RAREST POSTAGE STAMPS OF U.S. AND WORLD

that may be staying right now on the back shelf at your home

Since the appearance of Penny Black in the 19th century, stamps have become one of the most desired objects of collectors' passion. Small pieces of faded paper commemorating historic faces and epic events that used to adorn crispy yellow envelopes received by our far ancestors are now worth a fortune. If you are a lucky owner of a rare stamp, we will be glad to help you calculate its precise value. Below, you can see the list of rarest and most valuable stamps issued in the U.S. and all over the world.

MOST VALUABLE U.S. STAMPS

  • ABRAHAM LINCOLN, 1867 rare stamp

    Abraham Lincoln, 1867

    $200,000
    In the heat of the Civil War, the US government annulled the existing stamps and adopted revamped designs. The ‘60s issue added two new political leaders – Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln. These are actually the oldest US stamps that can still be used to send letters.
  • Shield, Eagle and Flags, 1869 rare stamp

    Shield, Eagle and Flags, 1869

    $210,000

    The Shield, Eagle and Flags stamp belongs to the 1869 pictorial issue that included ten stamps worth between 1 and 90 cents. The series was the first to feature something other than national leader portraits. It also marked the first use of bicolor printing. Spelled out in red letters, the denomination number flows over into the blue-framed flags through the red shield. Due to the oddly placed denomination and the confusing arrangement of colors, the stamp was often criticized as an example of a bad design.

    The new technique required double pressing: to print the center design also known as vignette and to print the frame. Negligence in merging the two processes led to the emergence of rare inverts. Because of that some stamps of the issue have an inverted frame rather than an inverted vignette. The 30 cent worth Shield and Flag piece with inverted flags is considered to be the rarest of the 1869 inverts, which explains the high price of the stamp. Incredibly popular nowadays, the 1869 pictorial series was ignored by the 19th century public and soon withdrawn from production. Since the stamps were only in use for a year, they are almost impossible to find. The Shield and Flag design features the G grill and is available in several variations, including split grill, double grill and gum only. While an unused sample with inverted flags is valued at $210,000, a used example costs $65,000.

  • BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 1867 rare stamp

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 1867

    $935,000

    Another popular stamp associated with the Civil War issue contains the portrait Benjamin Franklin, a famous political theorist, diplomat, author, scientist and the president of Pennsylvania. Dubbed “the First American” for his extensive political campaign in support of colonial unity, Franklin played a key part in shaping the American mentality as the union of practical values and social tolerance. The Post Office Department used his profile taken from Houdon’s bust for multiple stamp designs starting from 1847.

    The 1c Benjamin Franklin stamp issued in 1867 features a rare Z-grill with horizontal ridges, just like two other designs from the series depicting Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. At present, there are only two existing samples valued at a whopping $935,000 apiece.

  • THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, 1869 rare stamp

    THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, 1869

    $275,000

    This stamp commemorating the historic proclamation of the United States independence is one of the finest examples of the 1969 pictorial issue. On July 4th, 1776, thirteen American colonies that were involved in a bloody war with Great Britain proclaimed themselves independent states and refused to recognize the rule of the British Empire. Numerous nations all over the world followed the example of the U.S. by creating their own independence declarations, which laid the foundations of global democracy and fair international relationship.

    Like other stamps of the issue, the Declaration of Independence is printed in two colors, green and violet, and can be rightfully called a miniature masterpiece. Artist John Smillie made an exquisite and highly precise copy of the similarly named painting by John Trumbull, having engraved 42 persons with six principal figures recognizable only through a magnifying glass. The 24 cent stamp uses a G grill and comes with split grill, double grill or basic gum. An unused sample with an inverted center is currently valued at $275,000.

  • GEORGE WASHINGTON, 1867 rare stamp

    GEORGE WASHINGTON, 1867

    $160,000

    The first president of the U.S., or rather his portrait, was extensively involved in the history of American postal printing. His profile crowned the 1867 stamp series and was available in several variations. However, our main interest lies with the three cent B grill stamp in rose printing. George Washington is one of the key figures in the history of the United States. He practically carried the nation on his shoulders through the Revolutionary War and oversaw the creation of the first American Constitution. Without him, the U.S. would have never become the strong, prosperous and influential country it is now. Although the issue was quite sizeable and numbered over 1000 samples, there are only four known pieces preserved, each priced at $160,000.

  • BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 1908 rare stamp

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 1908

    $100,000

    Following severe critical attacks on the previous ornate issue, the Post Office Department released a series of stamps with a simple and cleaner design in 1908-1909. It is widely known as the Washington-Franklin issue, since it mainly focused on these two politicians. All stamps came with identical frames, which minimized production expenses and allowed for more effective use of steel printing plates.

    Let’s look at the pair of stamps depicting Benjamin Franklin in blue and green colors with a one cent denomination. What differs this stamp from previous designs is the use of double line paper covered with the USPS (U.S. Postal Service) watermark. Since the letters were printed across the entire sheet, very often only a portion of the watermark would appear on a stamp, usually in a backwards, sideways or topside position. That’s why there is no universal rule as to the placement of the watermark on the stamp and each individual variation is eligible for sale. An unused pair of the 1908 Benjamin Franklin stamp is currently valued at $100,000.

  • LANDING OF COLUMBUS, 1869 rare stamp

    LANDING OF COLUMBUS, 1869

    $275,000

    Like the Declaration of Independence, the Landing of Columbus is a copy of a famous painting by John Vanderlyn that depicts the historical arrival of the Italian expedition to the shores of the New World. Columbus and his crew reached the previously unknown land in 1492 and thus put America on the map for the entire Europe. If not for that, the U.S. wouldn’t have existed at all.

