The Weird and Wonderful World of Stamps
7 Stamp Oddities you should add to your collection
The world of stamps is filled with bizarre oddities.
One of the things I enjoy most is unearthing unusual stamps to offer to my readers.
By unusual, I mean fascinating rarities.
The kind of stamps collectors would likely treasure in their collections.
I find it difficult enough to source such rarities…
Finding them at a price which presents exceptional value to you is when I can rest, happy in the knowledge I have done my job well.
To illustrate, take a look at what is one of my personal favourite oddities sold from a previous e-mail:
Jamaican Abolition of Slavery Stamp 1921
This Jamaican stamp was prepared for issue in June 1921. It caused political unrest because of its subject matter and was cancelled shortly before it was due for issue.
An estimated 416,000 stamps were printed and subsequently destroyed. Two blocks of four were, however, preserved and one block was added to The Royal Collection of King George V.
The other block was integrated into the Postal Collection in Kingston. That block mysteriously disappeared from the Post Office’s vaults and resurfaced in the market as four singles. One of those could sell today for six-figures.
In addition, “Specimens” of the stamp were sent to members of the Universal Postal Union. They rarely appear on the market for sale.
But, I got my hands on one…
The brilliant quality example above. And… we sold it for just £1,100.
In my view, this was a steal at that price.
How could such a rare stamp, with such important historical significance in perfect condition be worth such a paltry sum?
My view is the canny buyer will be pleasantly surprised at the price he gets for this when he sells it one day in the future.
Unfortunately, I do not have another example I can sell you.
What I have done instead is used this example as the basis to set myself a personal challenge…
To find other similarly unusual stamps offered at a ridiculously low price comparative to their rarity.
Here is what I have uncovered for you from my work…
1. Rare printing proof for under £100
Barbados 1874 Britannia 4d imperforate plate proof in black on wove, SG68
PRICE: £85 ($112)
The Britannia stamps were the first stamps of Barbados, first issued in 1852. The striking and memorable design has made it one of the jewels of the Caribbean.
The SG catalogue price of the normal 1874 stamp is £350.
What I have for you is a rare imperforate plate proof of this stamp in black on wove paper.
145 years ago, a careful postal worker separated this stamp from a sheet manually with scissors. It was taken from the top of the sheet with exceptional precision. The resultant large margins make it a very high quality example.
The proof is interesting in that it was printed by Perkins Bacon. They, however, lost the printing contract. The issued stamps were only ever printed by De La Rue.
Despite the appeal, quality and rarity of this proof, it is available to you today for just £85.
2. An unusual piece of postal history
Gibraltar 1939 (4 JA) King George V 2d grey on cream postal stationery envelope (120 x94mm), SG128
PRICE: £150 ($196)
This attractive postal stationery cover from Gibraltar shows a highly unusual combination. The pre-printed envelope covers 2d prepaid postage, additionally franked by a marginal vertical pair of the 1938-51 2d black and brown stamps.
It was sent registered post to the Isle of Wight and shows three strikes of oval date stamps, one of which ties the registration label at upper left.
I have never seen another cover like it and I believe this presents excellent value at a price of £150.
3. An easy error to spot
Great Britain 1881 1d deep purple (Die 2), SG173a
PRICE: £900 ($1,178)
You don’t need to be a stamp expert to spot the error in this classic British Queen Victorian stamp issue.
The stamp was erroneously printed on both sides with the printing on the gummed side being upright and severely misplaced.
Despite its odd appearance, it is classified as a “superb” example being unmounted and with original gum.
A great curiosity of GB philately and it seems under-valued to me compared to the prices of similar British stamp errors.
4. There’s something fishy about this pair
Great Britain Queen Elizabeth II 1983 15½p British River Fish, SG1207a
PRICE: £3,000 ($3,926)
This pair of stamps depicts a salmon from the 1983 British River Fish issue. The normal stamp is worth no more than face value.
However, this fishy pair was erroneously printed without any perforations - making them far more valuable.
The piece is in pristine condition with full original gum.
There are only 10 mint examples known to exist of this error.
