£5 for a stamp worth £1,800

The Stamp Man

The Stamp Man

2020-02-19 22:31:35

You won’t want to miss our online rarities auction

We wrote to you recently to make you aware of our online stamp rarities auction hosted on the Invaluable website.

Our auction runs until February 27th so you still have time to get in on the action.

3 reasons you should take a look:

  • 237 exceptional quality stamp rarities
  • Over £1 million value
  • Many lots without reserve


The auction includes a number of stamps without reserve. For example, there is a beautiful rare stamp in the auction worth £1,800, which could be yours for as little as £5. 

There is no catch. This is how an auction works when the reserve price is zero.

If you see rare stamps as an investment and store of wealth, today could be a real defining moment for you. There are two dynamics in play:

“The opportunity to purchase high quality assets at a significant discount to market value”

Buying quality assets at discounts to fair value is the most simplistic and, from my experience, most effective form of investing in rare tangible assets.

Our auction offers you this opportunity because:

  • All 237 lots in the auction have been accurately described by our experts and have comfortably passed our premium “quality tests”
  • The reserves are much lower than our retail selling prices (some lots are without reserve due to a small number of bidders being highly motivated to sell)

I have selected for you my TOP TEN lots based on investment merit.

With so many gems to choose from, I found it quite difficult to decide.

The lots I finally picked come from four distinct areas of the stamp market…

1. Modern British Stamp Errors  

The auction includes a strong section of modern British stamp errors.

Stamp errors have long been prized by investors and collectors.

Some stamp collectors focus entirely on building a collection of errors. Most collectors want to own a few errors at least, often becoming the main feature point of the collection.

As a result, the best errors are always in demand, yet they are difficult to obtain because of their rarity.

Here are my favourites from our auction…

Great Britain 1965 3d Post Office Tower. SG679a




  • The missing Post Office tower error is one of the most famous of British stamp errors and certainly has the “wow” factor
  • There are only 30 mint examples in existence
  • This example is of superb quality and with full original gum
  • It has proved a strong investment over the past 20 years. It was listed in the SG catalogue at a price of £750 in 2000 and is listed at £6,000 today, an increase of 700%.
  • I consider this stamp good value at the catalogue price of £6,000, let alone the starting bid value of £1,200

My second recommendation is one of the most famous “errors of value”…

Great Britain Queen Elizabeth II 1988 13p Christmas - error of value, SG1414a.




  • The 1988 Christmas 13p stamp should never have existed after a Scrooge-like rise to 14p in the run up to Christmas. The Post Office tried to destroy all the 13p stamps, but a few slipped through the net as they had already been sent out in 1988 yearbooks.
  • A very fine quality unmounted mint example
  • There are only 10 examples of this famous error of value in mint condition
  • Despite being one of the most highly sought after of modern British stamp errors, I think it is undervalued in the SG catalogue at a price of £9,750
  • The most famous error of value stamp is the 1976 13p roses error, where there are only three examples, which last traded at a value of £150,000

My final recommendation from the British stamp errors is one of the greatest rarities of Queen Elizabeth II philately…

Great Britain 1970 Queen Elizabeth II 5d Literary Anniversaries, SG824ac




  • Produced to mark the centenary of Charles Dickens’ death, the four stamps each feature a scene from one of the author’s novels
  • Error of colour with the expected silver inscriptions, namely Pickwick, Micawber, Copperfield and Oliver missing in all cases and also including a dry print of greenish blue on the Oliver Twist stamp
  • Superb quality block of four, unmounted mint, with full original gum
  • It is one of only two such error mint blocks recorded by Pierron, making it one of the great rarities of QEII philately
  • Being so exceptionally rare, this is likely a “once in a generation” opportunity to acquire this major rarity
  • It was last valued by Stanley Gibbons at a price of £50,000, meaning the starting bid is just 19% of the retail valuation

2. British Commonwealth & Empire stamps

I have long considered the classic stamps from the British Empire to be one of the safest strategies in rare stamp investment. Over the long term, they have consistently shown steady rates of growth and very low volatility.

