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Great Britain: Most Expensive and Valuable Stamps

March 20, 2019

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View rare and valuable stamps of Great Britain at auctions.

Stamps of Great Britain and the UK are popular among collectors from various countries. In this review, you will find 10 rare and valuable stamps that have interesting provenance and will surely become the highlight of any philatelic collection.

1. British Guiana 1с magenta

Price Realized: $9,500,000


The rarest postage stamp of the 19th century set not one but several records at stamp auctions. At a Sotheby's event in New York, an anonymous buyer purchased it for $9.5 million, although experts estimated its cost from $10 million to $20 million. Interestingly, the bidding lasted only two minutes. Connoisseurs are ready to spend huge money just to see it. It is important that the stamp set a record not only in terms of price but also in terms of price ratio per the size and weight of the lot. The octagonal piece printed on pinkish paper, which has no perforation, is considered the only one left from a limited edition issued in 1856 in British Guiana.

2. Penny Red

Price Realized: £495,000


This is a standard postage stamp with nominal value of 1 penny, which replaced the famous Penny Black in 1841. This piece was in circulation until 1879. Initially, the specimen was printed using the same printing plates that were used to print its famous predecessor. The first release of the stamp had no perforation, and the copies were cut from sheets with scissors just as in the case of the predecessor.

3. 1904 I. R. Official

Price Realized: £400,000


This is another great philatelic rarity, which was issued at the beginning of the 20th century. The piece shows Edward VII. The provenance of the stamp is unusual. The piece was withdrawn from circulation almost as soon as an official act requiring the withdrawal of all official stamps was released. According to various sources, there were less than 20 sheets of this specimen and all of them were destroyed in accordance with the released act. The stamp was exhibited at Stanley Gibbons event.

4. Penny Black

Price Realized: $345,100


This is the first stamp in the history of postage stamps (the standard type); it is made in black color and has a nominal value of 1 penny. Despite the fact that the market is rich in these stamps, the ones that belong to the very first issue are very rare. Therefore, this lot has become the highlight of the Spink auction.

5. Penny Blue

Price Realized: $210,000


This a Penny Blue sheet issued in 1840. It is a well-known fact that these stamps were issued to replace the famous Penny Black. This lot was offered at Spink's auction at an estimated price of $50,000-75,000. The lot was one of the most eye-appealing blocks ever seen, which increased its final price dramatically.

6. 2d Tyrian Plum

Price Realized: $159,500


This rare stamp is associated with a tragic history. It shows a portrait of King Edward VII, who died soon after the creation of this stamp. For that reason, the entire issue was withdrawn from circulation and became unavailable to the general public. Only twelve examples are intact, which makes them extremely valuable.

7. Roses Error Stamp

Price Realized: $118,317


This stamp could have been just a regular stamp with no peculiarity to it; however, during printing, an error occurred and 3 copies were issued with no face value (please see the left piece on the image). This mistake was spotted and the sheets were destroyed, but several pieces remained intact. Curiously, the Queen owns 2 of them and the 3rd piece is in the collection of some anonymous collector.

8. 1882 £5 Bright Orange Stamp

Price Realized: $26,450

GB Orange.jpg

This beautiful stamp that has Brandon certificate was issued in 1882. This piece with the face value of 5 pounds was exhibited at a Cherrystone event. The lot is bright orange and never hinged.

9. Brown-Lilac Stamp

Price Realized: £21,000


This issue was released in 1884 and its peculiarity lies in its original gum. There is contradictory information regarding this stamp as some sources say that similar copies were realized for more than 100,000 pounds; nevertheless, one of the most expensive stamps was sold for as much as £21,000.

10. Postal Union Congress Stamp

Price Realized: $950


This is one of the most beautiful postal stamps ever printed in Great Britain. A special committee was created to approve its design. The lot shows King George V and has the face value of £1. Curiously, this is the second commemorative stamp of the country. The lot was sold at Spink.