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Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable Italian Stamps

Author: Emil Drkusic
Date: 30/01/2023

We’ve already talked about the rarest stamps from Germany, France, the UK, Ireland, and Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Israel, and Vatican. Today we’ll take a look at the rarest and most valuable Italian stamps.

5th and 4th Most Valuable Italian Stamps

We won’t go with this list in the chronological order but starting from the 5th most valuable stamp and finishing with the most valuable Italian stamp. As expected, stamps from the 20th century are somehow less valuable than those from the 19th century. These will be our number 5 and number 4 on the list of the most valuable Italian stamps.

Balbo Triptychs

Balbo Triptychs

Italian Flag, Portrait of Victor Emmanuel III, Aurora

Italy – 1933/05/20

55,000 USD at Cherrystone auction in September 2013

First of these 2 valuable stamps are Balbo Triptychs issued in 1933 to commemorate Trans-Atlantic flight led by General Italo Balbo.

Italian Levant Airmail stamp

Italian Levant Airmail stamp

Italy – 1922

70,000 USD at Cherrystone auction on March 20-21, 2018

The second stamp, and the 4th most valuable Italian stamp on our list is an Italian Levant Airmail stamp issued in 1922. It’s considered that only 5 pieces exist today.

Italy in the 19th Century

Lombardy Venetia 5c Yellow Ochre

Lombardy Venetia 5c Yellow Ochre

Coat of Arms of Austria

5 Lombardy-Venetia centesimo

Lombardy-Venetia – 1850/06/01

78,099 USD at Universal Philatelic Auction, December 22, 2014

The 19th century history across Europe has been full of great changes and important events. Same stands for Italy, maybe even more than for other European countries of that time. Modern day Italy had been split into many kingdoms, and some of the most powerful and important were: Papal States,  Kingdom of Sardinia, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies,  Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia (under Austrian Empire),  Kingdom of Illyria (under Austrian Empire),  Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Above we can see Lombardy Venetia 5c Yellow Ochre stamp from 1850, and it’s believed only 2 such pieces exist today.

Tuscany 4 Crazie with inverted value tablet

Tuscany 4 Crazie with inverted value tablet

Lion of Tuscany

4 Italian States crazia

Tuscany – 1857/03/14

184,612 USD at David Feldman, May 22, 2010

It was a process that lasted for the most of the 19th century, called the restoration (and unification) period. I’ll quote Encyclopedia Britannica:

"Despite scant preparations and a shortage of weapons, Garibaldi’s volunteers landed at Marsala on May 11, 1860, and in less than three months conquered the entire island of Sicily."

"The Kingdom of Italy was officially proclaimed on March 17, 1861, by a parliament assembled in Turin. Soon afterward Cavour asserted that Rome must become the capital of the new state within a context of separation between secular and religious authority. However, with Cavour’s untimely death on June 6, 1861, the Roman Question remained unresolved."

The Most Valuable Italian Stamp

From the philatelic point of view, this is important, because many of the rarest and most valuable Italian stamps date back to that period and were issued by Italian states before unification.

Sicilian Error of Colour Stamp

Sicilian Error of Colour Stamp

King Ferdinand II / Ferdinando II (of the Two Sicilies)

½ Italian States grano

Sicily – 1859/01/01

2,600,000 USD at Dreyfus Auction, June, 2011

The Sicilian Error of Colour stamp from 1859 is considered to be one of the rarest and most valuable Italian stamps, with prices ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is highly sought after by collectors due to its rarity, historical significance, and unique error of color.

The rarity of this stamp comes from the fact it should have been printed in yellow, but it was actually printed in blue. It’s believed that only 2 such stamps exist today.

Today we’ve seen some of the rarest and most valuable Italian stamps. While you wait for the next article in this series, feel free to take a look at the previous ones.

Continue Reading

UK - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable UK Stamps

France - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable French Stamps

Germany - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable German Stamps

Ireland - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable Irish Stamps

Belgium - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable Belgium Stamps

The Netherlands - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable Dutch Stamps

Australia - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable Australian Stamps

Canada - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable Canadian Stamps

Spain - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable Spanish Stamps

Portugal - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable Portuguese Stamps

Israel - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable Stamps of Israel

Vatican - Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable Vatican Stamps

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