20c St Louis Bear up 70% on estimate at Robert A Siegel

A 20c St Louis Bear has achieved $85,000 against a $50,000 estimate at Robert A Siegel in New York - an increase of 70%.

The lot sold as part of the Golden Oak Collection of Superb United States, which took place on December 17.

St Louis Bear 20c
The 20c St Louis Bear is among the
rarest US stamps

The St Louis Bears were issued in around 1845-1846 to enable post-office customers to pre-pay for postage before the introduction of official government stamps - which were not issued until 1847.

The provisional stamps were made possible as a result of an act of congress passed on March 3, 1845 that standardised postage fees across the United States.

Before the act was passed, fees had varied widely from state to state and were paid by the recipient rather than the sender.

There were 11 cities across the US, including New York and Baltimore, that issued their own variants - but the St Louis Bears are the most valuable.

They were issued in 5c, 10c and 20c variations - although the 20c was issued later, in 1846 and is the rarest of the three.

The design is based on the Great Seal of Missouri and was printed on grey lilac paper on a copper plate in six rows of three, with the example sold taken from Type I, Position I.

It features a detailed impression with a manuscript cancel, and despite a small cut in the top right hand corner (clear of the margins) is in fine condition.

Rare stamps can offer excellent rates of return. You can read more about investing in stamps here or take a look at the range of investment grade stamps we have available to purchase.

Sign up to our free newsletter for the latest on stamps and other collectibles.

Featured products

Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Elvis Presley Authentic Strand of Hair
Sale price£399
In stock
Fidel Castro signed certificateFidel Castro Signed Certificate
Fidel Castro signed certificate
Sale price£2,995
In stock
King Henry VIII Autographed DocumentKing Henry VIII Autographed Document
King Henry VIII Autographed Document
Sale price£55,000
In stock