Our auction includes four stamps in particular which were real head turners for me.

My first selection is one of my favourite stamp designs of all time…

Papua 1907 2d Black and violet SG40a




  • A lovely stamp design depicting the local trading canoe, the Lakatoi, with Hanuabada Village in the background
  • In 1902, Australia received the responsibility to administrate British New Guinea. With the change of the name to become the Territory of Papua, the remaining stock of Lakatoi stamps were overprinted with “Papua”.
  • This rare example shows an error with the double overprint and comes from position 13 of the only sheet of 30 which existed
  • Most examples of the Lakatoi stamps have condition issues. This example is mint with full original gum showing only a tiny trace of gum toning and is very fine.
  • The double overprint error was only relatively recently discovered in 2003 and single examples have never previously been available to collectors
  • The overprint error was first listed in the SG catalogue in 2004 at a price of £1,800. It is now listed at a price of £4,250, up 136%.

My second British Commonwealth recommendation is exceedingly rare in an area of the market showing current high levels of interest…

Batum 1920 (12 Jan) 50r on 3k carmine-red, SG24




  • British troops entered Batum in December 1918. Batum only remained within the British Empire until July 1920. Batum stamps are amongst the most elusive and difficult to find for the British Commonwealth collector.
  • This is one of the key rarities from the city of Batum (in modern day Georgia) with only 200 being issued
  • A fine used example with part circular date stamp of this very rare stamp, even scarcer in used condition
  • Comes with a 2004 certificate of authenticity from the British Philatelic Association (BPA)
  • A particularly strongly contested area of the market at the moment. Despite the value of this rarity doubling in the past decade, it still remains at a relative low value with plenty room for future price appreciation.

My next recommendation doesn’t look like much but I think has huge investment potential…

British Guiana 1850-51 12c black and indigo "Cotton Reel", SG6




  • One of the great stamp rarities of the British Commonwealth from British Guiana, famous for holding the record for the world’s most valuable stamp – “the 1c Magenta, which realised $9.5m at auction in 2014
  • The renowned “Cotton Reel” stamps are named for their resemblance to the base of a cotton reel
  • It is not the most attractive stamp in the world, yet is considered a thing of primitive charm to the collector best appreciated in strong sunlight
  • This example is much above average condition for this classic rarity
  • Accompanied with a clear Friedl certificate of authenticity (1979)
  • It was unsold at our November 2019 auction and the vendor has since lowered the reserve price even further. At the starting bid price, I would consider this an exceptional opportunity for anyone looking at long-term investment prospects.
  • In 2017, A British Guiana 2c rose stamp from the 1850-51 “Cotton Reel” issue appeared at auction and sold for £180,000

My final selection from the British Commonwealth is simply stunning…

Australia B.C.O.F. 1946-48 Purple brown ERROR OPT DOUBLE, SG J3a




  • These stamps were used by Australian forces occupying Japan after the Second World War. Initially, their military post offices supplied Australian stamps but it was decided to introduce the overprinted issue to prevent currency speculation.
  • This is an exceptional rarity being a block of four from the upper left corner of the right pane showing the double overprinting error.
  • It is a lovely quality piece with all stamps unmounted making it a spectacular and very rare multiple
  • It is accompanied with a 1982 Certificate of Authenticity from the Royal Philatelic Society (RPS)
  • The SG catalogue price for just a single stamp is £1,200, meaning the catalogue value is in excess of £4,800 with the expected premium for being a rarer block of four marginal example. As a result, the starting bid price level is very enticing for such a major rarity.

3. Indian stamps 

The strength of the Indian stamp market was illustrated again at a recent prestigious auction of Indian stamps held in London. Prices realised were substantially above the auction estimates (in some cases realised prices were 10 times the auction estimate). 

Because the Indian stamp market remains so fiercely contested, we hardly ever manage to obtain rare stamps from India of fine quality.

