Ten Most Valuable U.S. Stamps

1918 Inverted Jenny $1,350,000

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Probably the one of the most famous stamps of all time, this one is an error.  As the name would imply, the plane is upside down on the stamp.  The plane in the image is a Curtiss JN-4.

Most of the stamps were destroyed due to the error.  However, a Washington DC Post Office Clerk sold a sheet of 100 with the error.  She had never seen an airplane before and did not realize the error.

An Inverted Jenny sold for $1.35 million at a New York City Auction in 2016.

1868 Benjamin Franklin $950,000

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This is the first of three Benjamin Franklin stamps on the list.  This is a Civil War issue stamp of Franklins profile taken from Houdon’s bust for several stamp designs dating all the way back to 1847.

This stamp was a rare Z-grill stamp.  This one sold at auction in 198 for $850,000 as part of a lot.  It is not expected to be worth close to a million dollars.  Considering this was a one cent issue stamp thats not bad.

1867 George Washington $900,000

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Despite the high number of George Washington stamps made over the years this is the first and only Washington stamp to make this list.  This one is one of many Washington stamps with variations that effect the value.  The one we are looking for is the three cent B grill stamp in rose colored printing.

1,000 of these steps were printed but only four known copies still exist.

This one sold for $900,000 in 2008

1851 Hawaiian Missionary $619,500

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This is a very rare and valuable stamps from the collection of William H Gross.  Only a few known examples of these stamps still exist today.  The Hawaii Missionary Stamps are interested in the controversy surrounding some stamps that appear to be authentic but have received considerable speculation and a lot of research was done trying to debunk there authenticity (a full article will be coming soon on these stamps).  With the extremely high price it is no wonder people would question any copy of the stamp that pops up.

This particular stamp was sold in 2018 by Siegel Auctions to a pharmaceutical executive for $619,500.

 

1851 Benjamin Franklin $375,000

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As far as variations are concerned this one is complicated to figure out.  As one of the oldest U.S. stamps in existence old technology was made.  Since I don’t fully understand the printing process, let’s just say some blurring occurred near the bottom label.  

Only two copies of this stamp are known to exist in mint condition.

This one sold for $375,000 in 2007

1869 Shield, Eagle and Flags $310,500

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This stamp was part of the 1969 series that featured something other than basically Washington and Lincoln.  A pictorial series of stamps this was the first use of bicolor printing in the United States.

The process of making these stamps required double pressing.  Due to the two step process it lead to some stamp variations.  The stamp with inverted flags is the rarest variation and worth the most.

This one sold for $310,500 in 2016 for an unused stamp.

1908 Benjamin Franklin $310,000

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Here we have the second Ben Franklin stamp on the list.  This is the second youngest stamp to make it being just a few years older than the inverted Jenny.

A pair of these stamps that were attached vertically sold in 2015 for $310,000

1869 Landing of Columbus $275,00

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This is another stamp from the 1989 pictorial series.  Again the double printing process caused variations.  This one has a double printed vignette with normal and inverted printing on it.  This stamp is believed to be worth $270,000.

1869 The Declaration of Independence $275,00

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Another stamp from the 1869 series this highly sought after variation of the 24 cent stamp uses a “G’ grill.  Unused with an inverted center this is worth an estimated $275,000 (this is not the inverted center stamp this is a regular issue still valued at approximately $4,000).

1867 Abraham Lincoln $140,000

Abe Lincoln 5 cent stamp
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Another “Z” grill stamp form 1867 this one has horizontal ridges instead of vertical ridges.

A block of 8 sold in 2018 for $140,000.

Some estimates believe if an 1867 Franklin, Washington or Lincoln came up for sale today they would fetch close to $1,000,000 like the Washington near the top of this list was sold for.

Bonus

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One of the most expensive stamp related items ever sold is known as The Dawson Cover.  It was a correspondence that was shoved into a factory furnace.  The furnace was to tightly packed putting the fire out, but scorching the envelope.

35 years later while cleaning the abandoned factory a worker found the envelope.  It changed hands multiple times over the years before being sold in 2013 for $2.24 million.  

The envelope has two rare Hawaiian stamps a 2 cent and a 5 cent stamp.

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