Notable Stamps

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As a hobby that appeals to people of all ages from all over the world, the popularity of philately continues to grow today. Here’s a list of the five most noteworthy stamps in the world, guaranteed to enamour the philatelist in you.

Among the Best-Known Stamps Are:

The Treskilling Yellow

This 1855 Swedish stamp, with only one surviving copy, is the most valuable stamp in the world. The Treskilling Yellow was auctioned in 2010 and bought by French businessman Armand Rousso for an undisclosed amount. At its previous auction, the Treskilling Yellow sold for about R 31,140,000! Why is it famous? It was mistakenly printed yellow instead of greenish blue. The stamp was cancelled by the Swedish government in 1857.


U.S. Ben Franklin Z-Grill

Issued in 1868 in the United States, this one cent stamp depicts Benjamin Franklin. Only two copies of the stamp survive today. One is privately owned while the other is owned by the New York Public Library. The stamp is famous because of its horizontal ridges (most other US stamps feature vertical ridges) and its tiny Z grill indentations. This stamp was discontinued in 1870 and is estimated to be worth about R93,420,000 today!

Penny Black

Issued in 1840 in the UK, the Penny Black is valued at about R51,900,000 today. It was designed by social reformer and inventor Rowland Hill and depicts a sketch of Queen Victoria by William Wyon, chief engraver of the Royal Mint. It is also the world’s first self-adhesive postage stamp. The Penny Black was discontinued after only nine months of circulation because red cancellation marks were hard to spot on its black background.


Inverted Jenny

This stamp features probably the most famous mistake in the history of US philately. The stamp depicts an upside down image of a Curtiss JN-4 airplane surrounded by a bright red frame. Many experts believe that the image of the plane was actually printed correctly and that, in fact, it was the red frame was printed in an inverted manner. The Inverted Jenny was issued in 1918 and only about 100 of these stamps survive today, each estimated to be worth about R 10,000,000!

Olive coloured Queen Victoria’s Head

Issued in 1864 in Hong Kong with a face value of about 96 HK cents, the olive Queen Victoria stamp is today worth about R8,823,000! The stamps were supposed to be grey-brown but about 52 sheets of the stamp were mistakenly printed olive instead. The watermark on these stamps was also not styled the way it should’ve been. Only 40 of these stamps exist in the world today.

As you can see, studying and collecting stamps can be a very enriching and rewarding hobby, both intellectually and financially!

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