Furthermore, this is a vertical gutter margin pair, adding a further premium to the scarcity value.
I am selling this pair on behalf of a new client. He paid £4,500 for it four years ago, the market price at that time.
My client wants to raise some cash quickly for a personal finance matter and, for a quick sale, is willing to let it go for £3,000 today.
At a 33% discount to the price my client paid, this is a chance to secure a major Queen Elizabeth II stamp error at the right price.
5. There can be only one
British Virgin Islands 1883 (28 Feb) colour scheme proofs (160 x 215mm, headed "Appendix" in miniature sheet and with handstamped date at upper right)
PRICE: £3,950 ($5,170)
The printers, De La Rue submitted these colour scheme proofs to the Crown Agents in response to an order for a new ½d value. The problem was that the current 1d keyplate was already in emerald-green, although “green” was now the international colour for the ½d stamp.
To illustrate this, De La Rue affixed the current 1d and 2½d in the upper line, and imperforate ½d colour trials with watermark CA, in blue, carmine and green. Below each item is handstamped “CANCELLED”.
Ultimately, the first printing of the ½d was in yellow, but the universal colours were adopted for the ½d green, 1d carmine and 2½d blue later in 1883-84.
This is an opportunity to obtain a unique and beautiful philatelic historical document for a price which does not break the bank.
It is impossible to predict what this unique piece would realise if it appeared at auction. I suspect on the right day, with the right collectors bidding, today’s price of £3,950 would look cheap.
It also comes with fantastic provenance…
It originated from the De La Rue archives and previously resided in the J.L. Fredrick collection.
6. A Strong Buy Investment Recommendation
St. Vincent 1885-93 6d violet, watermark CA, perforations 14 (comb), SG52
PRICE: £4,750 ($6,217)
The volcanic island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean started printing its own stamps from 1861.
There were only 55 sheets printed of the 6d violet, first issued in 1885. Some of these were overprinted for government revenue purposes.
The upper left corner block of 4 I have available is very rare and in exceptional condition, including brilliant original gum (three of the four stamps are unmounted).
The selling price today of £4,750 represents excellent value. The upper right block, which is of inferior quality, realised £5,400 at auction in March 2006. I consider this a STRONG BUY investment recommendation.
7. Last appeared on the market before I was born
Falkland Islands 1900 (Oct) 1d carmine postal stationery envelope (issued in 1899, Heijtz E1) commercially used to "The Secretary, Prices Candle Company Ltd, 31 Threadneedle St, London E.C."
PRICE: £4,950 ($6,479)
This is a very rare and desirable cover, being one of just three recorded covers with this administrative marking used as a cancellation.
The cover has philatelic importance since the correspondence was sent by the Governor of the Falkland Islands W. Grey-Wilson, who held office from 1897 to 1904.
The cancellations add even further philatelic value…
The stamp indicium is cancelled by a superb strike of the red “GOVERNMENT HOUSE/RECD” circular date stamp, with fixed date “8 DE 99”, but no further Falkland Islands dispatch mark.
It also includes two arrival circular date stamps (NO 13 00) on the face and reverse.
Being such an important philatelic treasure of the Falkland Islands means it comes with appropriate provenance - ex. Stern (from Harmer Rooke 16/5/63, lot 45).
This cover has not appeared on the market for over 50 years, meaning its true market value has not been tested. At the offered price of £4,950, I suspect the next owner could make a nice profit on this key rarity.
A superb and unusual collection
These 7 unusual and rarely seen philatelic items form an excellent collection or investment portfolio.
The total value of the 7 stamps comes to £17,785 ($23,277). If you want to be an “early bird and catch the worm”, e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also click on the links next to each stamp featured to purchase directly from our website.
Or call us on +44(0)1534 639998.
It always saddens me to see rarities such as these go but, as they say, “one man’s loss is another man’s gain”.
CEO, Just Collecting
PS. It is important to note that I cannot hold the prices offered above indefinitely. If you order within 7 days from the date of this e-mail, I guarantee to honour the quoted prices in this e-mail. After that time, the prices on our website may be higher.
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