A 5c St Louis Bear is to lead the Postmasters Provisionals section of Robert A Siegel's Golden Oak Collection of Superb United States Sale.
The auction will take place on December 17-18 in New York, with the stamp carrying a valuation of $55,000.
John M Weiner of the St Louis post office issued the stamps in 1845-1846 to facilitate pre-payment of postage in a time before the official government stamps were produced.
This was made possible following an act of Congress passed on March 3, 1845 that standardised postal fees across the United States.
Before this time postage fees varied widely, and were paid by the recipient rather than the sender.
It was not until 1847 that the first official US stamps were issued.
In total, 11 cities issued their own versions of stamps that corresponded to the standardised denominations.
The St Louis Bears were printed in 5 cent, 10 cent and 20 cent variations - although the 20 cent was not produced until 1846.
The design is based on a representation of the Great Seal of Missouri, and the stamps were printed from a copper plate in six rows of three with the earliest postmark stamped on November 13, 1845.
The stamps are exceptionally rare, particularly the 20 cent denomination - while examples in good condition are even rarer.
The stamp in the sale is taken from plate III, position five and features large clear margins.
It has been cancelled with a red circular datestamp and, despite a small surface scrape in the bottom left corner, is of fine appearance.
We have a range of investment grade stamps available to purchase.
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