The World’s Most Expensive Rare Stamps

Those who haven’t had a lot of exposure to the world of philately may find themselves surprised at the prices fetched by some of the top collectible stamps these days. In fact, the soaring prices old, rare or misprinted stamps are fetching at auction has amazed even long-time hobbyists.

Long the domain of serious collectors and speculators, the high-end stamp market remains inaccessible to most people. However, it’s always possible for even a meager collection to unknowingly contain a rare gem. Here’s a look at some of the most expensive collectible stamps on the market today.

British Guiana One Cent Black on Magentabritish guiana one cent black on magenta stamp

Easily the most famous rare stamp in the world, only one copy of the British Guiana One Cent Black on Magenta is known to exist — it was first issued in 1856 in what is now Guyana. When it was last auctioned off in June 2014, it fetched over $9.4 million, breaking the record for a single stamp at auction.

The stamp, which has not been exhibited in public for over 30 years, has been cut into an octagonal design and is initialed “EDW” for a clerk who was in charge of verifying postage at the time. Perhaps unsurprisingly for such a sought-after object, the stamp also has a fascinating history.

Treskilling Yellow

Prior to the 2014 auction of the British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta, the most expensive stamp in the world was the Treskilling Yellow. It fetched more than $2.3 million in May 2010. The Treskilling Yellow was one of the first stamps issued in Sweden — it had a value of three skillings (a precursor to the kroner) and was cancelled in 1857.

At the time, three skilling stamps were issued in blue. The Treskilling Yellow is the only known stamp in this color, which is one of the reasons it is so valued.

Inverted Jenny

inverted jenny stamp

The Inverted Jenny is one of the rarest United States stamps. Famous in part because of a rare invert error — the stamp depicts a Curtiss JN-4 plane flying upside down — only 100 instances of the Inverted Jenny were produced. In part due to the 2008 financial meltdown, the value of the Inverted Jenny at auction has decreased in recent years. While previously known to fetch upwards of $1 million, an Inverted Jenny can now be yours for between $100,000 to $500,000, depending on the condition.