    Designed in blue and brown, the stamp features an unusual double-printed vignette, with both normal and inverted printing applied. The Landing of Columbus has a G grill common for the 1869 pictorial issue and is available with double grill and split grill. Over a century ago, people could buy it for just 15 cents. Nowadays, an unused inverted sample goes for $275,000.

  • CURTISS JENNY, 1918 rare stamp

    CURTISS JENNY, 1918

    $200,000

    Curtiss Jenny is one of the three Airmail postage stamps released in the U.S. in 1918. The 24 cent rose and blue variety was the first to see the light of the day, although later in the year the postal office also issued two cheaper versions in other colors to reflect reduced postage rates. Curtiss JN-4, dubbed simply “Jenny,” was a training military biplane later used as a civil aircraft. Often referred to as “the backbone of American post-war aviation,” the plane played a key role in reviving civil aviation in the U.S. in 1920’s. The 24 cent Curtiss Jenny design is now valued between $105 and $150.

    The interesting thing about this stamp is that it comes in two variations. Due to a printing mistake, the image of the airplane appeared upside down on no less than one hundred samples that got into circulation. Since only one pane of all Inverted Jennies was ever discovered, the design became highly valuable for philatelists, bringing the price up to $200,000. In October 2014, the plate block of four Inverted Jenny stamps sold for $2.97 million at a New York action to U.S. collector Bill Gross. This was the highest price ever offered for any American stamp item of any period. It nearly trebled the price paid for the same block in 1989 that was auctioned for $1.1 million.

  • BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 1851 rare stamp

    BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, 1851

    $120,000

    Finally, we get to learn about one of the oldest U.S. stamps existing, the 1851 Benjamin Franklin in blue color with an imperforate frame. Because the plates were laid by hand and stamps often required re-cutting to adjust their position, individual designs came with various impressions, which led to the recognition of eight basic types.

    The stamp we are talking about relates to the Ib type. Basically, it is the same as the I type that takes advantage of a specially calculated position on the steel plate to achieve the original, unaltered die impression. In the b variation, though, the balls under the bottom label look more blurred. Today, only two mint samples and an estimated 100 used Benjamin Franklin stamps are believed to exist. Once denominated in one cent, the design now costs $5,000 to $12,000 apiece, with a huge price of $120,000 offered for used first-day cover examples.

WORLD'S MOST VALUABLE STAMPS

  • Sweden Three Skilling Banco, Yellow Color Error, 1855 rare stamp

    Sweden Three Skilling Banco, Yellow Color Error, 1855

    $2,300,000

    Sweden Three Skilling Banco, Yellow Color Error, 1855 $2.3 million In 1855, Sweden issued its first series of stamps featuring the Swedish coat of arms. The stamps were available in a number of denominations ranging from 3 to 24 Swedish skillings. Each denomination was associated with a different color, which sometimes created confusion in the printing houses. Due to a printing error, one of the three skilling stamps appeared on yellowish orange paper meant for the eight skilling stamp of the same set instead of the usual blue-green color used for this denomination. One copy of the yellow error variety was discovered in 1885 by a young Swedish boy in his grandfather's collection. The exact number of mistakenly printed stamps remains unknown. It is considered to be a one-of-a-kind rarity, as no other copies have been discovered to date. In 1996, the stamp was auctioned to an anonymous collector for $2.3 million.

  • Post Office Mauritius, 1847 rare stamp

    Post Office Mauritius, 1847

    $600,000

    In 1847, the Governor of the Mauritius Island, a British colony located in the Indian Ocean, ordered to issue the colony's first postal stamps. A local watchmaker from the capital city of Port Louis was awarded a contract to produce two nominations: one penny and two pence. During the printing process, the watchmaker erroneously engraved the words "Post Office" instead of the correct words "Post Paid" on the stamps. By the time the error was discovered, over 200 copies of the Mauritius stamps had already been printed and sold.

    According to philatelic experts, less than 30 individual copies of Post Office Mauritius have survived until today. They are valued at $600,000 or more depending on the condition of the particular stamp being sold. In 1993, a cover bearing two of these stamps was auctioned for a whopping $3.8 million, the highest price ever paid for any philatelic item.

  • Hawaiian Missionaries, 1851 rare stamp

    Hawaiian Missionaries, 1851

    $760,000

    The first Hawaiian stamps appeared in 1851. These designs are now referred to as the "Hawaiian Missionaries" because they were frequently used by American missionaries on the islands to send letters back to the continental United States. The new stamps were released in Honolulu in three denominations (2 cent, 5 cent, and 13 cent). Because the first "Hawaiian Missionaries" were crudely engraved and printed on thin and poor quality paper, very few of these stamps have survived and are considered to be extreme rarities.

    The lowest denomination, the 1851 two cent version, is the rarest of the set, with only about 16 copies known to exist today. An unused two cent Missionary is valued at about $760,000, while the same stamp in a used condition can be sold for $225,000.

  • Baden 9 Kreuzer error stamp, 1851

    Baden 9 Kreuzer error stamp, 1851

    $1,545,000

    The most famous and expensive German postage stamp is Baden 9 Kreuzer Error. This particular postage stamp is known worldwide, because there are only 4 copies of this stamp. These stamps were planned to be printed in pink, but because of an error several sheets were printed in green color. Green color was planned to use while making 6 Kreuzer stamps. Philatelists and public know only about 4 copies of Baden 9 Kreuzer Error. The only one of them is unused and it was auctioned on April 3, 2008 for $1,545,000.

