1846 Millbury postmaster provisional postage stamp sells for $21,976

A rare 1846 Millbury postmaster provisional postage stamp was the outstanding lot at an auction in Ontario, Canada on March 21.

One of just 16 extant examples of the US stamp, it is seldom offered at auction and is one of the most sought-after of all provisionals.

It sold for CDN$22,000 ($21,976). This represents a strong 3.66% pa return since April 1978, when the same stamp achieved $6,500.

Featuring a light red circular cancel, the stamp's only detractions are a light crease and some thin spots.

The sale bodes well for the March 28 auction of an 1846 Millbury postmaster provisional cover at the Frelinghuysen Collection in New York. Last seen in the 1940s, and featuring a red "Paid" cancel, it has an estimate of $100,000-150,000.

Millbury postmaster provisional
A Millbury postmaster provisional cover auctions on March 28 with a $150,000 high estimate

Elsewhere in the March 21 sale, a rare 90¢ Perry brought $1,950, while an uncommon top margin mint block of the 2¢ Black Jack realised $1,250.

The rare postage stamp market continues to offer impressive price increases. The SG 100 Rare Stamp Index reveals the world's 100 most commonly traded stamps grew in value by 5.16% between January 2011 and January 2012.

Those keen to buy investment-grade stamps should look at our postage stamps currently available. They include an exceptionally rare 2d Tyrian Plum and 2½d Prussian Blue.

Paul Fraser Collectibles will let you know how the 1846 Millbury postmaster provisional cover performs at the sale next week.

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