10 Most Valuable Stamps Ever Printed in the World

Philately or stamp collection is quite a popular hobby. The hobby became quite profitable and money-based as nations started to regulate and standardize their posts. Here I am going to look through 10 of the most valuable stamps ever printed until now.

Though many stamps are thrown away after they serve their purpose, there are a few extremely rare and valuable ones that exist even today. 

Below are ten of the most valuable and rare stamps that are sure to turn a lot of collector heads. 

🖃 Four Elements of Stamp

The value of a stamp is generally determined by the presence of these four elements. 

  • The image on the stamp’s face.
  • Origin country (usually mentioned on the stamp face).
  • The monetary value of the stamp.
  • Perforations around the edge showing where it was attached to the sheet.

The stamp gets its name from these four elements. The George Washington stamp features the picture of George Washington and has a denomination of 2 US cents. 

Most of the rare and valuable stamps in the world have some mistakes or errors on one of their primary elements. Mostly a stamping error is caused by a mixup in the printing plates during the printing process. 

Though these errors are discovered quickly, some are not and get in the circulation process. 

The stamps mentioned below are the most valuable stamps ever printed as of now.  

Treskilling Yellow1855$2.6 Million
British Guiana 1c Magenta1856$9.48 Million
The Sicilian Error of Color1859$2.6 Million
Baden 9 Kreuzer Error1851€1.31 Million
The Inverted Jenny1918$1.35 Million
1c Benjamin Franklin Z Grill1868$935,000
3c George Washington w/ B Grill1867$900,000
Mauritius 1d Red Post Office1847$1,000,000
The Whole Country is Red 1968$1,000,000
Mauritius 2d Blue1847$1,600,000
Stamp of China 1 Dollar1897 $890,000

🖃 10 Most Valuable Stamps

British Guiana 1856 1¢ Magenta $9.5 Million

220px British Guiana 14
  • Total Made: 1
  • Country of Origin: Guyana 
  • Date of Production: 1856
  • Reason for Rarity: Limited number
  • Current Value: $9.48 Million

This stamp is octagonal in shape boasting a postmark illustration of a three-masted ship. At first glance, the stamp looks like a wine again that has been washed a few times. However, there is only one of these in the world and has been sold for $9.5 million in 2014.

The stamp is special since it was created during an emergency by the postal general of British Guiana after an expected delivery of proper stamps did not come from Great Britain.

Interesting Fact: The stamp was discovered by a 12-year-old boy in 1873.

China 1897 Small One Dollar Red Revenues – $4.6m

one of the 10 most valuable stamps
  • Total Made: 32
  • Country of Origin: Chaina 
  • Date of Production: 1897
  • Reason for Rarity: Small size
  • Current Value: $4.6 m

This bright red stamp is a symbol of good luck and fortune in Chinese culture. It’s extremely rare as the “Qing Dynasty postal service, one dollar” was too small, which required the government to print another version. It was made a part of a three-day auction in Hong Kong, which raised its total value.

Interesting Fact: This stamp has only 32 copies in the world.

 USA 1868 1¢ Benjamin Franklin Z Grill – $3 million

  • Total Made: 2
  • Country of Origin: USA 
  • Date of Production: 1868
  • Reason for Rarity:  Quick retirement of Z grills.
  • Current Value: $3 Million

This is the most valuable American stamp. Though these stamps are quite common in the country, there are only two stamps in existence with a Z mark.

The Z mark was one of the many embossed grill patterns which were used to break the fibers of some early stamps. However, after a while, the grills were not used anymore, which makes these two stamps so rare and expensive.

Interesting Fact: One of the stamps is the property of the New York Public library as part of the Benjamin Miller collection.

 Treskilling Yellow, 1855 Price: $2.6 Million

Gul tre skilling banco
  • Total Made: 1
  • Country of Origin:  Sweden 
  • Date of Production: 1855
  • Reason for Rarity:  Wrong color
  • Current Value: $2.3 Million

The Treskilling Yellow is another rare stamp from the mid 19th century. This stamp is rare for a simple printing error. While most Swedish three-skilling stamps are normally in blue and green, this particular one turned out yellow, yellowish orange to be precise. 

Currently, no one knows the value of this rare stamp. It was last sold in 1996 for 2.8 million Swiss Francs. 

Interesting Fact:  The exact number of Treskilling Yellow stamps is not known. However, the mistake continued for years.

The Sicilian Error of Color, 1859 Price: $2.6 Million

  • Total MAde: 2
  • Country of Origin:   Italy 
  • Date of Production: 1859
  • Reason for Rarity: Color error
  • Current Value: $2.6 Million

The Sicilian Error of Color stamp was the world’s second most expensive stamp in 2011. In 1851, right after the Friedrich August” stamps were issued, the Leipzig post office got a notice that 25 copies of the ½ Neugroschen blue stamps have been identified with the 2 Neugroschen stamps. However, by then, 5 of these have already been sold to the public. 

This rare Sicilian stamp had a rare error of color of ½ grana. Though these two stamps are quite old, they are in pristine condition.

Interesting Fact: The stamps were supposed to be orange.