  • Tiflis stamp, 1857 rare stamp

    Tiflis stamp, 1857

    $700,000

    Tiflis Unique is a very rare Russian postage stamp that was issued in the Russian Empire (now it is a Georgia Rebublic). The stamp appeared in 1857 and is considered to be the first Russian postage stamp. According to the official website of the National Academy of Philately of Russia, there are only five specimens have been preserved. One of these unique stamps was sold at David Feldman auction for €480,000 (or above $700,000) in 2008.

  • Buenos Aires 1859 1p

    Buenos Aires 1859 1p "In Ps" tete-beche pair

    $575,000

    Buenos Aires 1859 1p "In Ps" tete-beche pair is an extremely unique and rare postage stamp. It is also one of the most famous printing errors and this is the only one "tete-beche" pair of postage stamps produced on the territory of the State of Buenos Aires. Only one copy of this pair stamp left and it is estimated in $575,000. Originally it cost only 1 peso.

  • British Guiana One Cent Black on Magenta, 1856 rare stamp

    British Guiana One Cent Black on Magenta, 1856

    $9,000,000

    For a very long time, the 1856 one cent "Black on Magenta" of British Guiana was considered to be the world's rarest and most expensive stamp. In 1856, the former colony of British Guiana urgently required an extra supply of stamps and couldn’t wait for a fresh stock of new stamps to arrive from England where they were normally produced. The postmaster of British Guiana asked the publishers of the Official Gazette newspaper in Georgetown to print an emergency issue for local use. Rather crude looking designs were printed in one cent and four cent denominations. One cent stamps were meant for newspapers, while their four cent counterparts were intended for postal correspondence.

    The local designs were printed in black ink on low-quality magenta-colored paper. They featured an image of a sailing ship, the lettering “Black Guiana” and an inscription of the colony's Latin motto "Damus Petimus que Vicissim" ("We Give and We Seek in Return"). The stamp had a rectangular shape with its corners snipped off, which made it look more like an octagon. Each sample was initialed by a post office employee as a security measure against possible forgeries. However, production of the stamps was soon discontinued. In 1873, a 12-year-old Guaianian boy discovered an octagon-shaped one cent "Black on Magenta", postmarked April 4, 1856 and bearing the initials "E.D.W" in his family's attic. He later sold the stamp to N. R. McKinnon, a local collector, for a very small sum. Over the years, the uniqueness of this stamp created an uproar in the philatelic circles, as no other copy was ever discovered. In 1980, it was auctioned to John Dupont at a huge price of $935,000. At present, this rare stamp value is estimated over 9 million dollars.

MOST VALUABLE CHINESE STAMPS

  • The Whole Country is Red chinese stamp

    The Whole Country is Red

    $1,000,000

    The Whole Country is Red is a valuable Chinese stamp issued on 1968. The stamp has such a name due to a slogan that it contains. The item represents Mao’s enormous political revolution that imposed China’s commitment to Communism. The stamp strengthened that notion by declaring the phrase: ‘the whole country is red’. 

    It featured an army of smiling Chinese citizens holding Mao’s ‘Little Red Book’, a symbol of communism. Although the overall design of this philatelic item was made in red colour, the small island of Taiwan, to the right, was left in white. That is why this stamp is so valuable, as it contains a design mistake! Once the mistake was detected, the stamp was quickly withdrawn from the market. It is not known how many error stamps are left, but they are definitely extremely rare. These stamps have fetched upwards of $1 million at Chinese auction.

  • Red Revenue chinese Stamp

    Red Revenue Stamp

    $900,000

    Red Revenue Stamp is widely thought to be one of the rarest stamps in China. There are only 32 items were issued and they are preserved till today. The stamps were printed at the historically meaningful span of time. They were issued under the Qing dynasty when it switched China’s currency to dollars. A stamp was made to commemorate it, with a dollar imprint. 

    Due to some mistake, the dollar was printed too small and lately it was replaced with a larger image. The stamp with a smaller imprint is very valuable today and has been recently sold for $900,000 at auction.

  • Olive-colored Queen Victoria's Head chinese stamp

    Olive-colored Queen Victoria's Head

    $824,648

    The Olive-colored Queen Victoria's Head was issued in 1864 with the face value of 96 Hong Kong cents. Today this interesting philatelic item is thought to be one of the most expensive Chinese stamps. Initially the item should have been printed in a brownish-grey tone. But due to some error the 52 of the overall number were printed in olive color. 

    The watermark was wrongly styled, and the word "CC" was printed in the wrong place. Today only 40 pieces of the Olive-colored Queen Victoria's Head can be found, but there is only one block of four such stamps existing.  It was auctioned for US $824,648, setting a record in the history of Hong Kong stamp auctions.

  • The Inverted Sun Yat-sen chinese stamp

    The Inverted Sun Yat-sen

    $707,000

    The Inverted Sun Yat-sen stamps feature Sun Yat-sen who was considered to be China’s “Father of the Nation”. The stamps were issued in 1941, but only one sheet of fifty has inverted portraits. Nowadays only two pairs of these error stamps are known to exist and this fact make them so valuable in the eyes of stamp collectors. One of the Inverted Sun Yat-sen pair fetched $707,000 at an auction.

  • Large Dragon chinese stamp

    Large Dragon stamp

    $499,000

    The large dragon was perhaps China’s first ever stamp. It was introduced when China’s modern mail service started in 1878. With these stamps the letters were delivered to the average people. Before it the correspondence was possible only in the army. Three stamps were issued that are collectively known as the “large dragons”. Different coloured dragons represented different values, including 1, 3, and 5. Once called the "most expensive Chinese stamps in the Western Hemisphere," the stamps were sold at Sotheby's Auction in London in 1991 to a Hong Kong philatelist at a price of $499,000.

