If I could buy just one stamp...
An exceptional example of the most famous postage stamp in the world
I’m often asked this question, “if you could buy just one stamp, which would it be?”
My answer is always the same, “the penny black, of course”.
First issued in May 1840, it is the world’s first postage stamp. It marked the beginning of a communications revolution that changed the world.
It is the most famous and iconic stamp in the world.
The penny black I would buy though is not just any old penny black…
It is a mint penny black in pristine condition.
Seeing one in this condition makes my heart miss a beat.
You see, it is so rare to find a penny black that over the past 178 years:
- Was never used for its original purpose as postage (people didn’t collect stamps until the 1850s)
- Was manually cut with scissors by the postmaster from a sheet with precision, providing four perfect margins on the stamp
- Has maintained its fresh colour, avoiding sunlight
- Managed to escape any marks from manhandling
- Escaped the clumsy human clutches that could have led to creases or tears
- Was never subjected to a hinge being stuck on its back to be put in someone’s stamp album
- Did not lose its fragile gum, avoiding all water damage and dampness
Something of this quality at the age of 178 years is, quite frankly, a genetic freak.
And, that’s why a penny black in this condition is so rare and extremely hard to find.
The easiest stamp in the world to sell
From my experience in stamp dealing over the past two decades, a mint penny black is the easiest high value stamp to sell.
The problem is that finding a good quality mint penny black is extremely difficult.
There are very few quality mint examples in existence.
Furthermore, quality mint examples are mostly tied up in long term collections and only come on the market following the death of a collector.
Some simply vanish, never to be seen again, presumably lost or destroyed. They get rarer every year.
Getting your hands on one is a bit of a “dead man’s shoes” scenario. It is an ownership of real privilege passed on through the generations.
I have never held one in stock for any length of time.
They come up for sale so infrequently.
I hardly ever get the chance to get my hands on one. Normally collectors will outbid me at auction.
Today is a special day…
The exceptional example of a penny black available today
This is the best quality example of a penny black you could ever hope to find:
Great Britain 1840 1d Black Plate 9, SG2.
Exceptionally fine and fresh unused original gum four margin example lettered IG.
A very difficult plate to find mint and an absolutely stunning example.
Accompanied by a 2002 Brandon Certificate of Authenticity.
Price: £25,000 ($33,300)
There are three key factors that make a penny black more valuable, and this example has them all in abundance:
As I said, this is the finest quality you could ever hope to find of a penny black. There is not a single condition defect to mention.
It is exceptionally rare to find a mint penny black of this quality.
2. Printing plate
There were 11 different printing plates used for the penny black. Plate 9 is a very difficult plate number to find as it only accounted for around 5% of the total number of penny blacks printed.
This is the only unmounted mint plate 9 example I have seen in 20 years.
The stamp is sold with an independent “Brandon” certificate of authenticity issued in 2002.
The stamp was handled in the past by the most famous stamp dealers in the world, Stanley Gibbons.
When you add all these ingredients together, you have the recipe for a perfect stamp.
It is faultless.
The historical importance of the penny black
The penny black was first issued in May 1840 and is the world’s first postage stamp.
Being the first country to issue stamps, Great Britain is not required to include the country name in the design of their stamps.
The introduction of pre-paid postage through the penny black changed the world as we know it.
Prior to its introduction, postage was very expensive and was paid by the recipient not the sender. Delivery was charged based on the miles travelled and the number of sheets of paper used. The recipient would typically be stung by a charge of several pounds. It was not unusual for delivery to fail because the recipient could not afford to pay.
The penny black changed all this and made sending letters affordable to everyone. It revolutionised worldwide communication.
At the time, many Victorians were illiterate. The penny black incentivised an entire generation to want to read and write.
The result was an increase in postal traffic from 75 million to 410 million in under 10 years.
The penny black represents a real landmark in British and worldwide history.
We had to wait over 150 years before witnessing such a transformational change in communication again with the emergence of the internet.
The influence of the penny black on the changes in society back in Victorian times were as seismic as the internet has been in recent years to modern society.
I would suggest that if, like me, you love history, you will want to own a penny black.
The safest investment in stamps
The penny black has always been my Number 1 investment tip in stamps.
It has proved a sound investment throughout history.
Based on the SG catalogue, the mint penny black from plate 9 shows growth of 367% (22% pa) since the turn of the century.
Also, because the penny black is the most collected stamp in the world, it is the most liquid stamp investment you can own.
That can be important in the future, in that there are likely to be plenty of willing buyers when you or your descendants choose to sell.
The penny black will always be the holy grail of stamp collecting.
Call me immediately on +44(0)1534 639998.
Or email me today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you only want to buy one stamp, this is the one!
CEO, Just Collecting Limited
PS. You will understand that I can only sell this rare penny black once. You will therefore need to respond quickly if you would like to add “my number 1 stamp” to your collection.
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