Mauritius 1847 1 & 2 Penny ‘Post Office’ – $2 million

mauritius one penny and two pence stamps
  • Total Made: A few dozens of 1-penny orange stamps and one 2-penny blue.
  • Country of Origin: Mauritius
  • Date of Production: 1847
  • Reason for Rarity: Misprinting
  • Current Value:

These stamps were the first stamps authorized by the British colonial government. There are only a few dozens of these 1847 Mauritius 1-penny orange stamps and one 2-penny blue Queen Victoria stamps that bear the inscription “Post Office” on them, marked mistakenly. These are still in use. However, the inscription was corrected later, which then read “Post Paid.”

Interesting Fact:  Lady Elizabeth Gomm, the wife of the Mauritius Governor, requested the two stamp designs to mail her ball invitations.

China 1968 8f The Whole Country is Red – $2 million

1 131
  • Total Made: 32
  • Country of Origin: Chaina
  • Date of Production: 1968
  • Reason for Rarity: Printing mistake
  • Current Value: $2 million

Released in 1968, this stamp is one of the rarest stamps in the world, very popular for the slogan it features. The stamp celebrates Mao’s great political revolution that established communism in China. The inscription on the stamp was meant to strengthen the establishment of communism in the country. Though the entire stamp is in red, only the small island of Taiwan has been depicted in white. This is a significant printing mistake that raises the value of the stamp.

Interesting Fact: When the printing mistake was identified, all the stamps in circulation were taken out. However, some managed to exist.

USA 1918 24¢ Inverted Jenny – $1.6 million

  • Total Made: 100
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Date of Production: 1918
  • Reason for Rarity: Printing mistake
  • Current Value: $1.6 million

This rare stamp was issued in 1918. There were only 100 Inverted Jenny error stamps. The plane was misprinted to be flying upside down. No sooner had the word of 100 Inverted Jenny stamps came to be known than collectors rushed to the local post offices to collect these. Only one lucky collector named William Robey found the treasure. Over time many of these stamps have been destroyed and damaged, and only a few remain in mint condition.

Interesting Fact: One of the Inverted Jenny stamps was worn as a part of a jewelry piece.

Baden 9 Kreuzer Error, 1851 Price: €1.31 Million

Baden 9 Kreuzer Error stamp 1851
  • Total Made: 5
  • Country of Origin: Baden, Germany
  • Date of Production: 1851
  • Reason for Rarity: Color mistake
  • Current Value: $1.73 million

This is one of Germy’s rarest stamps and is naturally very valuable. Recently, in 2019 an American stamp collector got this stamp from an old town of Baden. The rare stamp was almost mounted on an album page of the worldwide stamp collection. This is the fifth known Baden 9 stamp in the world. These stamps are rare since they are printed on blue-green paper instead of a rose red.

Interesting Fact: There is only one Baden 9 Kreuzer Error stamp that remains unused.

USA 1847 5¢ Alexandria’ Blue Boy’ Postmaster’s Provisional – $1.18 million

lossy page1 1200px Blueboy.tif
  • Total Made: 1
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Date of Production: 1847
  • Reason for Rarity:  Only one made
  • Current Value:

This is yet another rate stamp from the USA. The stamp dates back to the time when the U.S. just began to issue national postage stamps. Though with the launch of national stamps, the use of provisional stamps was stopped, Alexandria Blue Boy still remained operative in Alexandria. In 2019, the stamp was sold for 1.18 million.

Interesting Fact: The Alexandria Blue Boy stamp that was used is still attached to the envelope that was mailed. 

1c Benjamin Franklin Z Grill, 1868 $935,000

  • Total Made: 2
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Date of Production: 1868
  • Reason for Rarity:  Z grills were retired.
  • Current Value: $935,000

The former postmaster general of the USA is quite popular and thus has featured on many U.S. postage stamps. The 1c Benjamin Franklin Z Grill is one of the most valuable stamps in existence. The grill was an embossed pattern on the stamp’s face to prevent it from being reused.

The U.S. postal service used many grills to prevent fraud; however, the Z grill was not used frequently. It has, however, been used in Washington and Abraham Lincoln stamps. The Benjamin Franklin Z Grill stamps are, however, the rarest.

Interesting Fact: One of these stamps was recently traded for four Inverted Jenny stamps. 

3c George Washington w/ B Grill, 1867 $900,000

  • Total MAde: 4
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Date of Production: 1867
  • Reason for Rarity:  Retiring of B grills
  • Current Value: $900,000

Printed in rose pink, the 3c George Washington w/ B Grill stamps is one of the many featuring the picture of President George Washington. Since it’s rare and features the picture of the popular president, it’s quite celebrated among collectors.

A real collector seeks to get his/her hands on the 3c George Washington with a B grill mark across the back. This grill had a waffle-like embossing across the back to catch fraud. 

Interesting Fact:  Only four of these stamps are known to exist.

Avatar for Jaren Helms

Jaren worked for over a decade in the industry as a Package Handler. He started his career with FedEx but he later also worked with companies like USPS and Deutsche Post.

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