  • The Red Maiden in the Green Robe chinese stamp

    The Red Maiden in the Green Robe

    $444,477

    Also known as a 2-cent Small Figure Surcharged on Red Revenue Stamps in Green, the Red Maiden in the Green Robe is considered to be one of the most interesting Chinese philatelic items. The stamp was issued during the Qing Dynasty. As it was the time for currency reform, the stamps with a face value in silver could not be printed and issued anymore. That is why the “temporary” stamp was designed – the Red Revenue stamp was imprinted with a green ink. The philatelists and historians assert that there are only nine such stamps remain undestroyed. In December 2004, one of such stamps was sold for US $444,477 in Hong Kong.

  • Blue Military chinese stamp

    Blue Military stamp

    $430,000

    Blue Military stamps were designed and issued to the soldiers who were on active duty so that they can use them to send letters. Shortly after the stamps were issued, the authorities realized the paper was slightly transparent and it might be a risk of confidential information being leaked out. As a consequence, all mint stamps were ordered to be destroyed and only a small part that had been in use was preserved. A small number of them still survive until today. The Blue Military stamp was auctioned for $430,000 in 2011.

  • 1915 China 'Classics' invert stamp

    1915 China 'Classics' invert

    $250,000

    1915 China 'Classics' invert is a magnificent example of a rare and valuable Chinese stamp. The Hall of Classics stamp is part of a lengthy set first issued in the form of a London printing in 1913. Small characteristics of the various printings distinguish what are otherwise identical designs. The 1913 London printing was followed by a 1915 first Peking printing, which produced the error stamp that is extremely valuable and rare. Only around 30 examples of these stamps are known today. One of the specimens was sold for $250,000 at Cherrystone auction.

  • 1980 Red Monkey chinese stamp

    1980 Red Monkey stamp

    $184,000

    1980 Red Monkey stamp is the most popular stamp in China. It was issued to celebrate the year of the Golden Monkey in 1980. Featuring a strong red background, this item changed a traditional design for Chinese stamps. The stamp also showcases a colourful surprised-looking monkey! Due to its cute design 1980 Red Monkey stamp has become one of the most popular philatelic items and holds its status till today. However, its unique design makes it a must-have for any philatelist. The set of Red Monkey stamps was sold for a record $184,000 at a Hong Kong auction in 2011. 

  • Theatrical Masks of the Beijing Opera chinese stamp

    Theatrical Masks of the Beijing Opera

    $125,000
    Rarities of the People’s Republic of China include a number of stamps that for one reason or another were prepared but not issued, and survive only in tiny numbers. One such case was a set of eight Theatrical Masks of the Beijing Opera, printed in 1964. These are quiet rare and are currently selling at minimum $125,000 if to be come across. 
    So, this was the list of top ten rarest Chinese stamps. Each postage stamp tells a story of its culture, political status, or the notable events of its time. Currently, the values of Chinese stamps are on the rise which makes it even more exciting to collect them. As you can see, Chinese stamps are great items to collect or invest in. 

     

MOST VALUABLE UK STAMPS

  • British Guiana One Cent Black on Magenta, 1856 rare stamp

    British Guiana One Cent Black on Magenta, 1856

    $9,000,000

    For a very long time, the 1856 one cent "Black on Magenta" of British Guiana was considered to be the world's rarest and most expensive stamp. In 1856, the former colony of British Guiana urgently required an extra supply of stamps and couldn’t wait for a fresh stock of new stamps to arrive from England where they were normally produced. The postmaster of British Guiana asked the publishers of the Official Gazette newspaper in Georgetown to print an emergency issue for local use. Rather crude looking designs were printed in one cent and four cent denominations. One cent stamps were meant for newspapers, while their four cent counterparts were intended for postal correspondence.

    The local designs were printed in black ink on low-quality magenta-colored paper. They featured an image of a sailing ship, the lettering “Black Guiana” and an inscription of the colony's Latin motto "Damus Petimus que Vicissim" ("We Give and We Seek in Return"). The stamp had a rectangular shape with its corners snipped off, which made it look more like an octagon. Each sample was initialed by a post office employee as a security measure against possible forgeries. However, production of the stamps was soon discontinued. In 1873, a 12-year-old Guaianian boy discovered an octagon-shaped one cent "Black on Magenta", postmarked April 4, 1856 and bearing the initials "E.D.W" in his family's attic. He later sold the stamp to N. R. McKinnon, a local collector, for a very small sum. Over the years, the uniqueness of this stamp created an uproar in the philatelic circles, as no other copy was ever discovered. In 1980, it was auctioned to John Dupont at a huge price of $935,000. At present, this rare stamp value is estimated over 9 million dollars.

  • Penny Black stamp

    Penny Black

    $5,000,000

    Penny Black is one of the most collectible UK stamps, notable for being the first in the world to use an adhesive backing. This unique philatelic item was created in 1840. The stamp had one cent value and depicted the profile of Queen Victoria against a black background. Penny Black stamps have the interesting feature: each pane was cut by hand, resulting in great variance in consistency. As the stamps were issued in a great quantity, many Penny Blacks do still exist today, making them an excellent first purchase for anyone interested in beginning a collection of rare British stamps. Although the "Black Penny" cannot be called a rare stamp, many philatelists want to have it in their collection because of its historical significance. Only two pieces of the early issue can be found now and these are regarded as real treasures. A few years ago, a rich businessman bought a copy from a US auction house at the price of US $5 million.

