Always the cause for heated debate amongst stamp collectors let’s take a look at the 5 most valuable stamps in the world today. This list is based on stamps that have come to auction and fetched incredible prices. Top of the pile we have the 1c British Guiana stamp whose rich and colourful past is all part of its appeal.
1. 1856 British Guiana 1c Magenta – $9.48m This stamp beat world records earlier this year when it was auctioned at Sotheby’s. Fetching a staggering $9.48 million dollars it currently holds the title of the most valuable stamp ever auctioned. Historically the stamp has always been highly sought after and has previously been owned by industrialists and controversial figures such as John Du Pont– a previously convicted murderer. The stamp was originally issued as part of a contingency supply of stamps to replace a shipment which failed to arrive from Great Britain. The stamp was discovered by a schoolboy and has since passed through some of the world’s most famous collections.
2. 1855 Sweden 3 skilling error “The Treskilling Yellow” – $2.3m If this stamp was to come to auction now there is every chance that it might supercede the British Guiana! Originating in 1855 from Sweden the stamp was supposed to be printed in a blue-green colour but instead it was printed in a yellow-orange colour – the colour of the 8-skilling stamp. Nobody knows how many stamps containing this error were produced but only 1 has ever been found. There has been debate that the stamp is a forgery but nothing has ever been proven. The stamp fetched $2.3 million dollars at an auction in 2010.
3. 1847 Mauritius 2d Blue – $1.6m 500 of these stamps were produced and virtually all of them were used by the governor of Mauritius’s wife to invite her friends to a ball! Nobody even knew these rare stamps existed until 1864 when one of them was found on an envelope belonging to a Bordeaux merchant. The envelope is now referred to in philatelic circles as the ‘Bordeaux Cover’ and it is one of the most prized stamps in the world, An example of the stamp sold for $1.6 million in 2011.
4. 1968 China 8 fen “The Whole Country is Red” – $1.1m The Whole Country is Red stamp is one of the greatest prizes in Chinese philately. The Chinese market for stamps is huge and this particular stamp was issued during Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution.
The stamp features a map of China in red and the island of Taiwan in white which was a mistake in the design. Chinese officials removed the stamps as soon as they were issued and it’s not known how many still exist today.
One of the stamps was discovered and sold for $1.1million dollars in Beijing.
5. 1847 Mauritius 1d Red Post Office – $1m Based on the Penny Black this stamp was designed by Joseph Osmond Barnard, an Englishman who stowed away on a ship to Mauritius. He went on to become quite famous on the island, basing his stamp designs on the famous Penny Black. Just like the 1847 Mauritius 2d Blue, only 500 were issued with the majority used by the wife of the governor of Mauritius to invite friends to a ball. The last one that came to auction sold for $1million. And there you have it, the top 5 most valuable stamps in the world …..so far! It is the dream of any philatelist to find a stamp so rare that it could sell for millions so keep scouring those collections…you never know your luck!