I hope you enjoyed reading the earlier post on the 10 highly valued stamps in the world, this post is in continuation to do justice to some of the most prized and sought after philatelic treasures that are truly rare keepsakes.
11. 3¢ George Washington B-grill Rose , 1867
A pink 3-cent stamp issued in 1868 and depicting George Washington, the first U.S. President.
Stamps of this design are common and usually worth only a few dollars; but what made this one worth a million dollars is a distinct, waffle-like grill pressed into the back of the stamp as part of a short-lived government experiment to prevent fraudulent re-use. The Post Office tried out various sizes of grills, and only four 3-cent stamps with this type, called a B-grill by collectors, are known to exist.
The four were rediscovered in 1969, on a single envelope from a letter mailed to Germany. The stamp is one of the keys to assembling a complete collection of American stamps.
This particular example last sold at auction in 1993 for $85,000; another of the four sold in 1998 for $155,000. In a New York auction in 2018, an anonymous bidder bought it for $1,035,000.
This exceedingly rare version of the 1867 3¢ George Washington stamp in rose is one of America’s most sought-after philatelic treasures.
12. The Alexandria “Blue Boy”, 1847
The Alexandria “Blue Boy” is a very rare stamp. It takes its name from the feature that makes it unique: its color. One of the few surviving stamps from a rare issue—the Postmaster’s Provisionals produced in Alexandria, D.C., beginning in 1846, only seven of which are known—the Blue Boy is the sole example printed on blue paper (the others are on buff-colored paper). Postally used, the Blue Boy remains affixed to its original envelope, which last sold in 1981 and still holds the record for the highest priced cover of United States philately.
The single surviving Blue Boy today remains attached to the yellowish envelope on which it was originally mailed, cancelled with a “PAID” handstamp. Its last recorded sale took place in 1981, when a German collector acquired it through the dealer David Feldman for one million dollars.
The Blue Boy paid postage for a letter written by James Wallace Hoof on November 24, 1847, and sent in secret to his second cousin Janette H. Brown, whom he was courting against the wishes of her family. The stamp only narrowly escaped destruction, for at the bottom of his letter James wrote “Burn as usual.” He and Janette had to wait almost six years before they could marry, at last tying the knot on February 17, 1853.
Given that the Blue Boy was a provisional and local—rather than regular and national—issue, there is room for disagreement over whether it fully merits placement in the elite category of one-of-a-kind stamps alongside the Treskilling Yellow of Sweden and the British Guiana one cent magenta.
13. The Red Revenue – Small One Dollar, 1897
The Red Revenues are Qing dynasty Chinese revenue stamps that were overprinted (surcharged) to be used as postage stamps in 1897. Their limited number, fine design and the intaglio process made the stamps in this series some of the most sought-after in the world.[
There are several varieties of Red Revenue stamps, with the “Small One Dollar” being the rarest and most valuable. It has been called “China’s rarest regularly issued stamp”. In a 2013 Hong Kong auction, a single stamp was sold for HK$6.9 million. Another was sold in a 2013 Beijing auction for 7.22 million yuan. A block of four, considered the “crown jewel” of Chinese philately, was reportedly sold in 2009, together with a different stamp, for 120 million yuan (US$18.8 million).
In January 1896, Censor Chen Pi of the Qing government petitioned the Guangxu Emperor to issue revenue stamps. The proof was submitted to Sir Robert Hart, the Inspector General of Customs, for approval. Of the revenue stamps ordered from England, only a portion of the 3¢ stamps was printed and shipped to China. They were stored in the Shanghai Customs Department. The 3¢ red revenue stamps were printed by Waterlow & Sons in London. Of the overprinted denominations, the $1 was made first. Because of complaints that the size of the overprinted Chinese characters was too small, only two panes (each with 25 stamps) were made before they were changed to larger characters. Owing to their rarity, the “Small One Dollar” stamps have become some of the most valuable stamps in the world. Only 32 are known to exist
14. 10¢-on-9-Candareen Dark Green Dragons and Shou stamp, 1897
Value: $ 933,300
China’s rare unused 1897 10¢-on-9-candareen dark green stamp with the small figures surcharge inverted (AKA Dowager issue) was auctioned in Jan,2019 for HKDollars 7.32 million, or approximately USD 933,300 . This stamp was previously in the world famous collection formed by Sir Percival David which was sold in London in 1970.
When the new Post Office was established in 1897 the currency was changed from candareens to dollars and cents, so new stamps were required. Delays at the printers meant that the unused candareen stamps were surcharged with values in the new currency. The original sheets of the 9 candareen were formed of twenty five stamps but each sheet was made with one corner stamp printed upside down. Before these sheet were given their new surcharge, the left column of stamps, with the offending invert, were removed. All available stamps were utilised, including any returned from country post offices. Unfortunately a few of these sheets did not have the unwanted stamps removed and were applied with the 10c. surcharge which was being used on the sheets of 12 candareen stamps, this the corner stamp which was printed upside down became this rare variety. Only three stamps have been verified, this being the only unused example. The stamp is part of the Lam Man Yin collection of Small Dragons.
