Rare Plate 77 Penny Red stamp sold for over $700000.
It’s one of the most valuable British stamps ever to sell, but it has some stiff competition for the priciest stamp of all time.
The stamp is worth such an eye-watering sum because it is one of only five used examples that we know of – and one of those in in the British Museum.
The reason for their extraordinary rarity is that although millions of Penny Reds were sold, there are hardly any from this particular plate. The Post Office decided that the number 77 printing plate wasn’t good enough and destroyed it. However, a tiny handful of the stamps still made their way into circulation.
It’s why they are known as the ‘Holy Grail of stamp collecting. Keith Heddle Managing Director of Investments at Stanley Gibbons said: “This is one of the most desirable and iconic of British stamps for collectors worldwide, highly sought after for more than 100 years.”
The new owner wanted to remain anonymous, but said in a statement: “I am so pleased I bought this stamp, it has given me a buzz I really didn’t expect. I am sure it will prove to be a fabulous investment and in an uncertain financial world, will prove its worth.”
Of course, his enthusiasm is understandable, but as with all alternative investments, it cannot be guaranteed to increase in value over time. Collectors are warned that they should never invest in anything that they won’t be able to enjoy even if it loses value.
Most expensive stamps
This is a huge sum for a British stamp to sell for, but we don’t know whether this is even the most ever paid for a Penny Red, because Stanley Gibbons also recently sold one to an Australian Collector, and at the time said it was valued at £550,000.
It’s quite a way off the world record too. That’s held by the ‘British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta’, which was sold in 2014, in New York, for $9.48 million. Only one of these exists in the world. At the time the colonies had to wait for stamps to be sent from the UK. When the boat was delayed, the local postmaster created his own set, and this is the only surviving one.
This is followed by the Treskilling Yellow, which is thought to have sold in 2010 for $2.3 million. It was said to have been found in 1885 by a Swedish schoolboy, who discovered it in a pile of letters left by his grandparents.
And in third place is the 1847 Mauritius 2d Blue, after one sold in 2011 for $1.6 million. Only 500 of them were ever made, and almost all of them were used by the wife of the governor of Mauritius to invite people to a ball.