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Everyone Loves a Stamp Boo-boo

Everyone Loves a Stamp Boo-boo

The most popular area of stamp collecting

Last week I offered you a stamp error from the very top tier of collecting.

It was no surprise to see it sell. In fact, we had two buyers but, as always, there can only ever be one owner.

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The unique block of four imperforate error from Cyprus sold last week for £50,000

I always feel some sadness when we sell a star item.

I do derive personal pleasure from owning such key philatelic rarities, even if my ownership is often short-lived.

The fascination and obsession with stamp errors has been around since the very first stamp was printed in 1840. 

You would think with modern sophisticated printing processes, errors would have been eradicated in modern stamp issues.

Not so, no mechanical system can be perfect, and no quality controls can be 100% full-proof.

Sometimes the complexity of the printing process devised can even cause errors to occur.

Because there is such a diverse range of interesting stamp errors to hunt for, it has become one of the fastest growing areas of collecting in recent years.

It seems odd to me that many of these stamp errors remain surprisingly affordable.

But for how long? 

My favourite reasonably-priced stamp errors

I understand that £50,000 is outside of reach for most people and, as much as you probably wanted the Cyprus error, it was just too expensive for you.

Thankfully, there are still many stamp errors you can comfortably add to your collection without breaking the bank.

Today, I present to you some of my favourite stamp errors we have available right now.

I will take you on a journey of printing calamities.

All the different things that can go wrong and how such boo-boos can create something we ultimately cherish!

All of my recommendations look under-valued just now.

But, with surging demand, I can’t see this market anomaly lasting…

The wrong date

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Pitcairn Islands 1985 Paintings $2, showing the '1835' for '1825' error of inscription, SG267var.

PRICE: £45


A quite extraordinary error with the inscription showing the wrong date. The famous artwork depicted on the stamp should have been dated as “1825” not “1835”.

Generally, the more dramatic the mistake, the more appealing it is and this one is certainly a real clanger.

The stamp is in the best possible condition, Post Office fresh and unmounted mint with full original clean gum.

The most dramatic of stamp errors from Canada

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Canada 1969 Christmas 6c, 'Children of the World in Prayer', error Black (inscription, value and frame) omitted, SG645a.

PRICE: £1,700


This is one of the all-time most dramatic stamp errors ever issued from Canada.

Canada are actually highly reputed for their quality printing techniques and tight quality controls.

Somehow, this massive missing colour error slipped through.

The missing colour “black” on printing resulted in the loss of the country name, inscription, frame and the value of the stamp. 

This is a very fine unmounted mint example with full original gum and presented with the normal stamp for comparison.

It is a very scarce error as only 400 originally existed and 204 of them are in the Library and Archives, Canada. It is the first time we have enjoyed the privilege of handling this famous and dramatic stamp error.

Forgetting the Queen’s Birthday

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Barbados 1986 Queen's 60th birthday 65c, error silver (logo) omitted, SG812a.

PRICE: £300


This stamp is a rare Queen Elizabeth II error of missing colour resulting in an embarrassing faux pas.

The missing silver colour in the print run resulted in the loss of the logo, which commemorated the Queen’s 60th birthday, and was therefore significant!

This is a perfect example of the error in Post Office fresh condition, unmounted mint with full original gum. It is also sold with the normal stamp as presentation for comparison purposes.

Missing the perforations

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South Africa 1926-27 1d black and carmine, Pretoria typo printing, block of 4, the left vertical pair ERROR IMPERFORATE THREE SIDES, SG31b.

PRICE: £950


This error resulting in missing perforations is similar to the Cyprus error, but at a fraction of the price.

A mechanical failure or lack of maintenance resulted in this block of four stamps from South Africa missing their perforations on three of the four sides.

It is also a very fine and fresh mint block with original gum. A most spectacular quality example of this rare error.

