The 21 most valuable stamps in the world are rare pieces packed with interesting history and countless mistakes. One could have led to the uncovering of military secrets. Another showcases the first plane used for mail transport. While the most expensive stamp exemplifies a worldwide lust for extravagant parties and balls.
Out of the 51,000 originally printed, it is believed that fewer than 145 of these stamps exist today, in any condition. In 2011, a rare Canada 1851 12d Black Empress was sold for $425,000, the equivalent to $547,464 in inflation-adjusted 2023 dollars.
The China 1953 800Y Blue Military stamp was intended to provide a free method for military personnel to stay in touch. But it was a telltale sign for anyone seeking to uncover military secrets. Therefore, the entire three-color lineup was discontinued almost immediately.
It is believed that there are nine 1897 2 Cents Red Maiden in the Green Robe stamps remaining today. The last known sale was in 2004 when a Red Maiden in the Green Robe stamp sold for $444,477 in Hong Kong, equal to $681,874 in 2023 dollars.
There was just one sheet of fifty stamps ever created with this problem. The inverted pair is one of two pairs known to still be in existence. It last sold in 2018 for $707,700 in a Hong Kong auction, equal to $816,685 today.
They were exclusively used by the Inland Revenue government department, and it would have been a criminal offense for the public to possess or sell these stamps. One sold for 400,000 in 2010, equal to approximately $823,902 today.
This bright red stamp is part of a very small batch of 32 recorded copies. Shortly after being issued, they were immediately replaced with a second version because the text was too small and illegible.
The B-Grill indentation is identifiable through upward-pointing indentations and because it was larger than other grills used. It was quickly replaced with smaller grills, leading to the iconic status and one of the rarest stamps in the world.
If you have ever seen Fourth of July celebrations, you know how passionate some Americans are about their independence. That was also the case in 1869 when this batch of stamps was created, depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
But this version is one of the most expensive stamps because of the accidentally inverted picture. Only four are known to exist. It last sold for $1.2 million in 2008 to the surprise of many philatelists, equivalent to $1,615,400 today.
Not only does this stamp include an erroneously upside-down print, but it also incorporates a bit of mail history. The image is of a Curtiss JN-4HM, a plane used heavily during World War I, but perhaps more important to the world of philately, it is the first plane used to deliver mail.
Only one single sheet of 100 stamps was created, with mainly single examples existing today. Two blocks of four are also known to exist. A single 1918 Inverted Jenny sold at auction for $1,351,250 in 2016, equivalent to $1,631,700 today.
Contrasting the otherwise orderly reputation of Germany, this stamp is special due to a mistake that happened in 1851. The Baden 9 Kreuzer stamp should have been printed in pink color, but somehow green ink slipped in which was intended for use on 6 Kreuzer stamps, creating one of the most valuable rare stamps wanted by collectors.
Most stamps from the United States are issued by the federal government, but this valuable stamp was issued shortly before the federal government began doing so. Buying one would have turned even the most valuable nickels into treasure.
Once again, a mistake has turned an otherwise normal stamp into one of the most valuable stamps. Made to commemorate the Chinese Cultural Revolution, this stamp includes a worker, farmer, and soldier all carrying a copy of the Selected Works of Chairman Mao.
The map, however, was deemed to be inaccurate and the stamps were quickly pulled from production. The official reason is that the Spratly and Paracel Islands were missing from the map with various country borders drawn inaccurately as well.
It sold for 1,610,000 Swiss Francs in 1992, equivalent to $2,327,400 in inflation-adjusted 2023 dollars. It was known as the most expensive stamp from the British Commonwealth for over 20 years until 2014.
The 1859 Sicilian Error of Color was supposed to be orange but instead was printed blue. There are only two known to be in existence today, making it one of the most valuable rare stamps wanted by collectors.
At first glance, you might think the Mauritius Post Office stamps are the same as other British stamps from the era. But these are distinct because they are the first British stamps created outside of Great Britain.
If you want to find the most valuable stamps in the world, then you need to consider a few things. Condition is important, but stamps that are rare, with a deep history and any misprinted aspects are where the true value is found. The most valuable coins are held to similar standards.