  • The Two Penny Blue Stamp, 1841

    The Two Penny Blue, 1841

    $4,000,000

    The 1840 "two penny blue" stamp is a rare British stamp that was issued after Penny Black. It is considered to be the world's second official postage stamp. It was officially released in May 1840 and looked the same as the Penny Black stamp, but is blue instead of black.  Although both stamps have very similar design, two penny blue stamp is rarer and more valuable and its price has increased by up to five times in just the last 10 years. The peculiarity of this philatelic item is that Blue Penny lacks the country’s name – it makes a stamp more interesting and valuable. One of the specimens of Blue Penny was sold for nearly $4 million in 1993. 

  • Penny Red stamp

    Penny Red

    £495,000

    Penny Red is considered to be Great Britain's longest running stamp. The stamp succeeded Penny Black and was issued in 1841. The color of Penny Black was changed because of difficulty in seeing a cancellation mark on the Penny Black. The black cancelation was better discerned in the red background of Penny Red.  An incredibly rare Penny Red has become the UK’s second most valuable stamp after being sold to an unnamed British collector for £495,000. The rarest and most valuable variation of Penny Red is a plate of 77 Penny Reds, which date from 1863. This Plate of 77 stamps is very interesting because it was not meant to exist. The stamps were created but never sold by post offices after they were not considered to be of good enough quality. 

  • 6d Pale Dull Purple stamp, 1904

    6d Pale Dull Purple, 1904

    £400,000

    The 1904 Edward VII 6d Pale Dull Purple (aka the IR Official) was withdrawn almost immediately after it was issued on March 14, 1904. It is often described as "Britain's rarest stamp". This philatelic item is so special because it was issued on the same day that an official order withdrawing all official stamps from use. It is considered that only 19 sheets of the stamp were ever issued, and that all the sheets were destroyed when the official overprints were ceased. This rare philatelic item was sold by Stanley Gibbons for £400,000.

  • The Tyrian Plum stamp

    The Tyrian Plum

    $159,500

    The Tyrian Plum is one of the rarest British stamps that is valued at over £100,000. This interesting philatelic item was released during the reign of Edward VII. The stamp was released to replace the two-colour two-penny stamp that had the profile of King Edward VII. The majority of stamps was destroyed and immediately withdrawn because of the sudden death of the King that year in May. Only a tiny handful got into the market and only 12 known examples left undestroyed.  That is the reason why the Tyrian Plum stamps are so rare and valuable today. This stamp was sold from the Chartwell Collection for $159,500.

  • The Roses error stamp

    The Roses error stamp

    £130,000

    The Roses Error stamp with the face value of 13p was issued in 1978. Today this stamp is worth £130,000. The peculiarity of this issue is that its face value (13p) was not printed on three stamps. The reason of such an error is not known. So, there are only three Roses Error stamps left in the world. Two of the stamps are owned by the Queen and the third item is possessed by the anonymous stamp collector. Misprinted stamps are in enormous demand among collectors as they are very rare and valuable.

  • Prince Consort Essay stamp

    Prince Consort Essay

    £40,000

    The 1850 Prince Consort Essay Stamps are amongst the most sought-after and costly British stamps. This puts them out of reach of ordinary collectors. The stamps were issued in 1851. They were designed by the artist Robert Edward Branston, who used an engraving executed by Samuel William Reynolds.  The twelve positions of Prince Consort Essay have unique characteristics. The essays were printed in red, red-brown, black and blue. The 25 stamps perforated 16 by Archer are very rare. The majority is imperforate, and there is one rouletted example in the Royal Philatelic Collection. Nowadays the essays are worth approximately £40,000.

  • £1 brown-lilac stamp, 1884

    £1 brown-lilac stamp, 1884

    £25,000

    1884 £1 brown-lilac stamp is the scarcest Victorian issues, ensuring plenty of interest among stamp collectors. The peculiarity of this particular item is that it features its original gum - a key factor in determining value.  An example of the rare watermarked 1884 £1 stamp is worth over £25,000 in mint condition. These stamps were expensive even when they were first printed, with one costing more than the weekly pay of many workers. Today 1884 £1 brown-lilac stamp is considered to be one of the most interesting philatelic items ever issued.

  • Postal Union Congress £1 stamp

    Postal Union Congress £1 stamp

    £2,700

    The Postal Union Congress £1 stamp is considered to be the most beautiful British stamps ever issued. It was issued in 1929. The Postal Union Congress £1 stamp was only the second British commemorative stamp to be issued. The first were the British Empire Exhibition postage stamps of 1924-25. This particular item was released to mark the 1929 Postal Union Congress in London. Designed by Harold Nelson, the £1 features an intricate design of Saint George and the Dragon accompanied by a portrait of King George V. Nowadays this item is valued around £2,700. 

MOST VALUABLE GERMAN STAMPS

  • Baden 9 Kreuzer Error stamp

    Baden 9 Kreuzer Error

    $1,545,000

    Baden 9 Kreuzer Error is the most rare and valuable German stamp with only 4 in existence. The error that makes this stamp so valuable consists in the following: it was supposed to be printed in pink but a few sheets were printed in green. As the Postal Service explained, it planned to issue 6 Kreuzer stamp in green that is why such an error occurred. This adds to the history and rarity of these stamps. Nowadays Baden 9 Kreuzer is worth around $1,545,000.

