If you have an interest in investing in stamps, then make sure you are aware of what is on offer from Australia. There have been some outstanding sales at auction in recent years, and savvy collectors have been making small fortunes. As a former British colony, there is a lot of history to Australian stamps, despite the relatively young age of the country. It’s been through many major changes in its youthful history, and some of these stamps reflect those changes. We have decided to put together a list of the top ten rare Australian stamps to look out for, so read on to find out more.
As is often the case with stamps, mistakes seem to pay off for collectors. The best example is the Inverted Black Swan. A printing error led to the stamp being printed upside down, and the mistake wasn’t noticed until 388 stamps came off the line. At the last count, there are only 15 of these Inverted Black Swan stamps left in existence, and they are worth a small fortune. You can expect to pay around $60,000 for ownership of one of these in perfect condition. They are amongst the rarest stamps in the world, and each of them is currently in the hands of keen collectors.
First Kangaroo And Map Stamp
Australia’s very first Kangaroo and Map stamp sold at auction for $130,573 in 2006. Not bad for a stamp that cost two pence halfpenny when it first came onto the scene! The design is in blue – although the print run included several other colors. It’s worth bearing in mind that the auction price was twice the value of the list price. This shows that stamps can be a big pull for collectors willing to spend big to boost their collections.
The Queen Victoria Australian stamp is from 1856 – only fifteen of them came off the press. Again, this is due to a mistake by the printers, as there are visible creases and various imperfections along the edges. As you can imagine, the rarity of these stamps makes them an attractive proposition for collectors. You can expect to pay at least $10,000 to pry them off their hands these days – and you can imagine that price will increase in the future.
There’s an interesting story about this one. The Penny Red is one of the most collectable Australian stamps in existence, and they are as common as dirt. More than a billion of them came off the presses early last century, and they are one of the first stamps that world collectors get their hands on. But, a flawed version appeared back in 2013 on eBay, available for 99 cents. This particular Penny Red had a strange watermark that many collectors believed were a fake. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t sell – luckily enough for the owner. He took the Penny Red to a stamp fair in Scotland, where he found out it might be worth a lot more than 99 cents. Philatelic experts have since given the flawed Penny Red a value of around $100,000. The good news for collectors is that there is, possibly, more of these stamps in existence. Given that printers in the past ran them in sheets of 120, there could be another 119 flawed Penny Reds out there.
Another area to look at for stamp collecting is multiple stamps and sheets. The Queensland Sixpence is, perhaps the perfect example. On its own, the Sixpence is worth a good deal – and many collectors find them an appealing investment. But, when they are in a sheet, their value increases by a significant amount. There are only sixteen of these Queensland Sixpence strips in existence. And, a collector recently paid almost $45,000 for one of them at auction. It’s the most valuable stamp ever to come out of the state of Queensland – find one, and you can count yourself lucky!
Another important factor to understand is that rarity doesn’t always equal a high selling price. Take the 1895 Halfpenny on 3D with double overprint. It’s another printing mistake, which was quickly rectified on the presses, leaving very few in existence. However, this overprint has a current record selling price of $2,400 as a single and $7,200 as a triple strip. Good money, for sure – but just not in fashion with collectors as, perhaps, it should be. That said, stamps like these are worth looking at. They tend to increase their value over time, and it only takes a surge of popularity to turn them into an excellent investment.
Back in the 1850s, the Victoria $3 run didn’t last long, and few have survived since. They sold in recent years for over $100,000, complete with a no-gum backing, as was the fashion back in the day. Not only that but they were not in perfect condition – two of the stamps have significant creases on them. So, find some of these Classic Victoria strips in excellent condition, and you could have yourself a healthy financial surprise.
1865 4d From Western Australia
Keep an eye out for these eastern Australian misprints – they are worth a fortune and are rarely seen. In 1865, printers ran one sheet each of the Western Australian 4d stamp in carmine. There is a double print on the top and sides of the stamp which is easy to spot, and they rarely come up at an auction. However, it recently sold for $55,000 – an excellent reason to keep your eyes peeled.
Two Shilling Kangaroo
As any collector will tell you, rare kangaroo stamps can fetch a fortune. One of the best to look out for is the Brown Harrison one-line imprint with minor adhesions in the margins. There is only one four block imprint in existence – unsurprisingly, it’s in the keep of the British Royal family. However, collectors should keep their eyes open for the two-strip versions. There aren’t many around, but you can expect them to get a value of something like $20,000.
The 30 Cent ‘Emergency’ Stamp
You don’t have to look too far in the past to make some money from Australian stamps. In fact, only this year, collectors have been turning 30 cent stamps into $1,000 on eBay. The reason? Due to the decline in letter sending, Australia Post has set the price of stamps up to a dollar from 70 cents. So, people have been using the old 70 cent stamps with older 30 cent stamps to make up the difference. But, the 30 cent stamps ran out, meaning Australia Post used an old printing machine to plug the gap in demand. It was a limited run, and only a few post offices got their hands on them, sending collectors into a bit of a frenzy. A set of the stamps recently sold for over $1,000 on eBay – not bad for an initial investment of 30 cents!
As you can see, there are plenty of rare Australian stamps – it’s just a case of keeping your eyes – and ears – open. As an investment, you will have to dig deep to buy most of these rare stamps – but you never know what you might find. Given the young history of Australia, there is still plenty of chances of a stunning find or a remarkable discovery. Who knows? If you start to look in the right places, perhaps you can join the ranks of those lucky few.