Top 10: Stamp sales in 2011
A Canadian 1851 12d Black, said to be the finest extant mint example, made $425,000 at a Spink Shreves auction in January 2011.
Known as the Black Empress, it was awarded a "Superb 98" grading by the Philatelic Foundation.
The Black Empress
8. Pair of $5 Red Revenue Chinese stamps - $442,936
A pair of 1897 Red Revenue Chinese stamps, produced in 1897 under the Qing Dynasty, sold for $442,936 at an Interasia Auctions sale in February 2011.
7. Plate block of four Penny Blacks - £300,000 ($479,300)
A plate block of four plate seven Penny Blacks sold for £300,000 ($479,349) at Spink’s Chartwell Collection auction in June 2011.
The block, from the lower left of plate seven, features the inscription: “PRICE 1d. Per Label, 1/- Per Row”.
It is the only plate block from plate seven known to exist.
6. Finest example Penny Black - £339,390 ($521,440)
A Penny Black, issued on May 13, 1840, 12 days after the stamp was first produced, sold for £339,390 ($521,440) at Spink’s Chartwell Collection auction in June 2011.
The stamp’s high price can be put down to its superb condition, including large/very large margins all around.
5. Pontefract Penny Black cover - £348,000 ($556,045)
The Pontefract Penny Black cover, said by Spink to be the "the Finest and Most Attractive One Penny Black on Cover in Existence", sold at the auction house’s Chartwell Collection sale for £348,000 ($556,045) in June 2011.
Dated May 13, 1840, the letter was sent from Wakefield to Pontefract.
The Pontefract Penny Black cover
4. Block of three Chinese Red Revenue stamps - $708,697
A block of three 1897 Chinese red revenue stamps, featuring a $5 inverted surcharge, made $708,697 at an Interasia Auctions sale in February 2011.
3. Hong Kong 1862 96c olive-bistre block - $821,000
A Hong Kong 1862 96c olive-bistre block of four sold for $821,000 at a Spink auction in Hong Kong in January 2011.
A small number of the stamps were printed with the error colour, and this example is the only extant unused multiple.
2. 1968 Mao's Inscription to Japanese Worker Friends corner block of four - $1.15m
The lot is thought to be the largest multiple in existence.Chairman Mao's Inscription to Japanese Worker Friends corner block of four sold for $1.15m at an Interasia Auctions sale in February 2011.
The stamps were never issued, due to complaints from the Japanese government.
1. 1847 Mauritius 'Post Office' 2d blue - £1.08m ($1.66m)
The Chartwell Collection 2d Blue
An 1847 Mauritius 'Post Office' 2d blue, the best-preserved of the 27 known extant examples, sold for £1.08m ($1.66m) at Spink’s Chartwell Collection auction in June 2011.
It is regarded as the lightest cancelled of the 27.
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