One of the rarest classic stamps of Europe, the 1858-1861 80p Moldavia Bull's Head, will lead David Feldman's Spring Auction Series on 26-30 May in Geneva.
The 80 parale stamp originates from the second issue of Romania's first ever issue, which was created following the Treaty of Paris in 1856 that saw the Crimean states freed from Russian control.
Featuring an unrecorded paper variety in an extremely rare shade of greenish-blue, it is currently selling at $55,000.
According to the lot description, the "normal" lilac-bluish paper is in itself exceptionally rare and the greenish-blue is "possible a rare shade between, which happened when different papers were bought and used by the printing office".
Almost all unused examples of the stamp are found on yellowish-white paper.
24,064 Moldavian Bull's Head stamps were printed in 1858, but following Moldavia's union with Wallachia and the formation of the single postal service, the unsold stocks were moved to the central post office in Bucharest, where they were destroyed in a fire in 1874.
As such, just 95 unused examples are known to exist and very few examples ever make it to auction. There are also many forgeries, with the National Philatelic Museum discovering that over 800 of its used and unused stamps from the issue had been replaced with counterfeit examples in 2009.
The auction features a strong selection of Bull's Head stamps in various denominations, including some exceptional examples from the collection of John du Pont.
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