It is a lovely stamp issue depicting Dromedaris (Jan van Riebeeck’s ship), the arrival of which in the Cape on 6th April 1652 marked the beginning of permanent European settlement in the region.

You can own this major South African stamp error rarity today at a 14% discount to the Stanley Gibbons catalogue value of £1,100. 

A major rarity at a minor price

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Zanzibar 1895-96 1a6p sepia, type 1 overprint on India, horizontal pair, SG5j. The left stamp includes the error "Zanzidar" (with second "z" and "d" both normal), from Setting 1 (= Hall "D"). R4/6 (second state).

PRICE: £3,500


As the process of applying overprints to stamps was more manual, there are an abundance of fascinating and curious errors to collect. As such, it is a very popular area of philatelic study.

These overprints were applied to the Indian stamps at the office of the Zanzibar Gazette. Because the work was performed by native “craftsmen”, countless errors were made.

The “Zanzidar” overprint error is probably the most famous and popular of this wide area of study.

This example is a great rarity, being one of only four unused examples of the error in private hands and one of only two surviving in this desirable form as a pair (se-tenant form).

It is pleasing when such a major rarity can be found in such fine and fresh condition, particularly with most original gum still in-tact. 

There are some insignificant blemishes mentioned for strict accuracy (tiny trace of rubbing, right stamp with slight crease). Such minor deviations from perfection can be forgiven when there are only two examples in this form!

It is also accompanied with a clear British Philatelic Association (BPA) certificate of authenticity (2018).

Provenance: Illustrated in "Zanzibar" (EASC 2002), pl.2. Ex Griffith-Jones and Gartner (Glenferrie July 1993, lot 23).

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is £4,000+, meaning this major rarity could be yours for a 13% discount to catalogue value.

The most dramatic possible mistake

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Rhodesia & Nyasaland 1959-62 1d (carmine-red and) grey-black, coil stamp, perforations 12½ x 14, ERROR CENTRE OMITTED, SG19ac.

PRICE: £140


An error doesn’t get more dramatic than when the design is missing entirely. 

The most famous stamp error with missing design is the 1 shilling stamp from the British Virgin Islands where the image of the Virgin is missing. There are only four or five examples known and when it last appeared at auction in December 2015, it realised £120,000.

The missing carmine-red colour in the printing process for this stamp from Rhodesia & Nyasaland results in the omission of the central design of a VHF mast.

It is a very fine unmounted mint example with full original gum. There are some trivial perforation blemishes, although this is immaterial to the overall fine quality.

The Stanley Gibbons catalogue value is, remarkably, only £200.

My price is just £140, making this a steal at a 30% discount to the current catalogue value.

The most famous stamp error from the Channel Islands

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Great Britain 1969 Jersey 10s "Royal Court", SG28a

PRICE: £5,500


My final recommendation is one I will really be sad to let go.

You see, our company is based in Jersey in the Channel Islands and this is our most iconic and valuable stamp error.

It is extremely rare and only the second example I have handled in my lifetime.

The error resulted in the border being printed in green instead of slate blue.

The printing error occurred when, during the final printing, one sheet of 25 stamps was accidently fed into the press, which had been set up with the green background meant for the 50p value.

This is a magnificent quality example being superb, unmounted mint with full original gum and Post Office fresh. It is also a bottom marginal example from the printing sheet.

The reasonably priced stamp errors collection

To summarise:

  • Stamp errors have been the most vibrant and growing area of collecting in recent years
  • My collection of stamp errors provides you with a range of different printing blunders
  • All priced reasonably and look undervalued

The entire collection can be yours today for the price of £12,135.

To secure the whole collection you will need to contact me as soon as possible, either:

Call me immediately on +44(0)1534 639998.

Or email me today at

Having followed this market for over 20 years, now looks a good time to jump in when prices look ready to rip higher.

Kind regards 

Mike Hall

PS. I think one of the reasons the market for stamp errors is always so strong is because they are prized by not just collectors, but investors as well.

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