Rarest Belgium stamps
being sold for thousands of dollars
When compared with other countries, the history of Belgium is fairly brief. It’s considered to be a modern country, and that’s reflected in its postal history. The first Belgian stamps, known as "Epaulettes", were issued in 1849. Designed by legendary artist and lithographer Charles Baugniet, these were two imperforate stamps in 10 and 20 centime denominations and featured an engraving of King Leopold I. However, there are other rare Belgian stamps that can be worth some serious coin. For stamp enthusiasts, Belgium presents a remarkably consistent philatelic history that occupies both professional and hobbyist collectors. This article will take you through some of the rarest Belgian stamps on the market today. If you’re interested in rare or collectible stamps from Belgium take a look at top ten rarest philatelic items that have been ever presented by this country!
MOST VALUABLE BELGIUM STAMPS
10c mint stamp strip, 1849$293,000
Belgium 1849 10c Epaulettes in strip of six of the first emission is a striking philatelic rarity. The first Belgium stamps, like the Penny Blacks of Great Britain, bore no country name. The reason for it is that these stamps, when they were issued, were only intended for postal use within Belgium. When these two stamps began to circulate in Europe, there was nothing but admiration. These stamps were engraved, imperforate, and they were printed on paper with a framed monogram watermark. The design soon became regarded as the most attractive of any stamp issued. The image of the king appears to be in the center, unsupported, and contrasted by a subtle floral design tapestry, ornamental but barely noticed and not distracting. The strip of six Belgium 1849 10c Epaulettes stamps was sold for $293,000 by David Feldman in December, 2011. This multiple is the most important known.
Congo centre invert stamp, 1894$141,529
The Belgian Congo grew out of the Congo Free State in 1908. Many stamps were issued in Belgian Congo until 1960, when the area became the Republic of the Congo (Leopoldville). One of the most famous stamps of this period is 1894 Belgian Congo 10f centre invert. This is an extraordinarily rare Belgian stamp and one of the rarest invert stamps. There are only around five examples of the 1894 Belgian Congo 10f centre invert known to exist, placing it among the rarest stamps in the world. Many specimens of this unique item have some faults, though there are a few stamps in a fine condition and they are very rare. The Belgian Congo, green 10F with its centre inverted is a truly beautiful stamp which many collectors could idly gaze at as it rarely appears on the philatelic market. It was sold for $141,529 at David Feldman auction in 2011. This was a new world record for the Belgian Congo.
Inverted Dendermonde stamp, 1920$130,000
The Inverted Dendermonde is considered to be one of the rarest and the most expensive stamps of Belgium. It also one of the most famous error stamp in all of Belgian philately. This unique item was first issued in 1920, and it features the town hall of Dendermonde upside down. Dendermonde is a small city in East Flanders that suffered heavy damage from the war. This error that adds value to this bright stamp occurred in two sheets of the stamp’s first run and one pane of the second. This was a printing mistake, and the post office took these stamps before they could be sold to the general public. The other copies of this remarkable error probably were used on mail and later destroyed. There are just 14 copies known to exist, one of which is in the collection of chess legend Anatoly Karpov. A wonderfully fresh and fine example of this great rarity, strong rich colors and impressions on bright paper, well centered was sold by Spink for $130,000 on June 18, 2009.
40c Epaulettes block of four stamps, 1849$62,170
The epaulettes were the first stamps issued for public use in Belgium in 1849. These stamps feature the portrait of King Leopold I, the ruler of Belgium during that time. This unique series of stamps gets its name because the king is wearing his famous epaulettes in the picture. The epaulettes are very old as these are the first postage stamp issues of Belgium. Two denominations with the same design were issued simultaneously: a brown 10 centimes and a blue 20 centimes. In truth, the ten centimes ones are often the rarer of the two. On December 15, 2012, the block of 40c epaulettes stamps was sold for $62,170 by David Feldman during the sale of the collection of Belgium postage stamps owned by Anatoly Karpov.