  • Audrey Hepburn stamp

    Audrey Hepburn stamp

    $516,946

    Audrey Hepburn stamp is quite rare modern German stamp. More than 14 million copies of these interesting stamps were issued but only two sheets of 30 copies survived. The other items were destroyed in connection with the fact that the son of the actress took the rights to publish it. He decided to do so because his mother appeared on the stamp with a cigarette in her mouth.  And also apart from this several copies of the stamp appeared on the envelopes - there are known at least four such cases. How exactly did this happen - remain unexplained.  A rare sheet of 10 Audrey Hepburn stamps was sold for $516,946 in 2010.

  • Togo stamp, 1911

    Togo, 1911

    $100,000

    Although Togo is a country in West Africa, once it was a German colony. Established trading posts and docks here in the 1880’s, German created their coastal towns that were used as a harbor for German travelers, explorers, and even the military. The stamps that were issued here are quite rare, but only few are very expensive. For example, this Togo 10 pfenning stamp issued in 1911 is worth $100,000.

  • "Kerstfest" error stamp, 2016

    $60,085

    German 2016 "Kerstfest" stamp error is one more German philatelic rarity. Just before being issued, this stamp was noticed to have a serious error. The Dutch word "Kerstfest" was spelt totally wrong - it should have been be "Vrolijk kerstfeest" . Due to a spelling error in the Dutch sentence the entire printing run was rejected and the stamps were reprinted with the correct spelling. Today the value of the error stamp is around $60,085.

  • One kreuzer black stamp

    One kreuzer black

    $48,012

    The One kreuzer black, or Schwarzer Einser, was the first postage stamp issued in the Kingdom of Bavaria. The stamp was designed by Johann Peter Haseney and issued on 1 November 1849. Although around 832,500 copies were printed, almost all items were removed from the postal circle in October 1851. Some of the stamps remained valid for postage until 31 August 1864.

    Schwarzer Einser is designed in black and in the center is a large numeric denomination, but lately the other varieties of these unique stamps emerged due to the damage to the engraving press and engraving itself, such as color dots and damaged angles. Nowadays the value of One kreuzer black is approx. $48,012.

  • Kaiser Wilhelm invert stamp

    Kaiser Wilhelm invert

    $40,200

    Kaiser Wilhelm invert is a rare inverted-center error with the face value of 5-mark was issued during World War I. It features a red vignette of Kaiser Wilhelm II speaking before a crowd, surrounded by a fancy slate-colored frame. Nowadays there are only 27 inverted centers stamps are known and they were found in the town of Stralsund. Some other stamps appeared in Hamburg and only two used examples from Hamburg are thought to have survived. One of such stamps that was described by auction house as “one of the greatest rarities in German philately” was sold for about $40,200 in Wurttembergisches Auktionhaus sale.

  • Olympic Games semipostal stamp

    Olympic Games semipostal

    $22,460

    A 60-pfennig+30-pfennig Olympic Games semipostal stamp was printed in 1980, but it was immediately withdrawn before the issuance day. It was caused by the boycott that happened during the Summer Games in Moscow to protest Soviet military action in Afghanistan. The boycott was joined by West Germany. A few of the unissued stamps in the possession of a German postal official were accidentally used on mail and later recovered by collectors. The example on offer is neatly postmarked and offered with bidding to start at $22,460.

  • Imperforate Baden 3-kreuzer rose stamp

    Imperforate Baden 3-kreuzer rose

    $19,300

    An imperforate Baden 3-kreuzer rose is an attractive and collectible example of this seldom-seen old German rarity. The stamp is designed in pale rose shade and missed its perforations. Only the limited quantity of such stamps was sent to the post office in the small town of Stokach. Some 23 examples have survived. This particular item was first recorded in 1935. It features a double-ring “Stockach/28 Dez.” postmark and has full to large margins on three sides. The lot fetched about $19,300 at Gaertner auction in 2015.

  • Sachsen 3 Pfennige red stamp

    Sachsen 3 Pfennige red

    $8,000

    Issued in 1850, Sachsen 3 Pfennige red is one of the rarest of classical European stamps. Commonly known as Sachendreier this stamp is a real philatelic gem. Only a small number of these stamps were issued on mail.  Many of these stamps were also destroyed, as a result of being used to seal newspaper wrappers. As it is widely thought no more than 4,000 copies exist today. This is also one of the most forged of the classical European stamps, most notably by Fournier. It is worth around $8000.

  • 50 million mark stamp

    50 million mark stamp

    Historical value

    German 50,000,000 mark stamp is not only rare but also historically important. This is a great example the hyperinflation of the Weimar Republic of Germany from about 1915-1924. The stamp was bought by Ross Baker for 50,000,000 marks – and it was one of the most expensive stamps at that period of time. Although nowadays the value of this stamp is quiet low, that price that it was bought for and the historical importance makes it one of the most interesting stamps ever issued by German Post.

MOST VALUABLE RUSSIAN STAMPS

  • “Kartonka” rare stamp

    “Kartonka”

    $776,250

    One of the most expensive and rare Russian philatelic items is 1932 All-Union Philatelic Exhibition souvenir sheet, on carton paper that is world famous as “Kartonka”. It is one of the greatest rarities of Soviet philately. Given as a souvenir to invited guests of the exhibition. The souvenir sheet consists of four on thick card, with the unique three line personalized overprint “To the best shock worker of the All Russian Philatelic Society – President of the Moscow Philatelic Organization E.M. Nurkas”, issued without gum.  The sheet was sold at Cherrystone auction in 2008 for $776,250.

