25 Most Valuable Old Stamps Worth Money

You might want to reconsider your opinion if you believe stamp collecting is only for amateurs and not something a wise investor would explore. You will soon learn the truth in this stamps collecting price guide.  

According to research done by StampFinder for Forbes, pristine condition samples have increased in value by up to 45.5% over the past ten years, greatly outpacing gains in real estate, gold, fine wine, and the general stock market.

Additionally, the most expensive philatelic treasures can fetch millions of dollars, with recent world records being achieved.

In this article, we are going to talk about the 25 old stamps worth money. So, if you have a box of stamps passed down to you by your grandmother, it’s time to take it out because you are about to discover how much are my old stamps worth!  

Read on to find your stamps value!

25 Most Valuable Old Stamp Price Guide

The Inverted Jenny

The Inverted Jenny is one of the most legendary stamp errors in American history and is arguably the rarest. The JN-4HM, constructed by the Curtiss firm in the midst of World War I, is the aircraft seen on the stamp. During World War I, 95% of American pilots trained on JN-4s.

Like many other pastimes, philately appreciates the self-referential: this was the first mail-delivering aircraft. The red border that frames the scene was printed appropriately, but the blue vignette—which includes the airplane and the air around it—was printed incorrectly.

The mistake was isolated to a single sheet of 100 stamps, which has since been torn apart, making the remaining two blocks of four stamps primarily single specimens. The estimated value of an Inverted Jenny today is $1593.

The following Inverted Jenny stamp sold for $39.99 on eBay recently:

The Inverted Jenny

800Y Blue Military

800Y Blue Military

The China 1953 800Y Blue Military stamp was created to give military troops a free way to communicate. However, it was a red flag for anyone looking to learn military secrets. As a result, the complete three-color lineup was quickly withdrawn.

Since it was in rotation for the shortest period of time, the blue version is currently the most wanted. A Blue Military Stamp sold at auction in 2011 for 2.7 million yuan (US $428,654) is now worth $550,900.

Inverted Center Errors – 1869 Pictorials

1869 Pictorial Issue Source: Wikipedia

Stamp collectors adore first printings, errors, and rarities, and these stamps feature all three as well as some political content. Although President Ulysses S.

Grant ordered the stamps to be made, and the idea for their issue actually came about in 1868, in the tumultuous period following Andrew Johnson’s impeachment but while he was still in office.

These were the initial U.S. stamps produced in two shades, and they were very contentious and discontinued within a year. Additionally, they designated events like Columbus’ arrival in America. Additionally, the pictorials represent the first instance of a printing mistake made by the Post Office Department.

Each color had to be printed individually in order to print in more than one shade, which led to the first invert faults in American printing when several sheets were accidentally placed in the press inverted.

1860 Stolen Pony Cover

Pony Express Mail Stolen
Pony Express Mail Stolen (Source: rfrajola)

This stamp provides a glimpse into the “cowboys and Indians” American folklore. The Pony Express began operations in 1860 and was a privatized mail service that transported letters across the nation in about 10 days using a network of adolescent riders and depots.

This cover has the stamp of its parent firm, Central Overland California, and Pike’s Peak Express Company. One Express passenger vanished in 1860 while heading east across Nevada.

The handwritten words “Recovered from a mail taken by the Indians in 1860” are inscribed on two covers from his mailbag that were found two years after it was lost.

CIA Invert

Four Americana stamps produced by the Post Office between 1975 and 1981 included images of light sources. On a single sheet of 100 stamps, a $1 stamp featuring a medieval rush lantern and candle stand was issued as an invert.

Nine CIA officers discovered the error in 1986 and went to the post office in Mclean, Virginia, to buy the page with the 95 leftover stamps (inadvertently, the post office had sold the remaining five for use as regular mail.).

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A sheet containing 85 of the flipped rush lamp stamps (and one broken stamp) was sold to a buyer for $25,000 after the agents substituted the unique stamps with standard $1 issues. One stamp was preserved by each agent for personal use. A scandal quickly ensued.

The organization commanded the agents to return the stamps or risk being fired (And anyway, they had been acquired using taxpayer funds.). Four agents gave back their stamps, four left their jobs or were fired, and one reported to have misplaced their stamp but kept their position.

