1901 4c Pan-American invert stamp estimated at $10,000

A 1901 4c Pan-American invert error stamp is coming to auction.

The deep red brown and black stamp is expected to sell for $10,000 when it crosses the block at Cherrystone Auctions on January 10. The opening bid is $9,500.

One of less than 100 in existence

The Pan-American inverts, created in an attempt to showcase America's technological advancements ahead of the 1901 Pan-American exposition in Buffalo, are among the most popular stamps with collectors of US errors.

Their physical attraction is one of the reasons behind the stamps' popularity; rarity is another.

This wide-margined example is one of just 97 known, as the authorities destroyed all but one pane of 100 stamps when they discovered the error.

"That single pane was stuck down to a page in the archives, hence many existing examples are without gum, or with gum that is disturbed," explains the auction house.

This example features gum, although that gum is not original.

A mint example of the 2c variant of the 1901 Pan-American invert auctioned for $29,500 last year.

The 1c and 2c stamps were printed by accident. The 4c was printed deliberately, because of a misunderstanding.

The 2c is the rarest of the three - with less than 80 known.

The sale also features an example of the 1c. It has a $4,750 opening price.  

Also up for grabs is another famous US error, that of the "CIA invert". Just 95 examples of the 1979 error are known. The stamp gets its name from the CIA agent who purchased the only sheet of the error at a post office in Virginia.

It has a $14,500 opening price.

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