WORLD'S MOST VALUABLE STAMPS
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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$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.