Stamp collectors, history buffs, and curious minds prepare to be wowed! This blog post guides you to the ten most valuable U.S. stamps. From rare errors to iconic designs, these postage gems have captivated collectors for years and remain valuable today. Read on as we review each one of these priceless treasures. Let's dive in.
Are you a philatelist looking to add some rare and valuable U.S. stamps to your collection? Or are you just curious about American history's most highly sought-after stamps? Either way, get ready to be impressed by our comprehensive guide on the 10 Most Valuable U.S. Stamps!
From the legendary Benjamin Franklin Z Grill to the iconic Inverted Jenny, we've got all the details on these timeless treasures that have captured the hearts of collectors for generations. Keep reading as we explore their fascinating stories and discover what makes them incredibly valuable today.
1. The 1918 Inverted Jenny
In 1918, the United States Postal Service issued a 24-cent stamp featuring a Curtiss JN-4 airplane in honor of the first transcontinental airmail flight. Unfortunately, a few stamps were printed with the airplane inverted due to a printing error. Today, only 86 of these so-called “inverted Jennies” are known to exist, making them among the most valuable stamps in the world.
Originally the stamp was sold for just $0.24, but it was later sold at auction for a staggering $2.7 million – making it the most valuable U.S. stamp ever.
2. Inverted 24c Declaration of Independence Stamp
The Inverted Declaration of Independence Stamp honors the independence of the original thirteen American colonies from British rule on July 4, 1774. The six principal figures under the magnifying glass are recognizable, and 42 are engraved persons on the green and velvet stamp. According to an auction made in 1974, the stamps were sold for $100,000.
3. The Benjamin Franklin Z Grill Stamp
The Benjamin Franklin Z Grill Stamp is one of the most valuable U.S. stamps. It was issued in 1869 and featured a portrait of 42 persons. Only 100 of these stamps were ever sold, making it one of the rarest stamps in the world. Today, a Benjamin Franklin Z Grill Stamp can sell for over $1 million.
4. The Alexandria “Blue Boy” Postmaster’s Provisional stamp
The Alexandria “Blue Boy” Postmaster's Provisional stamp is one of the most valuable U.S. stamps, with a current value of $3 million. The stamp was issued in 1845, during the height of the United States postal system, and is one of only two known examples of the stamp.
The New York Library holds the other example. The “Blue Boy” stamp gets its name from its blue coloration, which was created using a printing process that was new at the time. The Z Grill printing method was used to avoid the deceit of reusing the stamp.
5. The 1868 George Washington B-Grill
The 1868 George Washington B-Grill is one of the most valuable U.S. stamps. The 1868 George Washington B-grill is a characteristic waffle-like grill on its posterior aspect. The B-grill stamp was initially worth 3 cents and was designed to forestall the fraudulent reuse of stamps.
However, the stamp is worth much more than its original value due to its age and rarity. The stamp is worth $1.035 million, according to an auction in 2008.
6. The USA 1851 2 Cents Hawaiian Missionary Stamp
The 1851 USA 2 cents Hawaiian Missionary stamps are some of the most valuable U.S. stamps because of their rarity and historical value. They were first issued in 1851 and were used to prepay the cost of mailing letters from Hawaii to the United States.
The stamps were printed on thin paper and were perforated with 11 gauge holes. There are two varieties of stamps, one with “Hawaiian Missionary” and the other with “Postage Paid.” The “Hawaiian Missionary” variety is the most valuable, with a single stamp selling for over $619500.
7. Almanac Stamp of 1765 or 1766
The Almanac Stamp of 1765 or 1766 is among the most valuable U.S. stamps. It was issued by the British Parliament in 1765 and used to mark almanacs and other publications. Only a handful of these stamps are known to exist, making them extremely rare and valuable.
The Almanac stamp was worth 3 cents in the early years. According to a recent auction, the stamp in pristine condition was sold for $2,576,600.
8. 1860 Stolen Pony Cover
The Stolen Pony Cover gets its name from the story behind its creation. The American Express company was founded in 1852 to provide express shipping services nationwide. In 1860, one of their riders was carrying a shipment of mail when he disappeared. The mail was later recovered from a Native American tribe, and one of the stamps on the envelope was a 3-cent Pony Express stamp.
This stamp is now known as the 1860 Stolen Pony Cover and is considered one of the most valuable U.S. stamps. The other letter was sold at auction in 1876 for $1,000 – making it the most expensive stamp ever sold at that time. Today, both examples of the Stolen Pony Cover are housed in private collections worth millions of dollars each.
9. Pan American Inverts
There are many types of inverts, but the most famous and valuable is the Pan-American Invert. This invert was issued in 1901 to commemorate the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. The stamp's center depicts the exposition's logo, while the outer ring contains images of all the participating countries.
The Pan-American Invert is so valuable because only 100 known examples exist. Of those 100 examples, only two are in mint condition. The rest have been damaged or canceled. Even if you can find one of these stamps, it will likely cost you at least $50,000.
10. CIA Invert
The “CIA Invert” is a United States postage stamp issued in May of 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Central Intelligence Agency. The stamp features an image of the CIA seal, with the eagle facing inwards instead of outwards.
This error was not caught until after the stamps had been printed, and as a result, only 100 of these stamps were ever sold. These stamps are now some of the most valuable in the world, with some examples selling for over $1 million.
How to Discern Valuable Stamps?
To the casual observer, all stamps may appear to be of similar value. However, several factors can affect a stamp's value, making some more valuable. Knowing how to discern valuable symbols from their less useful counterparts is essential if you're interested in collecting stamps.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to determine the value of a stamp:
- Issuing authority: Stamps issued by government entities are usually more valuable than those issued by private companies or individuals.
- Age: Generally, older stamps are more valuable than newer ones. This is because they are rarer and have been around longer, increasing their collectible value.
- Condition: The condition of a stamp can also have a significant impact on its value. A stamp in pristine condition will be worth more than one damaged or well-used.
- Face value: The face value of a stamp also affects its overall value. A higher denomination stamp is typically worth more than a lower denomination one.
With some knowledge, you'll discern which stamps are valuable and which aren't worth your time and money.
Where to Buy and Sell Valuable US Stamps?
There are a few different ways that you can go about buying and selling valuable US stamps. The most common method is to use a stamp dealer. However, there are also some online options available.
If you decide to use a stamp dealer, finding one with a good reputation is essential. There are a few different ways to do this.
- Ask around for recommendations from people who collect stamps.
- Check online forums and websites dedicated to stamp collecting.
- Once you have found a few potential dealers, you can contact them and ask about their policies and prices.
If you decide to sell your stamps online, there are a few different things that you need to keep in mind.
- You must take good photos of your stamps so potential buyers can see what they are buying.
- You must set up an account with an online auction site like eBay.
- Once you have done this, you can start listing your stamps for sale. It is important to remember to set your prices realistically, as there is a lot of competition on these sites.
As you can see, many different U.S. stamps have a significant value in the eyes of collectors and enthusiasts alike. From beautiful classic designs to rare and limited edition issues, each stamp has its unique story and importance that should be appreciated and respected.
With this list as your guide, you can research further into the history behind these incredible pieces of art to help build your collection or find a special piece for yourself or someone else who loves the fascinating hobby of stamp collecting!