$250,000 for 'The most important piece in Russian Philately' at rare stamps sale

As we've reported, in two weeks' time Cherrystone auctions is holding a sale of rare stamps from the United States, British Commonwealth, Europe, Asia and South America led by a fantastic group of Argentine invert error blocks.

This, however, will be just the warm up for a single owner collection of Russian stamps: The Alexander collection of Imperial Russia which concentrates on the first two Issues (1857-58).

Comprising just 53 lots, the pieces on offer are nevertheless exceptionally valuable, with several of them listed at $50,000 or more - well worth considering as a high-end investment, as Russian collectibles are becoming more valuable with an increasing number of collectors in the country.

Some of the highlights include the unique unused horizontal strip of three of 1858 10 kopeck brown & blue (once part of the Mikulski collection); one of only two known unused blocks of four of the third (ex-Mikulski) and fourth (ex-Liphschutz collection) stamps

There are also unique essays for the first postage stamp with a bicolour head of Mercury (instead of the double-headed Imperial Eagle) and two iconic White Eagle tête-beche essays (from the Kirchner collection).

The overall highlight however is to the largest known multiple of the first Russian adhesive imperforate horizontal strip of five, once part of the Fabergé collection:

The 1857 10k brown & blue, thin paper, horizontal strip has each stamp cancelled by a pen cross. With good colour and wide margins, the only notable flaw is a small tear on the furthest right stamp.

Russian horizontal strip of five
A Russian gem from the Fabergé collection

It was previously sold at Mertens and Frederick Small collections in 1974, who referred to it as follows: "this unique piece is the most important piece in Russian Philately". Certainly it is a prize which should be known to philatelists around the world, and not just Russian specialists.

It is expected to sell for $250,000 at Cherrystone's auction, which follows straight on from the previous one, with a morning start on September 16 in New York.


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