Your unmissable chance to see the $6m stamps

The MonacoPhil 2009 international Stamp exhibition will promise an experience of a lifetime, when two of the most expensive philatelic items in the world make an appearance.

Two stamps with a spectacular and legendary joint history will be exhibited at the Monte Carlo show: The "Z" Grill and the Jenny Plate-Number Block.

For philatelists, this is an unmissable chance see these two renowned 'holy grail' items together.

The philatelic swap of the century

The trade of the one cent "Z" Grill and the 1918 Jenny Invert Plate-Number Block between Donald Sundman and the world-famous financial guru Bill Gross is today regarded as the philatelic swap of the century.

The one cent "Z" Grill was sold in 1998 at an auction in New York. The media attention was huge when the 11 year-old school boy Zachary Sundman, son of Mr Sundman, bought the stamp for $1m, allegedly outbidding Mr Gross.


The "Z" Grill and the Jenny Plate-Number Block, together worth $6m

The blue "Z" Grill features Benjamin Franklin and is named after the experimental security grill on the back. There is only one existing copy in private hands, with the other at the New York Public Library.

But Bill Gross was determined to own the stamp - he needed it to get a complete collection of US 19th century stamps, something which had never achieved before.

Years later, in 2005, another highly interesting and sought after item in US philately, the 1918 Jenny Invert Plate-Number Block, was offered at auction. This block of four from the sheet is unique because it bears the printing number.

Eventually, the highly-coveted block was sold for $2.97m, the highest price ever paid for a philatelic item. The buyer? One Bill Gross.

Paying $2,97m for a block of stamps was impressive enough, but then something even more incredible happened.

Still determined to acquire the "Z" Grill he'd missed out on years previously, Mr Gross then made an unexpected arrangement with Mr Sundman: they were to swap the "Z" grill for the Inverted Jenny Plate-Number Block.

The exchange was made a few weeks later - and the deal gave the two rarities a startling combined value of $6m.

The "Z" Grill and the Jenny Plate-Number Block will be exhibited in Monte Carlo during MonacoPhil 2009, between December 4-6.

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