Very rare Italian stamps

that could be among your heritage

Known for its food and unique culture, Italy has a philatelic history that is no less rich. Collectors with an interest in the country and related regions have a wide range of options to build their great topical collections. Italian stamps are often described as having classical beauty and philatelic significance, that`s why these bright philatelic items have been very popular with specialists and collectors around the world since the earliest days of stamp collecting. Some of these stamps were issued in very limited quantities, and they were becoming rare, even during the late 19th Century! Below are some of the scarcest Italian stamps ever discovered and sold! These stamps present an opportunity for a great long-term investment, as a its likely that these notable issues will rise in value in the future.

MOST VALUABLE ITALIAN STAMPS

  • The Sicilian Error of Colour, 1859 stamp

    The Sicilian Error of Colour, 1859

    $2,600,000

    Sicily error of color is considered to be the most expensive Italian stamp. It is so valuable and rare because of several reasons. First of all, it is error of color: originally it was yellow, but for some reason there was also a blue stamp, released in 1859. Today, there are only 2 such stamps are known to exist. They were exhibited first at the Manchester Philatelic Exposition in 1899. Then stamps were separated sometime before the private treaty sale in Switzerland of a portion of the Ferrary collection. The second reason that explains its rarity is that the stamp is very old and it is a real wonder that it was preserved in such a fine condition. The stamp was sold for 1.8 million euros (that is for about 2.6 million dollars) at Dreyfus sale on June 10, 2011. The auction house said the stamp was sold to an on-line bidder in the United States, who was described by a spokesman as “based in France”.

  • Tuscany 4 Crazie stamp with inverted value tablet, 1857

    Tuscany 4 Crazie stamp with inverted value tablet, 1857

    $184,612

    The Tuscany 4 Crazie with inverted value tablet is seldom traded and seldom exhibited, and it is largely unknown to collectors of World Classics. There is no question of its absolute uniqueness, its authenticity or its importance to Italian and to world-wide philately. The 1857 issue of Tuscany was typographed using common frame and vignette elements, with only the value tablets changing to create different denominations. For a small part of one printing of the 4 Crazie value, the value tablet for one position, was inverted. The unique feature of this stamp is that it is completely sound.  No other stamp of Tuscany is known with a similar error. The lot was auctioned for $184,612 by David Feldman on May 22, 2010. 

  • Inverted Swan, 1855 stamp

    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). 

  • Lombardy & Venetia 5c yellow ochre stamp

    Lombardy & Venetia 5c yellow ochre, 1850

    $78,099

    An 1850 5c yellow-ochre stamp is often described as "the ultimate rarity of Lombardy & Venetia". It is one of just two known examples where the reverse shows parts of two further stamp impressions, inverted in relation to the original. It is considered the only example to exist today.  This unique stamp was issued in the time of Lombardy-Venetia that once was a kingdom in the north of Italy. This kingdom was a part of Austrian Empire, but the stamp is instead denominated in centesimi. The item was sold for $78,099 in Universal Philatelic Auctions sale that took place on Dec. 22, 2014. 

  • Italian Levant airmail stamp

    Italian Levant airmail

    $70,000

    Italian Levant airmail is regarded as a considerable rarity by many, with only five examples known. The stamp was issued in Constantinople for a planned flight from Bucharest to Paris. Because of the closure of all Foreign Post Offices within Turkey, the issue was aborted and nearly all examples of this stamp were destroyed and burnt. Italian Levant airmail is offered by Cherrystone’s auction with an opening bid of $70,000. The auction is to take place on March 20-21, 2018. The stamp offered in Cherrystone’s auction, created for Italy’s offices in the Turkish Empire, bears a special overprint, with “Servizio Postale Aereo”. It has a “large part original gum, excellent color, typical slight ageing,” Cherrystone observes.

  • Balbo Triptychs, 1933 stamp

    Balbo Triptychs, 1933

    $55,000

    1933 Balbo Triptychs is one of the rarest sets of Italian airmail stamps. The stamps were issued in 1933 by Italy to commemorate a special Trans-Atlantic flight that was led by General Italo Balbo. He flew from Rome to Chicago where the World's Fair was being held. Because of their high price, these sets of stamps were no very popular among philatelists as a complete set consisted of 20 sets of the two triptychs. The set is now much sought after, perhaps for the same reason. 1933 Balbo Triptychs was sold for $55,000 at Cherrystone auction in September, 2013.

