An upcoming internet-only philatelic auction is to be highlighted on October 3 by a potentially unique example of the reverse offset HMS Vanguard 3d blue.
The 3d blue stamp was prepared for use in New Zealand to commemorate the royal visit of King George VI. However, due to poor health, the king cancelled his trip and the specially created HMS Vanguard stamp remained unissued.
A renowned rarity in New Zealand's philatelic history, the last "normal" example of this stamp to appear at auction sold for around £16,000 ($25,772). However, the example at auction could well exceed this, as it boasts a reverse offset - a feature thought to be unique among this variety.
A reverse offset is created during printing, when one sheet of stamps is placed on top of another while still wet, creating a mirror impression of the image in the gum.
This remarkable stamp, which was found in a matchbox, will be sold complete with a Brandon colour photo-certificate that attests to its authenticity. The paper is yellowed, and the stamp features pulled perforations and a defect in the base, although this is thought to be present on all examples.
Despite issues with its condition, the item remains an extraordinary rarity and will sell with a £15,000 ($24,172) estimate.