A collection of stamps from Brazil's bull's eye issue will be led by the famous complete mint sheet of 60 reis stamps at Corinphila auction house in Zurich on June 13.
The sheet of 60 stamps will be sold with a $623,000 estimate as the top lot of the sale. In a fantastic state of preservation, it has featured in three Grand Prix award-winning exhibits.
Brazil's bull's eye issue was first released on August 1, 1843 in 30, 60 and 90 reis values. Arriving just three years after the 1840 Penny Black, these were the nation's first stamps, as well as being the second set of stamps ever issued that were valid within an entire country.
The stamps take their name from their unusual design and the fact that the printers allowed se-tenant pairs that resembled a pair of bull's eyes. The subsequent issues in Brazil are known as snake's eyes and goat's eyes.
Following the 60 reis sheet in the sale is a cover bearing a 30 reis stamp and two horizontal pairs of the 60 reis, which is the largest known franking of a bull's eye issue.
The stamps are used on the reverse of an 1844 cover from Rio de Janeiro to Cachoeira, which was carried at the maritime double rate of 18 reis with an internal land rate of 90 reis.
The first issues of any country are iconic, but none so much as that of Great Britain, which ushered in the age of the adhesive postal stamp. Paul Fraser Collectibles has a magnificent holding of Britain's early postal history, including this mint block of 12 Penny Blacks.