15. Olive-colored Queen Victoria’s Head, 1864
The Olive-colored Queen Victoria’s Head, printed in 1864, is the most expensive historical postage stamp of Hong Kong. The face value of the stamp was 96 Hong Kong cents (12 US cents) and it should have a brownish-grey tone. However, due to a printing error, 52 sheets of the stamp were printed in olive color. The watermark was wrongly styled, and the word “CC” was printed in the wrong place.
Among all 40 pieces of the Olive-colored Queen Victoria’s Head that can be found in the world nowadays, there is only one block of four such stamps existing. It has been collected by a number of famous collectors. In January 2012, it was auctioned off for 6.4 million HK dollars (US$824,648), setting a record in the history of Hong Kong stamp auctions.
16. Tiflis Stamp, 1857
“The Tiflis Unica” is one of the oldest stamps of its kind.
Printed in the year 1857, the Tiflis Unica was issued in the Russian Empire (in modern Georgia) for the city post in Tiflis (now Tbilisi) and Kojori in 1857.
Tiflis was, basically, a province in Russia. In 1845 a Post office was set up and the work of the Tiflis province became more active. With Post office came Postage Stamps. To pay for the letters and packages special 6-kopeck stamps were introduced, which were then called “paper stamp seals”.
These stamps, today, are known as Tiflis Unica Stamps. And are one of the rare and, hence, one of the most valuable stamps of the world.
There are currently only five known surviving stamps. Russian collectors are willing to pay a lot of money for these rare stamps. One of these unique stamps was sold at David Feldman auction for € 480,000 i.e. $700,000 in the year 2008.
17. Penny Red Plate 77 , 1863
The Penny Red was a British postage stamp, issued in 1841. It succeeded the Penny Black and continued as the main type of postage stamp in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until 1879, with only minor changes to the design during that time.
Plate 77 Penny Reds, which date from 1863, are viewed by collectors and investors as the holy grail of philately because Plate 77 stamps were not meant to exist. The stamps were created but never sold by post offices after they were not considered to be of good enough quality. The original printing plate was destroyed, but a tiny handful made their way into circulation. As a result they are highly prized by collectors.
Plate 77 Penny Red is one of only five used examples known to the world of philately – another of which is held in the British Museum
A rare Plate 77 Penny Red stamp was sold by Stanley Gibbons for $708,000 (£550k) to a client in Australia. Plate 77 stamps were considered poor quality and all examples were supposed to have been destroyed. The five that survived are regarded as the holy grail of British philately.
18. The Inverted Sun Yat-sen, 1941
Dr Sun Yat Sen was not only a Chinese revolutionary but also, the first president of the Republic of China. Moreover, he was instrumental in the overthrow of the Qing dynasty and is often referred to as the “Father of the Nation”.
The Dr Sun Yat Sen invert is an error issued originally in the year 1941 which bears his head. The stamp is one of the rarest stamps in all of the Chinese philately, with just one sheet of 50 stamps ever issued featuring the inverted centre error. The pair comes from the collection of the renowned philatelist Huang Ming Fang and is one of only two vertical pairs known to exist.
The stamp also comes with the denomination of $2 which is also peculiar for this stamp to go rare. The pair was sold for $707,700 in the Hong Kong auction.
Only two pairs of the error stamps are still found today, making them a rare collectible.
19. Hawaiian Missionaries, 1851
Country: Kingdom of Hawaii
The Hawaiian Missionaries are the first postage stamps of the Kingdom of Hawaii, issued in 1851. They came to be known as the “Missionaries” because they were primarily found on the correspondence of missionaries working in the Hawaiian Islands. Owing to their crude engraving and the use of poor quality paper, only a handful of them survived, making them a rarity.
The 2-cent is the rarest of the Hawaiian Missionaries, with 15 copies recorded, only one of which is unused. When Maurice Burrus sold this unique unused example in 1921 the price was US$15,000; when Alfred H. Caspary sold the same stamp in 1963 the price was $41,000, the highest value ever paid for any stamp at that time.
The most valuable of all Missionary items is a cover sent to New York City bearing the only known use of the 2-cent value on cover, as well as a 5-cent value and two 3-cent US stamps. This is known as the Dawson Cover. It was in a bundle of correspondence shoved into a factory furnace around 1870, but packed so tightly that the fire went out (though one side of the cover bears a scorch mark). The factory was abandoned; 35 years later, a workman cleaning the factory for reuse discovered the stuffed furnace, and knew enough about stamps to save the unusual covers. In 2013 it sold for $2.24 million to an American collector making it one of the highest-priced of all philatelic items.
20. Buenos Aires 1859 1p ‘In Ps’ Tete-beche pair
Country: Buenos Aires
The Buenos Aires 1859 1p “In Ps” tete-beche pair are the only existing pair of a postage stamp error on a tête-bêche pair of stamps issued by the government of the State of Buenos Aires and one of philately’s great rarities.
In philately, tête-bêche (French for “head-to-tail”, lit. “head-to-head”) is a joined pair of stamps in which one is upside-down in relation to the other, produced intentionally or accidentally. Like any pair of stamps, a pair of tête-bêches can be a vertical or a horizontal pair. In the case of a pair of triangular stamps, they cannot help but be linked “head-to-tail”. The Caspary vertical tete-beche pair sold in 2008 at auction for $575,000 dollars.