  • Tiflis stamp, 1857 rare stamp

    Tiflis stamp, 1857

    $700,000

    Tiphlis Unique is a very rare Russian postage stamp that was issued in the Russian Empire (now it is a Georgia Rebublic). The stamp appeared in 1857 and is considered to be the first Russian postage stamp. According to the official website of the National Academy of Philately of Russia, there are only five specimens have been preserved. One of these unique stamps was sold at David Feldman auction for €480,000 (or above $700,000) in 2008.

  • Levanevsky with an overprint rare stamp

    Levanevsky with an overprint

    $525,000

    The Sigizmund Levanevsky stamp with commemorative red overprint “Moscow – San Francisco flight via the North Pole” was issued in 1935. Only two sheets (50 stamps) of the inverted surcharge were printed (40 with the regular overprinted, 10 with small “f”). There is a legend according to which this was not an error of the typographers, but the result of a special instruction of Henry Yagoda. He was fond of philately and wanted to have a real collection of rare philatelic items, including some error stamps. One of "Levanevsky with an overprint" stamps was sold at the Cherrystone auction in New York for $525,000 in 2008.

  • Consular Poltinnik rare stamp

    Consular Poltinnik

    $63,250

    Consular poltinnik is a rare 50-kopeck Russian consular tax stamp with an overprint "“Air Post 1,200 germ.(an) marks ". This is one of the rarest postage stamps of Russian philately. The series was produced by order of the embassy of the USSR in Germany and was intended for franking service correspondence sent by air mail to Moscow. As the release of these stamps was not coordinated with the People's Commissar of the USSR the stamps were withdrawn. "Consular Poltnik" is the most expensive stamp of this issue and it is believed that no more than 50-75 copies were preserved. One such stamp was sold in 2008 at the Cherrystone auction for $63,250.

  • Reunification of Carpatho-Ukraine and Ukraine stamp

    Reunification of Carpatho-Ukraine and Ukraine stamp

    $29,900

    Reunification of Carpatho-Ukraine and Ukraine is a rare postage stamp issued in 1965. The release of this special stamp celebrated the 20th anniversary of the reunification of Transcarpathian Ukraine with Soviet Ukraine. The stamps were printed on special ungummed Goznak security paper. The issue was prepared but not issued for political reasons. A copy of the unreleased but collectible stamp was sold at the Cherrystone auction for $29,900 in 2008.

  • World Peace Cruise stamp

    World Peace Cruise stamp

    $28,750

    1964 World Peace Cruise stamp was to be issued in honor of the forthcoming diplomatic visit of Nikita Khrushchev to Sweden. But the trip of the first secretary of the CPSU Central Committee never took place, as Khrushchev was removed from power. The stamp was withdrawn and never issued. Only a few copies of this legendary stamp exist. The item was sold at Cherrystone auction in 2008 for $28,750.

  • “Limonka” rare stamp

    “Limonka”

    $15,000-20,000

    "Limonka" is one of the most famous Russian postage stamps that were issued in 1925. There are no more than hundreds of copies are known. It is a rare Russian stamp if in mint condition. Such a name the stamp has got due to its bright yellow colour. There is a history behind this unique philatelic item: when printing the stamps, the perforating machine was broken, while the other denominations were printed without problems. In order not to disrupt the supply of postage stamps, Goznak management decided to send this part of the stamps on time. Almost all specimens of Limonka stamps are used. Today Limonka is valued at approx. $15,000-20,000. 

  • 250 years of historical victory in Poltava rare stamp

    250 years of historical victory in Poltava stamp

    $10,000-20,000

    “250 years of historical victory in Poltava” is an unissued USSR postage stamp that was created in 1959. The stamp with the face value of 40 kopecks features Swedish troops led by Prime Minister Karl Piper and field marshals who put up flags before Peter I. The stamps were not released due to the fact that diplomatic relations between Sweden and USSR intensified. During one of the meeting the leaders of both countries decided to destroy these stamps so as not to offend Swedish people by focusing on such an unpleasant event for them as defeat in the Battle of Poltava. Today “250 years of historical victory in Poltava” stamp is valued at $10,000-20,000

  • Study of the Polar Auroras rare stamp

    Study of the Polar Auroras stamp

    $14,500

    The International Geophysical Year, held from July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958, provoked a certain philatelic interest in the world. Over one hundred scientific postage stamps were published. The USSR Post noted the IGY, releasing two interesting stamps. This was a pair of 40  postage stamps dedicated to the study of the polar auroras from the series "International Geophysical Year". A pair of such stamps in a rare version with linear perforations was auctioned at Cherrystone auction for $14,500 in 2017. 

  • The Blue Gymnast stamp

    The Blue Gymnast stamp

    $13,800

    The stamp, known as the "Blue Gymnast", was released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Soviet circus. It was newer put into circulation because of disagreements, what year to consider as the year of the circus creation: 1920-1921 or 1934. Many years later the date was set (1919), and the stamp was issued to mark the 60th anniversary of the circus in 1979. A copy of unused but collectible stamp was sold at the Cherrystone auction for $13,800 in 2008.

MOST VALUABLE CANADIAN STAMPS

  • 12d black Canada, 1851 rare stamp

    12d black Canada, 1851

    $225,000

    1851 12d black Canada stamp is one of the rarest examples of Canada`s first classic stamps. The item shows the portrait of the young Queen Victoria. A total of 51,000 were printed and shipped to the Canadian postal authorities on May 1. The price for these unique stamps was very high therefore just 1,450 of the stamps were sold in the three and a half years they were offered. Nowadays the mint examples with the intact gum are considered to be the most valuable, as only a limited number of people could afford to make the purchase and not use it to send mail. One of the finest examples of 1851 12d black Canada stamps was sold for $225,000 by Canadian auction house on February 23, 2013.

