A good example of the Canada 1851 12d black has seen the highest bids in Robert A Siegel Auction Galleries' Worldwide Stamps and Postal History sale, held on November 13-14 in New York.
The stamp is a used example, bearing a target cancel with four full to large margins, a small repair and other faults. Despite the defects, it made $32,500, having not appeared on the market since 1963.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a unique example of the 1851 12d black - the Black Empress, which is the only example in mint, unhinged condition.
Bringing the second highest bids of the sale was only the second recorded used example of the Australia 20 shilling postage due stamp from 1908, which sold for $25,000.
The stamp is extremely rare due to the previous Postage Due series being uniformly printed in green, which made it hard to distinguish pence from shilling stamps. A dash was added to the shilling stamps after the denomination in 1908 or early 1909, but the new stamps - such as this example - were only issued in New South Wales and no official announcement marked their release.
Adding to the rarity is the fact that the stamps were not sold at the post office, and were only made available by application to the deputy postmaster general.
See our superb selection of rare stamps for sale.