Listed for $900,000 on eBay 

CIA Invert

Ben Franklin 1847 Issue of 16 Blocks

Ben Franklin 1847 Issue of 16 Blocks
1847 Ben Franklin stamps (courtesy of Siegel Auction Gallery); The Boston Tea Party (Credit: Ed Vebell/Getty Images)

The year 1847 is significant for stamps because it was the first year the law allowing people to buy stamps from the American government and use them to prepay for mail delivery was put into effect. The law was passed in 1845.

Examples of the very earliest U.S. Federal stamps can be seen here. Since the United States Post Office Department was founded in 1792, it is only natural that a ton of correspondence was sent before 1847; nonetheless, the majority of those emails were compensated by the recipient.

Blue Boy Stamp

St. Louis Mo., 10c Black on Greenish (11X2)

The Blue Boy is like the Mona Lisa in the realm of the US stamp collection. Postmasters in the 29 states’ municipalities and counties printed their own interim stamps during 1845 when Congress set federally uniform postal rates.

And 1847, when the inaugural federal postal stamps were created. With the patterns, postmasters used their creativity. For instance, the United States armorial emblem is held between two bears on the St. Louis transitional stamps.

Two Cent Blue Hawaiian Missionary

1851 2c Blue Hawaiian Missionary Stamp Unused
1851 2c Blue Hawaiian Missionary Stamp Unused Source: Museumofphilately

The stamp was created in 1851, a time when Hawaii was an independent country and a well-liked location for American preachers to promote the gospel.

However, the postmaster of the Kingdom of Hawaii was an American, and there was a good postal connection between San Francisco and Honolulu. Collectors prize these stamps for their unusual preservation as well as their ornate digits.

Strangely, there wasn’t much use for the 2-cent stamp; the only uses were buying a magazine or the commander’s pay.

Pan American Inverts

Pan-American issue 1-cent invert postage stamp
Pan-American issue 1-cent invert postage stamp (Source:Wikipedia)

Six memorial stamps were printed in 1901 to honor the Pan American Exhibition held in Buffalo, New York, with images of the overpass at Niagara Falls and a steam engine, and some others, had transportation as their primary focus.

The chance for error was primed since these stamps were produced in two colors, and the illustrations on the pages of the 1, 2, and 4-cent values were overturned.

Stock Exchange Invert

29-cent New York Stock Exchange Bicentennial single
29-cent New York Stock Exchange Bicentennial single

In addition to being an invert, this stamp is noteworthy because the United States Postal Service produced it as the final invert on a 1992 stamp honoring the 200th anniversary of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). There are just 56 of these stamps known to exist.

The inverted photos, which are bordered by a green border with red numerals, show a scenario of contemporary traders huddled beneath a cluster of stock exchange screens and an external view of the exchange’s majestic building at 11 Wall Street.

12 D Black Impress

A 12-pence black stamp was issued by the Province of Canada on today's date in 1851.
A 12-pence black stamp was issued by the Province of Canada on today’s date in 1851. (Source: Wikipedia)

The 1851 12d Black Empress was a scarce basic stamp that is regarded as being the most expensive, unique, and pursued in Canada. A double-weight mail to the United States and a small number of locations, such as Newfoundland or the British West Indies, were covered by the 12d face value.

Less than 145 of the 51,000 stamps that were first issued are thought to still survive today, in whatsoever condition. Unusual Canada 1851 12d Black Empress coins were sold in 2011 for $425,000, which is equal to $546,200 in 2022 dollars after inflation.

Red Maiden in the Green Robe

Red Maiden in the Green Robe

When a currency falls, and a replacement is required, it is never a positive sign. But you may be sure that some collectible things will appear when this occurs. During the currency reform of the Qing Dynasty, this stamp was produced.

There are reportedly nine 1897 2-cent Red Maiden in the Green Robe stamps still in existence. A Red Maiden in the Green Robe stamp sold for $444,477 in Hong Kong in 2004; the last recorded sale would be equivalent to $680,300 in 2022 inflation-adjusted dollars.

Penny Red Plate 77

Because Plate 77 stamps were not intended to exist, enthusiasts and traders consider the 1863 Penny Reds the golden standard of stamp collecting. Post offices produced the stamps but never offered them for sale since they were deemed to be of insufficient quality.

Although the original manufacturing plate was ruined, a small number were distributed. They are, therefore, much more treasured by collectors than the legendary Penny Black, which is adored by schoolchildren.

