A Rare Stamp Is Expected to Fetch Around $8.25 Million at Auction

Sotheby’s is expected to fetch over $8.25m USD for an ultra-rare “penny black” postal stamp depicting a 15-year old Queen Victoria when it hits auction.

The stamp is “unequivocally the most important piece of philatelic history to exist”, said Henry House, the head of Sotheby’s treasures sale in an interview with The Guardian. The penny black stamp first debuted in 1840 and revolutionized shipping and communication by allowing people to ship a half-ounce letter for a nominal fee of a penny.

More than a tiny piece of ephemera, the penny black stamp represents “the very dawn of social communication … allowing people to communicate from all levels of society and business to flourish,” House added. Before this time, it could cost a large sum to ship basic letters and packages — reserving the right exclusively to the privileged and wealthy.

The stamp is one of only three known to be left today and will go on auction as part of Sotheby’s “Treasures” sale on December 7.

Elsewhere, this half a billion-dollar villa comes with the only ceiling mural Caravaggio ever painted.
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