  • 2¢ Large Queen on laid paper rare stamp

    2¢ Large Queen on laid paper

    $215,000

    The 2¢ Large Queen on laid paper is the most desired philatelic items of Canada. The stamp was created in 1868, but it was not discovered until 1925, and so far only three have been found, all used. The other examples of these philatelic items were destroyed or remained undiscovered and maybe lie unrecognized in stamp collections or on cover. The third-known two-cent green large queen on laid paper was sold for $215,000 at a sale by Eastern Auctions on Oct. 18, 2014. According to Eastern Auctions this particular stamp has “deep rich colour, a highly detailed impression and full intact perforations”.

  • 3d Vermillion stamp, 1851

    3d Vermillion stamp, 1851

    $120,000

    An 1851 3d Vermillion imperforate stamp is one of the most interesting Canadian rarities. It the first stamp that was issued in Canada. Designed by Sir Sandford Fleming, the item features a beaver in an oval frame. It was also the first stamp to picture an animal and not a monarch. The 6d and 12d issues feature portraits of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. The stamp fetched $120,000 at Eastern Auctions' sale of the Montclair Collection on May 29, 2014.

  • London to London Flight stamp, 1927

    London to London Flight stamp, 1927

    $100,000

    The 1927 London to London Flight stamp is a 25-cent stamp printed in green and yellow. Only 100 copies of the stamp were printed and the major part of them was destroyed when being transported by a plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean sometime in August of 1927. Nowadays 13 unused singles are known to exist. The rarity of these stamps is manifested in their value with the mint stamps amounting to about $50,000 to $100,000 per piece. Its Unitrade Catalogue Value is $100,000.

  • 60¢ Air Mail overprint, 1927 stamp

    60¢ Air Mail overprint, 1927

    $45,000

    1927 60 cent Air Mail stamp is among the rarest Canadian and air post stamps and one of the most desirable philatelic items. Only 300 stamps were printed and today 33 mint examples are known to exist. The overprint means that the stamps were to be used on letters to be flown by Francesco de Pinedo, the famed Italian aviator. He is reported to have carried 225 letters, of which about 60 were franked with the 1927 60 cent Air Mail stamps with Holbein's portrait of King Henry VII overprinted in red. One of these unique stamps was sold for $45,000 at Spink New York on January 30, 2014.

  • 1-shilling scarlet vermilion, 1857

    1-shilling scarlet vermilion, 1857

    $45,000

    1857 1-shilling scarlet vermilion is a key stamp of 19th-century Newfoundland and a remarkable example of this tremendously difficult classic stamp, possessing true rich colour. It was one of the first issues of Newfoundland released on January 1, 1857. The first postage stamps of the region portrayed a rose, thistle and shamrock. 1857 1-shilling scarlet vermilion stamp that was part of Drs Joanne and Edward Dauer Collection fetched $45,000 Spink's New York auction on January 30, 2014.

  • HRH Prince Albert 6d, 1855 stamp

    HRH Prince Albert 6d, 1855

    $42,500

    Issued in March, 1855 HRH Prince Albert 6 penny is an imperforate stamp that shows the portrait of (HRH) His Royal Highness Prince Albert. This stamp was printed on wove paper. Approximately 250,000 stamps were ordered. They were printed in shades of slate grey, brownish grey, and greenish grey. The 6d was a portrait of Prince Albert from a drawing by William Drummond Esq. The reddish-purple HRH Prince Albert 6 penny printed on soft woven paper and in exceptional condition fetched $42,500 at Spink New York on January 30, 2014.

  • $1 Dornier DO-X Flight inverted surcharge stamp

    $1 Dornier DO-X Flight inverted surcharge stamp

    $30,000

    $1 Dornier DO-X Flight inverted surcharge is one of the major Canadian rarities. Approximately 8000 stamps (50 of which display the inverted surcharge) were printed. These items were created for mail that was transported aboard the Dornier DO-X flying boat on its return flight from Canada to Germany. There are thought to be between 20 and 40 surviving specimens of this rare error, with one of the finest examples sold for $30,000 at Kelleher Auctions on March, 2014.

  • 30¢ Christmas fold-over, 1982 stamp

    30¢ Christmas fold-over, 1982

    $30,000

    1982 30-cent Christmas fold-over is very interesting pane of Holy Family Christmas stamps issued in 1982. The pane contains a foldover at the upper left, and that foldover created the unique errors. While the stamp was in between printing of different colors, the paper was folded thereby causing the error. These mistakes are now listed in the Scott and Unitrade catalogs as “Red omitted” (Scott 973a) and “Printed on gummed side” (Scott 973b). Despite the mistake, the stamp pane is estimated to have a value of $30,000 and it resides in a major collection in the United States.

  • St. Lawrence Seaway Invert stamp, 1959

    St. Lawrence Seaway Invert stamp, 1959

    $13,500

    The St. Lawrence Seaway Invert is one of the best known errors in the history of Canadian stamps. It features the St. Lawrence Seaway with an inverted center. This is the first significant error of its kind in the Canadian postal history and it contributes to the value of the stamp. St. Lawrence Seaway Inverts were issued to celebrate the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway in 1959, which enables large ships to navigate from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes. It is considered that approximately 200 copies of these interesting stamps exist today. Also known as Inverted Seaway of 1959, the stamp made $13,500 at Vance Auctions in Ontario, Canada on October 15, 2015. However, it is widely considered that some mint examples can achieve up to $16,000.