An 1850 5c yellow-ochre stamp described as "the ultimate rarity of Lombardy & Venetia" is selling for almost £50,000 ($78,099) in Universal Philatelic Auctions' latest sale, which closes on January 13.
The stamp has been off the market for more than 30 years, having last sold from the Rothschild Collection for the equivalent of £100,000 ($156,199). It is one of just two known examples where the reverse shows parts of two further stamp impressions, inverted in relation to the original.
Described as "the pivotal stamp of any Gold Medal standard collection" by the auction house, it is unique in it being the only example of the two extant described as showing an inter-panneaux "gutter".
The stamp was part of the first issue of Lombardy-Venetia, a kingdom in the north of Italy that was part of the Austrian empire. Otherwise identical to those issued in Austria, the stamps are instead denominated in centesimi.
For comparison, a fresh example of the 5c yellow without the rare reverse printing is selling for £100 ($156) in the auction.
An 1850 Lombardy & Venetia 30c pale brown block of four with wide margins, cancelled by manuscript crosses, is selling for £26,700 ($41,705). It is one of just three blocks from the issue recorded.