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285925.  Wed Feb 27, 2008 12:47 pm Reply with quote

Sent in by Mr Allan Deeds:

There's a gen ig idea that the Penny Black is a rare stamp. Although it was only in use for a year (as you couldn't see the cancellation mark on the black background they switched to red):
The Penny Black is not a rare stamp. The total print run from all plates was 286,700 sheets with 68,808,000 stamps and a substantial proportion of these have survived. This is due mainly to the fact that, in those days, it was not the custom to use envelopes; generally, the letter would be written on one side of a sheet of paper, which would be folded over and sealed and then the address and stamp would be on the reverse of the same sheet. Therefore, if the letter was not thrown away, then the stamp would be saved from destruction too.

The quote is from the wiki article, which Mr Deeds wrote. He has also heard tell that the Penny Black is robust enough to withstand boiling, but can't confirm that.

285949.  Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:59 pm Reply with quote

Just to play Advocatus Diaboli for a moment, is that the common belief?

I suppose I can't really be called common on this one, since I am a bit of a philatelist. But I'm not certain that most people think the Penny Black is rare.

Mind you, I keep mine in my jewelry box rather than with my stamp collection, so maybe I secretly think it's rare as well !

286003.  Wed Feb 27, 2008 4:30 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I'm not certain that most people think the Penny Black is rare.

Well that's one problem. The other is that I'm quite certain that nobody thinks it's funny. What's needed here is an angle.

286247.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 5:59 am Reply with quote

I would have answered, if cornered in the street, that the Penny Black was rare simply because it had the longest time to get lost (as it were). Or, if not rare, exactly, then at least expensive (since old things cost more, innit?).

A quick check of informs me that you can pay anything between £28 (for a "Defective Used" version) and £2,275 (for a "Mounted Mint" one. They don't seem to have any "Unmounted Mint" versions, though presumably they'd be more expensive).

286265.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:09 am Reply with quote

I would have said it was rare, because they used to say so in the Beano. Not quite sure how you'd word the question though.

286274.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:16 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
I would have said it was rare, because they used to say so in the Beano.

Me too, same reason, though in my case more Buster than Beano.

286308.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:33 am Reply with quote

dr.bob wrote:
They don't seem to have any "Unmounted Mint" versions, though presumably they'd be more expensive.

They'd be very expensive indeed. Any penny black that one buys now has been in stamp collections for over 150 years, and the notion that stamp collections ought to be unmounted was practically unknown until after WWII.

I paid £50 for mine though, and looking at those listings I might have acquired it a little cheaper. Humph.

286322.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 6:43 am Reply with quote

Sorry. Perhaps I should've kept quiet :)

286373.  Thu Feb 28, 2008 7:11 am Reply with quote

I remember (perhaps falsely) that you used to be able to send off for packs of stamps "on approval" and that the ad in the (in my case) Eagle said that you got as part of your first pack "the famous Victorian penny stamp" of which there was a picture in the (monochrome) ad. We tapped the sides of our noses wisely and thought we were being conned, and that the con must be that the wording was ambiguous and they were going to fob us off with a Penny Red and not the implied Penny Black. With the benefit of 40 years' additional experience of commercial practice, I reckon it's more likely that they were printing them themselves with a John Bull printing kit, but perhaps that's unduly cynical.

312676.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:12 am Reply with quote

Rarest stamp:

Tre Skilling Banco yellow.

Found by 14-year-old Swedish schoolboy Georg Wilhelm Backman in 1885, this Tre Skilling Banco was supposed to be green, but its cliché was probably mistakenly inserted into the form of the 8sk orange yellow of 1857. Other examples were probably made, but none have since shown up, and it seems unlikely that they will do now; it is fairly safe to say that the stamp is unique.

Bought originally for 3 Skilling, the schoolboy sold it on in a batch for 7 Krone, and it has since been sold for £270,000; £314,309; £800,633 and finally in 1996 for £1,400,000 - still a world record.

The Tre Skilling Banco yellow is widely regarded as the most valuable man-made object on earth in relation to size, weight and composition

wiki hedges its bets and says "one of the most valuable".

312678.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:15 am Reply with quote

Seems I (an others) were right about the penny red being rare; but it specifically has to be one printed from plate number 77 in 1864. This is the most valuable stamp in the UK.

This was a substandard plate but unusually, a few got in the hands of the public. There are about half a dozen examples in existance. One is in the Tapling Collection at the British Library.

312685.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:19 am Reply with quote

The penny black was the world's first adhesive postage stamp. But you probably all already knew that.

312950.  Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:26 pm Reply with quote

Well, I'll tell you what I got from that: where the word "cliche" comes from. That, we can use.


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