such a name because it resembles the ends on a cotton thread reel. It is the finest of the four known as it is the only one with no clear defects. The 2 cents was among four denominations (2c, 4c, 8c and 12c) that formed the first stamps from British Guiana.

British Guiana is a familiar name to followers of philately. The British Guiana 1c, printed in 1856, holds the record for the most valuable stamp in the world. The unique example auctioned for $9.5m in 2014.  

4. Vertical strip of Washington-Franklin stamps

Vertical strip of Washington-Franklin stamps is a star of the famous Barry K. Schwartz collection of Washington-Franklin bluish-paper stamps that  was described by Siegel as “the finest and most comprehensive … ever formed”.  This vertical strip of three of the 4¢ Orange Brown stamps is “the only imprint and plate number strip … in private hands” and one of the most important US philatelic items of the 20th century. It was sold for $165,200 at Siegel auction in New York on Feb. 28. 

5. Russian 1858 20k Blue and Orange

Russian 1858 20k Blue and Orange. It is the only recorded mixed franking on cover of the “Number One” and Second Issue 20k that has been sold at Spink auction for $125,000 in December. This is one of the most important items of Russian philately that attracts attention of many collectors. This lot was one of the gems that were offered for purchasing.  This is the only recorded combination cover of Russian first and third stamps, a showpiece with tremendous eye-appeal, representing a quintessential combination of colors, perforated and imperforate stamps in Russian philately. 

6. Stamp Stage art of Mei Lanfang

1962 Stage Art of Mei Lan-fang is the “magnificent and very fine set” of imperforate corner blocks that was issued by the People’s Republic of China. Issued in 1962, this unique block of stamps continues to push the prices year after year to the point that it is no longer affordable for the average collectors. What is more, a set of imperforates in such a good condition is rarely seen in such large multiples. In fact, the largest fixed multiples was an imperforate imprint blocks of ten. Offered by New Brunswick’s Eastern Auctions, the lot fetched $117,000 on Nov. 3-4 sale. 

7. King Edward VIII twopenny scarlet

King Edward VIII twopenny scarlet  is considered to be one of the most valuable Australia's stamps. This unique philatelic item appeared at Mossgreen auction on June 26 in Melbourne. The King Edward VIII stamp is very expensive and rare because of the fact that it was never officially released. The item was printed to honor a new Australian king in 1936, but urgently withdrawn before the stamp was ever issued. The stamp was sold for $120,000 Australian (roughly US$90,520).

8. 1869 30¢ Eagle and Shield stamp with flags inverted

The sound used example of the 1869 30¢ Eagle and Shield stamp with flags inverted is the unique philatelic item that fetched $83,375 in the Jan. 10-11 Cherrystone sale. This stamp is a part of the 1869 pictorial issue that is famous worldwide. This item is considered to be one of the rarest of the 1869 inverted-color errors. The one sold at Cherrystone auction was claimed to be the finest in terms of centering and cancellation. 

9. Penny Black first day cover 1840

Penny Black first day cover, which is dated May 6, 1840, contains the world's first postage stamp and a red May 6 London ‘6Ev’ paid handstamp. It makes this cover such a valuable and rare philatelic item. Even more impressive is this covers provenance, having once been in the collection of William H Gross, the "Bond King" himself. Although priced in Stanley Gibbon's catalogue at £125,000, the lot was sold for £44,000 (US $70 000) during the July 25 public auction by Spink and Son in London, England.

10. 3d HMS Vanguard stamp

The 3d HMS Vanguard stamp has one of the most colourful stamp histories in the world. This NZ stamp was issued to commemorate the 1949 visit of the British royal family. A total run of 39 million stamps of were made before the Royal tour was cancelled in November 1948 because of the king`s illness. Such tragic news resulted in the order by the New Zealand Post Office to destroy the stamps. It is believed that only seven stamps were saved. One of these rare philatelic items was sold for US $67,850 at Mowbray Collectables' stamp auction in Wellington on March 10.  

11. 1847 Lady McLeod cover

1847 Lady McLeod cover was one of the brightest items of David Pitts collection of Carribean stamps. It was carried on the Lady McLeod a steamship that operated on the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean. The cover contains a special stamp created for the Lady McLeod and it features the ship’s initials but no value. The lot was sold for $39,828 at Spink in London on September 19.

12. Block of six 1956 Melbourne Olympic stamps

There were 27 million of 1956 Melbourne Olympic stamps printed, but none of them were released doe a public sale. Only a small number uncut sheets and booklets retained in the postal archives. They only appeared on the public sale in 1987 after 30 years since their issuance. The unused block of six 1956 Melbourne Olympic stamps, plus booklet covers, was sold for $25,000 at Mossgreen philatelic sale on October 3.