Rarest Australian stamps

that could be kept in your old shoebox

If you have an interest in collecting stamps, then make sure you are aware of what is on offer from Australia. Although Australia is relatively young country (it is a former British colony), it has a lot of philatelic material to offer. Collectible Australian stamps are as rich and diverse as the country itself, offering something of interest to both beginning and long-time philatelists alike. There are many interesting Australian stamps to collect, especially those depicting the Australian animals. With much variety and selection, Australian stamps have plenty to maintain a keen stamp collector interest. We have decided to put together a list of the top ten rare Australian stamps to look out for, so read on to find out what are the real gems of Australian philately.

MOST VALUABLE AUSTRALIAN STAMPS

  • Inverted Swan stamp, 1855

    Inverted Swan, 1855

    $171,543

    The Inverted Swan is a famous Australian error that was created in 1855. It is one of the world`s invert errors. Technically, it is the frame that is inverted, not the image of the swan, but the stamp is commonly known as the Inverted Swan. Before the error was detected, 388 stamps entered the postal circle. Today only 15 of these Inverted Swan stamps were preserved and they are very expensive. These items are amongst the rarest stamps in the world, and each of them is currently in the hands of keen collectors. One of the specimens was sold for £122,400 at Spink`s Lord Vestey sale of May 19, 2015 (it`s around $171,543). 

  • Kangaroo and Map essay stamp 10 shilling

    Kangaroo and Map essay stamp 10 shilling

    $142,563

    This is a unique example of the 10 shilling kangaroo and map essay stamp that originated from the competition held in 1911 to create Australia's first commonwealth stamp. Until that point each Australian colonies had their Postal Services and issued their own stamps. The competition was won by Hermann Altmann, but his design was never to be used. In October 1911, Charles Frazer was appointed as postmaster-general and he incorporated elements from a number of designs to create 10 shilling kangaroo and map essay stamp. The example of this unique item was auctioned at the top of the Morgan Collection of Australian Commonwealth Stamps for $142,563 in London on November 13-14, 2012.

  • First Kangaroo and Map Stamp, 1912

    First Kangaroo and Map Stamp, 1912

    $138,000

    Kangaroo and Map stamp is the very first issue of Australia Postal Service released in 1912: The stamp became a subject of controversy immediately after issuance. The adherents of monarchy were offended that a cartoon kangaroo had replaced the King's head on a stamp. The others thought that the stamp had bad design and made Australia look like a country overrun by kangaroos. However, nowadays this stamp is considered one of the most valuable Australian philatelic items. The print run of the first Kangaroo and Map stamps included several colors: red, blue, brown etc. One of the specimens   was auctioned by Shreves of New York for $US138,000 in February, 2007. 

  • Australian King George V Penny Red stamp

    Australian King George V Penny Red

    ~$100,000

    An Australian King George V Penny Red is a rare Australian stamp that was printed with a sideways watermark. The unique feature of this stamp is its flaw that was identified by anonymous stamp collector. The ordinary examples can be bought for as little as just a few cents. The current world record for a King George V Penny Red stands at $41,041, after a mint block of four sold at a 2001 auction. Even before the flaw was detected, King George V Penny Red was one of the most collected stamps. Should the anonymous collector decide to sell this Australia`s rarity, he will definitely get around $100,000.

  • Classic Victoria 3d blue stamp

    Classic Victoria 3d blue

    $94,875

    Classic Victoria stamps were issued in the 1850s and as the run didn’t last long, only few examples were preserved. Nowadays, the most valuable are Classic Victoria strips. For example, an unused vertical strip of 4 of the Victoria 1850 3d bright blue "Half Length" was sold for $94,875 during Millennium Philatelic Auctions in Sydney on October 11, 2006. It was part of Ken Barelli collection of "Classic Victoria" sets that made many new price records at this sale. Although two of the stamps have significant creases on them, the strip succeeded to fetch such an incredible sum. The price of the strip in perfect condition would be much higher!

  • King Edward VIII twopenny scarlet stamp

    King Edward VIII twopenny scarlet

    $90,520

    King Edward VIII twopenny scarlet is considered to be one of the most valuable Australia's stamps. The stamp features an etching of the king in his naval uniform. 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. It happened because of the king’s abdication and was supposed to be burnt. This unique philatelic item appeared at Mossgreen auction on June 26, 2017 in Melbourne. The stamp was sold for $120,000 Australian (roughly $US90,520).  

  • Australia 20 postage due, 1908 stamp

    Australia 20 postage due, 1908

    $77,000

    1908 Australian 20 shilling postage due is an extreme Australian philatelic rarity. The stamp was released to replace the previous postage due series, which featured the value in the border. Due to such a printing caused the difficulties in distinguishing shillings from pence. The replacement postage dues featured a stroke after the 20 shilling. They were distributed to some areas of Australia. As the stamps couldn`t be purchased in Post Office, only few of them were used before the other replacement was issued. The example of a used 20 shilling with stroke was sold for $77,000 at Robert A Siegel's auction in New York in November, 2013.

  • 6d green Queen Victoria pair, 1902 stamp

    6d green Queen Victoria pair, 1902

    $44,270

    1902 6d green Queen Victoria pair is a very rare Australian philatelic item the 6 value of which is shown in the lower corners only, whereas the regular issued stamps have the value in all 4 corners. This is the only pair ever recorded and about 16 singles are known to exist. The pair was discovered in an old album consigned for auction, but the owner had no idea that this item was so rare and valuable. 1902 6d green Queen Victoria pair was bought by an English dealer for $44,270 on October 21, 2006 in Melbourne.

  • George V 5d stamp block stamp

    George V 5d stamp block

    $23,490

    George V 5d stamp block is a rare block of four that is the largest multiple of the Australian George V 5d. The block is considered to have been printed on paper left over from the 1d 1918 printing, which explains its use of rough bright chestnut paper. Today George V 5d stamp block is one of the most important multiples of the King George V series. This unique philatelic item highlighted a major stamp auction in Sydney, Australia on May 23, 2012 and fetched $23,490.

  • Australia 2d stamp, 1909-1910

    Australia 2d stamp, 1909-1910

    $13,587

    The 1909-1910 2d rose and yellow-green is the only unused example of the postage due stamp in existence. This unique stamp was the part of John du Pont's legendary stamp collection. John du Pont is famous as the man who bought the most famous stamp in existence, the British Guiana 1c Magenta, as well as being an eccentric multimillionaire and convicted murderer. After collector`s death in 2010, the unique 1909-1910 Australia 2d postage due was auctioned in the UK. Struck from Die II, it was sold without gum in fantastic condition. The item was sold by a London auction house for $13,587 on March 6, 2013.