Postage stamps represent history in their unique form. They give a different glimpse to the history of their place and period. The hobby of stamp collecting is, philately, called as the “Mother of all Hobbies”. Either because of some special facts or some errors, some of these stamps have earned a special presence in history and became one of its kinds. Listed here are the top 10 rarest and most valuable postage stamps.
10. Basel Dove
Issued on July 1, 1845, by the Basel in Switzerland cantonment, the Basel Dove was the world’s first tricolor stamp with 2.5 Rappen of face value. It was among the three Swiss cantons for printing the postal stamps. Depicting a white dove whose beak carries a letter, the Basel Dove was designed by Melchior Berri, an architect. It features crimson, black, and blue colors. Over 42000 stamps were printed until it got withdrawn in the year 1854. Today, the Basel Dove stamp is priced at around $20000.
9. The Whole Country is Red
In 1968, the Chinese Stamp was issued during the Cultural Revolution with 8 Fen of face value. It was renowned for printing error. It was noted for showing the expansion of communalism in China. The stamp featured China’s map in red color and the picture of a farmer, a worker, and a soldier with the copies of Little Red Book or Selected Works of Chairman Mao. It was designed by an architect Wang Weisheng. Controlled by China, the map of Taiwan was not actually red, instead it was white. The error was noticed by an editor at SinoMaps Press by afternoon on the date of issue and all the stamps were recalled quickly, despite the fact that few of the stamps went to the collectors. They are now one of the rarest postage stamps these days.
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8. Penny Black
Launched by Britain, the Penny Black was the world’s first adhesive postage stamp. Rowland Hill was the person who was behind this concept and it is called as the “Father of all Postage Stamps”. This postage stamp shows the imagery of British Queen Victoria.
The stamp is named for both the value and color of it. It was first introduced in 1840 and withdrawn within a year due to the cancellation mark which was hard to spot due to black background. This stamp is very rare and difficult to find. The estimated price of this stamp is currently $3000. The British Postal Museum has a lot of unused sheets of such stamps.
7. Tyrian Plum
The Edward VII Tyrian Plum is Britain’s one of the rarest postal stamps. Issued in 1910, this stamp was issued to replace the two-pence, two-color stamp having the image of King Edward VII. With two pence as face value, the new stamp also has the profile of king. Total 24 million stamps were printed in that time. Due to unexpected demise of him that year in May, virtually all the stamps destroyed. However, a few stamps still exist but it is not cleared how many stamps exist. The Royal Philatelic Collection is the only known place where these stamps are exhibited.
6. The Hawaiian Missionaries
Issued in 1851 by the Kingdom of Hawaii then, these stamps are one of the rarest in the world. These postage stamps were issued in three face values – 5 cents, 2 cents, and 13 cents. They are now called as the Missionaries as most of them were found on the correspondence among the Missionaries serving in Hawaii.
All of these stamps were printed on the blue paper of poor quality. The design features the denomination in numbers at the center and in words at the bottom. The “Postage/Hawaiian” phrase was inscribed on stamps with face value of 2 cents and 5 cents and US & HI/Postage was printed on the stamps with 13 cents as face value. The 2 cent stamps are the rarest of all the three, as only 15 of these stamps exist in the world.
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5. Inverted Jenny
The Inverted Jenny, or Upside Down Jenny, is the postage stamp issued with the face value of 24 cents in the United States. It was issued for the first time on May 10, 1918. It becomes one of the rarest stamps in the world due to its printing mistake. It has the image of an airplane Curtiss JN4 in upside down position. Only 100 stamps exist in the world with this error till now. At least, 3 more sheets had been printed with this error. But they all were destroyed after collecting. At an auction, a single stamp of this kind was sold for $977,500 in 2007.
4. Canada 12-Pence Black
Also called as Canada’s Black Empress, Canada 12-Pence Black was issued in the year 1851 and it is among the rarest stamps today. It features Queen Victoria based on her portrait drawn by an artist, Alfred Edward Chalon. It is also known as Chalon Head. Despite the fact that up to 50000 copies were printed, only a small number of stamps were available. The unsold stamps were destroyed and withdrawn in 1857. Only 100 or less stamps of these types are existing today. The price of one stamp is estimated to be around $500,000.
3. Mauritius ‘Post Office’
When Mauritius was a British colony, these stamps were issued in 1847. These stamps come in two denominations – 2 pence of dark blue and 1 penny of orange red. The stamp was modeled and featuring the image of Queen Victoria. The phrase “Post Office” was printed on these stamps from what it is named. On the next series, the name was changed to “Post Paid”. Legends had it the wordings were an error in these stamps. Philately, it was confirmed that there was no error. The stamps were brought by a merchant’s wife to grab attention of collectors in 1864. Today, only 26 specimens exist in the world. They cost around $4 million.
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2. Treskilling Yellow
It is a Swedish stamp which is one of rarest. Issued in 1855, Treskilling Yellow once auctioned for the highest price and set the world record. One single stamp was sold at $2.3 million at an auction in 1996. It was resold in an auction in 2010 whose resale value is not known.
1. British Guiana 1c Magenta
In a 2014 auction, British Guiana 1c Magenta was a stamp valued at $9.5 million. It is known as the rarest and most valued stamp in the world. Today, only one stamp exists of this type. It is cut and used in the shape of octagon. In 1856, it was issued in limited counts.