The Ticino Collection will promise the most outstanding lots at Rapp Auction's forthcoming sale on June 1-4, taking place in Switzerland.
The collection is the most important and valuable selection of Swiss stamps from 1843-1854 to be auctioned in over 50 years.
So exclusive and coveted are its contents that many philatelic insiders were ignorant of the collection's existence. For decades, some of the collection's most precious items even were thought lost.
These 'lost items' include three copies of the so-called "Neuchâtel" stamp. The three stamps will auction at Rapp affixed to a beautiful 1852 cover addressed from Geneva (the second of the Swiss cantons to issue postage stamps) to the Canton of Fribourg.
This cover alone, dated January 1, 1852, is estimated to realise more than a quarter million Swiss Francs (CHF) - or over $232,000.
Bearing three Neuchâtel stamp specimens, all cut very fresh and with wide margins, they have been individually franked with the Neuchâtel brand which is among the greatest postage rarities of Swiss philately.
Often noted in philately textbooks, this letter was regarded as missing for many years. It will appear at auction for the first time in five decades, since the Caspary auction in 1956.
The rare Neuchâtel cover is estimated to sell for $139,275-185,700 (150,000-200,000 CHF) and is one of many absolutely unique and highly-limited stamps to feature in the sale.
Other scarce historic specimens to go under the hammer include one of the best preserved examples of a Double Geneva cover, the third oldest issued European postage stamp.
Regarded as the best example of its kind on the market, the "exceptionally fresh" cover also carries a pre-sale value of $139,275-185,700 (150,000-200,000 CHF).
With such amazing lots on offer, collectors, investors and museum directors from many different countries have indicated buying interest, says Rapp. Many will come in person to attend the auction.
According to industry insiders, demand for rare philatelic collectibles is very strong, with growing interest among investors looking for tangible and potentially recession-proof assets.
Rapp predicts that its sale with net in the region of 15m Swiss Francs, and is confident that it will stand as one of the most spectacular sales of the philatelic auction season.