Worlds first postage stamp the Penny Black expected to sell for £6m at auction

Worlds first postage stamp the Penny Black expected to sell for £6m at auction

10/27/2021

An example of the world's first postage stamp, the Penny Black, is up for auction where it could sell for £6 million.

According to Sotheby's, the item is "the earliest securely dated example of the first postage stamp".

The stamp, which features a profile of Queen Victoria, is attached to a document dated April 10, 1840.

It came from the archive of British postal service reformer Robert Wallace, a Scottish politician.

The Penny Black, which introduced a flat rate, was used from May 6, 1840, before that the recipient paid the postage cost.

It is one of three Penny Blacks believed to have survived from the very first sheet of printed stamps.

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Henry House, head of Sotheby's Treasures Sale, said: "This is the first ever stamp, the precursor to all stamps, and unequivocally the most important piece of philatelic history to exist.

"Though there are many hugely important stamps in collections both public and private around the world, this is the stamp that started the postage system as we know it."

Owner Alan Holyoake, a businessman and philatelist, added: "The fact that Wallace signed, dated and issued his note… gives support to the fact that this is the very first example of a postage stamp, which of course every country now uses.

"Isn't the stamp beautiful? The design is a world icon, a design that our current Queen still uses."

Alan came into possession of the Wallace document some 10 years ago.

He undertook a three-year research project to determine its authenticity and the stamp has certificates from The Royal Philatelic Society and The British Philatelic Association.

It is the first of its kind to be offered at the auction on December 7, this year, giving it a price estimate of £4 million – £6 million.

More than 68 million stamps were sold as the chosen design used an image of Queen Victoria based on a sketch of her aged 15.

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