World’s Rarest Postage Stamps

By Shreesha Ghosh

September 06, 2022

Image source:: Wikipedia

It was originally printed in British Guiana (now Guyana). The stamp wasn't known to many until a 12-year-old Scottish boy discovered it in 1873 and sold it for 6 shillings (roughly $10 now). Today, it is considered the world’s rarest stamp and was bought for 8.3 million dollars by the rare stamp dealer Stanley Gibbons.

British Guiana 1 cent Magenta, 1856

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The 1855 Treskilling Yellow resulted from a colour error amongst the set of five stamps first issued in Sweden. The 3 skillings (former Scandinavian coins of low denomination) stamps were normally printed in a blue-green colour, while 8 skilling stamps were printed in yellowish orange. A mistaken swap resulted in the creation of a batch of yellow stamps that circulated in the 1850s. Only one Treskilling Yellow is known to have survived.

Treskilling Yellow, 1855

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The 10 Rupees Postage stamp with a picture of Mahatma Gandhi was issued in 1948 and is one of India's most famous stamps. On the occasion of the first anniversary of the country's independence on August 15, 1948, Gandhi became the first Indian to be depicted on stamps. The 10 Rupees "Service" overprinted stamp is India's rarest and most highly valued.

Mahatma Gandhi 10 Rupees Postage stamp

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This stamp is highly sought after simply because it is considered a work of art. This stamp features an intricately designed, two-tone rendering of John Trumbull’s famous painting — the Declaration of Independence, presented to the Continental Congress. This stamp features 42 individual figures, some extremely tiny that can only be seen with a magnifying glass.

24c Declaration of Independence, 1869

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These stamps are among the rarest in the world and were the first to be printed outside Great Britain on September 21, 1847, in two denominations of an orange-red one penny and a deep blue two-pence. These stamps depict the face of Queen Victoria, and only 14 copies of the orange-red and 12 copies of the deep blue are known to exist today.

Blue & Red Penny Mauritius, 1847

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Also known as The Tiflis Unica (Unique), it is one of the oldest surviving stamps of the Russian empire. One could easily mistake it for a metal sheet with embossed lettering like a metal bookplate instead of a stamp. There are only five of these stamps found in existence.

Tiflis Stamp, 1857

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This was a misprinted 24-cent stamp of 1918 that featured the inverted Curtiss JN-4 aeroplane. The United States Post Office first used it to carry mail. The plane was mistakenly printed upside down on the top of the stamp. In 2014, the US Post Office released several million sheets of these stamps to mark the 95th anniversary of the misprint.

The Inverted Jenny, 1918

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This is a postage stamp prized by collectors in India. The first issues in 1854 included a Four Annas value in red and blue and were one of the world's first multicoloured stamps. The stamp is also considered unique because of the error: the head of Queen Victoria was printed upside down.

Inverted head 4 annas, 1854