Stanley Gibbons, the world’s pre-eminent prestige collectibles merchant, has sold one of Britain’s most iconic rare stamps, a ‘Plate 77 Penny Red’, for almost half a million pounds to a private collector.
The £495,000 stamp is only one of five used examples known to the world of philately, including one in the British Museum.
‘Plate 77 Penny Reds’ are viewed by collectors and sophisticated investors as the ‘Holy Grail’ of philately because Plate 77 stamps should simply not exist. But a tiny handful made their way into circulation, despite the original printing plate being destroyed.
Keith Heddle, Managing Director of Investments at Stanley Gibbons said: “This is one of the most desirable and iconic of British stamps for collectors worldwide, highly sought after for more than 100 years. It is testament to the strength of the market for rare stamps and also Stanley Gibbons’ global standing that we have managed to sell not just one, but two Plate 77 Penny Reds in the last four years. With the last one having been sold to a client in Australia, I’m delighted this one has found a home in Britain.”
The recently sold stamp was purchased for “The Waterbird Portfolio”, the private collection of an anonymous British buyer. The new owner commented: “I am so pleased I bought this stamp, it has given me a buzz I really didn’t expect. I am sure it will prove to be a fabulous investment and in an uncertain financial world, will prove its worth.”
The world’s most expensive stamp is the ‘British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta’, which was sold in 2014, in New York, for $9.48 million.
With global financial markets haunted once again by the spectre of volatility since the turn of the year, the market for rare stamps and coins has remained remarkably resilient. Only last month Stanley Gibbons sold one of Britain’s rarest coins, an Edward VI “Boy King” gold sovereign of 30 Shillings, for £250,000 to an investor in Asia.