An extraordinarily rare Type I Alexandria Va. Postmaster's Provisional is to auction during a forthcoming four-day specialist sale scheduled for December 10-14 in New York.
One of only three Alexandria Postmaster's Provisional stamps known to be on complete covers, the stamp is a true star of world philately.
The very fine example will lead the provisional section of the sale, being one of just six recorded examples of the stamp on buff paper. A Type II example of the stamp sold in March 2012 for $550,000 - a 450% increase on its $100,000 estimate - suggesting that this Type I example may also exceed its $500,000 valuation.
Provisional stamps are highly coveted by collectors as they predate the US' first official postage stamp, which was introduced in 1847. The issue was a method of prepayment for envelopes and stamps orchestrated by postmasters between 1845 and 1847 - this revered Alexandria Va. example has been dated August 25, 1846.
The offered cover was discovered in 1926 by Edward S Leadbeater of Alexandria, before being sold into the great Lapham Collection of Postmaster's Provisionals. Last sold in 1986, the sought after stamp achieved $77,000 - a 156.6% increase on its catalogue value of $30,000.
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles we also have a fine array of stamps in stock, including rare examples from Great Britain and Hong Kong.