Rare stamp plate 77 Penny Red sold for £495,000 by Channel Islands dealer

The stamp – the second most expensive British stamp ever – is described in the trade as the “Holy Grail of philately” 

A rare piece of good news came yesterday from Stanley Gibbons, the collectibles seller which recently issued a profit warning, saw its auditor resign and is trying to raise £10 million in fresh capital. 

It has sold one of the rarest British stamps, a Plate 77 Penny Red, for £495,000 to a private collector.

Only five such used stamps exist, with one in the British Museum. 

The stamp – the second most expensive British stamp ever – is described in the trade as the “Holy Grail of philately” because plate 77 was imperfect and was destroyed – but a single sheet of stamps printed from it ended up in circulation. 

Keith Heddle, the managing director of investments at Stanley Gibbons, said: “This is one of the most desirable and iconic of British stamps for collectors worldwide, highly sought after for more than 100 years. It is testament to the strength of the market for rare stamps and also Stanley Gibbons’ global standing that we have managed to sell not just one, but two Plate 77 Penny Reds in the last four years.”

The anonymous British buyer said: “I am so pleased I bought this stamp, it has given me a buzz I really didn’t expect. I am sure it will prove to be a fabulous investment and in an uncertain financial world, will prove its worth.”

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