Sold for $299.93 on eBay

Penny Red Plate 77

Inverted Pair Dr Sun Yat Sen

Inverted Pair Dr Sun Yat Sen
Source: Paulfrasercollectibles

This stamp from the middle of the 20th century includes one of the most glaring design defects, which is displayed front and middle. The first leader of the People’s Republic of China, Dr. Sun Yat Sen, is depicted in an upside-down position.

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Only one set of fifty stamps featuring this issue was ever printed. Among the two pairings that are still believed to exist is the flipped pair. In a Hong Kong sale, it was last bought in 2018 for $707,700, which is equivalent to $814,800 now.

10 Cent on 9 Candareen

10 Cent on 9 Candareen
10 Cent on 9 Candareen (Mintageworld)

It is the most uncommon and coveted Dowager surcharge. This stamp was in very high demand across China in 1897. As a result, several outdated stamps were returned to post offices all around China and delivered to the producers and collectors.

The face of the stamp acquired the surcharge inverted, and the page of 9ca received a 10ca surcharge. The result was the creation of the 10 cent-on-9 Candareen stamp Surcharge reversed. It’s thought to be the most expensive Chinese stamp ever made.

It was projected to be $766 USD in 2018, which is equal to $881,900 in 2022 dollars adjusted for inflation.

George Washington B-Grill Stamp

George Washington B-Grill Stamp

Avoid mixing up this unique B-Grill stamp with other 1868 George Washington stamps. The B-Grill type is one of the most precious stamps to hunt for, and there are currently just four recognized specimens, while the others are numerous and not particularly precious.

Since it was bigger than other grills utilized and had upward-pointing dents, the B-Grill depression may be recognized. Smaller grills were installed in its place shortly, earning it legendary status and making it one of the costliest stamps on the globe.

It was most recently sold in 2008 for $1.035 million, which is equal to $1,389,800 now.

Baden 9 Kreuzer Error

Baden 9 Kreuzer Error
Source: Wikipedia

In contradiction to Germany’s generally well-regarded reputation for order, this stamp is unique because of an error that occurred in 1851.

The Baden 9 Kreuzer stamp was supposed to be printed in pink, but apparently, green ink that was meant to be used on 6 Kreuzer stamps seeped in, generating one of the most precious, rare stamps that enthusiasts are looking for.

There is just one known untouched copy, and four verified used copies. The most recent one sold in 2008 for $1,500,000, or $2,014,200 in today’s dollars.

The Whole Country is Red

Once more, a mistake has elevated a common stamp to the status of one of the most precious stamps. This stamp honors the Chinese Cultural Revolution and features a worker, peasant, and veteran who are all holding copies of Chairman Mao’s Selected Works.

The stamps, though, were promptly withdrawn from production after it was determined that the map was incorrect. According to the official explanation, the Spratly and Paracel Islands were absent from the map, and many country borders were incorrectly rendered.

One was sold in 2018 for an estimated 13.8 million Yuan or $2,302,700 in today’s money.

1968 Whole Country is Red Stamp
Source:1968 Whole Country is Red Stamp

Error of Color Sicilian

Error of Color Sicilian
Error of Color Sicilian (Mintageworld)

The mistake of color on a half-granum stamp is Sicily’s most elusive and enigmatic stamp. For a number of reasons, the stamp is unusual. It has a color mistake to start with. It was intended to be distributed in orange. The stamp was instead published in blue in 1859.  

Secondly, two stamps are the only ones known to still be in existence. Most significantly, the stamp is in fantastic shape despite being rather old.

Both were displayed in the 1899 Manchester Philatelic Exposition before being divided, with one of them being purchased for the Ferrari collection. One went for €1.8 million in 2011, which is almost $2,570,600 in 2022 dollars after inflation.

British Guiana 1 Cent Magenta

British Guiana 1 Cent Magenta
British Guiana 1 Cent Magenta (Source: Wikipedia)

The sole significant postal stamp missing from the Royal Philatelic Collection of Great Britain is the 1856 British Guiana 1 Cent Magenta, of which one is believed to survive.

The 1 Cent Magenta was created as an immediate fix when a stamp delivery was interrupted and was first planned for use in neighborhood publications.

It was bought by shoe manufacturer Stuart Weitzman in 2014 for $9.5 million, or $11,601,700 in today’s dollars, and is regarded as the most unique stamp in the entire world.

Mauritius Post Office Stamps

Mauritius Post Office Stamps
Mauritius Post Office Stamps (Source: Wikipedia)

The stamps issued by the Mauritius Post Office are the most costly in the world, costing more than a few of the most costly artworks.

