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7 Most Valuable and Rarest Postage Stamps in History

Rarest Postage Stamps in History

By Danish GPublished about a year ago 4 min read
7 Most Valuable and Rarest Postage Stamps in History
Photo by Tolga deniz Aran on Unsplash

Postage stamps are repositories of history. They give a unique perspective into the history of its period and place. Philately, the hobby of collecting stamps, is known as the ‘Mother of Hobbies’. Either due to some errors or other specialties, some of the stamps have acquired super star status among their kind. These stamps are held in high regard by the collectors and are estimated to be worth millions.

7 Most Valuable and Rarest Postage Stamps in History

Here is a list of "7 Most Valuable and Rarest Postage Stamps in History".

  • Basel Dove

The Basel Dove is a stamp issued by the canton of Basel in Switzerland, on 1 July 1845. It was the first tricolor stamp in the world and had a face value of 2.5 rappen. Basel was one of the only three Swiss cantons to print postal stamps. Melchior Berri designed the Basel Dove, which depicts a white dove with a letter in its beak. It was black, crimson, and blue in colour. Approximately 42,000 stamps were printed in the series before it was discontinued in 1854. A Basel Dove stamp is now worth around $20,000 in today's market.

  • Penny Black

Britain introduced the first adhesive postage stamp in the world, the Penny Black. The person who was behind the idea, Rowland Hill, is known as the 'father of postal stamps'. It depicts the profile of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. The stamp's name is derived from its colour and value. The cancellation mark was difficult to see in the black background, so it was withdrawn after a year. This series' stamps are extremely rare and are estimated to be worth around $3000. The British Postal Museum has a number of unused sheets of these stamps.

  • The Whole Country is Red

This Chinese stamp was issued in 1968, during the Cultural Revolution. With a face value of 8 fens, it was noted for its printing error. The stamp was conceived to represent the expansion of Communism in China. Designed by Wang Weisheng, it featured a map of China in red color and a picture of a worker, a farmer and a soldier holding copies of ‘Selected Works of Chairman Mao’ (Little Red Book). However, the map of Taiwan, which was controlled by China, was not red, but white. An editor from SinoMaps Press noticed the error by the afternoon of the issue date and the stamps were immediately recalled, though a few went to the collectors. They are among the rarest postage stamps now.

  • Inverted Jenny

The Inverted Jenny, also known as Upside Down Jenny, is a United States postage stamp with a face value of 24 cents. It was first published on May 10, 1918. This is also one of the world's rarest postage stamps due to a printing error. It depicts an upside-down image of a Curtiss JN-4 aeroplane. Only 100 stamps with the error are thought to exist today. Despite the fact that at least three more sheets had been printed with the error, they were all discovered and destroyed. A single Inverted Jenny stamp was auctioned off for $977,500 in 2007.

  • Mauritius Post Office

These stamps were issued in Mauritius in September 1847, when it was a British colony. The stamps were of two denominations; one penny with the color of orange-red and two pence of dark blue. The stamp was modeled after the erstwhile British stamps, featuring the profile of Queen Victoria. The words Post Office were printed on them, from what the stamp takes its name. It was changed to ‘Post Paid’ from the next series. A legend has originated that the wording was an error, but philatelic scholars confirm that it was not. The stamps were brought to the attention of collectors by a merchant’s wife in 1864. Only 26 specimens of the stamp are existing now. They are valued at around $4 million.

  • Treskilling Yellow

The second most rare postage stamp is a Swedish stamp called Treskilling Yellow, which was issued in 1855. This stamp once held the world record for the highest price paid at auction for a single postage stamp. It was auctioned off for $2.3 million in 1996. It was resold in an auction in 2010, though the exact price is unknown. The stamp is unique in its kind. Its popularity stems from a printing error. The three-skilling stamps were printed in blue-green, while the eight-skilling stamps were printed in yellow. A number of three-skilling stamps were printed in yellow by mistake.

  • British Guiana 1c Magenta

The British Guiana 1c magenta stamp, which sold for $9.5 million in a 2014 auction, is considered the most valuable and rare stamp in the world. There is now only one of its kind, which is used and cut in the shape of an octagon. Former British Guiana issued the stamp in limited quantities in 1856. It depicts a sailing ship and the colony's motto, "Damus Petimus Que Vicissim" (We give and expect in return). It was discovered among his uncle's letters in 1873 by a Scottish schoolboy named Louis Vernon Vaughan. The stamp has been mentioned as a prized object in several films.

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