Buying Indian stamps as an investment is, in effect, a momentum play at the moment. The dynamics of the market, with insufficient supply to meet demand, mean values should continue to rise.

We have three featured Indian lots in the auction which are all specialised philatelic items. I expect the more specialised areas of the Indian stamp market will rise in value as more collectors become increasingly sophisticated in entering the depths of philatelic research.

For now, the more specialised items remain relatively cheap, such as this one…

India, East India Company 1855-1902 De La Rue issues 1a and 2a die proofs




  • The first stamps from India were released in October 1854. This is the new design from 1855, which featured a young Queen Victoria in an oval vignette inside a rectangular frame and inscribed “EAST INDIA POSTAGE”.
  • They were recess printed by De La Rue and continued in use well after the British Government took over the administration of India in 1858, following the 1857 rebellion against the East India Company’s administration
  • These are the De La Rue die proofs for the 1 anna and 2 annas issues, which formed part of the design and approval process for this important stamp issue
  • Both are in fine condition, stamp sized in black on glazed card, with some gum toning as would be expected yet of very fine appearance and rare
  • I have seen single examples of De La Rue die proofs for this issue sell at auction for over £600, suggesting the starting bid of £600 for this lot is exceptional value

4. British classics 

The British rare stamp market has been relatively weak in recent years, fundamentally impacted by an exceptionally large supply coming on to the market at the same time.

During the recent market weakness, the “classics” have held up very well showing their mettle as a secure long-term investment.

Buying classic rare British stamps when you can get them at significant discounts to SG catalogue values is a shrewd move when taking a longer term perspective, in my opinion.

We have a large and fine selection of rare British stamps in our auction, so it was difficult to pick out my favourites.

That said, these two lots grabbed my attention the most…

Great Britain 1884 Queen Victoria Surface Printed 5s rose, SG180




  • The 1884 5 shilling rose is a Victorian classic and has always been a popular stamp amongst collectors
  • The beautiful design of this surface printed stamp symbolises the pride behind the golden era of the Victorian postal revolution. It is not just the design but the lush rose colour which makes this stamp always stand out in any album.
  • This example is fresh, vibrant, well centred and with original gum making it a premium quality example, rarely seen in such splendid condition
  • With a starting bid at 9% of the SG catalogue price, it is a prize well worth winning

And, finally, the stamps that started it all…

Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plates 1a-11, SG2/3




  • A superb used set of twelve four margin penny blacks from all 12 printing plates including plate 1a and 1b
  • A wonderful complete collection tracking the printings of the world’s first postage stamp
  • What is particularly attractive is the dedication taken in compiling the collection with all stamps showing beautiful crisp black Maltese Cross cancellations, which would be extremely difficult to replicate
  • The combined SG catalogue value of the stamps is £9,875 compared to the starting bid of £4,000. The penny black has always been, in my opinion, the safest investment in stamps.
  • This wonderful complete collection is worth more than the individual stamps by virtue of the difficulty in compiling

Place your bids now 

If you are a collector, our auction offers you the chance to get your hands on items for your collection in the right quality, potentially at a very low price.

If you are an investor, I would recommend you take this opportunity to acquire some key rarities at lower prices to enhance your investment performance.

As I said, some lots are without reserve. For example, you only need to bid £5 to have a chance of winning a fantastic watermark variety of this famous Seahorse stamp catalogued at £1,800…

Great Britain 1915 King George V 2s6d yellow brown watermark reversed). SG406wj


Remember, you only have until next Thursday, 27th February at 6pm to place your bids.

Good luck in winning your lots.


Kind regards, 

Mike Hall. 

CEO Just Collecting

PS. If you need more information on any of the auction lots, or would like to talk to us before placing your bids, do not hesitate to contact us. Simply hit the reply button to this blog. Alternatively, you can reach us by phone at +44(0)1534 639998. Enjoyed this Blog? You may also like: 

December 31, 2019: A happy new year 

December 30, 2019: The 10 weirdest auction lots of 2019 

December 27, 2019: Some like it hot, do you? 

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