WORLD'S MOST VALUABLE STAMPS

  • British Guiana 1-Cent Magenta, 1856 rare stamp

    British Guiana 1-Cent Magenta, 1856

    $9,500,000
    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. British Guiana 1-Cent Magenta, 1856 stamp was sold in New York for $9.5 million at Sotheby's in June, 2014.
  • Treskilling Yellow stamp, 1855

    Treskilling Yellow stamp, 1855

    $2,600,000

    Treskilling Yellow is the most famous Swedish stamp that was issued in 1855. The rarity of this stamp is explained by the printing error that resulted in yellow being used instead of the usual green colour. The only known example of this unusual philatelic item exists today. It was found by a schoolboy and philatelist named Georg Wilhelm Baeckman who rescued it from his grandmother's rubbish bin in 1885 and sold it onto a dealer for the lowly price of seven Kroner in 1886. There are several great auctions, where Treskilling Yellow stared. The first one too place in 1996 for 2.8 million Swiss francs (or roughly $2.2 million at that time). The other sale was held by David Feldman in May, 2010. During this auction Treskilling Yellow was acquired by an anonymous bidder in a telephone auction. The exact price was not disclosed, but it was believed to be around £1.7 million (or roughly $2.6 million). 

  • 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”.

  • Baden 9 Kreuzer error stamp, 1851

    Baden 9 Kreuzer error stamp, 1851

    $1,545,000

    Baden 9 Kreuzer Error is the most valuable German stamp with only 4 specimens left to exist today. 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, the printer had unintentionally used the wrong plate for the green paper: instead of a "9" he had read a "6". This adds to the history and rarity of these stamps. The usual explanation for the occurrence of this error is that the printing plate was accidentally inverted, however, this theory cannot be correct because the stamp was produced in a single printing. A famous Baden 9 Kreuzer worth sold for $1,545,000 by David Feldman on April 3, 2008.

  • 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.

  • Hawaiian Missionaries 2-cent stamp, 1851 rare stamp

    Hawaiian Missionaries 2-cent stamp, 1851

    $600,000

    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. One of the finest specimens of Hawaiian Missionaries 2-cent, 1851 was sold for $600,000 at Siegel`s sale of “The Honolulu Advertiser Collection” in November, 1995.

  • 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.

  • 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. Originally it cost only 1 peso. This unique philatelic rarity was sold for $575,000 at Robert A Siegel sale that took place in June, 2008. The auction house described this lot as “The only surviving tete-beche pair of the Barquitos issue. One of the world's great philatelic rarities"