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Rarest Stamps: Most Valuable UK Stamps

Author: Emil Drkusic
Date: 12/10/2021

We’ve already talked about the rarest stamps from Germany and France. Now it’s time to continue this series with the most valuable UK stamps. It’s hard to say the precise value of any stamp because it depends on a number of factors like global economic situation and the price collectors are willing to pay at the moment. Therefore, for each stamp, we’ll give a range based on the value it was sold for and the estimation of current value. So, let’s start…

Brown Lilac Stamp – 1884

The first one in our list of the most valuable UK stamps shall be the Brown Lilac stamp. Issued in 1884, it’s one of the greatest stamp issues from the Victorian era, and is therefore very popular among collectors. The original 1 Pound value is extremely high, not only today, but especially for that period when its value was higher than the weekly salary of the most workers.

Brown Lilac Stamp UK

Brown Lilac Stamp

UK - 1884

1 pound

Taking all of this into account, it’s pretty obvious why this stamp is pretty valuable these days. There is a big difference between the lower and the upper value, but you could buy yourself an example for somewhere between 18,000 and 110,000 EUR (sold for this price at Spink auction in June 2017). The actual price shall, of course, be determined based on the stamp condition – is the stamp in mint condition, is the original gum present etc.

Roses Error Stamp – 1978

Let’s now move closer to the present day, some 90 years after Brown Lilac. The Roses Error stamp is not valuable for its’ age, but for rarity. And this rarity comes from the fact that in 1978, when stamps were issued, 3 examples were issued without printed 13p value on them. And this brings us to its’ current value that is estimated between 100,000 and 110,000 EUR (in 2010 it was auctioned by dealers Stanley Gibbons for £85,000). Some estimations of its’ value go even to 180,000 EUR.

Roses Error Stamp UK

Roses Error Stamp

UK - 1978

13 pence

If you have 100,000 EUR, or 200,000 EUR, on a side, ready to buy something new for your collection, you would still have one more problem. Since there are 3 examples, you’re limited to a number of potential sellers. One seller is unknown an he has one of these, and the other seller has 2 of them and is pretty well-known. It’s the Queen herself. At least you know whom to ask for the stamp.

Edward VII 2d Tyrian Plum – 1910

Climbing one step up brings us to the 1910 Edward VII 2d Tyrian Plum issue.Its’ estimated value is somewhere in the range 90.000 – 140.000 EUR.

Edward VII 2d Tyrian Plum stamp UK

Edward VII 2d Tyrian Plum

UK - 1910

2 pence

The reason for its’ high value is, as expected, rarity. And the reason for rarity is… As usual in the UK, you can see silhouettes of kings and queens on stamps. So, it’s common that after new king or queen sets on the throne, we’ll also have few new stamps. Same happened during the reign of Edward VII. The only problem was that he passed away in May 1910, shortly after stamps were printed. 24,000,000 of these stamps. Almost all of them were destroyed and it’s believed that only 12 lived to this day.

Penny Black – 1863

We already had an article related to Penny Black, so if you want to read more about it you can do it here. I guess that almost all collectors, but also people outside philately, are aware of the fact that Penny Black is the first stamp ever issued.

Penny Black

Penny Black

UK - 1863

1 penny

Since originally 68,000,000 of these were printed, and a lot of them are still alive today and are on the market, you can find them for a wide range of prices. You can even buy them for a really small amounts, but we’re talking about those who are maybe not in so good condition. If we’re talking about mint and well-preserved examples prices could vary from 50.000 to 300,000 EUR.

Edward VII 6d Pale Dull Purple I.R. Official - 1904

And the 2nd place goes to Edward VII 6d Pale Dull Purple I.R. Official from 1904 with an estimated value of 470,000 EUR. This is one more example of the stamp that was withdrawn shortly (on the same day) after it was issued on March 14, 1904.

Edward VII 6d Pale Dull Purple I.R. Official stamp UK

Edward VII 6d Pale Dull Purple I.R. Official

UK - 1904

6 pence

This led that only few overprinted stamps went into circulation, and this is Britain’s rarest stamp. In 2010 it was sold for £400,000 by Stanley Gibbons. Since that event, the price eventually went down, but you never know what shall happen next.

And the Winner of the Contest for the Most Valuable UK Stamp Is … Plate 77 Penny Red - 1863

At the top of our list is one more classic we already wrote about – Penny Red. Similarly, to Penny Black, these were produced in large quantities, so you could get yourself a nice example for the pocket money.

Plate 77 Penny Red UK

Plate 77 Penny Red

UK - 1863

1 penny

The Plate 77 Penny Red from 1863 had been sold by Stanley Gibbons in March 2016 for £495,000 (650.000 EUR). The question arises why the price got so high here, and what is so special about these stamps. And the answer is that these stamps shouldn’t even exist. They were of the poor quality, so they actually never got sold at first. But nowadays, things are completely the opposite – not only do they exist, but they got to the top of the list of the most valuable UK stamps.   

Today we’ve seen the list of most valuable UK stamps. Be sure to follow us, because after Germany, France, and the UK, we’ll cover more rare and valuable stamps from all over the world.

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