A pretty penny: UK’s rarest stamp set to sell for more than €770,000

A pretty penny: UK’s rarest stamp set to sell for more than €770,000

Britain's “rarest and most valuable” stamp is set to be sold for more than half a million pounds.

Stamp dealer Paul Fraser Collectibles has confirmed it will be selling a Plate 77 Penny Red from 1864, listed for £650,000 (€771,400).

The sale is expected to break the previous record price set at £550,000 (€652,800) when the same example of the Plate 77 Penny Red sold in 2012 – a then record for a single Great Britain stamp.

Only one sheet of 240 stamps from printing Plate 77 was produced before authorities realised the plate was defective. The printing plate and the sheet were destroyed, but nine stamps escaped the incinerator. Three remain in private hands with the others in museums and the one currently being sold by Paul Fraser Collectibles is said to be in “the finest condition”.

Paul Fraser Collectibles’ CEO, Mike Hall, said: “This stamp is legendary among collectors because it shouldn’t exist.”

The stamp has a small “77” in the right-hand scrollwork denoting the plate number, and comes on its original envelope, stuck alongside a fourpenny stamp.

“While most people know the Penny Black was the first stamp, it’s actually Plate 77 Penny Reds that send collectors into a frenzy,” added Hall.

The Penny Red replaced the Penny Black, the world’s first postage stamp, in 1841 and the British postal authorities issued Penny Reds until 1879.

While £650,000 sounds like a lot, the number still pales compared to the world’s most expensive stamp, a Mauritius Post Office 1d red, which was sold for $11.2m (€10.3 million) in 2021.