An 1849 French Ceres one franc tete-beche pair is valued at $81,834 ahead of the Collector's Series sale at Spink in Switzerland on January 25.
The unused showpiece consists of two stamps facing one another (one inverted), an error that only occurred at position 35 on the first plate.
Only four unused examples are known to exist, with this considered among the finest. It features large margins and clean paper with light carmine on yellow colouring and strong impressions.
The 1849 series were the first stamps to be issued in France. They feature the Roman goddess of plants, Ceres, who was chosen as the philatelic emblem of the republic.
Three full sheets of 1849 Ceres issue 15c, 20c and 40c stamps are offered as a single lot with an estimate of $13,639.
The essays are sold without gum on largely fresh paper, although the 15c sheet exhibits a number of toned areas and the 25c displays mild staining - although this is to be expected given the size and the age of the pieces.
An 1851-1852 Tuscan two solidi scarlatto su azzurro carries an identical estimate of $13,639.
The stamp, considered among the finest examples of this rarity, displays clear margins, intense colour and its original gum.
Why not sign up to our free newsletter?