US auction sells $40,000 'finest of three known' British India stamp sheet

The finest example of a three-of-a-kind rarity was a star lot at Spink Shreves' "Sapphire" Holding of British India stamps sale, on October 23.

The piece in question was one of three known complete sheets of 80 2a anna green stamps, dated to 1854 and (as originally issued) without perforations or gum.

The 2a anna greens were among the very first stamps that were valid for postage throughout India, first issued in 1854. Featuring a youthful profile of Queen Victoria, they were designed and printed in Calcutta.

One of three known complete sheets of 80 2a anna green stamps,
dated to 1854

As pictured, the stamp sheet still has its sheet-salvages, reading "Eighty Two-Anna Postage Stamps" at the top and "Price Ten Rupees" at the base.

According to Spink Shreve's lot notes, the sheet boasts "strong fresh colour" with other details including "couple light horizontal folds not noted on the certificate and some staining almost entirely in the margins."

Otherwise very fine and, of course, extremely rare, the sheet of 80 brought a final price of $40,000 at Spink Shreves Galleries in Dallas, Texas.


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