Sunday, 4 September 2011

India 1854 4 annas 'Head inverted' error sells for €185,000

Twenty-seven confirmed examples exist of this most famous stamp of India.  This one illustrated is ex-Dawson, and although cut-to-shape, it's large margins and otherwise fault-free appearance place it among the better of the survivors.  Stanley Gibbons list it as SG 18a, and price the stamp from £50,000 to £200,000 (or €57,000 to €228,000).  The considerable variance in price quoted by Stanley Gibbons reflects the difference between a cut-to-shape example and the finest stamp known.

At Auktionshaus Christoph Gärtner's auction held over 29 August to 2 September, this stamp was knocked down for  €185,000 (£162,000) against an estimate of €150,000 (£131,000).  With the 19% buyer's commission added, the total cost to the purchaser will be in excess of €220,000 or £192,000.

The demand for iconic rare stamps appears undiminished.  This stamp was the British Empire standout among many fine stamps in the Christoph Gärtner Rarities sale.


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