Thursday, February 16, 2012

The ‘Holy Grail of Philately’

Britain's Daily Mail reports, "One of the rarest and most sought after stamps ever produced is up for sale and expected to fetch over half a million pounds.The plate 77 Penny Red has been dubbed the ‘Holy Grail of philately’ and is one of just nine examples of the stamp ever recorded. Although millions of Penny Reds were printed between 1841 and 1879, a number of plates were never used due to technical faults."

Reporter Katie Silver pens, "Flaws in plate number 77 meant the stamp’s perforations were lined up incorrectly, so all of the test sheets were destroyed. But at least one sheet was released into circulation by mistake - making the 77 every stamp collector’s dream. Dealer Stanley Gibbons heralds it as the 'most valuable single stamp' the company has ever had for sale in their 156 year history, with a value of around £550,000."

According to the article, "To date, four mint and five used examples have been reported, although some have not been seen for so long their authenticity is unconfirmed and often doubted. Of the mint examples, there is one in the Royal Philatelic collection, one in the Tapling collection in the British Library, one in the Raphael collection that was stolen in 1965 and has not been seen since, and the fourth was in the Ferrary collection sold in the 1920s."

Shown above, The extremely rare used penny red stamp (left) from 'plate 77' compared with a regular four penny red (right).

To read the entire article, click here.
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posted by Don Schilling at 12:01 AM