World Stamp Collections

The Rare and Unique Valuable Stamps of the World

The history of the postage stamp is a fascinating one which has provided rich fodder for literature and legend throughout the ages. Tied inextricably to stories of colonialism, empire and ambition, some of the rarest collector stamps from around the world are those that speak to a time and place that has been lost forever.

Stamps and National Identity

Stamps have always been an important way for nations to define their cultural identity. Indeed, what and who a country decides to immortalize on a stamp is one of the most fascinating parts of philatelic study. Some countries have even managed to exploit this interest with the production of low denomination stamps solely for the collector’s market.

Regardless, a serious study of collector’s stamps from around the world will invariably dive into the multiple ways in which stamps reflect the history and priorities of the country that issued them.  

Dead Country Stamps

The first postage stamps were issued in 1840, and the geography of the world has since seen lots of changes. Some of the most interesting collectible stamps are those issued by states that no longer exist — these states are known as “dead countries” by philatelists. Collecting dead country stamps has emerged as a hobby in its own right — one that combines traditional philately with a larger study of world history and geography.

Highly prized by collectors are stamps from bygone states such as the Kingdom of Hawaii, former colonies in North America and Africa, and the Confederate States of America. These stamps are perhaps just as interesting for the history they represent as for their philatelic attributes.

Mauritius Post Office Stamps

As one of the most valuable collector stamps from around the world, the 1847 Mauritius post office stamps are a strong example of how history and scarcity can work together to drive up the price of a stamp. Prior to 1968, Mauritius was under British colonial rule, so the stamps are technically from a dead country. An estimated 27 Post Office stamps remain today — at auction in 2011, a two pence blue Mauritius Post Office stamp was sold for over £1 million, making it the most expensive rare stamp of the world ever sold in the UK.

Rare Stamps at Apfelbaum, Inc.

Wondering what your collection is worth, or interested in getting started with this fascinating hobby? Apfelbaum, Inc. has been in the stamp business since 1910. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. 

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