Great Britain 1910 2d Tyrian Plum
The Great Britain 1910 2d Tyrian Plum is a postage stamp produced by Great Britain in 1910 as a replacement for the bi-colored 2d stamp of King Edward VII which was in use at the time. The replacement was an effort to lower the costs of stamp production.
The stamp bears the portrait of King Edward VII.
Almost all of the stamps were destroyed when King Edward VII died in May 1910.
In 1910, With such an avid public interest in stamps, it was decided that the existing two colour 2d stamp of Edward VII's reign should be replaced by a cheaper-to-produce single colour issue.
Many ‘colour trials’ were proposed and produced for the new one colour issue, including various shades of blue, green, brown, red and orange. Tyrian Plum was chosen as the stamp’s colour. All the stamps were issued in one colour to reduce ink costs.
One-hundred-thousand sheets of 240 stamps each were produced by the printers De La Rue. These stamps were delivered to the post office stores for distribution to Postmasters. A decision was taken to hold back the new stamps until stocks of the old King Edward VII 2d had been exhausted.
King Edward VII then fell seriously ill. Although at one point it was thought he was recovering, he died suddenly on 6 May 1910. Almost the whole stock of 2d Tyrian plum was subsequently destroyed with a few examples surviving in private hands today.
A single used example is known. It was owned by the noted philatelist King George V after being gifted to him by the then Prince of Wales. That example is held in the Royal Philatelic Collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Appearances in exhibitions and on the collectors’ markets
Examples of the Tyrian Plum are rarely seen on the open market. The Stanley Gibbons Great Britain Concise Stamp Catalogue, compiled by the philatelic dealer and publisher Stanley Gibbons prices the stamp at £95,000+.
A complete imperforate registration sheet of 240 stamps is in the British Postal Museum and Archive along with a perforated sheet of 139 stamps.
One example was auctioned by Sotheby’s for £54,000 on September 30, 2010.
Collectibles company Paul Fraser Collectibles listed another single example for sale at £85,000 in January 2011.
See also: Main Article: List of notable postage stamps
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