'Deutsch-Neuguinea' postage stamp of ex-German New Guinea brings $21,000

A rare postage stamp from 1915 appeared on the market for the first time in decades in an Australian auction, this week (March 15). It sold for AU$20,000 (approximately US$20,991 or £13,376).

This was just beyond the stamp's "£13,000+++" catalogue price, as valued by the stamp dealer Stanley Gibbons - a figure which many collectors thought to be out of date.

The rare postage stamp in question is a 1915 "GRI/3d" opt Rabaul (Deutsch-Neuguinea). It dates to the year after the British Empire's 1914 capturing of Rabaul, Papua New Guinea, then German New Guinea, during World War I.

As in the other German colonies captured around the time, the British immediately banned all German postage stamps.

Rabaul Deutsch-Neuguinea postage stamp410.jpg
The 1915 "GRI/3d" opt Rabaul (Deutsch-Neuguinea) postage stamp

Stocks of German postage stamps were seized and overprinted with G.R.I. ink stamps - "Georgius Rex Imperator" being the royal and imperial cypher of Britain's WWI monarch George V.

Of particular note is the unique double overprint of this specimen's G.R.I. stamp. As you can see, both stamps are equally strong and partly overlap one another.

This postage stamp is especially rare, being just one of two of its kind recorded. The other is unused which makes this used example even more unique, albeit the less-coveted of the two.

Also of note is the stamp's hyphen between the words Deutsch and Neuguinea.

Given this postage stamp's fascinating history and rarity, it's no surprise that it at least matched the expected catalogue price. Watch this space for more news from the rare postage stamp markets.

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