US Postage Stamp Values: The Search for the Most Valuable Stamp
When it comes to collecting philatelic treasures, one question that often arises is: What is the most valuable US postage stamp? Stamp collectors and enthusiasts around the world are constantly on the lookout for rare and valuable stamps to add to their collections. In the case of US postage stamps, there are several contenders for the title of the most valuable stamp. Let’s explore some of these iconic stamps and their worth in today’s market.
The Inverted Jenny: A Prized Possession
One of the most famous and valuable US postage stamps is the Inverted Jenny. Issued in 1918, this stamp features an airplane known as the Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” printed upside down. The error occurred during the printing process, making it a highly sought-after collector’s item. Today, there are only 100 known copies of the Inverted Jenny in existence, making it extremely rare and valuable. In 2016, one of these stamps was sold at auction for a staggering $1.3 million. Its scarcity and iconic status make the Inverted Jenny a top contender for the title of the most valuable US postage stamp.
The Benjamin Franklin Z Grill: A Rare Gem
Another stamp that holds immense value among philatelists is the Benjamin Franklin Z Grill. Produced in 1868, this stamp features a portrait of Benjamin Franklin and is notable for its distinctive horizontal grill pattern. The grill, which was used to prevent stamp reuse, is clear and easily visible on the back of the stamp. Today, only two copies of the Benjamin Franklin Z Grill are known to exist, making it one of the rarest US postage stamps. In 2005, one of these stamps was sold for a record-breaking $935,000 at auction. The scarcity and historical significance of the Benjamin Franklin Z Grill make it a prized possession in the world of stamp collecting.
The Hawaiian Missionaries: A Piece of Island History
While not exclusively a US postage stamp, the Hawaiian Missionaries are highly prized among collectors due to their historical significance. These stamps were issued in Hawaii in 1851, making them some of the earliest stamps in the world. The Hawaiian Missionaries feature a portrait of King Kamehameha III and the denomination in cents. Only about 15 copies of these stamps are known to exist today, with some selling for over $1 million at auction. The combination of rarity, historical value, and connection to Hawaii’s past makes the Hawaiian Missionaries a valuable addition to any stamp collection.
The 1868 Pictorial Issue: A Colorful Delight
The 1868 Pictorial Issue is another notable contender for the title of the most valuable US postage stamp. This series of stamps, issued in various denominations, features vibrant and detailed designs depicting a range of subjects, including landscapes, historical figures, and animals. Among the most prized stamps from this issue are the 1-cent Z Grill and the 15-cent Lincoln, which are known for their rarity and beauty. While individual stamps from the 1868 Pictorial Issue may not reach the same astronomical prices as other stamps on this list, a complete set of these stamps in mint condition can still be worth a significant amount. Collectors are particularly drawn to this series for its rich imagery and historical significance.