Orval Abbey semi-postal stamp, 1933$26,868
1933 Orval Abbey semi-postal stamp was issued on October 15, 1933 for the continuing effort to provide additional funds for the Restoration of the Orval Abbey. These stamps are very rare today due to the fact that they were released at the height of the Great Depression. The uniqueness of this stamp is that it has tremendously high denomination (10.00 F. + 40.00 F). It features Madonna and Arms of Seven Abbeys. The collectors should pay attention to the fact that there are a lot of forgeries of these stamps but an authenticated set is highly valuable. The pane of twelve 1933 Orval Abbey semi-postal stamps were sold for $26,868 by David Feldman on December 14, 2012.
King Albert I error of color stamp, 1922$19,545
1922 King Albert I 20c red error of color is one of the greatest philatelic rarities of Belgium. Albert I reigned as the third King of the Belgians from 1909 to 1934. This was an eventful period in the history of Belgium and in the philatelic history of the country. Many stamp issues were dedicated to this great personality during this period. One of the brightest releases is 1922 King Albert I 20c red error of color. It is considered that only 400 stamps were issued and only few exist today. The block of King Albert color error stamps with an original gum was sold for $19,545 by David Feldman on December 14, 2012.
Red and Black Center Inverted stamp, 1898$6,250
1898 Red and Black Center Inverted is one of the brightest error Belgian Congo stamps. The Belgian Congo grew out of the Congo Free State in 1908. Many stamps were issued in Belgian Congo until 1960, when the area became the Republic of the Congo (Leopoldville). 1898 Red and Black Center Inverted is a scarce variety which is unlisted in the major catalogs. This stamp appears on the philatelic market very rare. The only example of this stamp was seen at Spink auction that took place on June 18, 2009. At the time the lot fetched $6,250.
Perron Of Liege stamp, 1919$5,500
The Perron Of Liege is the first post-war Belgian stamp that holds great value to this day. The Perron Of Liege was a big stone column found in the city of Liege. They were constructed to symbolise autonomy and local freedom. Liege was also the place where most of the heavy fighting took place during the war. The fortresses around the city of Liege halted the German invasion temporarily, allowing the Belgians to construct defensive trenches. This stamp is symbolic because it represents a new life for Belgium while paying homage to a city that helped protect Belgian citizens. There were two printings, with the difference being the height of the stamp design. The earlier printing is rare.
A very rare and fine sheet of ten 1919, 25c Perron of Liege was sold for $5,500 by Robert A Siegel during its sale of 1980 Rarities of the World.
East Africa Occupation stamp, 1916$4,500
1916 East Africa Occupation is one of the most striking Belgium occupation stamps. This one isn’t to do with occupied Belgium, but rather with Belgium occupying East Africa. It’s a popular stamp because of the image it depicts: two African men who are on hunt. While unused examples are particularly challenging, used examples are extraordinarily rare. The reason why 1916, 5fr Ocher & Black with "Ruanda" Handstamp is so valuable is that so few of them were issued. These stamps were soon replaced by a set with busy overprints — in two languages. One of the finest examples of 1916 East Africa Occupation Stamps was sold for $4,500 by Robert A Siegel on June 15, 2016.
5fr Plum stamp, 1915$3,000
Belgium 1915 5fr Plum is a very interesting Belgium stamp that shows a portrait of King Albert I. Belgium stamps with the portrait of King Albert I first appeared in 1912. Albert actually ascended to the throne in December 1909, but the new stamps with his portrait had not yet been designed, and the new plates were not ready for production until 1912. Belgium 1915 5fr Plum is one of the brightest of these issues. It is also considered to be the rarest parcel post stamp of Belgium as only 200 specimens were printed. One of Belgium 1915 5fr Plum stamps from the World Traveler Collection was sold for $3,000 by Robert A Siegel on June 25, 2015.