Arguably the most important aspect of any collectible stamp is how rare it is. If you have a stamp that no one else has, then people will pay top dollar for it. The British Guiana 1856 1 Cent Magenta is the perfect example of this, where not even the British government has been able to get its hands on one.
Another important factor in the value of a stamp is the history behind it. Take for example the Mauritius 1847 Post Office Stamps, which not only are interesting because they are the first British stamps made outside of Great Britain, but also because they have a fun history of being used to invite guests to extravagant balls.
But if you want to find the most expensive stamps, then you need to combine all of these characteristics on a stamp that is in excellent condition. If you can find this, then you are likely going to be holding a small piece of paper that is quite literally worth more than its weight in gold.
Coming from many countries and across a long history, the most expensive stamps in the world are certain to surprise you. Perhaps the military blunder allowing others to identify military correspondence is your favorite. Or maybe you love the most expensive Mauritius stamps.
Our specialists invite collectors to consign other world-famous stamps that might include Treskilling Yellow, First Two Mauritius, Baden 9 Kreuzer, Inverted Jenny, Inverted Dendermonde, Hawaiian Missionaries, Red Mercury, Inverted Swan, Penny Black, Sicilian Error of Colour, Tiflis, and Post Office Mauritius or even Postmaster Provisionals.
The whereabouts of the collection, consisting of some 14,000 stamps issued in czarist Russia between 1857 and the start of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, were a mystery until the past decade. It includes many one-of-a-kind pieces acquired from notable collectors, such as Agathon Fabergé, a philatelist and son of Peter Carl Fabergé, of the House of Fabergé.
The owner of The Stamp Center, which handled the auction, would not disclose the identity or location of the buyer of the mint-condition unused stamp, which bears a likeness of President James Monroe. The bid was submitted by telephone as almost 100 people gathered at the center looked on.
While more than 800 million of the stamps were printed between 1923 and 1927, the typical Monroe stamp has 11 perforation holes on all four sides. The stamp sold Friday contains only 10 holes on its top side.
Acquiring the stamps from a variety of Chinese and Korean vendors as well as a private collector from Germany, Park found them in unexpectedly pristine condition, a sharp deviation from the physical state of many North Korean books and periodicals that end up in the hands of researchers.
Certain stamps echo the political messages of those other materials, covered with anti-American slogans, images of the military and portraits of the Kim family, which has held a dictatorship in North Korea for seven decades. Some illustrate folk cultures that predate the division of Korea at the end of World War II, while others boast of participation in the Olympics or major national milestones.
In the stamp collecting world, often the tiny square on the outside of an envelope is all that matters. It is the commodity that is coveted and traded and sold. But for some, there is the draw of the story behind the stamp -- where it came from, the time it represents, the printing mistake that alters it just a bit from others like it.
They were second cousins. He was Presbyterian; she was Episcopalian. Relatives were watching. One of the rarest stamps in the world, the Blue Boy sold for $1 million in 1981 and is estimated to be worth many times that now. Still, many wondered why this stamp -- an Alexandria postmaster provisional printed on blue paper before U.S. government stamps were commonplace -- survived when all others like it were lost or destroyed. If the envelope had been saved for sentimental reasons, did the letter also exist? If so, what did it say?
"Did these two people ever get married?" said Gordon C. Morison, executive director of the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition, a stamp show on a scale seen in the United States only once every 10 years.
The post office that issued the stamp is now an antique store and the days of horse-drawn carriages are distant, but Taylor said she could stand at one end of Prince Street, on the cobblestones that remain, and see the story unfold through her research.
She found that Jannett Hooff Brown lived at 517 Prince St., a few blocks from her second cousin James Wallace Hooff, who was at 1016 Prince St. They were 23 and 24 years old. In between them lived Daniel Bryan, who was both the postmaster and a poet, although his verses were considered long-winded and grandiose. He is believed to have created the Blue Boy, which consists of a circle of 40 rosettes around the words "Alexandria Post Office." And contrary to previous reports, the Blue Boy stamp was not used in 1846, but rather in 1847, even after the U.S. government had issued its own. 041b061a72