Here's another update from Spink's two-day sale of the incredible Chartwell Collection which took place in London earlier today (June 29).
It's impressive enough that the 1840 One Penny Black was the world's first postage stamp, but its recent record on the auction block also speaks volumes.
Until recently, the World Record price for a singled mint penny black was $156,000 at a Danish auction house in 2004. This was later surpassed in 2009, when British stamp dealers Stanley Gibbons sold a single marginal example for £250,000.
Yet these versions for sale at Spink aren't just "mint", but are from the Penny Black's first-ever registration sheets - the final imprimatur version of the stamp before it went to print.
From Sheet One, Plate One, this imprimatur Penny Black brought £216,000 ($345,131)
The first, from Sheet One, Plate One, is an important and unique position piece boasting extremely large margins.
The Penny Black's first-ever registration sheet, from before the stamp was hardened, was registered on April 15, 1840. This was nearly two weeks before the post-hardened final sheet was registered on April 27.
To give you an idea of how coveted this stamp is, one of its siblings which was removed from the same sheet, stamp "AL", can be found in the Royal Collection. Another marginal example, "TL", is in the Postal Museum.
In other words, this one, "TA", is an historic philatelic piece of the utmost importance. Rightly billed as a "stunning stamp of exhibition quality", it appeared in today's Spink sale with a pre-sale estimate of £120,000-150,000.
And that's not all. Auctioning straight after it was another "TA" stamp from the second registration plate, Sheet One, Plate Two, registered later than Plate One on April 22, 1840.
Moments later, this younger version from Plate Two sold for £180,000 ($287,609)
As with the first, a stamp from the second plate can also be found in the Royal Collection: another "AL" stamp. Like the Plate One imprimatur stamp, this second example also carried a £120,000-150,000 pre-sale estimate.
According to Paul's update from Spink's saleroom floor, the pair of historically vital specimens competed closely in terms of value.
In the end, the Plate One stamp brought £216,000 ($345,131), nicely above its £150,000 high estimate. Just after it, Plate Two brought £180,000 ($287,609), also over the estimated price.