Bapu was in the news Down Under …..not exactly for austerity. A mystery Australian collector paid $855,000 for four Bapu stamps at auction last week. This collector has set a new world record after paying a small fortune for one of the world's rarest and most-mysterious stamps. The collector bought the strip of four 1948 Gandhi 10-rupee purple-brown 'SERVICE' stamps and it is said that only 13 of these stamps exist in private collections around the world.
The price paid is a new high-water mark for Indian stamps. This is the most sought-after stamp in Indian collection. Only two sheets of 50 were ever printed in 1948, with one sheet held in a museum in Delhi. Of the remainder only 13 have been located, four of which are held in the Queen's royal collection. It is not known what happened to the rest of the stamps, with rumours abounding they are being secretly held in private collections, or have been sold by Indian government members or simply lost! The stamp's rarity, combined with an explosion in interest in Indian stamps, underpins the price paid. So you see even after they are long gone Gujaratis fetch a lot of money!!
In the world of high-end stamp collecting, the most valuable stamps are those that have been used on an envelope – known as "on cover". None of the 13 existing Bapu stamps is an "on cover", and most of the collecting communities do not believe any exist.
Postage stamps have facilitated the delivery of mail since the 1840s. Before then, ink and hand-stamps (hence the word 'stamp'), usually made from wood or cork, were often used to frank the mail and confirm the payment of postage. The first adhesive postage stamp, commonly referred to as the Penny Black, was issued in the United Kingdom in 1840. The invention of the stamp was part of an attempt to reform and improve the postal system in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, which, in the early 19th century, was in disarray and rife with corruption.
There are varying accounts of the inventor or inventors of the stamp. Before the introduction of postage stamps, mail in the UK was paid for by the recipient, a system that was associated with an irresolvable problem: the costs of delivering mail were not recoverable by the postal service when recipients were unable or unwilling to pay for delivered items, and senders had no incentive to restrict the number, size, or weight of items sent, whether or not they would ultimately be paid for. The postage stamp resolved this issue in a simple and elegant manner, with the additional benefit of room for an element of beauty to be introduced. As postage stamps with their engraved imagery began to appear on a widespread basis, historians and collectors began to take notice.
The study of postage stamps and their use is referred to as philately. Stamp collecting can be both a hobby and a form of historical study and reference, as government-issued postage stamps and their mailing systems have always been involved with the history of nations. Stamp collectors are an important source of revenue for some small countries that create limited runs of elaborate stamps designed mainly to be bought by stamp collectors. The stamps produced by these countries may far exceed their postal needs.
Stamp collecting may seem a bit old fashioned. But with 20million collectors in China alone, you may want to shake the dust off the family albums. Rare stamps are selling for hundreds of thousands of rupees / dollars / Euros/ pounds. A stamp becomes rare when it is really old, when it has a history attached to it, when it gets printed with an error and so are in limited numbers.
The most expensive stamp Stanley Gibbons has sold is a British Penny Red, for £550,000 - not bad for a piece of paper. It’s in really poor condition, but there are only nine in the world. The Post Office decided the printing plate was not up to scratch, so they destroyed it. But one sheet got into circulation.
The Penny Black is one of the world’s most iconic stamps. Because it’s the world’s first stamp, it’s very valuable. Rare Penny Blacks are valued at tens of thousands of pounds and have increased in price for decades.
The British Guiana One Cent Magenta is only one left in the world. At the time, all the colonies had to wait for stamps to arrive from the UK. The boat was delayed, and the postmaster created his own collection of stamps. This stamp was auctioned in New York for $9.5million (£6.4million). It’s in
|Guiana 1 cent|
The Inverted Jenney is an American stamp was of a stunt plane and they printed it upside down. Then they realized what they had done and recalled it. The Tyrian Plum was issued in the reign of Edward VII, but it actually came out the day he died. It was immediately withdrawn, but a tiny handful got into the market and is valued at over £100,000. The Roses error was a stamp from 1978 which was worth 13p and is now worth £130,000. The quirk about the stamp is the 13p did not get printed for some reason. There are only three in the world. The Queen owns two. The Whole country is red- This modern stamp was commissioned by Chairman Mao to represent communism over the whole of China. But by a complete error, the designer left Taiwan in white. This was massively controversial - he thought he would be going to prison for treason. The stamp was hurriedly recalled.
|The Whole Country is Red....but Taiwan is white!|
So such errors make a stamp rare, rare enough to fetch a fortune! But honestly, did the loin cloth clad Bapu ever dream of the day when his 10 rupee stamp would fetch $855,000 for a strip of four! Great going Bapu!!