  • 2/DOLLARI/Pechino surcharge on 5L Ultramarine and rose, 1919 stamp

    2/DOLLARI/Pechino surcharge on 5L Ultramarine and rose, 1919

    $40,000

    2/DOLLARI/Pechino surcharge on 5L Ultramarine and rose is a phenomenal rarity of the Offices in Peking with this extremely rare type of surcharge with all capital letters in "DOLLARI”. The most common type of Peking was made by adding a surcharge with "dollari" in lower case to an already overprinted stamp for Peking from the previous issue. In the same year of 1919 this extremely rare type with "DOLLARI" in all capital letters was produced. The final type was produced in 1920 being similar to the first type with all letters lower case, but in this instance both the surcharge and the Peking overprint were all one handstamp which made "Pechino" shorter. The two later types of the Two Dollar value are important rarities of the Italian Offices, but the type with all capital letters in "DOLLARI" is a major rarity without equal. The stamp was sold for $40,000 at Spink auction on January 29, 2008.

  • Gronchi Rosa, 1961 stamp

    Gronchi Rosa, 1961

    $31,171

    The Gronchi Rosa or Lilac is an iconic modern day variety, highly sought after by collectors of the Italian area. The stamp was called after Giovanni Gronchi, who was elected President of the Republic in 1955. He was the first Catholic politician to become Head of the Italian State. The Gronchi Rosa is a rare Italian postage stamp design error. It was part of a 1961 issue for the voyage of President Giovanni Gronchi to three South American countries. Gronchi was scheduled to stop by Argentina, Uruguay and Peru, and the stamps dedicated to each destination were valued at 170, 185 and 205 lire respectively. The stamps became legendary because of Peru’s boundaries. The designer mis-drew the borders of Peru on the 205L stamp and as a result the item was withdrawn the day after issue and a replacement with the correct borders but printed in grey, issued on the 6th April. Peru’s boundaries make the “Gronchi Rosa” stamp a valuable collector’s item that is now worth around $31,171.

  • 1c Olive green without

    1c Olive green without "Estero" overprint, 1874

    $16,000

    1874 1c Olive green without "Estero" overprint is a fantastically rare mint example of this very unusual stamp. This item has an excellent centering with perforations well clear of the design all around, bright fresh color and in very fine condition. Italy did something with the general issues for the Offices in Levant that is quite unique. It was usual for other countries to apply the overprint to regular stamps, but Italy decided first altered the designs of the stamps in small ways, printed new stamps and then applied the overprints. In such a way on the 1c Olive green they made little white squares with a dot in them. But the rarity of these stamps is explained by the fact that it was altered, but for some reason failed to receive an overprint. Very few examples of any of these are known. The One Centesimo Olive green was sold for $16,000 at Spink on January 29, 2008.

  • 10L Blue and brown, inverted numeral, 1870 stamp

    10L Blue and brown, inverted numeral, 1870

    $15,000

    1870 10L Blue and brown, inverted numeral is a rare unused example of the inverted numeral error of the Ten Lira 1870 Postage Due issue. It is interesting that there are a great number of the used examples that are the most common of the inverted numerals of the 1870 postage dues. So, the unused stamps are the rarest and the most expensive ones. In addition, this is the only Lira value error of the early postage dues that is known mint or unused. According to the Sassone Catalog there are three examples that survived. This makes 1870 10L Blue and brown error stamp is one of the rarest of the postage due inverted numerals that rarely appears on the market. It was sold for $15,000 at Spink auction on January 29, 2008.

  • 50c Ocher and carmine, inverted numeral, 1870 stamp

    50c Ocher and carmine, inverted numeral, 1870

    $9,500

    1870 50c Ocher and carmine, inverted numeral is the phenomenally rare error of the early postage due printing that can boast by attractive, fine centering and exceptional original gum quality. Collectors should pay attention to the fact that 50c Orange and carmine with inverted numeral in mint condition issued in 1890 are more common and not rare. There are many differences between these issues: the shades vary enough to make the distinction easy, the numerals are different on the high values between the two printings and the two printings are easily differentiated. It is not known how many 1870 50c Ocher and carmine inverted numerals survived, but this stamp is definitely a great postage due rarity of Italy and of the entire world. The item was auctioned for $9,500 at Spink on January 29, 2008.