"An incredibly rare Penny Red has become the UK’s second most valuable stamp after being sold to to an unnamed British collector for £495,000 (aprrox. $707,000).
The sale was arranged by London-based dealers Stanley Gibbons, which said the Plate 77 Penny Red is one of only five used examples known to the world of philately – another of which is held in the British Museum.
Plate 77 Penny Reds, which date from 1863, are viewed by collectors and investors as the holy grail of philately because Plate 77 stamps were not meant to exist. The stamps were created but never sold by post offices after they were not considered to be of good enough quality.
"The original printing plate was destroyed, but a tiny handful made their way into circulation. As a result they are highly prized by collectors – far more so than the fabled Penny Black beloved of school children.
Keith Heddle, managing director of investments at Stanley Gibbons, said: “This is one of the most desirable and iconic of British stamps for collectors worldwide, highly sought after for more than 100 years. It is testament to the strength of the market for rare stamps that we have managed to sell not just one, but two Plate 77 Penny Reds in the last four years. With the last one having been sold to a client in Australia, I’m delighted this one has found a home in Britain.”
Heddle said this latest stamp has been bought by an anonymous British buyer, who he said was both a collector and someone who expected an investment return on the item.
The previous Plate 77 Penny Red sold in 2012 for £550,000, making it the UK’s most expensive stamp. Heddle said its higher price reflected the fact that it was in significantly better condition".