15 of the Most Valuable Stamps Amongst Collectors

Only a few people in the modern world prefer to send snail mail, but that doesn’t mean the value of stamps is going down anytime soon. If you have someone who used to collect stamps or even any old mail lying around, you should check their stamps before throwing them away. You could earn hundreds over a little square piece of quality paper.

1. Audrey Hepburn Commemorative Postage Stamp

Audrey Hepburn Commemorative Postage Stamp
Image Credit: NBC UNIVERSAL.

Famous people have been appearing on stamps for a long time now, but there’s a reason why Audrey Hepburn’s 2001 German stamp is highly sought after. The image features her holding a cigarette holder rather than her sunglasses from the iconic Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster. Her family refused the copyright approval, so the stamps were scrapped, and any surviving ones in mint condition are considered highly precious.

2. Benjamin Franklin ‘Z Grill’

Benjamin Franklin 'Z Grill'
Image Credit: National Bank Note Company – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Most collectors probably have a Benjamin Franklin stamp or two in their collection. However, the “Z Grill” one is the most valuable. These stamps are created with a “Z” punch, leaving some indentations so the ink would seep through more effectively, making them impossible to reuse. Interestingly, these stamps were recalled around the 1870s, so untarnished surviving ones are rare.

3. Swedish Treskilling Yellow

Swedish Treskilling Yellow
Image Credit: P.A. Sparre – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

This beautiful yellow stamp is one of the first Swedish stamps ever to be made and was a misprint, as they were supposed to be in green. The misprint makes it highly valuable to stamp collectors, especially among Europeans. So far, there’s only one known Swedish Treskilling Yellow stamp worldwide.

4. Penny Red Plate 77

Penny Red Plate 77
Image Credit: Hephaestos – CC BY 2.0/ Wiki Commons.

Initially, the Penny Red Plate 77 was cast aside as they were considered of terrible quality, and the original plate used for the stamp’s creation was destroyed. Even so, some trickled into circulation after its print around 1863. As such, it is known as one of the most valuable stamps originating from the United Kingdom.

5. Abraham Lincoln ‘Z Grill’

Abraham Lincoln 'Z Grill'
Image Credit: Amos Media Company.

Like the Benjamin Franklin “Z Grill,” the Abraham Lincoln version is equally sought after, especially if it is untarnished. In fact, for some, it is more valuable as it was only in circulation for a few years, plus having one of the most famous presidents on it drives up the value.

6. Mauritius Post Office Stamp

PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS - CIRCA 2015: Replica of the 1847 Blue Penny and Red Penny postage stamp (Blue Mauritius Post Office Stamp) printed as a souvenir from Mauritius - Port Louis, Mauritius.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Famously known for a spelling error misprint, the British Mauritius Post Office Stamp reads “Post Office” instead of the intended “Post Paid.” Furthermore, there are two color variants of the same misprint, one in blue and another in orange. Either would cost a fortune amongst collectors, so keep any misprints if you come across them!

7. Sicilian Error of Color

Sicilian Error of Color
Image Credit: Mintage world.

This stamp was supposed to come out in a beautiful orange shade, but somehow, it turned blue. Known as the Sicilian Error of Color back in 1859, a few stamps came out of the color misprint, but only two are found to date, costing up to millions among collectors.

8. Inverted Jenny

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2014: a postage stamp printed in USA showing a reproduction of the Inverted Jenny stamp first issued in 1918, circa 2014.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

A famous stamp that has even reached the knowledge of non-stamp collectors, the Inverted Jenny features an upside-down Curtiss JN-4 bi-plane printed on a stamp circa 1918. It’s believed that most of these stamps were destroyed due to the misprint, but somehow, a singular sheet of 100 stamps evaded destruction. These stamps now go for millions if found in pristine condition.

9. British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta

British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta
Image Credit: Joseph Baum and William Dallas printers/Wiki Commons.

One of the rarest stamps in the world, the British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta, is simply that – a stamp printed with black ink on vibrant magenta-colored paper. So far, it has yet to be found, so it is a one-of-one. It is the holy grail of stamps, that’s for sure.

10. Two Penny Blue

Two Penny Blue
Image Credit: General Post Office of the United Kingdom/Wiki Commons.

Back in the day, stamps had different face values, and the amount of stamps and colors used depended on the weight of your items. The Two Penny Blue stamps were used for heavier items and weren’t needed as much, so they could be more challenging to find. It is also known as the world’s second official stamp ever released, which drives up its value.

11. Baden 9 Kreuzer Error Stamp

Baden 9 Kreuzer Error Stamp
Image Credit: Andrei Sdobnikov – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

This time around, the color error is from pink to green. These Baden 9 Kreuzer stamps from Germany were supposed to be printed in pink but somehow came out in a green shade instead. Now, only four of these have been known to exist for the longest time, but after the appearance of a fifth one in 2019, everyone is on the hunt for more.

12. Inverted Pair of Dr Sun Yat-sen

Inverted Pair of Dr Sun Yat-sen
Image Credit: Mintage World.

Instead of an inverted bi-plane, we have an inverted Chinese president with the Inverted Pair of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. One sheet of 50 stamps features this inverted version, but only two pairs have been brought to light so far. Most collectors are simply waiting for the rest to resurface to start a bidding war.

13. Red Revenue One Dollar Small

Red Revenue One Dollar Small
Image Credit: CC BY 4.0/WIki Commons.

Another stamp from China features a misprint; this time, it features some illegible text of Chinese characters that were supposed to say “One Dollar.” It was then replaced with oversized print to make it easier to read. There were two sheets with 25 stamps each that were produced at the time, and so far, only 32 stamps are known to exist.

14. Hawaii Missionary Stamps

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - CIRCA 2002: A stamp printed in USA shows the hawaiian missionary stamps of 1851 - 1853, circa 2002
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

These stamps were explicitly created for missionaries in Hawaii to send some letters home. A collection of these stamps was made for them, yet only about 20 are known to have resurfaced today. At auction, these stamps can go up to hundreds of thousands.

15. The Whole Country is Red

The Whole Country is Red
Image Credit: Wang Wei Sheng – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

A rather unique and original stamp from 1968, during Mao’s communist revolution in China, features a misprint where Taiwan is colored in white instead of red like everything else on the stamp. These stamps were recalled at the time, but there are always survivors. It is highly coveted for its historical significance and rarity.

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