At first appearance, you could assume that the stamps issued by the Mauritius Post Office are identical to earlier British issues. These, however, stand out since they are the earliest British stamps to be produced outside the United Kingdom.

One Penny Red and Two Penny blue 1847 Mauritius Post Office Stamps are thought to exist in 27 instances. The Bordeaux Cover, however, is the most crucial component. It includes unopened samples of the One Penny red and Two Penny blue stamps attached to an envelope.

The last time it was sold, it was in Swiss bidding in 1993 for 6,123,750 Swiss Francs or almost $8,203,000 in 2022 dollars after inflation. It appears likely that this has been valued even more as a result of the most recent Ball Cover sale.

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Swedish Treskilling Yellow

This misprinted stamp holds a top rank on the list of the most valuable stamps to watch out for as well. The 1855 Swedish Treskilling Yellow was supposed to be printed in green and was one of Sweden’s first postcards ever.

There is currently only one mistaken yellow copyleft, a flawless specimen of the most unique stamp in circulation.

It is difficult to estimate its exact value. The latest sale, known to have occurred in 1993 for $2.3 million, or $4,238,000 in 2022 dollars, was followed by sales in 2010 and 2014 for unreported sums.

Swedish Treskilling Yellow

Alexandra Blue Boy

Alexandra Blue Boy
Alexandra Blue Boy wikipedia

The federal government issued the majority of stamps from the United States, but this priceless stamp was released just before it started. Even the most priceless nickels would have become treasure if they had been spent on one.

Seven versions of the Postmaster’s Provisionals, which were printed in Alexandria, are known to exist today, although only one was printed on the pale blue paper used by the Alexandria Blue Boy. It is glued to a prohibited love letter for good.

It was purchased in 2019 for $1.18 million, which translates to $2,035,500 today. 

Inverted Declaration of Independence

Inverted Declaration of Independence
Inverted Declaration of Independence (Source: Antiquesandthearts)

You may tell how fervently certain Americans feel about their independence if you’ve ever witnessed Fourth of July festivities. The Declaration of Independence’s signing in 1776 was shown on this set of stamps, which was produced in 1869.

But due to the mistakenly inverted image, this edition is one of the most costly stamps. There are only believed to be four. To the shock of several philatelists, it was last purchased for $1.2 million in 2008, which works out to $1,611,400 today.

6d Pale Dull Purple IR Official

This stamp is still in use today, thanks to slick 1904 hands. A few instances of this batch of stamps, which were released on the same day that a formal order to burn them arrived, have managed to escape the undying flame and find their way onto the collector’s market.

It was illegal for the general public to own or sell these stamps because the Inland Revenue government agency only utilized them. In 2010, one went for £400,000, which is roughly $822,000 today.

6d Pale Dull Purple IR Official

What to Know Before Starting Stamp Collecting

Knowing what renders stamps unique and desirable is essential before you begin your collection. You should take into account a few factors if you want to locate the most priceless stamps on the planet.

Although condition matters, the ultimate worth is found in stamps that are uncommon, have a rich history, and possibly even have printing errors.

The rarity of any collector stamp is likely its most significant feature. People are willing to pay top cash for a stamp nobody else has. This is perfectly illustrated by the British Guiana 1856 1 Cent Magenta, which not even the British government has been able to obtain.

The stamp’s background plays a significant role in its value. For instance, the 1847 Mauritius Post Office Stamps are fascinating not only because they represent the first British stamps produced outside of the United Kingdom but also because they have the amusing tradition of being used to send out invitations to lavish balls.

However, what many precious stamps are not intended to be is what makes them so valuable in the first place. The value of a stamp can rise due to printing errors.

Just take another quick glance at the complete list to see several instances of how incorrectly produced stamps have grown to be highly prized collectibles.

So, you must combine all of these qualities on a stamp that is in superb condition if you wish to discover the most expensive stamps. If you can locate this, you’ll probably find yourself in possession of a small slip of parchment that is actually worth its value in gold!

Summing It Up

You will undoubtedly be surprised by the most costly stamps in the world, which come from many nations and span a lengthy history.

Your favorite military misstep might be allowing people to recognize military correspondence. Or perhaps you adore the most expensive stamps from Mauritius.

The most expensive stamps in the world will undoubtedly keep getting more expensive as time goes on, whatever the reason.

So, now that you have discovered the value of older stamps, tell us, do you possess any old stamps collection? If yes, we want to hear all about it in the comment section below!

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