A seldom seen Inverted Head 4 Annas auctioned in Britain yesterday (January 23) for £58,000 ($91,805). The sale price fell inside the philatelic rarity's £50,000-70,000 ($79,225-110,814) presale estimate.
Offered from the award winning Medina Collection of India, which was painstakingly compiled over several decades by stamp collector Mohammad Syeed, the blue and red stamp is cut-to-shape, as almost all examples are, and "completely free from faults", according to its catalogue listing.
The Inverted Head Four Annas of India, which is among the world's first multi-coloured stamp varieties, were created in India in 1854.
On the first day of printing, an invert error occurred, printing the head upside down on exactly 206,040 stamps. These collectible stamps were created using Head Die 1 and Frame Die 1. The printing error appears not to have been acknowledged until many years later, when esteemed British collector EA Smythies detected it at a Philatelic Society of London meeting in 1874.
There are an estimated 50m serious stamp collectors globally, meaning the finest rare stamps remain in constant demand. Investment-grade stamps - those finest and rarest examples - have previously put the stock market to shame, posting double digit annual returns in the past decade.
For more information on the investment potential of the stamp market, see Paul Fraser Collectibles' free guide to investing in stamps.
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